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American Blend - Music Review

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Thursday, September 28, 2006
American Blend - The name itself sniffs of a crossover film, especially with Anupam Kher heading the starcast. But director Varun Khanna differs in his stands as he says that movie is all America which incidentally has an Indian heading an American family. Still, that doesn't mean that the film won't have its share of 'naach gaana'. In fact it has all of it in abundance with composer Abu Malik [brother of Anu Malik] making his debut with singers like Sonu Nigam, Daler Mehndi, Sukhwinder Singh, Abhijeet and others coming together for the music album.

Will the songs be actually lip synched by the actors or would they be a part of the background score. While latter seems to be more of a possibility, the final outcome just passes muster.

A catchy rhythm marks the beginning of 'Nach Nach Saade Naal' that has Indee, a regular rapper in the music world, rapping along with aplomb. Written by Madan Pal and Indee himself, 'Nach Nach' is a 'bhangra-pop' song with Sonu Nigam at his energetic best and enjoying every bit of his stint behind the mike. One can even call it as fusion track since there is a good combo mix of Sonu and Indee with both complimenting each other in this fusion of West and East while keeping the rhythm as the common factor. A fun number to dance along, it is clean and comes on you quite easily. A catchy beginning!

Abu Malik picks up his writing pad for 'Dil Mangdi' that has Bali Brahmbhatt and Suzanne coming together. Arrangements from the very beginning are well paced that promise a high energy setting for the song. Bali, who recently delivered a lukewarm private album 'Banjara' is much more spirited in 'Dil Mangdi' since it is a kind of naughty setting in which is a pro for years now. High on beats and overall arrangements, it does have music taking precedence over lyrics and rendition. Though one would still prefer 'Naach Naach', 'Dil Mangdi' is not a bad follow-up either.

Indee returns to rap with 'Dhol Baje' where he sets the pace for Daler Mehndi to take over soon. Written by Kumar and Abu Malik, the song follows a rhythm approach but has none of the Mehndi spunk to it. The track aimed at youth with fun in mind tries to take a bhangra-pop-rap fusion approach but is nothing more than ordinary. Somehow one had felt at the beginning of the album that coming together of an ensemble singers like those listed above would result in an extraordinary fare but nothing of that seems to be true so far.

Yet another fusion track, though of a different kind, comes in the form of 'Kathak Rap'. Now this is indeed a first! Blaze, Bhairavi Shankar and Amrapali Ambegaokar come together for this experimental track which is basically for the situation and should be impressive if choreographed in a true fusion manner. By the look of things, it does seem like quite a possibility since the music fusion has been done quite well. On the other hand for those truly inclined towards Indian classical music, there is a 3 minute 'Kathak' piece by Bhairavi Shankar and Amrapali Ambegaokar too.

Sukhwinder Singh crooning a song is more often than not a reason to smile since he has a unique style of his own. That holds true even in case of 'Jeena Te Pyaar' which is the second song in the album that truly impresses after 'Nach Nach'. Sukhwinder sings in a medium pitch by neither going too ballistic nor being subdued, hence making 'Jeena' a pleasant hearing experience. A love song that has a rhythmic approach to it, it is well written by Madan Pal due to its high emotional quotient. Another track by the same lyricist comes when Abu Malik decides to hold the mike for 'Asi Pyaar De Pujari', a Punjabi track about celebration of love with a selfless devotion towards it. A song with simple melody, it is of the Anand Raaj Anand variety and is rooted in feel.

Suzanne, a regular when it comes to crooning English tracks in Bollywood films, is heard rendering Indee written and sung 'Spicin' Up Your Life'. A track belonging to hip-hop genre with a dash of rap and pop thrown in, it is predominantly English and is mainly for being placed as a part of the background score. Tempo builds up from the very beginning of 'Aaja Aaja' that has a carnival/celebration feel to it. Written by Kumaar, the song is kind of retro as a guy tries to woo a girl who is instead showing some 'bhaav'! Abhijeet and Suzanne pair up for this song which is a mix of English and Hindi and is typically Bollywood. In fact as the song progresses, one starts feeling that it may well have been composed in the mid 90s when Govinda ruled.

A 12 minutes track is heard towards the latter part of the album in form of a 8 piece marriage track that has been aptly named 'Wedding Medley'. Comprising of traditional Punjabi pieces that one often hears in marriages up North India, it brings with it different flavors and moods that go with such an event. Richa Sharma is the singer who has been entrusted with this responsibility who does well to gel with the situation.

A funny piece comes in the form of 'Engagement Medley' which actually seems to be a parody of sorts as it encapsulates songs like 'Kaliyon Ka Chaman', 'Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar', 'Chadti Jawani', 'Kaanta Laga' and 'Dola Re Dola'; something which is heard so often in Indian marriages these days. Bhairavi, Ujwala and Indee get together for this track that is low on novelty value since one has heard innumerous non-stop remix hits in the past, though it should be fun to watch in the film.

Abu Malik pays a tribute to the legends from the past by crooning some golden songs from the past. First to come is 'Saranga Teri Yaad Mein', a song composed by his father Sardar Malik. This is followed by eternal 'Dil Ka Haal Sune Dil Waala', a Shankar Jaikishan song while Shrikant Kulkarni is roped in for rendering 'Sun Mere Bandhu Re', a track composed by S.D. Burman. Though it is near impossible to recreate the same feel as the oldies, Abu Malik at least attempts to do so without turning into a caricature.

American Blend in the end turns out to be a so-so album that tries to do a lot of different things but doesn't really throw up a musical score that would really make its presence felt in a big way. The songs are fine but at maximum are relegated to an average status. At most they should work well with the film's narrative but people making a beeline at the music stores is ruled out.

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