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Black & White: A forgettable album
Raja Sen | January 25, 2008 12:48 IST
The soundtrack to Subhash Ghai's [Images] latest film, Black & White, starts off intriguingly.
The title track, Main Chala, is a well-worded song clearly about the protagonist wandering the roads of life in search of meaning. The melody is fine, while being completely unspectacular, but the problem with this song lies in Sukhwinder Singh's voice. Singh turns composer with this album, but taking on this track hasn't been the most brilliant decision. It takes a while for Singh's voice to start suiting the track, by which time you are likely to already have lost interest.
The second track livens things up. Peer Manava is much better suited to Singh's voice. The weddingy song also features the high-pitched vocals of Shradha Pandit, and while none of the vocalists really impress, this is the kind of song that will work purely because of its authenticity. It's straight out of the last Punjabi shaadi you attended, and its not hard to picture a maasi-ji thwacking a dholak with a spoon as the family joins in the festivities.
Jogi Aaya, where Singh joins forces with Sadhna Sargam, is a more ruminative track with a tune that seeps into you rather steadily. While Sargam sounds to be emulating latter-day Lata Mangeshkar [Images] with her attempt, this song is among the album's best. Neat, with even all the frills hitting the right notes.
Main Chali strikes a valiant blow for womankind. A female reprise of the first track, Shreya Ghoshal handles the smooth, rhythmic rhymes with better grace than Singh. The words are nice, a trifle trite and saccharine but good overall. You get the feeling that all these songs are going to be reliant on their overall picturisation.
Haq Allah breaks through the clutter with its opening, a spirited chorus of voices invoking God with vigour and fine, near-Sufi percussion. The song builds up like background score for a darkly unfolding thriller, even as Singh and Hans Raj Hans tackle the prayer song with gusto. Well done, this one.
The first version of Yeh Hindustan Hai is sung by Udit Narayan, and his ever-fresh vocals instantly breathe life into Singh's album. Having said that, this is the point where lyricist Ibrahim Ashk's words get more dated than ever and while Narayan does his best, the music is regressive and leads to an annoyingly jingoistic track.
This is followed by a couple of remixes, a redundant reshaking of Peer Manaya and a relatively decent take on Jogi Aaya, though the chorus on it sounds hilarious.
The second version of Yeh Hindustan Hai is by Jagjit Singh. And it comes with no surprise. Fans of Singh will probably love this, but despite the gravitas the ghazal singer admittedly bestows on the words, you'd be better served picking up one of the man's dozens of Greatest Hits compilations.
The album ends on Haq Allah Part 2, an energetic but very short burst of music, seemingly placed to end the album on a high. Not bad, but overall Black & White works forgettably, like the just-mentioned Jagjit Singh song: it makes you seek succour in Karz or Taal [Images].
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