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Films with glamour and entertainment industry as a backdrop are in vogue. If 2007 had Om Shanti Om and Khoya Khoya Chand with Bollywood as a backdrop, in 2008 we have already seen Halla Bol and My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves as the two releases that had liberal dose of Bollywood references to it. And upcoming films like Superstar, Mithya, and Fashion would only be taking this trend forward this year.
Directed by Rohit Jugraj, who had made his debut with action flick James, Superstar belongs to the light hearted entertainer genre and paves the way for the first ever double role performance of Kunal Khemu. However, when it comes to the film's music, one is a little apprehensive because except for a handful of numbers, composer Shamir Tandon doesn't quite boast of an interesting repertoire in
spite of making a mark years back with 'O What A Babe' (Rakht). Shabbir Ahmed has written the lyrics.
Opening track 'Dont I Love Or Do I Love U' carries a jingle feel to it and in spite of being embedded with groovy hip-hop elements, it doesn't quite make you go 'wow' in the very first listening. Adnan Sami's lazy style of singing may have worked (rightly so) with the number of songs in the past but in case of 'Dont I Love Or Do I Love U', the effort doesn't really pay. In fact, it is the arrival of Sunidhi Chauhan which gets some spunk going for the song, but overall the song just remains ok - neither a put off nor the kind which you would love to play in a repeat mode.
Hamza, composer Mithoon's discovery, who was last heard in Aggar, gets his biggest ever break as his solo track 'Man Tu Talbat' has as many as four different versions dedicated to it. Based on a Middle East tune with some part of the song even carrying Arabic/Persian lyrics, 'Man Tu Talbat' has a truly different (and unconventional) tune, especially during the mukhda. A mix of Hindi and English lyrics, later the song is a unique experience in itself and if associated with a good music video it has a potential to go a long distance.
Man Tu Talbat' is a kind of song which Emraan Hashmi would have loved to pounce on with the combination of unconventional voices of Hamza and Shamir Tandon's orchestra and Shabbir Ahmed's lyrics, it turns out to be the highlight of the album. This is the reason why after it's original version, it appears in a high voltage 'remix version' that takes the song to a different level altogether.
Further consolidating the song's retention power, the 'remix version' is followed by an 'Electro Mix', which continues to keep the excitement on. From the dance floors, one heads for a lounge outing with this version which has a wonderful prelude to it (lasting an entire minute) before Hamza's voice is heard from a distance. 'Spansih Mix' is the last to come, which takes a livelier approach and carries a carnival feel to it.
Rekha Bhardwaj (of 'Namak Issak Ka' - Omkara fame) in a Rohit Jugraj film? Now that's quite a surprise considering the genres which the two artists operate in, do not quite converge, at least on paper. Further surprise is to hear the vocals of Ustad Sultan Khan and once as a listener you have adjusted to this fact of getting two classically proficient performers on the same platform, it is time to get attuned to this Shamir Tandon composition titled 'Aankohn Se Khwab Rooth Kar'.
A ghazal which takes a complete tangent from the groovy world of 'Dont I Love Or Do I Love U' and the rocking item number 'Man Tu Talbat', 'Aankohn Se Khwab Rooth Kar' only takes the album further up and makes one look in awe at the kind of range which the soundtrack of Superstar carries.
With Western arrangements taking this classical composition forward, Shamir Tandon does a fantastic job in making this raaga based song, which would make for a lovely hearing in the dead of the night. Highly recommended for those with a classical bent. An 'Ambient Mix' of the same track comes towards the album's end and has Ustad Sultan Khan starting the proceedings this time around.
Shabbir Tandon's poetry is in full motion in 'Ajnabi', which follows next. Based mainly on guitar, this track sung by newcomer Raaj has a Western theme and feel to it. A love song, it reminds one of the musical styles of the 50's and the 60's when songs with a jazz base like this were a vogue with the likes of Biswajeet, Joy Mukherjee, and Shammi Kapoor. As one listens to the voice of Raaj closely, one realizes that at places he touches upon notes, which are similar to the singing style of SP Balasubramaniam. Boasting of an old world charm, 'Ajnabi' adds on to the variety of Superstar while a classily shot music video only adds to the appeal further.
Old world charm is visible yet again in 'Rafa Dafa' which has a team of singers coming together in the form of Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala, Sanjeevani, Amrita Kak and Shaila. A groovy dance number, the song has a nursery rhyme feel to it, especially established through the arrangements. A situational track, it traverses a listener to a carnival atmosphere. In fact, during the song, one is half lead to believe that 'Rafa Dafa' could well have been tailor-made for Saif Ali Khan, mainly due to presence of Shaan in the song.
In the album's end comes a one minute 'Dance Piece' which moves at a non-stop pace and automatically promises to make a listener hit the dance floor when the music is on at a loud volume.
Ever since the release of Rakht, composer Shamir Tandon had only flattered to deceive when it came to his Bollywood soundtracks. Page 3, Umar, Corporate, Undertrial, Traffic Signal, Red Swastik, Bal Ganesha - none of these had a complete feel to it though he did have a song or two which worked in these films as well.
However, in case of Superstar he moves quite a few notches up, especially with 'Man Tu Talbat', which is an out and out chartbuster in the making if handled well, and marketed aggressively. Though 'Dont I Love Or Do I Love U' and 'Rafa Dafa' make for an ordinary hearing, 'Aankohn Se khwab Rooth Kar' and 'Ajnabi' provide a good range to the soundtrack.