Friday, November 02, 2007

The Music of Dhokha

I haven't listened to a real downer of an album in a long time. Sure, Woh Lamhe was full of excellent, sobworthy music - but that was last year. So when I came across the soundtrack for Dhokha and saw M. M. Kreem's name on it, I decided to give it a spin. I'm glad I did.

What's the big deal about M. M. Kreem? As a music director, he does something special others can't. He infuses all his songs with a melancholy - yes, even the happy ones. Case in point: the music of Saaya. It took me multiple listens to "O Saathiya" to realize it was a happy love song, so raundu was it. But in a good way - it still remains a terrific song to listen to. (Shreya Ghoshal's "Har Taraf" from that soundtrack is another corker)

M. M. Kreem is actually Marakatha Mani Keeravani (thanks to anu g for outing the Man(i) behind the Kreem), a freelance violinist who got a lucky break as a music director in 1990 with Manasu Mamata. He says he's done the music for about 140 films - that's a lot of crying people he needs to account for! Ritha also thinks he rips off his own Telegu songs. Saritha links to this lovely Keeravani song from Kshana Kshanam.

Dhokha has precisely four songs. Three have multiple versions bringing the total to six: two are throwaway remixes by DJ Suketu, one has been repeated in Kreem's own voice.

On "Kab Tujhe" - which has shades of "O Saathiya" - Kay Kay and Shreya Ghoshal sing about a love that has taken both by surprise and caused much bliss. Shreya is outstanding in this song - she sings at a pitch where her natural voice is on display - and it sounds good.

And yes, this happy song sounds really sad, thanks to Kreem's extra-special recipe - soften all percussion, stretch out the vocals and use lots of violins.

Not far behind in the sad sweepstakes is the CD's outstanding song - "Anjana". Kay Kay does the first version and its his turn to shine. Despite having vanilla tonal quality (Megan loves his voice for being so manly), Kay Kay is probably one of the most complete singers in Bollywood today. Here, he glides through the song effortlessly.

The second version of "Anjana" - essentially a song about a man who can't believe he's stumbled on true love - is done by M. M. Kreem himself. This I was curious to listen to: does the man sound as sad as his music does? One word: Yes!

And if these songs don't hook you in - wait till you get to the really sad ones. Two things to know about the titular track: "Dhokha" - about a man sorrounded by tragedy and trickery rendered by Rafaqat Ali Khan. First, by Bollywood standards it's overproduced. Second, it sounds great. (See Janet Jackson's 1997 hit The Velvet Rope for an example of how overproduced can be outstanding) "Dhoka" is paced dramatically and there is some interesting use of male backing vocals.

Finally, M. M. Kreem comes to "Roya Re", a song obviously about being rather sad. And what does our man do? He gives it a peppy beat. Fortunately he also hires Pakistani singer Shiraz Uppal who holds his lows really well and manages to convince us he's gloomy. (This might be consistent with the situation in the movie, but I don't see any previews before I review music)

Kreem is wistful, quirky and has a great ear for hooks. Please welcome the new tragedy king of Bollywood soundtracks.

Also:

52 comments:

headmistress said...

(aside from the fact that I got confused and read 'Dhoka' as 'dhokla') thank you! these are great. Just the right level of gloom for whiling away the drudgery of a friday afternoon, esp. roya re. All I need is a box of chocolate fingers to stuff myself with and blub.

ritha said...

Great post Aspi! And not to mention he showcases Shreya's voice like no other..."Jaadu hai nasha hai" is STILL mesmirising!
He also gave us "Tu mile dil khile" from the movie Criminal which was the first time i noticed him...awesome song!
http://www.musicindiaonline.com/music/hindi_bollywood/s/movie_name.439/

Btw wondering if u will review "dus kahaniyan" which has - 3 music CDs!!!

SkD said...

just herd of dis movie on de drift..dunt care..ehehe...dus kahaniyan havin effin 3 cds...r dey like gay??..first of all not so appealin cast...overcrowded crap..na me no game fer ny of dis

ritha said...

