Hello, my name is Roger (really Rajeev Kripalani) at (fill in the name of any multinational multi-gazillion dollar American corporation that is making use of the strong dollar to provide cost effective customer service to people in America…whew). Please don’t let my faux American accent throw you off or disturb you in any way. Sure, I talk like a stereotypical American cowboy, but hey you understand me right? You know what I’m “sayin”? If I’m “lyin” I’m “dyin”! OMG, FYI, I am here to help you and show you the subtle ways of Ghandigiri. So, tell me your problems? Wait, did I tell you that I want to visit America some day? But, just a visit…for India is rocking right now! What’s that? You don’t say rocking over there in Amrika…er…I mean America? Well how about…mind blowing? No? Hmmm…ok…so let me tell you a little something, before I answer your questions. I work during the night. My shift starts at nine p.m. and goes on till three a.m. at which point my friends and I head to a nearby bar to hookup! Yeah man, it’s awesome. I sleep during the day, take American English classes and get paid an obscene amount for someone who still lives with his parents. You know what that means don’t you? PARTY!!!
What? You say that you have a problem? Technical Support? Customer Service? East or West, India is the best! But first, let me tell you about the fun and catchy soundtrack for Hello by fun ‘n’ perky music directors Sajid-Wajid. The movie is based on the best selling novel, “One Night at the Call Centre” by author Chetan Bhagat (Played in the film by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, that’s Simon Cowell to you) that follows the lives of six individuals working at a typical call center. Call centers have created a sub-culture in India, as youngsters suddenly find themselves with a lot of disposable cash, hookups between married/unmarried people are common and dreams of an American lifestyle in India become a reality. Bet you didn’t know all this is going on behind the scenes of your call for help! Directed by Atul Agnihotri (“Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha”), “Hello” transforms the novel from the written word to the moving screen.
Hello? Hello yaar…er…I mean friend! Don’t tell me your problem yet. First let me tell you a little bit about Sajid-Wajid, who bounce back with this soundtrack after the dismal “God Tussi Great Ho”. The music directors responsible for last year’s mega hit “Partner” are back in fine form joined by Jalees Sherwani who provides the lyrics. Yeah…yeah…I know you have a problem, but by the end of this conversation you’ll see that “Hello” is a pretty catchy soundtrack with some gems on it.
This call may be recorded for quality control, as long as I, your friendly neighborhood operator Rajee..er I mean Roger can maintain the quality of my answers. Here, let’s listen to the first track off the soundtrack, “Hello Title Track”. It’s the perfect backdrop to the hectic craziness of the call center. Hey, I know, why don’t we combine a call center with a club? That way, I can answer your call, drink a peg…umm..I mean six-pack, and dance to the tune of this track. What saves this from mediocrity is the musical arrangement, which is slightly familiar, yet fresh enough to keep the listener interested. Yeah, let’s grind baby! Staccato dance beats combine with ringing bells and synth effects for cool background music, but nothing that would make you really hit the repeat button in any way. Vocals by Wajid, Suzy Q, Ishq Bector, Herchelle, Merlin and Tim are good and they really try best, but somehow fall a bit short. Check out the remix “Hello Party Mix” for a livelier version of the song. This one won’t help me solve your problem in any way, but please listen to it while I put you on hold.
Ok, while the R.A. (Resident American) is on hold, let’s move on the next track which is the best of the album, “Rab Ka Banda”. This hypnotic song, immediately grabs the listener by the ear and pulls them into the ambience created by the Sufi-trance beat. Sonu Nigam, Zubin Garg, and Sundhi Chauhan provide the memorable vocals that express the wonderful lyrics by Jalees Sherwani. This one is not to be missed. Add it to your playlist immediately and hit that repeat button for a track that will enchant you.
WAKE UP! Ok, let me look up your account and see what’s going on. I may or may not be able to answer your question, but I guarantee to try my best. Okee Dokee! Next up is “Mitwa Re” which is not for the jaded listener in that on the surface it may seem like a by the books romantic ballad that relies on a melody that invokes the feeling of rustic India. Sure it does all that, but the singing by Shaan (excellent as always) and Sadhna Sargam combines with a fresh musical arrangement to really melt even the most jaded of hearts. The lyrics by Jalees Sherwani may not be too deep, but they fit the mood that the melody is trying to convey. Mitwa may be one of the most over used of words, but this track hits the heart the right way. Worth adding to your playlist for a short time, but don’t expect to be listening to this track a few months down the line.
Look, I can’t see what your problem is, so I’m going to get my manager Samir Dave…oops I mean Samuel Davidson to come on the line and say, “Yo, what’s up?!?”
Ahem, hello! How can I, Samuel (but you can call me Sam) help you? Oh yes, I see what your problem is, but before I suggest any superb out of this world OMG advice, I feel compelled to tell you about the next track on the album, “Caravan” which along with “Rab Ka Banda” is another standout on the soundtrack. The lyrical depth is provided by Jalees Sherwani and makes the listener move with emotion. The singing is top notch by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan whose exotic pronunciation of the word caravan really grabs the listener. Sajid -Wajid hit a high note here by letting this track breathe without feeling the need to over orchestrate. Now, don’t get so upset, I’m trying to help you; can’t you feel the spirit of call center Bollywood? That’s right, you’ve got to understand, here in India we do things a bit differently!
Dil pe mat le yaar….haath me…er…I mean, don’t take your problem to heart sir, it’s going to be perfectly okay as we are here to solve your problem! Next up on our “Hello” audio journey is what should be considered the call center national anthem what with all the different hookups going on. After all, put a bunch of apna desi youth together in a room and mix it up like samosa chat and you have all the makings of a tasty masala bhel mix! “Bang Bang Bang” is a stadium rock anthem with guitar licks and riffs that are perfectly made to cash in on the rock craze that has been triggered by the success of “Rock On”. Salman Khan gyrates on screen to Sajid’s rocking voice and this is one of those trashy tunes that will have you bopping your head while hitting the repeat button.
All in all, the album has some standout tracks worth adding to your playlist for a month or so before you send them to that great big deleted song list in the sky. Add “Rab Ka Banda”, “Caravan” and “Bang Bang Bang” to your playlist, enjoy them for a while and be thankful that the next time your call to customer service goes through, you are helping the economy of apna great India! Ahem, sir, I thank you for your call, sorry I couldn’t help you, but Bollywood calls, and I am off to become the next Shah Rukh Khan! I, Samuel Davidson aka Samir Dave am signing, over and out.