Thursday, February 25, 2010

STRIKER Music Review

Chandan Arora's film strikes music gold, delivering a shiny and novel soundtrack that boasts style consistency despite the fact that its director and lead actor Siddharth chose six different composers to suit the film. Their unconventional bet is to be saluted, as the necessary time and care was taken to make not only a soundtrack for a film but also a rich and enjoyable music album.

Set against 1992 Mumbai, the film is a powerful ode to India's maximum city, the relationship between its various communities and a man's resilience.

Shailendra Bharve and Jeetendra Joshi's 'Cham Cham' is a flawless start to the stimulating listening experience, in which Sonu Nigam skillfully teases our ears with a slow qawwali. Bharve is known for the 'Taare Zameen Par' track 'Mera Jahan' and proves his talent here again, delighting us for a good seven minutes without anyone wanting this track to end, thanks to the song's perfect arrangements and captivating rythm, Joshi's love-heightening lyrics and of course Nigam's incomparable voice.

Amit Trivedi and Prasant Ingole make their appearance next with 'Bombay Bombay'. The catchy song features a cool Siddharth, singing and reciting dialogue lines amid synth loops, percussions and electric guitar. Catch the tune's "making of" by clicking here  or its picturization below if you wish to hear lead actor Siddharth's pleasant voice, particularly if you had not heard him sing in Telugu soundtracks before.

A rugged 'Haq Se', from unstudied vocals down to rap arrangements and even some car horns and Irish-Sufi solos, will have you moving your head to the strong beat. Yuvan Shankar Raja is well known in the Southern film industry for his music and Nitin Raikwar's lyrics duly express the characters' friendship and dreams.

An all-out Swanand Kirkire modern qawwali brings the positive feel I always tend to associate with him with a festive 'Maula'. The track thankfully has Kirkire's husky voice as its messenger, as none other would have been able to make the pacy melody justice, being that he personally composed and wrote lyrics for it. The arrangements give the traditional genre a revamp, making this one of the album's most original tracks.

'Yun Hua' surreptitiously elevates the listener to some forgotten place in between the clouds and the sun. The fluttering romantic track is composed and also performed by Vishal Bhardwaj, who sings Gulzar's delectable lyrics and scats his way to heaven, making this yet another song in which choosing the composer's vocals was the way to go.

What had been an all male soundtrack moves into feminine mode with a delicate Sunidhi Chauhan singing 'Pia Saanvara'. Bharve and Joshi join hands once again creating a loungey, gently dissonant and innocent melody beckonning a lady's love to return. (Listen to 'Pia Saanvara' courtesy BollyFM).

The soundtrack ends with one of the best hip-hop reggaeton's I have heard in recent years. Blaaze's potent 'Aim Lagaa' has the right beats, echoes, moans and groans "one by one by one". It mixes in tabla and sitar strings while expressing the leading character's peculiar outlook in rhythmic fashion. Blaaze's close collaboration with AR Rahman has made him known to the audience but he is a true value in himself, mixing influences from all of his various cultural backgrounds (Africa, India, England, USA) and beyond. The song's Rickshaw Mix by DJ Akhtar is another danceable alternative, adding more brass, harmonia and extra female emceeing. (Listen to 'Aim Lagaa' courtesy BollyFM).

'Striker' may have not benefitted from the advantages of large publicity but the rumour doing the rounds in the press is that the film is highly recommended. Its soundtrack is also one that should please listeners from all fronts, which goes to show that doing things off the beaten track sometimes goes a long way.

Watch STRIKER, the full movie, released by Studio 18 on Youtube exclusively for overseas audiences (outside India) for a minimal cost. STRIKER includes English subtitles and other subtitle options. May this initiative feature as an example for wider released Hindi films, which are usually screened overseas much later than in India or not at all.

Album information
Music: Shailendra Bharve, Amit Trivedi, Vishal Bharwaj, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Swanand Kirkire, Blaaze
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire, Jeetendra Joshi, Gulzar, Prasant Ingole, Nitin Raikwar, Blaaze
Singers: Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Swanand Kirkire, Vishal Bhardwaj, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Siddharth Narayan
Label: T-series
Tracks: 8 (7 originals + 1 remix)
Album release: 16 Jan 2010
Available on Itunes

Film information
Producer: Chandan Arora
Director: Chandan Arora
Starring: Siddharth, Aditya Pancholi, Ankur Vikal, Anupam Kher, Seema Biswas, Vidya Malvade

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