Dont even get me started on Kreem's singing. He sings in every movie of his and i find his voice unbearable!
But frankly i was very disappointed with Dhokha's music. Except for roya re, i dont care for others much. Gimme a Zakhm/Paheli or even Rog anyday!
Aspi i dont think all his songs are full of melancholy, infact its either that or its opposite! So u have all these (and i agree most) down-in-the-dumps songs or these exhilarating/haunting & seductive songs which definitely transport you to another world.

Aspi said...

Ritha, thanks for the link. That song is always good to listen to.

3 CDs! I'm not a masochist but I rely on your recommendations so I'll give it a shot.

headmistress, between the dhoklas and chocolate fingers, you sound hungry :)

ritha said...

gulp...no recommendations...just a thot! I only listened to the lounge version and thot aja soniye was nice and so was kaala peela (by Shafqat - got ur attention now!)

ritha said...

just realized u have more than one blog (c wht friday afternoon can do!)How come theres no anonymous commenting allowed on ur comics blog????

headmistress said...

not hungry... frinday afternoons just open a void of tedium which can only be filled with sweet, squashy things...
actually aspi have you heard the soundtrack for Khuda Kay Liye? I've only seen a trailer for it but it sounds amazing.

Joules said...

Does anyone have a movie review for this movie? The preview sounds like its tackling a serious subject.

But I had liked Pooja Bhatt's Jism and Rog so am going to give this one a "dekho" when I get a chance.

Altough the fight between the actor and Pooja Bhatt have set me off a little.

m said...

i have seen the movie, it was alright.. better than annoying yashraj movies and other so called "big movies"..
but the plot etc was soooooooo SIMPLE.. like i should have known it won't be a thought provoking emotional movie knowing who the director was BUT still...

the story had so much potential to be a great movie..

m said...

i was quite impressed with muzammil, he acted well for a newcomer..he wasn't as good as Neil in JG but this guy can act..he should do more movies

and is super hot too

headmistress said...

the KKL promo btw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOFITVBZDkk

Aspi said...

ritha, the comics blog is just experimental. I might take it away (or not) soon. Depends on what I can and can't do here :)

Khuda Ke Liye...hmmm, I'll check that out.

Tania said...

Ms. Energy aka Joules( correct me if it ain't Ms :))
Here are some reviews.
http://www.indiafm.com/movies/review/13061/index.html
http://www.planetbollywood.com/displayReview.php?id=100507050654
I think its an interesting plot. I would like to watch it.

dockaul said...

@ Aspi -
Do include a link & discussion JJhoom India.. The new music reality show on Sahara TV.. great singers.. have a dekko at www.jhoomindia.in.. awesome collection of professional singers.. Thanks

Sidekick said...

Aspi, you've changed the banner of the site again! This one looks slicker but is minus yr caricature. I liked that you were in the thick of things in the last one :)

So I gave dhoka a shot yesterday, in part coz I loved MM Kreem's score for Paheli. Love Dheera Jalna from that album :). Verdict: Dhoka didn't pass my repeat listening test. Usually the songs loop through much of the day while I'm working and by the end of the day, I've either turned it off, tuned it out or it manages to form a pleasant background sound which makes me a happy camper at work! Agree with ritha, other than roya re none of the others had repeat value. Was especially disappointed with the title song, given that it rendered by one of the Pakistani brigade. Usually they're all classically trained and tend to get picked for soulful , sufi infused numbers and I love that jonar. This song with its heavy instrumentation and genric pop feel was a waste of Rafaqat's talents and a complete letdown.

