Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire, Kausar Munir
Singers: Suraj Jagan, Amitabh Bachchan, Shruti Haasan, Carlisa Monterio, Rap Earl D'souza
R Balki’s Shamitabh is special in many ways. It is Akshara Haasan’s debut film, Dhanush second attempt at Hindi cinema after Raanjhanaa, Amitabh Bachchan playing drunk after so long, and of course the most looked forward onscreen reunion of Big B and Rekha. Shamitabh also marks the comeback of musical maestro Ilaiyaraaja, who last composed some beautiful melody for R Balki’s Paa. With Shamitabh being his 1000th film, fans of the legendary composer are expecting a terrific album from him, fitting to his remarkable feat. Being an Ilaiyaraaja fan myself, I have no doubt the album would be good. But, how good? Lets plug in our earphones and see what the musical maestro has in store for us
Ishq E Phillum
The album kicks off with a rather unusual number Ishq E Phillum, which is haunting and intense at the same time. Sung by Suraj Jagan, to the words penned by Swanand Kirkire, the song starts off with a brief hauntingly beautiful piece of piano accompanied with mild techno beats. Ilaiyaraaja makes good use of orchestra throughout the song ably supporting Suraj Jagan’s edgy voice , who croons for the love of films. There is a small yet beautiful saxophone in the middle, while the maestro of music proves that he is the master of fusion, mixing contemporary orchestration with mild techno beats and western elements. Overall, the song puts you on sync with the mood of the film, which revolves around cinema.
Sha Sha Mi Mi
The next song in store for us, Sha Sha Mi Mi, is as unique as it’s title. This fun number sung melodiously by Caralisa Monterio, starts off with grand sounds of trumpets coupled with fast techno beats, paving way to seductive voice of Caralisa. The singer adds so much energy to the song with her sexy vocals, ably supported by brilliant chorus. Here, again Ilaiyaraaja shows his love for symphony and fusion, something which is not that common in Bollywood these days. In the interludes, the song turns trance like when melodious vocals of Caralisa is backed by beautiful piece on piano. This fun number will put you on a groovy mood for sure.
This is extremely unusual romantic track, is already creating a buzz online, thanks Amitabh Bachchan’s antics on a toilet seat. Sung by Big B himself, in his gruffy yet immensely powerful baritone, Piddly is another masterpiece of musical arrangements by Ilaiyaaraja. All the basic elements of maestro’s composition like orchestra, mild techno beats and the fusion of the two, are present here, but Ilaiyaraaja allows Amitabh’s effortless singing to take centre stage. The speciality of the song is that never tries to sound like sweet romantic number, despite some heart stirring lyrics by Swanand Kirkire. Instead, the song banks on Big B’s style of singing, making it stand out from regular romantic tracks.
Next we have Shruti Haasan crooning for her sister Akshara, in this loud yet complex western number. Right from the unusual chorus to the techno beats to the unique use of dubstep, Sannata catches our attention right from the start. This song instantly reminded of a seductive Tamil number from the 80’s, Aasaiya Kaatrula, which was also composed by Ilaiyaraaja himself. But no one could have imagined that the song could be revisited in this predominantly western arrangements too. Shruti Haasan sings the number like a western pop, as her groovy voice takes the song to another level. Here again, Ilaiyaaraja’s love for fusions is quite evident as he fuses western sounds, dubstep and Indian percussion beats to create a heady mix of a music. Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics are fun. Inspite of this fun combo of Shruti-Ilaiyaaraja and Swanand Kirkire, the song lacks the quality to make it instantly likable.
Thappad, a fast paced rap number, will certainly make you sit up and take notice. Sung by the duo of Suraj Jagan & Rap Earl D'souza, the song Ilaiyaaraja relies heavily of western elements like bass, techno beats, calypso beats, electric guitar and so on. The song starts of with Rap Earl D’souza’s enjoyable rap rendition followed by edgy, powerful vocals of Suraj Jagan. While the song is not a memorable one, it is certainly entertaining to hear. If you keep your ears open, you will find that Thappad is far from a slap on your face and is quite enjoyable.
Swanand Kirkire seems to have been at his quirky best while penning for Shamitabh. After rather unusual lyrics in the film, the lyricist revisits the old Lifebuoy ad and with the highly westernised composition of Ilaiyaraaja paired with Suraj Jagan’s varied styles of vocals, they create something quirky and fun yet again.
Verdict: The Shamitabh album starts off at a phenomenal note, with musical maestro Ilaiyaaraja making sure that music lovers are in for treat. The album loses steam at it’s end as few experiments did not work out well for the composer. Despite of it’s low points, music of Shamitabh is highly fulfilling.
Our Pick: Sha Sha Mi Mi, Piddly
3.5 out of 5
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