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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Nautanki Saala music: great covers, bad remixes

Nirmika Singh, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 20, 2013
First Published: 14:09 IST(20/3/2013) | Last Updated: 19:15 IST(20/3/2013)

A breezy reggae song never fails to hit the nail on the head. Falak Shabbir merges a ballad-style vocal delivery with a bouncy rhythm in ‘Mera mann kehne laga’.

The generous accordion and strings make this a great song to wake up or go to bed to. Shabbir sounds great on the slower, mellower version of the song too. There’s another version, sung by Tulsi Kumar, which you might want to avoid. The emotions seem forced and the singing very hurried and nasal. In yet another reprise (by now, you know that the composers are playing a nasty game, probably called Fit The Tune To Every Possible Genre), a club mix, the song gets buried in all the drum and bass heavy production.

Saddi galli aaja has a very Paani da rang (Vicky Donor, 2012) feel to it. Besides featuring the same male vocalist, actor Ayushmann Khurrana, (who, with this number, has succeeded in typecasting himself as someone who sings in just one predictable style) the song also has similar acoustic guitar-heavy instrumental elements. The acoustic version experiments with a different rhythm. It also charms every now and then with its peculiar percussions and mandolin fillers. About the remix version of the song, the less spoken, the better.

Mikey McCleary does a great job of remixing Dhak dhak (Beta, 1992) , the cover of yesteryear’s cult song immortalised by Madhuri Dixit. Ayushmann returns with Tu hi tu but his voice is a misfit in this number, which has a soothing Latin rhythm. ‘Draamebaaz’ is a celebratory reggae song with ample horns, something McCleary has a penchant for having in his compositions.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan features in a qawwali, Sapna mera toota, which has a very predictable verse and chorus, something straight out of a Mahesh Bhatt movie, save for the English vocals by Suzanne D’Mello. ‘Dil ki toh lag gayi’ is a dark, laidback number, with some quirky lyrics (lambretta si lage, farrate se chale, dil ki to lag gayi). Saba Azad adds her own idiosyncrasy to it and sounds amazing. McCleary packs in a punch with the rearrangement of ‘So gaya yeh jahan’ even as he retains the original vocals. 
At 15 songs, the album is unforgivably long. It could do without all the sonic experiments/versions/remixes. The covers sometimes outshine the originals and that’s a pity.

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