M.M. Kreem vs. Shantanu Moitra Round 2
Round 1 - A round that was highlighted by ingenuity and passion. It was a round that showcased filmi music at its best. But there could only be one winner…one victor. Everyone has taken their side and voiced their opinion, and it is without doubt that Shantanu Moitra’s Parineeta emerged victorious. M.M. Kreem’s Paheli, however, was nothing short of great music. Kreem’s foray into the land of Rajasthani folk opened our eyes to this man’s unrestricted talent and relentless pursuit for the highest of quality.
Kreem’s defeat was not the result of poor composition. Rather, the uncertainty of something new and the task of composing against one of India’s unsung heroes and the Industry’s undiscovered musical genius, Shantanu Moitra.
But we must brush our shoulders off and pick up the baton once more. As another page is to be written in the musical saga of M.M. Kreem and Shantanu Moitra. Next up, Round 2 - Kreem’s Kasak vs. Moitra’s Yahaan.
The music of Kasak…
Amongst all the “biggies” that have released in the past month, one small film peaks into the theatres. Kasak features Lucky Ali (after Sur) and Meera (after Nazar). Those of you who follow music behind the scenes will remember that the last time Lucky Ali and M.M. Kreem hooked up we were blessed with one of the most remarkable masterpieces ever created, Sur. With Kasak, however, Lucky Ali takes on only part of the vocal load, as a wide range of other singers join him.
Once again, for those of you who follow filmi music behind the scenes, will notice a name that would normally not fit with an M.M. Kreem compilation, Sameer. Yes, we know that no one should be underestimated and discarded and what not, but does Sameer really belong in a Kreemy album? And what’s more interesting, is the reason behind why Kreem put aside his favorites, Sayeed Quadri and Neelesh Mishra, to work with a rather ordinary and over-used lyricist. As the answer to this one escapes me, let’s see if Sameer can find it within himself to live up to the class and reputation of Kreem’s music and Lucky Ali’s renditions.
From the first piece, Jaana Hai Jaana Hai, and throughout the album, Kreem makes a complete U-turn from his previous Rajasthani offering, as this one is more signature Kreem. Kreem is known to repeat the songs that he feels are his best. Jaana Hai Jaana Hai is presented in three versions and does carry the tag of “No. 1.” Each version has its own vocalist and a slight variation from its predecessor. Lucky Ali’s piece is truly a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. Jagjit Singh makes a rare filmi appearance after his offerings in Chausar. His rendition and Kreem’s variations make this more of a quick ghazal that works! Some may say that Madhushree’s reprise is the best due to the richness of her voice. Moreover, the addition of the saxophone also enriches this marvelous composition. Sameer surprisingly does find it within himself to go beyond the usual to compliment the freshness in the composition. A traveler, unknown to the wretched paths that lay before him and ambiguous of what to expect. He has only one identity…to continue.
Saansein Madham Hai is vintage Kreem. We got it all here, from melody to music, from vocals to lyrics…this one’s a complete package. All I have to say is Shreya Ghoshal, and you know that you’re ears and soul are in for one musical joy ride. Whether it be Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai (Jism), Guzar Na Jaaye (Rog), or Dheere Jalna (Paheli), Shreya Ghoshal has always broken into new grounds in Kreemy compositions and she continues the trend here. The haunting piano and ice-cold play of the flute liquefy to create a seductive rhythm for Shreya’s impassioned rendition. This track scores on three levels: Rhythmically/Musically, Vocally, and Melodically. Once again, Sameer rises above expectations to zealously pen a beautiful song.
Like I said, Kreem will always repeat his favorites (which tend to be the masses favorites). Bechainiyon Mein Lamha starts off with the second verse of the previous track. This two-minute reprise is simply amazing from all aspects! I feel as if I’m robbing you of your listening pleasure by trying to capture its beauty in words. Kreem gets behind the microphone to render that same gorgeous melody that Shreya had the privilege of singing. You’ll never see Kreem take a single shortcut while composing his music. Here, in his rehashed version, he wipes the score sheets clean and creates new music for himself to render, only adopting the play of the piano from the original. Kreem infuses so much energy into his rendition, that only after repeated listenings can you begin to truly appreciate the finer nuances of this piece. Note the mysterious female voice that shadows Kreem throughout the song, finally ending it with a truly authentic touch.
