Earlier there was only one KK in Bollywood: Kishore Kumar, a Bengali boy who grew up in Khandwa and Bombay. Through much of the 1970s he was the king. Today, another KK is one of the claimants to the title: Krishnakumar Kunnath, a Nair boy bred in Delhi and Mumbai.
Even before Tadap tadap ke (1999), KK had given us a glimpse or two of his range up and down the scale, with a special gift for the blue notes, in Chhod aye hum (Maachis) and Strawberry ankhein (Sapnay). His first solo album, Pal, too had convinced many that his voice would sound native enough in an indie rock studio.
So when the friendly shopkeeper whipped out Bandish, the second album by the eponymous band that promised a couple of songs featuring "Bollywood Superstar" KK, I picked it up.
At home, I regretted the whim. Tere bin turned out to be a not-so-exciting straight-down-the-pitch drive past the kiddish lyricist. How many songs have you heard with one version or another of the words Yeh nasha hai ya pyaar? The remix adds a steady boom-boom beat to Brennon Denfer's warm six-string bass. There's a poverty of ideas in these compositions by Chris Powell. And this band-ish KK doesn't deliver on the early promise.
In Bandish, Bobby's tabla and dhol combine with Pete Lockett's kanjira to cook up a storm that can be placed between Indian Ocean and Junoon. Through it all, Deepak Nair's voice holds 'rock'-steady. Is there a Mallu connection I am missing here?
'Khuda baksh' tilts even more towards Junoon. It opens with Powell's acoustic strings and soon gets into the sort of high-pitch vibrato by Nair that you would expect of Salman Ahmed.
'Mithi baatein' and 'I believe' only confirm the suspicion that this is a band of talented musicians in dire need of some fresh ideas.
Here's looking forward to their next offering.
Thanks for all the fish
Whether you consider him a lowly thief or a misguided fisherman, you can't fault Pritam for picking tunes that work. That and for his team of talented programmers (the list is in album details).
Humour - not just spelt out in words, but hinted at in instrumentation and voice modulation - can be a wonderful winner. And that's the gunpowder in the album's first three shots.
Mika does another 'Apni toh jaise taise' with a reprisal of Sapna Mukherjee's 'Pyaar do, pyaar lo' from Jaanbaaz. One doesn't know whether it will attract another lawsuit-as-a-PR-stunt, but Mika's addled accent works well again with these rewritten words. If I missed anything of the original, it was the punctuating ululation.
Master Saleem's oye-hoy-hoy catch of Ritu Pathak's 'Allah bachaye meri jaan' throw in 'Razia' makes for a lively, tight T20 match.
My favourite in the album is the faux 1970s' styling of 'Full volume'. The nasal twang in this Neeraj Shridhar-Richa Sharma song reminds me of Kishore's Saigal-esque start to 'Tumse badh kar duniya mein'. The gub-gub percussion of the original is far better than the Punjabi drums in Harry Anand's remix. In fact, the skipping beat and the slippery accordion make the song.
With 'My heart is beating', Sonu Nigam has regressed into his days as a Rafi clone. It sounds like a miscast song with a forced humour. In the cheesy world of 1990s' music videos, Neeraj Shridhar and Javed Ali's 'Pyaar mein' would have seen the actor throwing about his arms at a breezy seaside. Let's see what the 40-something lead actors of the film do.
Rafi in Kishore soup
Last time around, I had left a question for Mohammed Rafi fans: which two Rafi songs feature in the Kishore-saturated film Padosan.
Some of you wrote in requesting the answers. But I was surprised none of you caught on to the clue I had left early on in the column: Kishore (or Vidyapati, as he was called in the film) got the idea to do playback for Sunil Dutt's Bhole while listening to a Rafi song playing on radio. It was 'Aanchal mein saja lena kaliyan' from Nasir Hussain's 1963 hit Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon.
The other was a crushed Master Pillai (Mehmood) doing 'Chahunga main tujhe sanjh savere', the song from Dosti set in raag Pahadi that won Rafi a Filmfare award. Care for another little quiz? Another song based on Pahadi won Rafi his first Filmfare. Which one?