By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Akshay Kumar arrives to woo the NRI and Indian audience alike once again. And what better way to do this than starring as a lead protagonist in a film that goes by the name of Namastey London. To add to the fun, he plays a 'Funjabi' (yes, you read it right) from (where else!) Punjab who aims to win the love of his newly wed NRI wife in London. Now that's a perfect recipe of a film that is expected to find an audience from Ludhiana to London.
Directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah who along with Akshay has delivered two back to back successful films [Aankhen, Waqt], Namastey London has an unlikely combination of lyricists Javed Akhtar and composer/singer Himesh Reshammiya. Another unconventional part about the album is the fact that along with 7 original tracks, there are as many as 11 remixes of the same!
Does an unlikely combination and an unconventional album content come up with exceptional results? Yes, it does, especially when even Akhtar saab decides to come behind the mike. Read on to know more!
If you have been constantly following dozens of UK Bhangra pop albums that have been hitting the stands on a regular note during last couple of years then chances are that you would be instantly able to identify with 'Chakna Chakna'. Shot innovatively, the track has been choreographed on Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in a night club and has 'sufi' elements fused well with 'bhangra' and pop. Reshammiya comes forward to croon the track and does well in bringing along the Punjabi nuances to the proceedings.
While the original version is decent enough, the real fun begins in the remix version of the song because this is where the song takes a true-blue 'bhangra' approach. A number that has good potential to be popular.
There is an about turn soon after with 'Viraaniya' coming in next. Javed Akhtar saab keeps it simple when it comes to penning this sad track that has Reshammiya scoring good marks for both his composition and rendition. Even though the song has some shades similar to his 'Tanhaiyyan' that was used for the first round of promotion of his debut film 'Aap Kaa Surroor - The Moviee', 'Viraaniya' is still an enjoyable hear and keeps you hooked on. The number moves slowly with the arrangements resembling a lounge outing and appropriate pauses coming at the right places. A good number for the broken hearts, it appears in 'remix' and 'Mehfil Mix' versions.
The remix version, as expected, picks up the pace with pepped up arrangements but is entertaining nevertheless. Expect a promotional music video to be woven around it. What comes as a real surprise though is the 'Mehfil Mix' that has none other than Javed Akhtar saab reciting his own poetry as a prelude to the song. Now that's special since the song that follows too keeps arrangements to the minimal and lets Reshammiya and Akhtar saab take turns behind the mike with their unique collaboration being allowed do the talking!
Is it really a Himesh Reshammiya song for an Akshay Kumar film that you are hearing? That's the instant thought that comes to mind as soon as you are 30 seconds into 'Main Jahaan Rahoon'. The reasons to feel elated are more than one. First and foremost the presence of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan itself makes one sit up and take notice of the song. Secondly the music is so fine paced and rendition by Khan along with Krishna (who arrives for some interspersing portions) is so beautiful that there is no other choice but to hail the song.
A delightful love song that is music to ears (pun intended) with no unnecessary frills and thrills and just plain and simple melody, 'Main Jahaan Rahoon' is a kind of number that matches the brilliance of 'Jiya Dhadak Dhadak' [Kalyug]. On looking at the credits, one is a little apprehensive to find a remix version coming next. Thankfully, 'Main Jahaan Rahoon' retains its essence even in this format and one doesn't mind it at all. What one actually looks forward to is the 'Mehfil Mix' since none would want an opportunity to be missed out when Javed saab recites his poetry. And yes, one actually gets what was expected in this arrangements-light version which only sounds better!
By the time 'Yehi Hota Pyaar' comes, one starts wondering why the promotion of Namastey London has been so 'Chakna Chakna' heavy? With 'Viraaniya' picking up fast, 'Main Jahaan Rahoon' sounding quite impressive and 'Yehi Hota Pyaar' showing indications of another very good number, there are good reasons for Reshammiya to be elated as he maintains good quality of songs in the album so far.
A 'ghazal' with Reshammiya crooning in a low pitch and Sunidhi Chauhan joining him, 'Yehi Hota Pyaar' is so beautifully arranged and presented that the only thing you want to do next is search for that 'Repeat' button the music system remote! For those looking for their share of masala tracks, 'Chakna Chakna' or an item number from some other album may be a better option but for those who want their music to have a certain 'thehraav', 'Yehi Hota Pyaar' is the song to play.
Yet again, the 'remix' and the 'Mehfil mix' versions entertain as the former picks up the pace while the latter brings it further down to create different moods for the situations as appropriate.
'Rafta Rafta' that comes next turns out to be a follow-up of 'Chakna Chakna' while creating a similar mood. Rendered by R.D.B., a hot band on the UK-Bhangra circuits, it is yet another track seemingly set in a club/dance floor but moves on at a moderate pace rather than going ballistic. Also, the arrangements are kept under check which are let out in full steam in conjunction with a faster pace only in the 'remix' version that comes later.
Remember 'Soniye' from Reshammiya's own 'Aksar'? 'Annan Faanan' that comes next is set in a similar mould with Reshammiya's regular Jayesh Gandhi arriving as a lead singer. Akriti Kakkar, who is being given number of opportunities by Reshammiya, gets another song to her name as she along with Jayesh croon a romantic 'Anna Faanan' which has a nice rock ballad feel to it. Yet another good track to make its appearance felt in the album, it takes about a couple of hearings before one gets a hang of the tune. 'Remix' and 'Mehfil Mix' versions only add to the fun.
After a long time once hears a number that reminds of Reshammiya's style of music that resulted in number of hits 2-3 years back. Remember 'Nikamma Kiya Is Dil Ne' [Kya Dil Ne Kaha], 'Mohabbat Hai Mirchi' [Chura Liya Hai Tumne] and 'Coffee' [Zameen]? 'Dilrooba' belongs to a similar genre and though it doesn't come with a similar potential as the aforementioned songs, it doesn't stand out as a sore thumb either. Rendered by Zubeen Garg&Alisha Chinai, it belongs to the time-pass category and can be given a few hearings, especially when it comes in a zingy remix version.
Strength of Namastey London clearly lies in the songs that follow melody more than the dance routines. While 'Chakna Chakna' does belong to the latter category and may even meet with a good response over the next few weeks, the tracks that impress most are 'Viraaniya', 'Main Jahaan Rahoon' and 'Yehi Hota Pyaar'. Each of the three tracks belongs to the kind that can be played on repeatedly. In addition, the 'Mehfil Mix' of songs featuring Javed Akhtar saab's poetry and recitation is a clear cut recipe that only adds class to the proceedings.
Go for it.