Zubeidaa by Shyam Benegal, is one of the most under-recognised movie for the effort put-in, for it is a eminently likeable movie. The cast was wonderfully herded by the director and the story was the critical element in the movie. Songs and BGM were simply out-of-the-world.
Presently, we shall get to the review of the songs.
Dheemi Dheemi - Kavita Krishnamurthy (Subramaniam)
A nice and pleasant chords section open the song along with bells and a flowing flute. Gun Gun is the life of the tune, how lilting the section is. Simple rhythm pattern sets in to back the vocals. Somehow, Kavitha's voice suits perfectly with Karishma. A long but enjoyable pallavi, almost 2 minutes.
The interlude, ARR returns to his favorite flute, sweet as a sugarcane ;)
Stanza is a nice continuation of the pallavi with on&off violin orchestra. Sometimes the violin backing is an extension of the tune, sometimes tangential, nonetheless so melodious. The cute use of bells, violin and chords brings one back to the pallavi, not actually Dheemi, but Gun Gun :-)
The second interlude showcases Naveen's mastery over the flute. It looks as if the flute asks questions of you. (3.32 - 3.55) Melodiously so ! what nicety. Man, are we all lucky to have him know, how to handle a flute ;) ARR unleashes a power chord to complete the second interlude.
Second stanza follows the first stanza, and the piece at 4.47 - 4.51 is so beautiful. It feels the tune was composed more with a lullaby backdrop in mind than a romance song.
The song tapers off to the flute playing gun gun with nice chords backing it up.
Wonderful song !. Loses a bit of direction in the middle.
Rating 4.7 out of 5
Mehndi Hai - Alka Yagnik
Heavy bass guitar sets the tone for the song, with Alka yagnik opening Mehndi. A simple and easy pallavi nicely toeing the raga kalyani. The tune follows the traditional mehndi songs, with nice dholaks/tablas and beautiful harps flowing.
Brief but nice Shehnai interlude paves way to the stanza. The section at 2.01-2.05 is a straight from the book lakshana of Kalyani raga. The shehnai continues exploring the various glorious higher octave notes of the raga behind the main song. Underplayed chords complete the stanza.
The second interlude is the best part of the whole song. Listen to 2.55-3.12. The piano is so beautiful and melodious. It somehow fits perfectly with the rhythm pattern that causes one to sway to its nicety. Second stanza is constructed similar to the first stanza, only that we have to put with A.Y's nasal shrillness for a second time.
Alka yagnik, is sometimes so hard/shrill on one's ears :-(
The song ends abruptly, with not enough treatment, that IMHO had so much scope for nice alaap/extension.
Rating 4.3 out of 5
Mein Albeli - Kavita Krishnamurthy & Sukhvinder Singh
Rating 4.1 out of 5
Pyara Sa Gaon - Lata Mangeshkar
A sweet alaap on maand like notes greets us with this wonderful lullaby by ARR. And would it be complete without Naveen on flute ? :-) (00.30 - 00.53) I always keep talking about how chords serve to emphasise/heighten the mood of the melody. The intro music on this song is the perfect example. Between 00.38-00.42 and 00.47-00.51 are the same melody being played, only that the second time around, the chords progressively heighten the 'intense' melody of the song. After a long one minute long intro, ARR lets the song begin. The pallavi flirts with raga maand (actually quite a serious relationship one must add ;)) and a what soothing lullaby it is !. Did ARR's kids enjoy such wonderful put-to-bed songs :-) or are we the only beneficiaries ;) ? The rhythm is simple through the pallavi and almost when the stanza starts, the rhythm gets a bit more enterprising.
Naveen is back with his flute for the interlude and belts out a beauty. Listen to section at 2.26-2.45. Stanza is wonderfully composed and very well sung. I'd like to leave it short and get to the second interlude at 3.41-3.51. Man, i don't have words to describe how i feel when i enjoy that section. Sarangi rules the roost !
(One more place to note the mood change of the song is the flute/chord combo at 5.00-5.05)
The flute finishes off the song....
One word to describe the song is WOW ! How much peaceful, soulful, melodious can a lullaby get. Can a flute be more wonderful than this ?