As for the recycling issue, I have a completely different take. For one, I think it's just smart business strategy to expand yr market fm regional to hindi, and second MM Kreem recycling his own work is a completely different proposition fm Pritam ripping off others' work. I completely endorse a recycled fm telugu dheere jalna over an indifferent but new dhoka. I think AR Rahman did it earlier on with success with his south indian scores. Cheeni Kum had Ilayaraja's recycled tamil scores, but they sounded terrific. In fact I wish ARR (I'm a huge fan!) would recycle some of his hindi work fm films that haven't found an audience! I think art house films like Meenaxi and Bose had some of his better scores but the films and the music vanished without a trace. Water which has some lovely compositions, was a huge success internationally but didn't get a proper music release in India.

Joules said...

Tania, it is Ms.

A little background on me. My dad worked for the railways in India and we travelled a lot all over India through trains. My favourite past-time was reading stardust, cineblitz or filmfare and in a course of a long journey I would read the magazine cover to cover multiple times.

So when I read this blog and comments it takes me back to those days (although I don't have the patience to travel by trains now :).

Joules said...

sidekick, you are so right about ARR music. ARR music definitely grows on me and the more I listen the more I like it. His song from guru (Tere bina) is my fav these days.

I had not listened to Meenaxi until Raja Hassan sang the "Titli" song. One of the good things I like about the SRGMP like contests are that popularize songs that have gone out of circulation.

Priti said...

Guys, you all are amazing. Aspi, I hadn't even heard of "Dhoka" till I saw this post. And yippee....in less than half an hour I know a great deal about it, including the review, courtesy the link given by tania). I really do look forward to watching it in a theatre now.

Leera said...

Didn't M.M kreem do 'Sur' with Lucky Ali as an actor in it?

I liked 'Aa bhi ja' from it and the music was, as aspi rightly pointed out 'melancholy'.

megan said...

kinda off topic but Arshpreet has a Punjabi album out

http://music.pz10.com/album/5305/Pyar%20Na%20Kareyo-Arshpreet.html

Its awesome! you can listen on that site

Anonymous said...

Arshpreet also to be honoured by Pnjab Govet Cultural Minister FYI Megan !

meg said...

cool anon
is that the same as that mohommad rafi award?

ritha said...

sidekick, i totally see your point. I do agree that I'd much rather listen to the nice recycled versions than the insipid originals.

Saritha said...

Iam with Ritha and Sidekick here.As long as the composer recycles his own tune that shd be fine.Rahman's best work is still restricted to Tamil.Like 'Tiruda Tiruda',I dont think either Mani or ARR will want to re-do that stuff but if someday they can use it in Hindi then it'll be awesome.

As far Keeravani,his range seems to be limited.But he does really well within that limit and Bhatt camp has tapped his potential well.He can't compose for a formula film on producer's demand(he fell flat when he tried to do that in telugu) nor can he go beyond that melancholy.Dhoka also didn't get the repetitive listening from me.The music didn't go to another level that I was expecting from a 'love story-terrorist' angle that it promised.

Sidekick said...

Saritha, welcome back :) ... i'm right there with anu g waiting for yr VoI update. ritha, if u end up listening to Dus Kahaniyaan's daunting 3 vol set b4 aspi gets to it, pls do let us know if its worth a listen. i rely on yr reccos too - the shafqat mention was a sure shot way of getting my attention! currently i'm really enjoying richa and rahat fateh ali's jag soona soona in OSO.

ritha said...

sidekick I had the patience to listen to only 1 cd - lounge version. The others are club versions and poems by gulzar. I can totally predict what the club version would be all about, so I gave it a pass. I am not fond of listening to poetry being read out, esp since i dont follow urdu anymore than a layman. Wud much rather listen to good compositions do justice to the lyrical content! I like the song "Aaja soniye" but it seems more of a pop song to me. Esp since the singer is Sudhanshu (he was/is? part of the desi pop-quartet band of boys). Nevertheless its a nice listen while driving. A few others were more than passable but i dont rem a whole lot...shud give it another listen. These two stood out the most to me.
Saritha tiruda tiruda became "chor chor" in hindi. Ofcoz i dont htink the music became a hit prob coz Rahman didnt have such a great pull then.

