Splendor of Masters: A Musical Evening

I grew up listening to Hindustani classical music. Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Kishoni Amonkar, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Bismillah Khan were regular names we listened to and discussed about. One big name missing from the list is Pt. Shivkumar Sharma. I have no idea why, but my guess is my dad was not a big santoor fan, or he was just uninitiated. After reading Panditji’s memoir Journey With A Hundred Strings, and being completely awed by this maestro, I had made a promise to myself that I will listen to him play live one day. And that dream came true.


Splendor of Masters is an annual event organized by Banyan Tree and this year they brought the father-son duo of Pt.Shiv Kumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma together after a long period. Vidwan Vikku Vinayakaram was going to be the star performer later in the evening. The event was held at Chowdiah Memorial Hall on Friday. That being a working day and having to travel to the opposite end of the city did hamper our plans, but luckily, we made it on time. Wish such events were held on Saturdays/Sundays, but that is a rant for another day.

The event started on time. After a quick introduction, the maestros walked onto the stage and began almost immediately. Panditji addressed the crowd in English (which I was surprised about, I expected him to speak Hindi) and let us know his plans for the evening. Before he began his recital, he did comment on keeping the kids in check so it doesn’t disturb the musicians. Digressing here, but why do people think it is a good idea to bring little kids to such shows? I saw a couple with a kid who couldn’t have been more than 2 years old. Exposing kids to classical music is a great thing, but this is not the way to do it. If you cannot arrange for the kids to be looked after, then please rethink on attending such shows. I left my own kid back home for the evening and have sacrificed many such shows in the past because my kid was too small and there wasn’t anybody to take care of him. I say this first as a mother and then as a music lover. Rant over.

Panditji started the evening with Raag Charukeshi. A peaceful and melodious alaap with Panditji taking the lead, ably supported by Rahul Sharma turned into a harmonious music after the tabla maestros joined in. We got to see the juglabandi play between the father-son duo and the tabla players. It soon reached a crescendo and the entire hall burst into applause. The musicians thoroughly enjoyed themselves, with an often heard “wah wah” for their peers, but the crowd enjoyed it the most.

Vidwan Vikku Vinayakaram joined the others for the next piece in Raag Pahadi. There was an experimental piece where Vidwanji used two ghatams with different scales. Panditji and Vidwanji had a go at jugalbandi. While some parts of this was a treat to the ears, I was left unimpressed with the ghatam piece. I blame myself; I don’t think I have the ears to appreciate ghatam. And the experiment with different scales of ghatam was beyond my grasp.


We bid adieu to Vidwanji and the concluding piece was a semi-classical composition in Raag Pahadi. The name for this raag is so apt: you close your eyes while listening to this raag and you immediately find yourself in a valley with a cool breeze blowing on your face. This reminded me of a few songs which Panditji has composed for Hindi film music. Though Panditji took the lead here too, this clearly belonged to Rahul Sharma. He showed a lot of variation and his music sounded more “youthful” to my ears.

Having lived through my dream, I can say it was everything I had imagined it to be: an evening filled with pure, unadulterated music. My admiration for Panditji has increased manifold after this event, but I have added another name who I want to listen to more: Rahul Sharma. Being born and brought up under the shadow of such a great personality, having to carve out a place for your own is not easy, so kudos to Rahul Sharma. At the end of the program, the simple gesture of Rahul touching his father’s feet and Panditji patting him on his back left me very emotional. It was a memorable experience to see such big, yet humble, names play and I hope I get to witness more such events.

Photo credit: Banyan Tree

Tere Naina by Kailash Kher

Song: Tere Naina
Singer: Kailash Kher
Lyrics: Kailash Kher
Music: Kailasa band
Album: Jhoomo Re

I heard this song on a popular serial on the telly last night. This song touched me and moved me in such a way that I had to find out what song it is. It was obviously a Kaliash Kher song and it did not take me much time to find out the song.

Tere Naina actually starts with words ‘Jaage jaage soye soye tere naina’. Simple tune, simple words and the song is so beautiful, I cannot express it in words. I should take back my words about words being simple because I noticed one word whose meaning I don’t know: raanaaiyon mein. The complete line is : Haan in palon ki raanaaiyon mein, tum hi ho na.