Rating 4.99 out of 5
Hai Na - Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik
A brief piece of Santoor opens the song with a hearty rhythm and simple chords with bass guitars. The highlight of the pallavi is when AY hits 'hai na'. Udit opens his account in the album with the casual candy-floss ease. But, that exactly is what is attractive about the song. Santoor continues its way into the first interlude. ARR lets his imagination run wild. Moving from a simple emotion to complex and bring it back to the same light mood, his deft changes on the tune flirts with the mood swings quite easily. The stanza is bit different in terms of the way pallavi was construcuted. The standard hindi movie orchestration of violins running amuck not knowing what role they play is being used to 'accentuate' the 'period'ness of the song. But, try as much as he can, ARR can't bring the feel of, how the typical music director wastes his violin orchestra :-) (i'd leave this vanjapugazchi aNi to you to use per convenience vanjapugazchi aNi means something that can be considered as a compliment or insult, as perceived accordingly).
The second interlude is nice, building upon the theme of the song, with a very minor shift, to quickly remind us of the different emotion possible. Listen to section starting at 3.14-3.30 (especially 3.28, how suddenly there is the shift that adds a sad tinge). The second stanza is completely mastered by Udit, perfectly rendered.
It finishes off with a humming of the theme of the song.
This song is quite easy on the melody and flow and it merely impresses rather than leaving a deep mark. (Personally, however, i like this song very much, purely for its casualness )
Rating 4.3 out of 5
So Gaye - Lata Mangeshkar
This song forms the continuous theme of the music (bgm). Evoking melancholic emotions, using serious orchestration of instruments, this is a slow song. Horn, forms the base of the song, mild humming joins in later. The stanza is the best part of the whole song. With the chorus humming and chords it underscores the emotion. The second interlude is wonderful. It wanders & strays outside the main theme of the song. Starting at 3.05 - 3.54, especially at 3.15 is quite beautiful. It reminds you vaguely of the similar arrangement in 'Nadhiye Nadhiye' (Rhythm). Single layer of piano joins in for the second stanza to complement the tune. The emotions of the song is like complex mosaic. It takes lots of time for one to digest all of them. It is tough to bring them out in words, i'd rather leave it to you to listen. With the variations on the musical theme of song being so obvious, I would have dismissed this immediately as a song from ARR's stable. Well, we all know to expect the unexpected from him :-).
Rating 4.4 out of 5
Chhodo More - Richa Sharma
The review of this song is gonna be brief, but i'd rather detail Gowri Manohari ragam which this song is based on.
The song has beautiful tabla rhythm, with heavy sarangi sections, nice harps & some out of the world chord progressions. Richa Sharma has sung it quite well. The song itself is short but follows the raga to a 'T' with rare/exceptional anniya swaras to be found. Sections to enjoy the creativity in this song are
1.25 - 1.35 Dekho...
2.14-2.22 Sarangi....glorious Gowri Manohari
2.25 - 2.50 chords
2.50-2.55 Ghar... is given a nice treatment
Gowri Manohari is made of s r2 g2 m1 p d2 n3 S. The raga is identified by the following progression g m p n, n n S d p. It is agmark identification of the raga. From time immemorial, this raga has been given red-carpet treatment in the movie industry, but not sure i've heard much in carnatic world that oozes melody as much. Be it, Paatum Naane or Malare Kurinji in earlier days or IR's Kanna Varuvaya (Manadhil Urudhi Vendum) or this song by ARR, the raga itself has stood out so beautifully. If you are upto it, sing/play Kanna Varuvaya and Choddo and the line 'thalai mudhal kaal varai'(Stanza from the song 'Aasai Aasai' - Dhool). They all are the perfect treatment of this raga. But no one would dare to call them copies of each other.
How wonderful is the world of 'creation' of light music based on melodious patterns in carnatic music !
Rating 4.9 out of 5
Overall, the album (as the movie) did not get the deserved credit for its non-mainstream, still amazingly cute and melodious numbers. The movie did not play out any song fully, but man, this album is a MUST HAVE for any melody lover.
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
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Acknowledgements : Arun@MusicPaithiyam