Pardesi Babu

out of

Producer : Kulbhushan Gupta
Director: Manoj Agrawal
Music: Anand Raaj Anand
Anand Raaj Anand & Sudhakar Sharma

Reviewed by Mohammad Ali Ikram

Manoj Agrawal's maiden directorial venture, Pardesi Babu, is promised as a Raj Kapoor style picture.  With a star cast headlining Govinda, Raveena Tandon (looking better by the hour) and Shilpa Shetty, the film has a lot going for it.  If you have seen the pleasant trailers for the film, you are probably already in line for the film.  Anand Raaj Anand adds to the anxiousness; the multi-talented wonder provides us with semi-funky and memorable tunes with easy on the ear (but by no means magnificent) lyrics and even croons a couple of chart toppers for Pardesi Babu (with an Abhijeet-like voice).

Anand Raaj Anand's first vocal effort on the album, "It happens only in India", is a sort of sequel to Judwaa's "East or West India is the Best", but because Anand's voice is far better than that of Anu Malik, this song easily scores over the earlier 'Twins' effort.

My favourite song in the album, "Nazuk Nazuk Halki Phulki Ladki Hai Ya Kaali Kawal Ki", has pretty unusual (and arguably uninspired) lyrics, but it is more infectious than my allergies.  Anand leads the vocals again, but is this time supported by Alka Yagnik and Aditya Narayan.   In the five days I have owned this album, I must have heard this song at least twenty times.  Now if only the director can think of a novel way of picturizing it.

Seven singers (Udit Narayan, Preeti Uttam Singh, Altaf Raja, Ramkishan, Jeetendra, Poonam Bhatia, Bhavdeep Jaipurwale) contribute to the Qawaali "Jaave Sajana Main Nahin Karna Tera Aitbaar".  And it is not a lie when I say that the extra vocals only add to your enjoyment of the song.  More pronouncedly, you will also notice the sharing of musical stanzas between different tunes here.  (Though not necessarily true, this sharing of bars of notes always implies to me that an extra effort has been made by the music director when creating a musical score.)

Udit Narayan proves he is currently the most talented male playback singer by simply yet perfectly singing the life-themed tune "Kuch Khona Hai Kuch Paana Hai".  No over-singing or over-emoting, it is a simply worded song with very effective singing;  the perfection is highlighted in the context of the film's previews.

Thankfully, Kavita Krishnamurthy returns to full form by rendering both "Kya Hai Pyaar Bataao Na" and "Pada Jeena Tere Bin Meri Jaan" without fault.  This talented female singer has been virtually over-shadowed by Alka Yagnik and the talented newcomers we have seen in 1997 and 1998, as music directors had been using Kavita for all the wrong songs of late.  To her rescue comes the former tune (a duet with Udit) , which uses her to full benefit in the musical octaves where she is most pleasant to listen to.  The latter song, which has Seema Anil Sehgal joining Kavita and Udit, appears to be an ode to the difficulty of heart brake (or maybe love triangles).  Kavita shines as does Seema's support in the background.

Anand Raaj Anand's tunes for this film are definitely better than the over-praised mulch he served up in Major Saab.  Thankfully, the film does not have one excellent tune in the midst of mediocrity;  all the songs are consistently good.  Give Pardesi Babu a few listenings; it is an album which, as promised, comes "Straight from the Heart".  Whether it is able to touch yours will depend on your tastes.

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