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Play it again, Sami

January 20, 2003 13:30 IST

If rumour mills are to be believed and everything goes according to T-Series' plans then you just might be reading about the first non-film Indian music album that will have videos for all its nine songs.

Did you say what's the big deal? In the otherwise shrinking Indipop market, where music companies don't think it's worthwhile to take out more than one video -- the cost of each being not less than Rs 8-10 lakh -- this one is certainly worth mentioning.

But, maybe singer Adnan Sami is worth all this and more. Going by the sales figures, he is the reigning king of Indipop right now. His latest album released by T-Series last November, Tera Chehra, has remained numero uno for the past two months on the MTV countdown show. While the company refused to divulge details, insiders reveal that it has sold more than 12 lakh (1.2 million) copies already.

Confirms Nikhil Lamba, manager, operations, Music World, "Tera Chehra has been flying off the music shelves. It's a big hit not just with the teeny-bopper crowd but with all age-groups." In fact, another music store in Delhi's Khan market, Music Shop is selling around 15 CDs of the latest album every day.

Adds Lamba: "Adnan's music offers a fresh sound every time and that's precisely why, like his previous album Kabhi to nazar milao, his present one too has remained on the number one spot ever since it was launched."

Universal, a T-Series rival, went a step further and simultaneously launched Love Always-Adnan -- a compilation of his film and non-film numbers -- that has managed to sell a modest 70,000 copies without the support of any music video.

Just what makes the plump Pakistani artiste such a rage in India? "His sound and voice is fresh but that apart, Adnan is the only artiste who has made his albums intelligently," says Sunil Meghrajani, vice-president (sales), Magnasound, the company responsible for Sami's first album, Kabhi to nazar milao, which sold over 20 lakh (2 million) copies.

With its success Sami secured for himself the MTV Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award 2001 besides the 2000 AV MAX award for the best non-film album. Massive promotional campaigns notwithstanding, Sami himself has approached his albums very logically.

On his first album he managed to rope in Asha Bhonsle to lend her voice to a few songs. Soon after the success of the title track Sami came out with "Lift karade", a song that in his own words, "is for the masses".

The USP of the track was the lyrics ("dollar de ya pound de de/ heere de de, moti de de, paison kee barsaat kar de/ aiyse vaison ko diya hai/ mujhko bhi to lift kara de/ thodi see to lift karade") and Bollywood actor Govinda's special appearance in the video. Says Meghrajani:  "An amalgamation of film stars in a pop video was a fairly new concept introduced by the company to promote Adnan and that also created a lot of interest in the audience."

The success of this album was so overwhelming that the company decided to take out a remix titled Always Yours-Adnan. This album had a couple of Bollywood comedians making special appearances in the video. It did good business selling around six and a half lakh-odd copies. A compilation of his love songs taken out especially for Valentine' s Day along with VCDs of the music videos became a best-seller in 2000-2001.

Sami's latest album, his second, has Rani Mukherjee as the leading lady in the video, which has been directed by Bela Seghal, better known as Sanjay Leela Bhansali's sister and also the editor of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Another song from the same album has actress Mahima Chowdhary falling in love with Sami and his music. But the trump card of the album is Sami singing a duet with the Big B titled  "Kabhi nahi", which is on the lines of the earlier "Lift karade".

Talks are on and very soon Sami and Bachchan will be seen together in the music video. "Yes, we're planning a video with Amitabh Bachchan and Adnan Sami," confirms Pradeep Gangal, vice-president, T-Series. "In fact, going by the album's positive response, we might end up having videos for all the songs with many other leading film stars of Bollywood."

Quiz the man and he simply laughs and says, "Rani Mukherjee was the chehra I was looking for in my second album's video and I'm lucky that Amitji, who I've grown up admiring, agreed to sing a duet with me for the same album."

One thing is for sure -- this is just the mukhda and as the music unfolds, there will be many more waiting to sing duets with Adnan Sami.
Abhilasha Ojha