Producer: Pooja Bhatt
Reviewed by Anish Khanna
After composing the score that was on everyone's lips last year and then winning the Filmfare Award for it, expectation were VERRRRRRRRY high for music director Uttam Singh's next score. Now, we have "Dushman", Uttam Singh's first venture into music direction since hitting the limelight. Personally, I was very worried about this album as Uttam Singh had been quoted in several magazines saying that the involvement of the production team of this film (i.e. Pooja Bhatt et al) in helping him create the score was minimal, and that Mr. Singh was not used to working under such conditions. Well - Mr. Singh, Ms. Bhatt, and I can all heave a huge sigh of relief, as "Dushman" is easily on par with yet different from "Dil To Pagal Hai" and even Mr. Singh's underrated 80's "Waaris".
The big gem on this album is "Chithi Na Koi Sandesh", which appears as two different solos by Jagjit Singh and Lata Mangeshkar respectively, and which you will find yourself playing and re-playing and then re-playing some more. Both singers display an incredible amount of vocal expression, emotion and clarity that elevate this superbly written number to become one of the best - if not THE best - we will hear this year.
One of Uttam Singh's strongest advantages is that he has been arranging music for several different composers (most notably Ram-Laxman for both "Maine Pyar Kiya" and "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun") for many years now. The man is well-versed in taking a well-written tune and providing just the right kind and number of background instruments in order to create an amazing finished product. This is highly evident in Lata's duet "Pyar Ko Ho Jane Do" with Kumar Sanu, where the instruments for the most part are kept to a minimum, and both the beat of the tabla and the lilting strains of the piano are used to perfection.
Lata's second duet, "Aawaz Do Humko" with Udit Narayan, appears in two different versions ("Happy" and "Sad") and both singers are at their best here. After Vishal, here is another composer that knows how to compose a song worthy of Ms. Mangeshkar.
"Tunna Tunna" is a sharabi number sung with slurrring gusto by Shankar Mahadevan. I did get a bit tired of the "Tunna Tunna" chorus, but the melody and lyrics make up for that.
"Chidiya Chidiya" is a cute children's song that will make you smile.
"Hippy Happy Ya" at first was what I considered the thorn in this album. After listening to it a few times, however, I realized that the number which has some really "intersting" English lyrics is meant to be ridiculously funny, which it does succeed at. It is something different for Mr. Singh, although I do not really care to hear any more songs in this genre from him in the future.
The last song on the album is "Khoobsurat" by Kumar Sanu, which is a soft romantic solo extolling the virtues of Kajol's beauty with another great melody and musical arrangement.
Overall - this CD is definitely leagues ahead of what we have heard so far this year. Some of the lyrics by Anand Bakshi are so good that they sound as if Javed Akhtar secretly wrote them. Uttam Singh proves that not only was his Filmfare Award well-deserved, but that there are at least a couple of more Filmfares in his future. The buzz on this film has been good of late, and apparently producer Pooja Bhatt, debut director Tanuja Chandra, and Kajol (in a double role) are supposed to be in top form here. If the album is any indication, then this film will definitely be one of the highlights of 1998!
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