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Ustad Sultan Khan Spoils the mood
Jan 05, 2005 07:08 PM 8153 Views
(Updated Jan 05, 2005 07:08 PM)


What could have been immortal romantic love songs was half spoiled by the emotional bondage between a guru and his shisya. The guru is Ustad Sultan Khan who is the lead male singer of the album ?Piya Basanti? and the shisya is Sandesh Shandilya who is the composer of this album. The booklet given with the CD says, ?The rich, energetic and evocative quality of Ustadji?s voice is a remarkable blends of passion and spirituality and puts him in a different form of music.?

I completely agree with this explanation about Ustadji?s voice. Yes his voice belongs to a different genre of music to which this album doesn?t belong to. Booklet also says, ?Composer has brilliantly used the mature tone of Ustad Sultan Khan with mellifluous innocence in Chitra?s voice to create musical magic.? But my opinion is composer has messed up with two extremely different voices which doesn?t synch well when put together and finally it becomes a musical tragic.

Ustad Sultan Khan

He may be a great singer but his voice is just unfit for the mood of the songs in this album. On the whole, it sounded like a weird romantic ballads between a 60 year old man and a teenage girl. But at some places he sounds good while rendering alaps in the background. Thanks to the lyrics printed in the booklet otherwise I would be hard to understand what he sings, his pronunciation sounds like he has sung the songs while chewing something in his mouth.

I haven?t heard much of his vocals before but heard and heard about his sheer brilliance in playing Sarangi. Composer who says that he pays tribute to his guru by this album could have done something which better uses his Sarangi than his old, overly matured and unromantic vocals of him. The album would have been a great delight if it were sung by Sonu Nigam or Hariharan. This is the major con of the album that troubled me immediately after listening to the entire album.


But there is a big relief which even overshadows the above said con and made me to give the album 4 stars to this album is mellifluous, innocent, soulful, sweet (add as many adjectives as you can) voice of Chitra. Chitra is the true savior of this album. She has done a great job (as always) in rendering songs with perfect expressions, vivid pronunciation and diction and it shows her 20 year experience in the field of singing. Be it any emotion she can bring it in her voice effortlessly. Especially he is relieving when she repeats the Ustadji?s lines where shows the extreme difference between the voices and its suitability for the mood of the songs.

Sandesh Shandilya

Except for the choice of Ustadji?s voice, Sandesh Shandilya has done a good job in giving rich, soulful romantic melodies. The fusion and the harmony of strings from east and west uplift the song and its melody. Of course there is a rich fusion in the songs. The bass guitars backing and piano interludes with tabla beats for folk songs, western beats with tabla beats with Indian strings, saxophone with Sarangi and Hindustani alap, the guitar strokes with Sitar and brief flute piece added at apt places are the ingredients enriching the fusion element in the music without disturbing the earthiness, nativity and Indian ness of the songs.

A melody succeeds not only when it gives the right emotions out of it but also when it sets a sound of pleasant ambience in it. These melodies have such rich sound and feel. It is all like romantic ballads between couples roaming in hill resorts enjoying their honeymoon along with the beauty of the nature. The rustic flute, dolaks and tablas which sets the right ambience and the harmony of strings Sitar, Veena, Santoor and Sarangi adds divinity into it.

There are also folk and celebrative songs intermittently placed to stops us from falling asleep after slow soft songs. Sandesh has got a good style of composing (quite similar to M.M.Kreem) and I wonder why he didn?t make into mainstream bollywood, may be he is not comfortable in doing run-of-mill stuff. On the whole, the music scores but the Ustad fails in this album.

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Piya Basanti