The part of the song which had my heart melting was the tum hi ho na. Every time Kailash Kher sings these lines, my eyes well up and my head sways. The slight change in the pace, the chorus singing dheere na na dheere na na and the emotion that Kailash packs in: as if an innocent child asks his mother ‘You will be here after I fall asleep, right?’ Oh, what is it about this line that drives me crazy!

Words for the song:

Jaage jaage soye soye tere naina
Sapno mein khoye khoye tere naina
Tanhaaiyo ki, parchaaiyo mein,
Tum hi hona
Tere naina, haye naina

Sooni sooni, sooni sooni si yeh raina
Aaja piya, tere bina nahi chaina
Unchaaiyon ki, gehraiyon mein,
Tum hi hona
Tere naina, haye naina

Paaya tujhe toh sab mil gaya haan
Ehsaas aisa ki sab khil gaya
Jaise himalaya khud pighal ke, saagar ban gaya
Haan in palon ki raanaaiyon mein,
Tum hi hona
Tere naina, haye naina

Madhosh raatein pal pal suhaane
Rut gaa rahi hai dil ke taraane
Saare nazaare chaand taare gungunane lage
In vaadiyon ki angdaaiyo mein,
Tum hi hona
Tere naina, haye naina

Aarakshan: Fresh

After the different taste of music we got from Rajneeti, Prakash Jha gives us another experimental album in Aarakshan. He plays it safe by hiring the dependable Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio, but also experiments by including a composition from the lyricist Prasoon Joshi. It is commendable that the same album which contains the raunchy ‘Mauka’ also includes the classical and philosophical ‘Kaun Si Dor’. In short, an album worth noting and listening.

Album: Aarakshan (2011)
Music Composers: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Prasoon Joshi
Lyricist: Prasoon Joshi
Album Rating:

Achha Lagta Hai
Singers: Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Goshal
Music Composer: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

The title of this song reminds me of the evergreen Amit Kumar’s song ‘Bade achhe lagte hain’, but after the song starts playing, I immediately think of ‘Agar Mein Kahoon’ from Lakshya. The song is peppy, romantic and fresh. Mohit and Shreya make a great pair in singing and the lyrics are absolutely hilarious, what with ‘short mein batalao na, seedhe point pe aao na’.

Singer: Raman Mahadevan, Mahalakshmi Iyer and Others
Music Composer: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

An out and out item song, the typical ‘Sheela’ and ‘Munni’ that we hear, but less raunchy. The highlight of the song is the lyrics (chance pronounced as ‘chanas’). Fast beats, catchy tune – this will be a chart buster in no time.

Kaun Si Dor
Singer: Pt Channulal Mishra and Shreya Goshal
Music Composer: Prasoon Joshi
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

And here comes the best part of the album. Prasoon Joshi enters into the composition world and gives us this melodious and philosophical song. Mishra and Shreya get into total classical mood and give us lovely alaaps. I always end up talking about lyrics when it is Joshi’s song – the words make you think and ponder over what life is.

Music Composer: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi

This fast, energetic song is sung by Shankar. Again, english words in the song make this song interesting to listen to. This song so reminds me of the title song of ‘Lakshya’.

Shor in the City: Mediocre, except for one song

Fresh from the success of F.A.L.T.U, Sachin-Jigar churn out a good mix of songs in their next album. While the focus is on rock, urban songs, they do sneak in a melodious song. This is not one of the best albums to come out this year, but I did notice it for one song – Saibo.

Album: Shor in the City (2011)
Music Composers: Sachin-Jigar, Harpreet
Singers: Shreya Goshal, Tochi Raina, Suri Jagan, Priya Panchali, Swati Mukund, Mohan, Shriram Iyer, Roop Kumar Rathod, Agnee, Kailash Kher
Lyricist:  Sameer
Album Rating:

Singers: Shreya Goshal, Tochi Raina
Music Composers: Sachin-Jigar
Lyrics: Sameer

Shreya and Tochi accompany each other in this wonderful musical journey and it’s a treat for your ears. The song has a catchy tune and a soothing effect on your ears. For me, this is the best song in the album.

Karma is a *****
Singer: Suri Jagan, Priya Panchali, Swati Mukund
Music Composers: Sachin-Jigar
Lyrics: Sameer

In total contrast to the previous song, this one is a total urban, rock kind of song. Never mind the lyrics, but I didn’t find this song appealing. It’s not for me and I admit it. Hope the disco-goers like it.

Singer: Mohan
Music Composer: Sachin-Jigar

Another mediocre song which is easily forgotten once it stops playing.