Chandni Hai Khoyee Khoyee is the one piece that completely fails. Kreem’s lack of creativity and Sameer’s clichéd and hackneyed lyrics pull this number way down. The singers are only as good as the song they are given. The talent of Lucky Ali and Anuradha Paudwal had nowhere to shine in this song gone wrong. There really isn’t much more to say except for this song will definitely leave a scar on this otherwise sublime soundtrack.
Next up we have Main Na Jaanu Kaisi Kasak Hai. With the potential possessed by M.M. Kreem, this song could have been better orchestrated. However, it still carries with it the class and uniqueness that a Kreemy title track should have. First off, Gayatri Iyer makes a rare appearance in an M.M. Kreem number. Easily one of the most underrated singers in the music industry today, she delivers a powerful performance once again. Her accented vocals suit the somber composition nicely. Kreem regains his lost musical creativity but is unable to come up with a catchy melody that was evident in the beginning of this soundtrack. Sameer does a much better job in writing than he did in the previous piece but he can’t continue the trend of quality with which he had written Jaana Hai Jaana Hai, Saansein Madham Hai, and Bechainiyon Mein Lamha. All in all, this is a good song, but one that gets tiresome after repeated exposures.
M.M. Kreem, Lucky Ali, and Sunidhi Chauhan - All were immortalized in the unforgettable music of Sur. I have the honor and privilege of introducing them to you once again in Yeh Zindagi. What do you think…do you think it’s humanly possible to ever reach the unimaginable heights of Aa Bhi Jao again? Most probably not. However, Yeh Zindagi is a beautiful piece that uniquely portrays the love that two people share for each other in song. The songs roots are very similar to those of Kreem’s earlier classic Tu Mile Dil Khile (Criminal). I don’t have to tell you that Lucky Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan share a special chemistry and that their voices just seem to hover over the Kreem’s music ever so gently. The tabla intertwines with the western rhythm to create a smooth flow of soothing music. Sameer stays within his conventional boundaries once again, but manages to deliver the lyrics that this type of piece requires.
Todh Diya is one of the best songs of Kasak and ends this soundtrack on a very high note. Composed and rendered by M.M. Kreem, the piece is very different from anything you’ve heard before. Its class stands in its uniqueness. Kreem doesn’t try to do too much with the music and that works to his advantage, as this song could have easily been too loud and too strong. Kreem’s emotional rendition is balanced perfectly by his control over his voice. Anyone could tell that this melody was tactfully crafted to fit into its mournful genre of pyar ki saza and dard-e-judaai. Sameer does a wonderful job with his pen. It must be noted that Sameer has accelerated in the genre of sad songs in the past few years, and I can back that up with this gem of a song. Todh Diya is a great way to end an overall impressive album.
It looks like Shantanu Moitra has his work cut out for him as he looks to answer M.M. Kreem’s polished composition. It’s hard to say whether Kasak is an improvement over Paheli simply because the music is nothing alike. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, you just can’t do it. But I’ll go out on a limb and say that Kasak will find more takers (if it’s marketed properly of course). Except for Chandni Hai Khoyee Khoyee, every song has lots of value, some more than others. Kasak is far from the heights of Parineeta but then again, can Moitra himself match the towering standards that he’s set for himself?
Kreem and Moitra sit beside one another awaiting the judges’ score. Kreem’s score is revealed - 8.5/10. It’s difficult to tell if Kreem is satisfied with his score since he’s done better in the past. Nonetheless, the pressure falls on Shantanu Moitra. Can he follow a masterpiece of an album with something similar…can he take round 2 as well? Let’s see…
Note: Please visit Planet Bollywood’s Music Review of Yahaan to find out the results of Round 2.