to the gal who never forgets birthdays!

Many happy returns, Visithra! May everyone keep thinking forever, that u are 22!
By Aravind on Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 7:57 AM Post Categories:
When ARR and Mani Ratnam work together, you expect nothing short of a masterpiece. And when Gulzar joins in, the expectations are bound to raise. And, the trio strike gold yet again, after Dil Se!

1. Barso Re

The song starts with base strings. Then Shreya Ghosal teases with "naa re.. naa re". Naveen joins in with playful flute bits. And the teasing continues. U know u are in for a treat!

Apart from Shreya, the other star in the song is Naveen's Flute. Apart from the brilliant starting and the first interlude (which I think is one of the best interludes in recent times), Naveen also joins Shreya in the second stanza (Kaali Kaali raatein...) taking it to a whole new level!

Rahman gives a sweet melody backed by foot tapping beats. He has this knack of perfectly blending western sounds with Indian music - even in folk and village songs - like he did in Bharathi Raja's Taj Mahal. He does it here too! The electronic drums and the synth sounds do not in any way deteriorate the rustic flavour in this song. In fact, coupled with the the awesome lyrics, u can actually visualise the village, the rains pouring all over the streets and ponds, the wet soil, the bulls in the fields (the "chal chal chal" sound throughout the song will reminds u of the bullock carts in villages).

Highlights of the song are the starting 'conversation' between Shreya and Naveen's Flute, the flute interlude, and Uday Mazumdar's cameo.

2. Tere Bina
Rahman loves doing sufi-based songs, and excels at them. And, here's one more to the list, sung by Rahman himself. In this song which ARR has dedicated to late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, ARR does sound like NFAK in some places. Rahman has grown a lot with respect to his singing, and he improves a lot with each song. Waiting for him to win a "best singer" award in the future!!

Chinmayi is absolutely splendid in this song. Her voice is so different and the diction is perfect. Having trained in Hindustani and having won AIR national level Ghazal contests, this must have been easy for her! You get more surprises towards the end of the song, when she sings a line in a very different base voice. Read what Chinmayi had to say about this song, here.

The guitar backing throughout the song creates that richness. Yet another masterpiece from Rahman, and a wonderful dedication to NFAK.
Highlight of the song is the "Dham Dhara" refrain.

3. Ek Lo, Ek Muft
A fun bhang song. Totally situational number - Abhishek singing this to celebrate the birth of twins. Gulzaar's funny lyrics and Bappi Lahiri's 'intoxicated' rendition perfectly match for this song. And then, a female voice joins in - And it is Chitra in a whole new dimension!

The "joiyya joiyya" chorus is really funny and makes me laugh each time I listen to this song. Just love the way the beat changes in the middle of the "joiyya joiyya laado...", in the second interlude (2:54).

Highlights of the song - definitely the female chorus, and of course "Meri Gudiya...Guruuuuuu ki gudiya" (4:07-4:17), with Chitra acknowledging the "meri gudiya" with a "hmmm". Yet another instance to show ARR's attention to minutest of details!

4. Maiyya Maiyya
When the song is an item number to be picturised on Mallika Sherawat, the voice has to be sensous. Rahman brings in Egyptian born Canadian singer Maryem Toller, and she simply rocks in this song. The Arabic and Egyptian influence in her rendition simply boosts the song. Chinmayee and Keerthi join in with whispering chorus from time to time. You think this is fully Arabic, when the Gujarati flavour comes in - this is supposed to be Junior B and his friends joining Mallika in the middle of the song.

Listen to this song in headphones for a wonderful treat, for this song is filled with numerous layers. Also, the music keeps moving from left to right to left, which can't be experienced fully unless u use headphones.

5. Ay Hairat-e-Aashiqui
The song starts with a accordion piece (played by ARR himself using his newly purchased Accordion, which he bought for this song). The "dham dhara" refrain from Tere Bina takes over along with tabla. And then, Hariharan joins in with his magical voice, backed by absolutely soothing strings and harmonium. Till about 1:55, u think this is a total Ghazal - but u are in for a huge surprise - fast beats and a western sounding interludes take over. And then it is back to the tabla! What's really breathtaking is the transition, which Rahman manages in style. Mellifluous Alka starts singing "Kyun Urdu Faarsi bolte ho" which is just out of the world!

Highlight of the song is when the tabla stops when Hari stops at "jagaa mat" (1:02) and "lagaa mat" (1:11). Rahman proves that not just sound but even the lack of it, is music!

Not often does it happen that a song sung by ARR takes a backseat in my favourites list in an album. This song overtakes Tere Bina. It is definitely one of the sweetest duets in a long time!

6. Baazi Laga
Sung by Udit and Madhushree, this track is a typical 80s number, with fast beats and heavy instrumentation. The interludes, the chorus, instrumentation - everything reminds us of that period. This is the song that might not be picturised or might be pushed to background like Dol Dol (Yuva).

Highlight of the song is the "La La La" (3:03 - 3:25).

7. Jaage Hain
A lullaby, which is like the theme of the movie. Mani Ratnam mentioned in an interview that this track will be there through out the movie.
The track starts off slowly with Chitra singing "Jaage hain", followed by the strings and the chorus. When everything else stops but for the bass guitar and cello, Rahman starts whispering "jaage hain....". The track reaches its crescendo with Rahman singing the same lines at a high pitch.

Rahman's stint with theatre and Broadway musicals is clearly evident in this track, which features very rich strings and instrumentation coupled with awesome chorus of Madras Choral group.

Overall, yet another masterpiece from ARR-Mani combo. With such variety (Sufi, rustic rain song, bhang song, opera piece, ghazal), technical brilliance and instrumental brilliance, Guru has to be the album of the year!
By Aravind on Sunday, December 24, 2006 at 11:06 AM Post Categories: , ,