Deem Deem Tana
Singer: Shriram Iyer
Music Composer: Harpreet

Shriram Iyer (remember Indian Idol?) belts out this song with energy and passion. This seems like a situational dance number. Hope it works well. This is a composition by the guest composer Harpreet.

A budding music composer duo and just four songs in the album doesn’t really make it commercially viable, does it? There are 3 bonus tracks in the album – Babam Bam by Kailash Kher, Ujale Baaz by Agnee and the melodious Sufi Song Teri Justajoo by Roop Kumar Rathod.

Ready: Crowd Pleaser

Salman Khan is known to please the crowd with his movies and music. His latest movie, Ready, is a remake of the original Telugu blockbuster and comes with the baggage of the success of the original movie. The music of the original movie took the Telugu industry by storm and I can imagine the remade version doing something similar. Pritam does a fab job of including quality song (Humko Pyaar Hua) and crowd pleasers (Dhinka Chika and Character Dheela).

Album: Ready (2011)
Music Composers: Pritam and Devi Sri Prasad
Singers: Amrita Kak, Neeraj Sridhar, Mika Singh, Tulsi Kumar, KK, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Neelesh Mishra, Ashish Pandit and Kumaar
Album Rating:

Character Dheela Hai (Ishq Ke Naam)
Singers: Neeraj Sridhar and Amrita Kak
Music Composer: Pritam
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

The album opens with the foot tapping dance number picturized on Salman Khan and Zarine Khan (remember her from Veer?). Amitabh Bhattacharya who is known for his philosophical words (eg: Baangur from I Am) pens an out and out commercial song with catchy lyrics. There is a mention of the chartbusters ‘Munni’ and ‘Sheila’ too.  Neeraj and Amrita add the right amount of zing to this song and you can’t stop from tapping your foot. This is going to be a chart buster for sure. Needless to say, this comes in a remixed version.

Humko Pyar Hua (Chal Chale)
Singer: KK and Tulsi Kumar
Music Composer: Pritam
Lyrics: Neelesh Mishra

In total contrast to the previous song, this one is a soft, romantic number sung by KK and Tulsi Kumar. KK’s voice suits these kind of songs so well, the more I listen to him, the more I like it. Lyrics are nothing extra-ordinary, but the song itself has a soothing effect and you sway along with it. One of my favorites from the album. There is a remixed version too, which is good.

Dhinka Chika
Singer: Mika Singh and Amrita Kak
Music Composer: Devi Sri Prasad
Lyrics: Ashish Pandit

This is the song which had the highest expectations. Ringa Ringa from the original Telugu movie was a huge chartbuster and this song which is based on the original won’t be anything less. A totally tapori song, a mass pleaser and foot-tapping beats is one catchy song. It reminds me of Dil Mein Baji Guitar, may be because of Mika or the beats? Is Amrita Kak the new Sunidhi Chauhan? She sounds similar to Sunidhi and has the same singing style and voice. Should I say this comes in a remixed version?

Meri Ada Bhi (Ishq Ne Mere)
Singer: Rahat Fatesh Ali Khan and Tulsi Kumar
Music Composer: Pritam
Lyrics: Kumaar

A very interesting number which mixes the age old Punjabi folk song Laung Gawacha with current music trend which is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Tulsi Kumar. The song opens with a cuckoo sound (which you could hear in old, grandpa clocks) which is hilarious. The fast beats, Sufi touch by Khan’s voice and the Punjabi folk song words make this song very catchy and interesting. A remixed version exists which is okay.

I Am: Fresh

When you look at the star cast of ‘I Am’ (Juhi Chawla, Nandita Das, Manisha Koirala, Rahul Bose etc.), you make a mental picture of how the movie will be and how its music will be. And when you listen to this album, you expect a certain quality to the music and this album meets all those expectations.

Amit Trivedi, Vivek Phillip and Rajiv Bhalla contribute their own songs to make this album complete.