Sidekick said...

ritha, thanks much. maybe this one will keep for now . first i want to listen to goal fm the prolific pritam and SEL's taare zameen par. have the TZP title song on right now. here's a link to TZP for those interested.
http://www.apunkabollywood.com/browser/category/view/2910/taare-zameen-par-(2007)

megan said...

Taare zameen pe has a song sung by Vishal so imma give it a listen

otherwise i'm not interested in it at all or the movie. Kids flick EWWW can't stand them.

The trailor looked like an ad for a daycare. Like that KidZee ad that comes on Zee TV all the time..

m said...

i'm not interested in any desi movies or music albums for another few months. Nothing interests me.

Next one I'll buy will be Rehman's Jodha akbar and that will be the movie i'll watch on the big screen too.

I am getting sick of Ranbir and sonam over exposure and the hype of OSO and Saawariya is getting really annoying. So much that i don't wanna watch any of them.

In fact I refuse to watch any shahrukh khan movie at the cinemas, I don't like the clientele and bunch of people who go watch his movies. They all eat samosas and bring their kids to the theater and the kids end up crying and then too many people staring at me.

the best desi movie crowd was at Umrao Jaan and Eklavya. Quiet and decent people. Best clientele.

Dhoom 2 was full of weird loud dorks whisteling and clapping LOL WTF? all 4 sessions i went to watch

I have never seen any Salman Khan movie @ the cinemas and I am assuming they would be out of control, loud and lewd.

Sania said...

Why do they stare at you Megan?

m said...

who the heck knows

desis always make it so obvious when they stare.. and when you happen to look at them, they look away. Its super annoying.

Leera said...

Completely off topic, anyone catch the MTV Lycra Awards?

I am watching it right now and I am both horrified and amazed! (both staples of sunday evening viewing)

Btw the same show boasted of an artiste whose name proved how 'clever' we desis can be.
Presenting hip hop mama -'Hard Kaur'

Bharati said...

Have been following all your discussions for sometime now , you have a great blog here aspi.

Saritha , I am not sure wht you mean by "He can't compose for a formula film on producer's demand" when a lot of his telugu hits have been for big hero commercial films, like gharana mogudu( one of the biggest hits in chiranjeevis career )to the recent yamadonga.apparently he does tend to be a lil eccentric and his PR is not great but tht hasnt stopped him from composing for several genres in telugu from small budget off beat ( anukokunda oka roju),carnatic classical music based devotionals (annamaya for which he won the national award)to the regular masala movies, item songs (sundarakanda, chatrapathi etc) so his range is definitely not limited.sorry, I dont want this to digress to a discussion on tel music.......

of course in hindi he has been mostly limited to the bhatts ,

but yeah , kreem uses the violin beautifully to bring out pathos , probably one of the best to do that after illayaraja. I really loved his compositions in sur , esp there is a jugalbandi kind of violin piece in sur which was outstanding, and the climax song by mahalaxmi iyer (kabhi shaam dhale) one of the best female solos in recent times

I agree with sidekick , nothing wrong with recycling ones own compositions for a larger audience.

megan said...

I like Hard Kaur and totally dig the name. Her name's Taran Kaur Dhillon.

I didn't know of her until the Johnny Gaddar song and i wanna download her album now. I'm a fan.

More about her
http://www.sikhchic.com/article-detail.php?id=336&cat=4

She seems really cool.

ozangel said...

I think Laga Chunari Mein Daag was the first movie I cried in after a really long while. Worth a watch. Music ain't awesome but it's got some good social themes, plight of the woman, poverty, self-respect, education, love, the list goes on.

And yes, me too-- very sick of Saawariya over-promotion... those kids are on every channel, in every show, trying to sell their movie... It really devalues the whole concept of promotion after a while.

m said...

and MTV Lycra awards - i haven't seen the show but i saw pictures from it. Too many no name starlets wearing horrible clothes-- eek

and Malaika and Amrita Arora think they're India's answer to the Hilton sisters. Gross. Please disappear.

