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Great (ARR), Good (Ismail)
Dec 08, 2004 10:48 AM 10916 Views
(Updated Dec 08, 2004 10:57 AM)


The most hyped and expected album of the year “Kisna” is finally out. Two national award winning music composers come under the roof of Subash Ghai to recreate their old magic. I think both A.R.Rahman and Ismail Darbar are the most promising among the contemporary music composers each having their own distinctive style of composition. Well, does the album meet our expectations? Read on…The album has totally 12 tracks among which 5 are composed by A.R.Rahman and the rest by Ismail Darbar. Lyircs are penned by Javed Akthar.


There is nothing permanent in this world except change. A.R.Rahman’s music also has nothing as his style except his style of keep changing the format of music and does lot of experimentation but finally we have what we call a Rahman sound in the song and that we have in all the tracks he has composed in this album. His deft usage of Piano, flute, orchestrations, and choir is evident of the experience he has gained from his international projects.

These days Rahman gives more importance to soulful melodies than any other form of music. And he does it again with the song “Hum hain iss pal yahan”. The song that starts with sound of rhythmic heartbeat is going to be the heart and soul of the movie. It is an excellent romantic melody. The song has earthy background music with mild dolaks, flute and piano. The orchestrations in the interludes and the background are grand and great. Madhusree who is the hot favorite of Rahman these days proves why she is so in this song. Udit is as always does a fine job. There are 3 insturmentals based on this song.

“Kisna theme I” is too short with flute playing the basic tune accompanied by paino. “Kisna theme II “is really an excellent instrumental version of the song. The beauty of the tune is even more explored in this instrumental than in the song. It is duet between flute and piano. It is not a usual instrumental version of song that you find in other albums. In this song, Rahman elaborates more beyond the basic tune with flute playing flourishing notes equally accompanied by Piano. “Kisna theme (Chorus)” is a high tempo version of the song with heavy percussion beats, rhythms and orchestration. All the three versions are great and it is not at all boring to hear the same tune in its various forms.

“My wish comes true” is again melodious romantic English track written by Blaaze. Sunitha Sarathy is the apt choice for this song. She excels in singing with right accent, diction and expression. The western notes in vocals, earthy background beats with usage of tabla, flute usage and also symphonic interludes make altogether a different fusion that we have never heard before. The ending is just out of the world with grand choir and percussions.

Ismail Darbar

These are my observations on his music from what I have heard

His songs will have

~ Heavy usage of Indian instruments especially percussions

~ A tune based on a classical raga

~ Hindustani alaps in the interludes

~ Chorus will sing major portion of the song than the main lead singers

~ Minimum there will be three lead singers

~ Earthy folk tune close to nativity to an extent

~ Grand western classical orchestrations

~ All the above put together in right proportions at right places

5 songs of Ismail in this album also have all the above mentioned qualities and in the rest 2 songs we can hear a completely different Ismail with fusion being given more prominence.

To be honest, Ismail could have done a bit more effort on catchy tunes. All of his songs are good in arrangements and orchestration; it is the tune where it stays behind ARR numbers. Ismail has got highly situational numbers that are difficult to compose which cannot be enjoyed without the visuals. But I am sure these songs will have a more appeal with the visuals. Excellent songs

“Woh Kisna hai” (5/5) is the instantly catchy song. Though the situation of the song is similar to that of “Radha Kaise na jale” from Lagaan Ismail has come up with a completely different stuff. The “Woh kisna hai” chorus part with heavy traditional percussions is the major highlight of the song. Flute pieces give an earthy period feel to the song. Sukhwinder fits the bill to T. This song has a mass appeal and a sure shot winner in the album.

“Tu itni pagli kyun hai”(3/5) is carried by an earthy tune, melody and expressive singing by Udit and Alka. The song may not appeal on first hearing but will definitely grow on. The mild chorus humming in the background following the main lead adds flavor to the song.

“Chilman uthegi nahin”(5/5) is a highly situational number. This song definitely has a Devdas hangover but we can’t complain Ismail for it because it is for what Ghai has chosen him. The song transcends through different moods and so are the tune, orchestration and arrangements keeps changing. With so many singers singing it is hard to recognize the voices except Hariharan. The song has a nice mix of classical stuff, melody, qawalli and foot tapping folk beats in it.

“Wohi Din aa gaya”(4/5) is a pleasant number with haunting flute dominating the track. It has simple tune backed by soulful rendition of Alka yagnik. There are no much twists and turns in the song and it flows with same tempo and rhythm till the end. The ending with dandia beats, chorus alaps and orchestration is great.

“Aham Brahmasmi” (5/5) is an entirely different song in which Ismail comes out of his Devdas syndrome. The background of the song has full of synthesized rhythms without any Indian instruments. Sukhwinder singh in addition to engineering the sound of this song has sung it with a well controlled voice and he too is refreshing in this song. Each and every note of the song is enjoyable. The fusion of mantras with western music creates a unique sound and that has helped this song to stand out from the rest. Alka is a bit nasal in this song. But somewhere it sounds like Malayalam song. Anyway, we would like to listen to more such numbers from Ismail.

“Kahe ujadi moori neend”(5/5) is again a different attempt by fusing ghazal, modern western and western classical music. This Gazhal has no typical tabla and harmonium in the background instead it has mild synthesized rhythms backing the vocals. The interludes are rich with symphonic orchestrations and percussions.

“Ga-tu aisa dhun mein ga”(2/5) is highly passable situational track. Skip this track. The song may appeal with the visuals.

On the whole, the album is good but not great. I think Ismail gives his best only to Bhansali. The album is not much disappointing either. On contrary, A.R.Rahman has done full justice to his part.

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Kisna Songs