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Monday, January 25, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik Review.

There is no doubt that the hugely versatile actor, director, producer, singer and after ROCK ON!!, India's new rock star, Farhan Akhtar, has always brought out the best in the talented trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (Karan Johar being the other). SEL have always delivered classy music for Farhan (and his partner Ritesh Sidhwani), be it the memorable DIL CHAHTA HAI or the techno delight DON-THE CHASE BEGINS and the most recent ROCK ON!!, the astonishing success of which spurred a new trend of rock based music in Bollywood movies. Even though their last venture together, LUCK BY CHANCE, did not do too well at the ticket window, yet its music was amazing with some quality compositions that stood out. So, we set out to explore yet another outing from SEL after their soulful and soothing MY NAME IS KHAN, fully in the hope that our expectations will be met with by the highly talented team.

The album opens with ''Hey Ya!'' a superb propositioning number, a perfect combination of pop and rhythm and beats. The trend of hip-hop that Vishal-Shekhar started in Bollywood was perfected by the talented trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who are now masters of the genre. The English prelude is the perfect beginning as it is extremely rhythmic and does not seem to be forced and blends superbly with the 'mukhda' of the song. The intermittent use of the prelude, ''Hey ya, I wanna get closer to you'' adds to the subtle charm of the number. The background music is in keeping with the light mood of the situation and therefore lots of soft percussion instruments have been used by the trio to give the song that feeling of blissful happiness of falling in love. The chorus is once again reminiscent of their DIL CHAHTA HAI title track. There are few who use the guitar and its variants as perfectly as the trio and this song too relies heavily on the stringed instrument. Shankar Mahadevan, Loy Mendonsa and Clinton Cerejo together create the magic through some excellent rendition. Javed Sahab's lyrics are routine and filmy but they suit the situation and are easy on the lips and identifiable as well. ''Hey Ya!'' is light on the senses and has everything that the youth of today will identify with and is also the right choice for the upcoming Valentine month when lovers look for the perfect assortment of romantic compositions as a gift for their valentine. ''Hey Ya! Remix'' by Digital Boyz is catchy and does not dilute the infectious beauty of the original.

For those not quite high on hip- hop, here's ''Uff Teri Adaa'', a superb, high on tempo and beats party track that will surely have the listeners grooving to its catchy rhythm. Shankar's background 'alaaps' and semi-classical rendition in the beginning are a perfect precursor to a highly charged dance track and one is reminded of their JHOOM BARABER JHOOM title track. Sure enough this composition has all the perfect ingredients to scale the heights of popularity charts much in the same manner as JBJ track and should certainly make the rounds of all happening clubs, discotheques and pubs. Alyssa Mendonsa's vocals are delightfully modulated through some digitized singing and she provides the necessary oomph factor in this happening track. Javed Sahab's lyrics are once again filmy, though one expected something out of the box from him. ''Uff Teri Adaa -Remix'' by Udyan Sagar(Nucleya) makes for a pleasant number which one does not mind hearing twice.

It's once again time to get all mushy and romantic as the next number ''Jaane Ye Kya Hua'' unfolds. The number is a soft, extremely melodious love ballad and the USP of the song is KK's brilliant singing. In fact, it appears that the song has been especially crafted keeping in mind KK's forte; high pitched singing. The gradual ascent of the song's pitch, from very low to a very high scale has been effortlessly handled by the artist and it's his sheer rendition that makes hearing this song a pleasure. The flowing chorus is also very addictive and the mouth organ has been brilliantly used in the background to create that effect of effervescent romance. However the song has selective appeal and cannot classify as a chartbuster. Javed Sahab's lyrics this time are befitting of his stature and the effort seems to be there to create something noteworthy. ''Tumhe hai pata, Maine pahli baar jo dekkha tumhein, Mujhe ye laga chahun bhi to kaise paa sakoonga tumhein.''

Kailash Kher's rich, earthy vocals are picture perfect to convey that feeling of sadness and loneliness in the aptly titled, ''Kaisi Hai Ye Udaasi''. The song may not appeal to those looking for another ''Tanhaai'' (DIL CHAHTA HAI) from the team, but this composition has its own beauty and touch. The song begins with soft flute notes and all throughout the music in the background is kept minimal and as a result the vocals of the lead artists, Kailash Kher and Sukanya Purayastha, come across loud and clear. Sukanya deserves a pat on the back for excellent soulful rendition and what must also be kept in mind is that through some effortless and classy singing the lead artists have succeeded in making the morose sounding song quite a treat to the ears. A situational number with limited appeal.

Up next is the strange title song, ''Karthik Calling Karthik'' which can also be classified as the theme song. The song commences with some telephone beep sounds and an array of thrilling musical addendums with mysterious female vocals urging 'pick up the phone'' and 'Karthik calling Karthik'' quite a few times. However, the song which showed much promise at the start, fails to deliver as the drama and thrill that was present in the initial parts vanishes as the main song takes over. The pace is too slow and not befitting of a thriller, although the musical orchestrations do convey that feeling of thrill. Suraj Jaggan, Caralisa Monteiro and Malika Singh pitch in with the English parts which mostly set the pace for a mysterious outing while Shankar Mahadevan comes in with the philosophical touch to the song. The singers no doubt do a good job and as the song is a situational one, a theme song to be precise. The lyrics too are reflective of the movie and one can get a gist of what to expect from the film.

''Karthik Calling Karthik theme remix'' by Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale is certainly a notch better than the original. The thriller aspect that took a beating in the original due to the slow, tedious pace is very much alive and kicking in this version and all credit to the innovative team who have always done a good job for S-E-L since their DON-THE CHASE BEGINS days.

It is Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale who end the album on a high note with the thrilling instrumental ''Karthik 2.0'' which is an adrenalin pumping ride. Composed, arranged, performed and produced by Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale, the heavy rock based piece places much emphasis on percussion and the drumming is a masterpiece act and provides just the right impetus to the instrumental. The crescendo that is reached is not the sort heard in today's time and climax is marvelous as the music comes to a grinding halt, followed by beep sounds. Definitely an instrumental that can be enjoyed during long drives and will be utilized during the tension filled moments of the thriller.

On the whole, the music album of Farhan Akhtar's KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK does not quite fulfill the expectations and except for a couple of songs, ''Hey Ya'' and ''Uff Teri Adaa'' which should climb the charts, the rest of the numbers are not in the same league. One expected more from the team that gave us such top quality entertaining music in DIL CHAHTA HAI, DON-THE CHASE BEGINS and ROCK ON!!, the songs which are still fresh in the minds of music buffs. However there is still something for the discerning audience who want something different from the usual and not just chartbusters. All the same in this milieu of mediocrity, the album does have some classy songs and is worth a try!


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