Article Updated 16 June, 2006 08:52:30 PM IST
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
By Abid 2006
We welcome you to the most thorough music review of one of the most awaited movies of the second half of 2006; Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'. It comes from one of the biggest production houses, that has in the recent past given us 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham' (both directed by Karan), 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' (directed by Nikhil Advani) and 'Kaal' (directed by Soham Shah). As the music of all the four was grand, apart from of course the movies (barring 'Kaal'), the expectations from 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' assume mammoth proportions.

Before we analyze the 7-tracks, there are two things that one notices. The bonus feature which is 'KANK- The First Look' (playable only on a PC) and Karan Johar's inspiration behind making the movie (His first after his father Yash Johar's demise in 2004).

Titled 'Director's Note', it goes like this:

There are three kinds of married people. First, there are those whose marriages are arranged. I've never quite understood that, but 'I'm sure they know what they're doing. Then there are those who fall in love and marry their soul mates. These few, I believe are the most fortunate people in the world. And lastly, there are those couples that marry for their parents, for money or play it safe and marry a friend. These are the most unfortunate ones in the world ... and they don't even know it. Until one day, riding the fast train of life they run into their soul mate and are faced with the hardest question of all. What do you do when you meet the love of your life and you're married to someone else? What do you do? What do you do?

Back to what we are here for, let us listen to the first song or more appropriately the title track, 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna', featuring Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik. Soft piano notes begin the proceedings, as Sonu croons to Javed Akhtar's mind-blowing lyrics -

"Tumko bhi hai khabar, Mujhko bhi hai pata, Ho raha hai juda, Dono ka raasta door jaake bhi mujhse, Tum meri yaadon mein rehna, Kabhi alvida na kehna, Kabhi alvida Naa kehna." Alka soon join hands and the two make one float in ecstasy as the music (simple and melodious) and lyrics (simple and effective) combine to become a lethal, intoxicating and a heady mix.

There is no doubt that the title track in discussion surpasses that of 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' (though it may open a Pandora's box!) in more ways than one. Sonu is more seasoned and professional here and the lyrics, though conveying separation don't become morose. One does get a lump in the throat. So for the emotional type, please have your tissues ready at hand. And we have added that bit so that we aren't blamed of (not) cautioning the listeners!

All good things must come to an end and so let us move on to 'Mitwa', a track that has been loved, even by Karan's detractors! Featuring Shafqat Amanat Ali, Shankar Mahadevan and Caralisa. Soft guitar/'veena' strokes and Caralisa singing "Love will find a way", welcomes Shafqat Amanat Ali (lead vocalist of Pakistani band Fuzon) with his magical voice singing "Jaaniye, Heeriye, Mere man ye bata de tu, kis ore chala hai tu, Kya paya nahin tune, Kya dhoond raha hai tu ... Mitwa, Kahey dhadkanein tujh se kya, Mitwa, Ye khud se to na tu chupa." It is a soul searching song, that implores the main protagonist not be indecisive/dual minded and go ahead and do what the heart and mind wants!

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, son of Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, is one of Pakistan's most distinguished classical pop vocalists and shows why he is what he is, with a stunning rendition (in the company of the highly talented Shankar Mahadevan). At times they combine so well that it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two (especially during the crescendo).

To sum it up, 'Mitwa' is a fusion of Western instruments/orchestra with traditional Indian instruments like 'sitar' and 'veena'. A true 'East-meets-West' composition, trying to follow the path of Yehudi Menuhin-Pt. Ravi Shankar collaboration of the 60s.

The start of 'Mitwa Revisited' (SEL & Indrajit Sharma) is somewhat different from 'Mitwa. This version is obviously pacier. But SEL and Indrajit have not played around with the voice of Shafqat Amanat Ali, though Shankar Mahadevan's classical 'alaaps ' have somewhat been turned to semi-broken vocals. The beauty of the original remains intact, though we prefer 'Mitwa' to 'Mitwa Revisited'!

After two stunning masterpieces we run into the youthful, rhythmic and racy 'Where's The Party Tonight'. The dance floor number commences like a typical UK Indi-Pop composition but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy take over and do their own thing. Sung with gusto by Shaan, Vasundhra Das and the lesser heard of the SEL trio Loy Mendosa (in a semi-rap style). Shankar Mahadevan does add his bit with a slightly classical 'O Sajna', more in the background. Javed Akhtar, shows his versatility as his English lyrics go "Dance with me baby, won't you dance with me all night, won't you party, party, party..." The song embodies the spirit and the lifestyle of today's youths and as it has been picturized on Abhishek Bachchan, it will definitely appeal to the target audience. Some would like us to compare it to 'It's The Time To Disco" ('Kal Ho Naa Ho'), well they are two different composition, though for similar situations. But parallels should not be drawn.

Once again we move to a soulful, sedate, piano dominated number 'Tumhi Dekho Na'. The entire team of the lyricist, composers and singers (Sonu and Alka) are in top form in this soft romantic number. The song will appeal more and more with each subsequent hearing, as the simplicity and beauty of Javed Akhtar's lyrics (combined beautifully with SEL's background bead sounds), "Tumhi dekho na, Yeh kya ho gaya, Tumhara hoon main, Aur tum meri, Main hairaan hoon, Tumhein kya kahoon, Yeh din mein hui kaise chandni."

The talented trio of 'Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy' gave us the rocking 'Kajra Re' in 2005 and they are back, with another rocking composition, appropriately titled 'Rock 'N' Roll Soniye', rendered by Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan and Mahalaxmi Iyer. Finally, the song featuring the megastar Amitabh Bachchan is here! The hilarious, yet melodious composition, incorporates lyrics from yesteryear hits like "Sar par topi laal, Haath mein resham ka rumaal, Ho tera kya kehna" ('Tumsa Nahin Dekha' - 1957). It may well be Javed Akhtar's tribute to the original lyricist, the late Majrooh Sultanpuri! All in all, it is a fun 'n' frolic number that will cheer up Karan Johar's intense drama and will come during the lighter moments of 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'.

The album concludes on a very sombre mood with 'Farewell Trance' (by DJ Shane), featuring Shweta Pandit and Caralisa. While trance mix is quite popular in the West, it is a new concept for India, though it has some presence in Goa. It can be classified as sort of semi-instrumental version of mainly the title track 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'. The track commences with soft 'jaltarang' and crackling thunder sounds and later some pacy lovely piano notes, orchestra, woodwinds, bass guitar and flute takes over. The pace is breathtaking but the piano dominates! Caralisa appears with some profound thoughts - "No distance is too great, for your memory to live on ... you and I will live on in our dreams ... Never say goodbye." Shweta is mainly for background crooning. A very haunting piece indeed that is quite different from the usual so-called instrumentals, though this one is more of a trance mix, as we have already specified.

On the whole, the 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' album is notch above 'Kal Ho Naa Ho', slightly better than 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham' but a shade below the audio of 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'.

Why it scores over the other recent biggies like 'Fanaa' and 'Krrish' (that our friends have accused us of bringing down!) is due to three simple reasons. All the 7-tracks are original, the compositions and the quality is consistently good throughout the album and not restricted to just a couple of tracks. Last but not the least, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have not rehashed their own tunes. Grab it and watch it owning the charts before the month of June ends!

Rating: 8.5/10
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