Lal Baadshah

out of

Producer & Director: K.C. Bokadia
Music: Aadesh Shrivastava
Lyrics: Maya Govinid, Shyam Raja, and Gohar Kanpuri

Reviewed by Anish Khanna

lalb.jpg (22261 bytes)Aadesh Shrivatsava has been trying for quite some time to gain a foothold in the Hindi film music scene. Although he has had several hits and composed some great albums (case in point: "Humko Ishq ne Mara"), the spotlight always seems to be avoiding him. Mr. Shrivatsava finally hits bigtime this month with what is arguably his first big banner score and what will probably be his acid test - "Lal Badshah". This album is definitely a mixed bag. Sometimes Mr. Shrivatsava is so adept at blending the right mix of melody, lyrics, and singers, and weaving a perfect song. Other times, however, he just falls flat on his face.

First off - I am SICK AND TIRED of hearing Sudesh Bhonsle do his Hijra-esque singing impression of Amitabh. Ok, it worked in "Hum" and even in "Mrityudaata", but come on!!!!!! Yes, Amitabh is not the best singer in the world, simply because his baritone is too deep to properly carry a tune. There are other heroes, however, who are in the same boat as well. That is why God invented playback singing in Hindi films. Now, if we just have playback singers mimic their more famous counterparts, wherein lies the point??? Sudesh sounds very flat in "Koi Hai Dil Dene Wala", and ruins an average number just as Asha Bhonsle was in the process of turning it into an above average number.

Sudesh does sound slightly (and I mean SLIGHTLY) better in "Dhano Ki Aankh Sharabi Laage", the song that is being played all over the trailers of the film. When I first heard it on the trailers, I wasn't too impressed. Fortunately, the song does have repeat value. It really has some great instrumentals, some nice, playful lyrics, and beautiful singing by Anuradha Paudwal. If only it didn't have Sudesh overdoing the hijra bit... Oh well, you can't have everything.

"Dil Ki Dhadkan Bole" actually uses a different playback singer for Amitabh's voice!! Thank heavens for Udit Narayan. After a double dose of Sudesh Bhonsle, Udit's refreshing vocals are a welcome surprise. He is joined by Alka Yagnik and briefly by Sapna Awasthi, and all three singers are in top form here.

"Ishq Ki Aankh Mein" sees the return of the late 80's/early 90's crownprince of playback singing - Mohammed Aziz, before the era of Kishore clones began. Mohammed was definitely the best of the Rafi clone triumverate (the other two being Shabbir Kumar and Anwar), but all of a sudden he disappeared into oblivion. He returns here and shows that he still has the goods in this qawwali number. Anuradha Paudwal is not credited on the inlay card, but she joins him here. The song itself bares a little too close of a resemblance to "Yeh Hain Pyar" from "Rajkumar" for my comfort, but I am willing to forgive Aadesh, simply because he brought Mohammed Aziz back.

"Talah Kholde Chabbi Se" is for you if you dig the rustic, husky sound popularized by Ila Arun and performed here by Sapna Awasthi. Personally, I find this style vulgar. Sapna is joined in the end by an unidentified male voice which almost sounds like Amrish Puri. Is every star now planning on doing playback for himself?

"Mera Munna Jab Jawan Hoga" is in the league of "Tu ne mera dhood piya hai" from "Aakhri Raasta", except that in the film it is Amit and Manisha instead of Amit and Jaya Prada singing to the baby who will grow up to look just like his father. The song itself, though very pleasant, is nowhere near the haunting melody of its predecessor. It's interesting to note that the inlay
card credits Alka Yagnik with this song, but it's actually Anuradha Paudwal along with Udit Narayan. Both singers do their job well here.

Just when you thought you had got over Sudesh Bhonsle and forgotten him like a bad cold, he returns to do his mimicry (I won't even call it singing from now on) in "Ek Dinak Dinah Din". The song itself has some rather creatively funny lyrics, but I just couldn't get over Sudesh enough to enjoy it. Aadesh Shrivatsava could have saved money by just paying a hijra from the street to do Sudesh's job, if that's the sound he was looking for.

Overall - the album has some winners but more losers. This is not at all the strong score that Amitabh needs to have in his next release. Already, the trailers look rather funny, with Amitabh nanaji romancing twenty-somethings Shilpa Shetty and Manisha, and now we have this score. Nanaji has to start watching his moves a little more closely from now on. As for Aadesh - my advice to him would be to keep trying, as he does show some glimmer of talent. He also needs to realize that he has a beautiful wife sitting at home (Vijeta Pandit-Shrivastava) and a sister-in-law (Sulakshna Pandit), both of whom are excellent but neglected singers who could help boost his scores. He could save the money he pays Anuradha and Alka, and actually afford to get a real male voice for his hero's playback, but please - NO MORE SUDESH!

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