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Jai Santoshi Maa - Music Review

By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
In an age where different subjects are being tried out practically every passing week, there are some film makers who are opting to remake the yesteryear hits, albeit in a contemporary manner. While the world is aware about Farhan Akhtar remaking Don and Ram Gopal Verma going ahead with his version of Sholay, not many are aware that Percept Picture Company and director Ahmed Siddiqui have gone ahead and wrapped up Jai Santoshi Maa, remake of the 1970s superhit, and are all set to release it this festive season. Starring Rakesh Bapat and Nushrat Bharucha in the lead, the film has music by Anu Malik [who sees a third straight musical release after Zindaggi Rocks and Jaan-E-Mann] with lyrics by Swanand Kirkire, whose songs in Lagey Rahe Munnabhai are now making waves.

There are umpteenth devotional albums that arrive at the stands [especially in the interiors of India] every week. Will the music of Jai Santoshi Maa turn out to be a cut above them? Not really, though it does sail through well!

Pair of Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik, who have been heard together in dozens of romantic numbers, are heard in a different avtar when the title song Jai Santoshi Maa begins. Elaborately choreographed with good picturisation, this devotional song is about the appreciation of 'maa' by the lead pair of the film. Paced on a slower note with 'dandiya ' beats forming its musical base, the result is just about alright though it starts playing on your mind after repeated hearings. As expected, both the singers are good in their rendition while singing at a low pitch.

Orchestra at the beginning of 'Bigdi Bana Do' creates a haunting effect but soon settles down with Alka Yagnik coming to the scene. A sad track with the female protagonist praying before the Goddess to intervene in the time of her need, it has Vijay Prasad reciting the 'shlokas' intermittently. Primarily for the situation, it is extremely slow and doesn't really impress much. Karunya sings the male version of the song which is even slower and is set in a classical mode. One wonders if audience of today would really be patient enough to give it a hearing other than watching it during the film.

Its nostalgia time with two songs from the original film resurfacing, though sans any remix/rearrangement! First to come is Usha Mangeshkar's legendary track 'Main To Aarti Utaaroon Re' which was written by Kavi Pradeep and set to tune by C. Arjun. Well, what can one say about this track which can easily be cited as the MOST POPULAR devotional number ever composed. It was a rage when it was released in the 70s and is still a hot favorite in the Navrataras more than 3 decades after it was heard first. Beautiful rhythm coupled with some authentic rendition makes this a superb track to hear all over again.

Suresh Wadkar, who has been on the musical scene even today, was a youngster when he sung 'Yahaan Wahaan - Apni Santoshi Maa' for the original film. The song is revived from the classic and it makes for a beautiful hearing once again. The song still sounds so fresh with and even youngsters can easily identify with it since it is still heard often in the 'jaagrans' that are a common feature at least in the North belt of India.

After the nostalgia, it's time to return to the present with Anu Malik returning with his compositions. Lataji, who makes select appearances, is heard after a long time in 'Aisa Vardan' which has a nice built-up to it. The song is a clear take off on 'Itni Shakti Hamein Dena Daata' and there are no pretensions of hiding the source as well. That's the reason why it doesn't take much time to identify with the song since one has already appreciated the tune since years. Its celebration time for Lataji's fans as they hear her again in 'Laal Chudiyan', which is again a popular number from the past and is based on folk music from the North West. No wonder, it is a nice hear again!

Well, this is not all from Lataji as she creates a hat-trick with 'Na Chitthi Aayee' which comes soon after. A painful track about a woman waiting for some message from her loved one and looking at 'Maa' as the only hope, it is again situational and follows the same route as 'Bigdi Bana Do' in terms of feel and the impact it creates on the audience. An average sounding number.

Hari Om Sharan, who is a known name in the world of devotional music, is heard in 'Taro Taro' which has a good rhythm attached to it. The track would be immediately picked up by his followers, especially women, who are traditionally known to love such style of compositions. The track indeed has a serene feel to it, mainly due to Hari Om Sharan's vocals which create a great impact. Anu Malik and Swanand Kirkire create a good devotional number that makes for a worthy inclusion in the album.

A couple of 'aartis' come towards the end of the album in the form of 'Jai Maa Santoshi (Maha Aarti)' and 'Maa Santoshi Ki Aarti'. Usha Mangeshkar is roped in for the former while Shaunak Abhisheki croons the latter which is based on an eternal 'Om Jai Jagdish' theme and hence comes quite easy on ears.

There is a surprise in store as a love duet is heard before the album is wrapped up. Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik are roped in for 'Suno Suno' which tries to be extra mushy by following the mush approach with a slow pacing but the overall result is quite 'thanda'. It is just a rehash of many numbers belonging to this genre composed by Malik earlier and hence doesn't really impress much.

One factor which was clear much before even playing on the first song of Jai Santoshi Maa was that its genre restricted its demand to a select audience only. In Indian households [especially in the interiors] where devotional tracks are still sung and heard on festive occasions the album may still have some reach but apart from that the songs would be heard mainly in the film. While the 2 songs ['Main To Aarti', 'Yahaan Wahaan'] are still the best part about the album, the remaining original tracks do well to make the rest of the album a decent hear.

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