Album: I Am (2011)
Music Composers: Amit Trivedi, Vivek Phillip, Rajiv Bhalla
Singers: Mame Khan, Kavita Seth, KK, Rekha Bhardwaj, Mohan and Karthik
Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya and Amitabh Varma

Singers: Mame Khan and  Kavita Seth
Music Composer: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

The album opens with melodious and soulful song from Amit Trivedi. The opening piece of music is so eye-catching (or should I say ear-catching) that you will automatically tap your feet and sway to the music. Mame Khan’s voice is interesting, but it’s Kavita Seth’s singing that adds life to this song. In an otherwise melodious song, Trivedi introduces some rap lines which disturbs the tranquility of the song. Lyrics are interesting. See these lines

phirti thi hawaaon mein, par lagte thay paaon mein
zindagi band pinjron mein kiyun aaj rehti hai
neendon ke sandooqon mein kabhi sone ke sapne thay
aaj peetal ke tukrron ko mohtaaj rehti hai

‘Neendon ke sanooqon mein kabhi sone ke sapne thay’ – what an imagination. Inspired by Gulzar?

Issi Baat Pe
Singer: KK
Music Composer: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

Can someone confirm if the string instrument used in the opening piece is Veena? I am not sure if it is Veena or Sitar. A short and sweet song which has philosophical undercurrents is sung beautifully by KK. We hear the ghost rapper again in between which just makes me cringe.

Bhojal Se
Singer: KK
Music Composer: Rajiv Bhalla
Lyrics: Amitabh Varma

A very soft and soulful voice rendered beautifully by KK. The slow tune, very little background music puts all the attention on the singer and the words. This song has a calming effect – you immediately slow down in whatever you are doing and find yourself relaxed.

Singer: Karthik
Music Composer: Vivek Phillip
Lyrics: Amitabh Varma

A not very uncommon romantic song which is listened to and immediately forgotten. I found the tune monotonous. Nothing special to take back from this song.

Saye Saye
Singer: Mohan and Rekha Bharadwaj
Music Composer: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

A very unusual opening to the song – it opens with adhan – the call for prayer which we often hear in mosques. Trivedi ensures his song has interesting openings. A very strong and aggressive song sung by Rekha Bharadwaj and Mohan.

Wundoo Yeredoo
Singer: Rajiv Bhalla
Music Composer: Rajiv Bhalla
Lyrics: Amitabh Varma

The less I say anything about this song, the better. A mix of Hindi, English and Kannada words and jarring music – the song is best avoided.

Music Review: Dum Maaro Dum

Pritam impresses us once again with his latest album. The title song created a lot of controversy and I am surprised I like Pritam’s version better. A soft number, an item song and a rap song by the AB himself make this album worth listening to.

Album: Dum Maaro Dum (2011)
Music Composers: Pritam
Singers: Anushka Manchanda, Ash King, Sunidhi Chauhan, Papon, Zubin Garg, Abhishek Bachchan and Ayush Phukan
Lyricist: Jaideep Sahni

Mit Jaaye Gham aka Dum Maaro Dum
Singer: Anushka Manchanda

The much talked about, controversial song gives this album a great start. It’s not true that there is no resemblance to the original songs or that the lyrics are not borrowed. The first couple of lines are definitely copied and the signature guitar tune is the essence of the remixed song. Apologies to purists, but I actually like this song. It’s peppy and has the ‘do not care attitude’ in a more pronounced way. The original song was for that era and this song is for the present generation. It’s catchy and rocking.

Te Amo
Singers: Ash King and Sunidhi Chauhan

This is the most beautiful song of the album. Pritam seems to agree because there are a total of four versions of this song included in the album. We have a version each by Ash King, Sunidhi Chauhan and Mohit Chauhan and another remix version. The lyrics are interesting –  ‘Te Amo’ means ‘I love you’ in Spanish. The song is soft and touching.

Jiyein Kyun
Singer: Papon

This is one of Pritam’s signature songs with elements of rock. It reminds me of ‘Life in a metro’ and in a good way. Papon – no idea who this singer is, but he is one awesome singer! His style is a bit similar to Mohit Chauhan’s – singing lazily, with dragging the words –  if you know what I mean. The song starts of in a soft way and then it gets rocking later on with an awesome guitar piece.

Jaana Hai
Singer: Zubin Garg

Zubin Garg sings this ambitious song where sings his heart out. A song which varies between slow and fast tempo has interesting guitar pieces in between. A very different kind of song which catches your attention.

Thayn Thayn
Singers: Abhishek Bachchan, Ayush Phukan

Abhishkes Bachchan turns singer in this song where he is heard rapping! This is the first desi rap song which I liked. Lyrics are interesting and the song makes you sing along with it. Catchy tune, foot-tapping beats and different lyrics make this song a very enjoyable one.