After the music release of Inkaar given to us by a great modern composer in Shantanu Moitra (and one guest composition by Shamir Tandon), the mantle is now handed over to another master of his art, M.M.Kreem. Whilst he mainly concentrates on South Indian music, it is still such a privilege to see this old school maestro return to Bollywood after giving us some classics in the previous decades including soundtracks like Sur, Saaya, Jism, Rog, Kasak etc, all fantastic in their own right. Unfortunately of late he has failed to keep up with the latest shifts in Bollywood music and so has seen a decline of opportunities which is a huge shame given his talents. But with a new year beckons new hope and M.M. Kreem returns for the forthcoming âSpecial 26â directed by Neeraj Pandey. Can he make an impact?
The opening lines of âTujh Sang Lageeâ are evoked by M.M. Kreem himself marking his return to Bollywood in a very touching way. The song itself is a soulful breezy romantic with music based on the classic dholak / harmonium melody that gives the song a catchy feel. M.M. Kreem adds further traditional instruments in the interludes but doesnât experiment too much so it feels quite old school but somehow it doesnât grate which is a good sign. What helps of course is M.M. Kreemâs choice of singer - put simply K.K.âs rendition is fantastic in every way! The old motto âClass is Permanentâ rings true here with an on form K.K. singing the chorus loop of âTujh Sang Lageeâ to great effect. Are you taking note music directors? Lyrics by Irshad Kamil are also strong. Beware the song can get very addictive with repeated listening - simply irresistible stuff from the maestro!
Iâm only guessing that a Punjabi tune was required for the film because suddenly we have an unexpected guest composition from Himesh Reshammiya called âGore Mukhda Pe Zulf Di Chaavaâ . Without riling his fans too much the song rings a bell from somewhere although maybe thatâs because all these Punjabi songs sound alike. Anyway, itâs not a bad effort when you give it a try particularly with the host of talented singers on show including Aman Trikha, Shabab Sabri and Shreya Ghoshal. Can we get back to M.M. Kreem now? Thanks.
A wonderful piano commences the slow but superbly composed âKaun Meraâ which has a nostalgic feel of yesteryear. What follows are various orchestral instruments dovetailing (with the piano) beautifully one after the other including a flute, viola and others. Chitraâs voice is so powerful it will give you goose bumps and sheâs only singing at low octavesâŠamazing! Unfortunately M.M. Kreem cuts the song short at under three minutes which is a shame. But thankfully there are two alternative versions of the song later in the album, one is sung by Papon where M.M. Kreem gives it a modern feel by adding strings and beats at the core. Judging by this performance Papon is certainly a master of the low octaves. Last but certainly not least we have a âstrings onlyâ version sung by Sunidhi Chauhan who just melts your heart with her sublime voice. The music is serene, mesmerising and eerie so you are left wanting more. A lot more. How about full extended versions Mr M.M. Kreem sir?
The maestro continues to impress with âMujh Mein Tuâ which follows on nicely from the previous song and while itâs definitely livelier the composer breaks away from traditional music for this one and adds a modern vibe including electric guitars. Keerthi Sagathia is a superb choice here because he makes you feel every emotion from Irshad Kamilâs heart-breaking lines. This is a singer so talented he deserves more opportunities in the future. M.M. Kreem sings a reprise version of this song later utilizing just strings and of course it sounds absolutely stunning. Itâs all about expressing pathos again so feel it...
The final song, âDharpakadâ is definitely unusual for a M.M. Kreem song and also for this soundtrack. Most likely to be used in the film this happy go Bappi Lahiri song all the way. Letâs wait for it to feature in the film.
The soundtrack marks a fine return of M.M. Kreem to Bollywood but sadly it's unlikely to be a permanent one. But we should all rejoice in its beauty. Fans will agree that a particular strength of M.M. Kreem is his ability to express pathos effectively through his music, it simply ran through many if not most of his songs and thatâs exactly the impression you get after listening to Special 26. The music is powerful, soulful yet old school and while the composer has tried to modernize elements of it, the whole album just feels like it belongs to a previous era. That can be a good thing but regretfully it can also imply other negative things as well. Fans will certainly lap it up but deep down it will also hurt to know that we might rarely see this great musician compose for Bollywood again which is a huge shame because he delivers some mesmerising tunes here. That's the hallmark of Mr M.M. Kreem. And it will live with us forever.