Saturday, June 14, 2008

The music of De Taali

Bindaas Bollywood comedies make me groan. And its easy to dismiss the music in these movies because it tries so hard to be - you know, bindaas. But still I listen to everything I can in the hopes that I'll hit something cool and entertaining. And to be fair, I've been sporadically rewarded.

The CDs for Masti and Heyy Babyy were massive guilty pleasures in recent memory. I also loved Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega (especially McDonalds Aftab in Dil Mera Dil). De Taali is along the same lines - although I'd be lying if I didn't admit I checked it out with more care than usual because its done by Vishal and Shekhar.

Why more care? Of all the new music composers in the business today, V-S strike me as the ones most likely to escape the trappings of Bollywood success and keep pace with the times.

On De Taali, they build on the clean sound they fine tuned on Tashan with some nifty percussion and insert enough surprises into each song to make them interesting. They also seem to be saying: "We love hanging out with Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan and Kay Kay. But Shreya ain't bad either" Fair enough, but no Mahalakshmi?

Take Everbody Puts Your Hands Together (Shaan, Sunidhi and Anushka Manchandani) for instance. V-S use a drum machine and a strident guitar to propel the song and then use their three singers to construct some coarse harmonies. At one point the lyrics compare a taali rather innocuously to a heart singing a qawwali. Its a throwaway line, but V-S pounce on that opportunity to throw a peti lick in the song. Its downright endearing.

Later yet, V-S interestingly employ Anushka to sing Hone Lagi but instead of the usual bump and grind slow tempo, they surprise you midway by adding a sitar. Its a traditional instrument used in a sensual way in a pop composition. And Anushka has a salty voice - which works well here against type.

Raja Hasan shows up on Maari Teetri which Vishal kicks off with a rather delicious little backdrop about a magical butterfly. Here I'll pretend to be Raja's favorite judge Himesh Reshammiya. "Raja you are a very good human being. And Maa Sarawasti ki tum pe krupa hai. You sang very well, but your voice was missing the paagalpan to match the musical arrangements in the song. Perhaps with time your gurus will find a good mix of instruments to make your voice pop - it got a little lost here. But God bless!"

The song that grabbed me the most was Tooti Phooti - on which (the voices of) Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan lament the fact that Kay Kay is getting over yet another weekly heartbreak. Tooti Phooti is structured as a slow blues jam. There is a spare percussion which I'm not sure how V-S built but it resembles finger snaps and its tightness allows the fluidity of the guitar pieces to work in the background. At one point V-S even attempt horns - although on a synth - and I wish the genuine article could have been used. But who knows? Maybe the low-slung vibe of the song might have been disrupted.

Shekhar sings briefly on two of the songs - the afore mentioned Hone Lagi and also with Shreya Ghoshal on the falling in love ditty Aaj Mein Boond Hoon in which V-S either overlay an electric guitar with another or just hum behind it. But you should check it out for yourself.

Bappida, are you there? What do you think Shekhar ke low notes ke baare mein?


Anonymous said...

Amazingly deft descriptions, Drfitji! Makes me want to listen to this CD now.

Free advice from Mind Rush...Have you considered a career in music appreciation? You could become a Bollywood music critic. At the very least sell these reviews to TOI or some national publication. Start your own syndicated column??

Unknown said...

mind rush, you're the only one who likes my music ramblings :)

In any case, I like to think I don't review music but tell people what I happen to think of a CD when I listen to it.

Given my lack of music knowledge, that seems like a fair direction to head down.

Friendly Stranger said...

Hi Aspi,
That was a well narrated music review!
I too went through couple of songs from De Taali and believe that the songs are fair enough...
Of course, you can't expect high impact music in bindaas movies but i guess it justifies the film theme...

Anonymous said...

Not true Drift Saab ..... I love the music reviews and they've been hugely instructive to me, so I hope you'll continue to educate and entertain :). I agree with Mind Rush --- Rediff for instance ought to jump at your music reviews! I liked de taali, but the Aditi song from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na has pride of place on my current playlist. I know I've been gone for a long while, but dare I hope for a review of JTYJN?

Also a huge cyber hug to the drift community. I've been reading the posts and comments even if I haven't participated. Its a fun place --- as always :). Fist bump (Michelle Obama style!) to Joules for letting us share her fashionista thinking.

Finally, Happy Father's Day to Drift Dads :)

Sania said...

Me three - love the music reviews, you must keep them up! I've been looking for new stuff to download, and this is going to be next on the list based on your musings, Aspi!

Anonymous said...

I am agree too :-)
Your reviews need a larger audience. keep it up!

Unknown said...

Gee thanks everyone. You'll all be sorry someday you encouraged me.

Bollywood boy, been watching JJWS and a fan of Shekharspeak, yes? He said something funny yesterday as well. He described a cock up as "Locheswar". The man is funnier than he allows himself to be.

ppl said...

I watched the movie out of sheer lack of choice and I must say the visualizations don't do the music credit. The 'hone lagi' song is a fantastic listen, but the cliched seduction routine makes it sleazy.

I think Anoushka has potential. I avidly followed the V popstars show in high school and she was the best one.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the report leera. I always like to hear how the song came across on film.

Like the movie?

ppl said...

It was ok, the cheesy parts balanced out as the actors were more or less competent. I was happy to see Aftab in a non Bhatt movie, doing what he does best, being cute and cuddly.

Its a rip off but a halfway decent one.