I hate remixes but love a good reprise | music | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Aug 20, 2017-Sunday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

I hate remixes but love a good reprise

As Bollywood does it, a remix is a song re-recorded with a few more instruments and played to a dizzying dance-floor grind. The only falooda for this yesterday’s kulfi comes in the form of a string of loopy Angrezi lyrics. As a result, when a remix is not merely ornamental, it tends to be ‘mental’.

music Updated: Jun 18, 2010 23:45 IST
Amitava Sanyal

I hate luv stories
Music: Vishal and Shekhar
Sony Music, Rs 160
Rating: ***1/2

As Bollywood does it, a remix is a song re-recorded with a few more instruments and played to a dizzying dance-floor grind. The only falooda for this yesterday’s kulfi comes in the form of a string of loopy Angrezi lyrics. As a result, when a remix is not merely ornamental, it tends to be ‘mental’.

A reprise, on the other hand, could be deliciously different. If a remix comes out of the blender, a reprise is best made in the juicer. The recipe is to take a leitmotif — the juice of a song — and make a whole new cocktail of it.

In the soundtrack of I Hate Luv Storys, composer duo Vishal-Shekhar puts the song ‘Bin tere’ through the blender as well as the juicer. So there are three versions of the song — the original sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali, a dance-floor remix by DJ Kiran, and a ‘reprise’ by Shekhar Ravjiani, one half of the duo.

In a quirky inversion, here the ‘original’ version comes prefaced by some cheesy English lyrics generated, I suspect, by a software made for throwing up random rhymes for school kids. Anyway, to look for good lyrics in Bollywood songs is like asking North Korea to play beautiful football — it might just happen, but there’s no guarantee.

Shafqat, chief head-shaker of the band Fuzon, does with the song something only he can — taking it to an unmatchable high pitch and dodging around the notes at full pelt. The effect somehow fits the yearning lover’s cry that the song is supposed to express.

But it’s Shekhar’s reprise of ‘Bin tere’ that comes across as one of the best songs of recent times. Except the chorus couplet, the lyrics, written by someone declared on the jacket only as Kumaar, are a touch more elegant. The unadorned voice of Shekhar, supported only by two acoustic guitar tracks, reminds me of R.D. Burman’s studio rendering of songs finally recorded by Kishore or Lata — touching a lesser number of notes but stretching the ones on the edge.

Vishal Dadlani’s voice is spunky in ‘Jab mila tu’ and ‘I hate luv storys’. Suraj Jagan gives life to Anvita Dutt’s lyrics for ‘Sadka’, a standout among the routine lines, with the open-throat confidence of a KK. In the ‘Bahara’ original, Sona Mohapatra’s rustic prologue is a good foil to Shreya Ghoshal’s syrupy voice over the rest. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan fails to work his magic in the ‘chill version’ of ‘Bahara’.

Off the Silk Route

Chilling is what Mohit Chauhan, ex-frontman of ex-band Silk Route, does abundantly in Fitoor, an album of 17 songs that packs in some of his old hits such as ‘Dooba dooba’ and ‘Guncha’ along with fresh-off-the-guitar originals.

If you doubt it while listening to the ‘Shanti Café version’ of ‘Fitoor’ and the ‘McLeodganj version’ of ‘Challeya’, then you’ll be convinced by ‘Babaji’ — the first commercially released Hindi song that talks about the pleasures of cannabinoids.

The song opens: “Babaji, humko de do Parvati se jo laye ho, apna dil bhi hai wohi jahan ke khushboo tum laye ho.” Parvati here is the Himachal valley known for its mind-expanding resins.

So far, so original. Problem is, a voice like Chauhan’s is good when it acknowledges its melodic limits (like in the folksy ‘Mai ni meriye’), but can embarrassingly verge on being offkey when it’s too ambitious (as in the ‘Challeya’ original).

If this album is the semi-retrospective that it looks like, then Chauhan is going through a mid-life crisis. And he probably needs to chill a bit more.