Thursday, November 29, 2007

The music of Taare Zameen Par

Ever since Aamir Khan made his movie selection process a part of his brand strategy, his markets await his releases with bated breath. This also applies to the soundtracks of his movies - always an inseparable part of any Bollywood movie experience.

The hugely entertaining soundtrack to Aamir's upcoming directorial debut Taare Zameen Par (music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy) features material from a child's point of view. My Dad used to always tell me: "Son, remember, Child is the Father of Man". And so it is that the collection of thoughts that form the poetry of TZP will resonate just as sharply with adults.

Musically, SEL keep the melodies clean and crisp (there are eight tracks, none thankfully are remixed). But this isn't to say they are uncomplicated - there is a duality in most of the tunes that come from the fact that while SEL keep the chorus straightforward, they add a bunch of variations in other parts of the tune.

The title track is a good example of this approach: its a piano driven tune about recognizing and nurturing special children that has a simple even syrupy intro and chorus. But once you are past that, there are changes of paces and a delectably placed tabla. The gorgeous Kholo Kholo (Raman Mahadevan) uses just an acoustic guitar broken up periodically by keyboards. By holding back the percussion until the last third of the song, SEL drive home its "shed the blues and grab life by the horns" message.

Vishal Dadlani sings Jame Raho in his special raspy voice - which cleverly enough starts off with an alarm buzzer to signify the start of a day. Its a song that contrasts the beaten path of drudgery versus a more unstructured world where dreams are valued over discipline. A strident drum beat is contrasted with soft keys to illustrate the difference. Its a song thats too short on variety to be memorable, but its a lot of fun to listen to the first few times.

On Maa, Shankar Mahadevan resists the temptation to hire a kid to sing and instead does vocal duties - and the effect is spectacular. A song about a boy trying to communicate with his mom (presumably dead) is terribly touching. It makes me want to give my sons a hug every time I hear it.

Bheja Fry bends the vocals of a number of contributors to illustrate the dislocating academic and social pressures on a child. Its a high impact song for any parent battling table stakes education with the school system.

There are a couple of other songs on the CD worth listening to that you should discover for yourself - including one with a spoken piece by Aamir Khan which made my sons laugh spontaneously.

TZP is a wonderful CD to listen to - but if you have kids, especially sons, you'll be a freakin' emotional mess by the end.

And if that bothers you and you need to be restored to a complete state of silliness right after, I highly recommend the ridiculous Rama Rama Kya Hai Yeh Dramaaa.



Anonymous said...

I really like SEL's work in this album --- the aamir khan hype is justified yet again :). It is refreshing to hear an album that has avoided the item number trap!

overall, a lovely album but my 3 fave tracks - 1. the title track which has great repeat value. it is a really pretty melody and i like the tinkling bell sounds that are evocative of the title.

2. Kholo Kholo, which sounds like something that SEL rehashed/fished out of pieces that didn't make it to the Johnny Gaddar title track. It has that same feel - maybe it is the guitar infused vocals? Btw it can't be coincidence that this is sung by Raman Mahadevan. Any idea of the possible connection to Shankar Mahadevan?

3. Maa - this is a truly emotionally manipulative number - the lyrics are designed to tug at the heart strings and while I see that, I still can't help falling for it! Love Shankar Mahadevan's rendition. The tune reminds of something I've heard b4 but I can't place it!

mimi said...

execellent stuff! I've been curious about this. Hopefully get my paws on it later today!

Sania said...

Great review Aspi - based on what you've said here, I think I'll wait until the movie to have a listen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aspi. This is great. Ordinarily I would not have given this music a listen. Does'nt seem like my kind of movie. But seeing what you and sidekick had to say about the music I am definitely going to give a try.

On another note Abhishek's hairband look even got wierder:'s_home/still26016.html

What do ya'll think of his shirt in this picture:'s_home/still26018.html

Unknown said...

Nice links! Abhishek looks like a Disco Dancer about to audition for Journey. Thankfully his wife has good taste.

Unknown said...

Sidekick, as far as I can tell Raman has no relation to Shankar. In fact, he looks like a thin, scrawny un-Shankar like guy.

Sania, I'm glad to hear that. Because I'm learning how to review something so that I can tell everyone if I liked it or not but also enough about why so people can make up their own mind.

Anonymous said...

Definitely want to see this movie and listen to this music. Thanks for the heads up, Driftji!

Anonymous said...

aspi thanks, i was sure fm the name (and the fact that bollywood thrives on ingroup connections!) that he was related to Shankar.

Joules, tfs the pix...... my comment: eeks! AB jr needs serious style advice - hair, clothes, the works. joules, since u're not taking on stylist assignments, u shd think of starting a fashion column :P.

AB Jr is lucky that he has gorgeous and stylish biwi next to him to draw attention away fm his atrocious fashion choices. Also the couple seems completely lovey-dovey and happy in their pix. In Mind Rush Style: Sidekick Khush Hui --- on second thoughts, naah doesn't have the same touch! I'll just say very nice :)

Anonymous said...

aspi, seems like our very own fave JJ agrees with u :P