SRK looked like a gross wrinkly ex user. When will the OSO team and specially Deepika will appear in normal attire and not 70's getup? its annoying

Hrithik looked super sexy though but then again thats just how he is. *drool*.. i liked how he and Ash sweeped the awards and they deserve it. Wish she was there and two of them posed together for my fantasies to kickstart. *dreams*

m said...

LCMD- it looks too B grade and corny for my liking and also another movie where rani will break into tears every 2nd minute, i dont think i can handle it. I recently got over the scary mental trauma also known as Kabhi alvida Na Kehna! ARGH

but when it comes on TV i might try just for you ozangel(btw whats ur name?)

and I am so over Ranbir. Sorry dude you had potential but I had your overdose and I will stay away from you for at least 6 months, nothing personal ok?

Aspi said...

Megan, if you haven't heard Hard Kaur's Ek Glassey, you should. I always sing that "Laaga" passage whenever I feel drunk.

Leera, I missed the MTV Lycra awards :( Would have been fun. I wonder if there is a repeat on anytime soon.

Bharati, welcome.

Ritha, since you are always on top of all music, the next time I do a review, I'll ping you to see if you'd be interested in rating each song on the CD with whatever I write. That might be a fun collaboration to do.

Saritha said...

Thanks Sidekick!

This place is such an addiction more like my evening tea during winters- if I miss it for some reason,the day feels incomplete.I have so much to catch up so that's like 4 cups of tea in a single day.Now where is musing???

Ritha,'Chor Chor' sounds familiar.So that was 'Thiruda Thiruda'.hmmm U're rt.Rahman was probably just a new kid on the block back then in Hindi.

Bharati,

Interesting take!I have very high regard for Keeravani(the fact that he's telugu has nothing to do with it)and between V-S's rap and Pritam's 'picks',I'd love to listen to his melancholy melody.I wouldn't mind if he's stuck with Bhatts as long as they give him total creative freedom.As for telugu the list could go on from the movies I loved the most to his commercial hits which I never thought were his compositions in the first place - but like U said that would be starting a new topic.

I was looking at his trademark music rather than counting his hits,may be my comment was misleading.'Annamayya' is special to many so everything abt that movie goes beyond comparision:)

Sidekick said...

Aspi, Khoya Khoya Chand seems to be getting good buzz. Perhaps one to review when you get a chance? Ritha, not sure if you've had a chance to check out the new album.
http://www.rediff.com/movies/2007/nov/06khoya.htm

Aspi said...

Thanks for the reco, I'll be sure to check it out.

meg said...

Hazaron Khwasseighth aisi had great music, i hope KKC has similar.. not Parineeta, LRM, Eklavya type music

they made me doze off.. so boring and sl o o o o o o oo o o ow

Sidekick said...

Meg, I agree. 2 thumbs up for HKA - both the movie and soundtrack. the latter has shubha mudgal singing the title track which i love. am always glad to see classical singers make forays into BW.

OzAngel- On hiatus for a while said...

Lol Ranbir is over-rated! I don't even find the man/boy attractive. And what is it with that freaking towel? I really want to watch Khoya Khoya Chand-- looks like it has substance. Unless it turns out to be as warped as Eklaaavvyyaaaa.

SkD said...

Ranbir luks like a monkey boy.Overrated??HELL YEA!!!!

megan said...

yeah HKA was my favorite movie last year. I love that movie and the songs from it. Mann yeh bawara, baawara mann are classics. I wonder why they dont sing those songs in these singing competitions?

I loved Eklavya. I think its extremely underrated and its one of the best this year. The movie not that song chanda re chanda re, that and vidya balan/boman irani's overacting were negative points of the movie.

Its surprising how it got bashed by indian so called "critics" but got rave reviews from international press and at festivals.

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