Planet Bollywood
Kismat Konnection
Producer: TIPS
Director: Aziz Mirza
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla, Om Puri, Vishal Malhotra
Music: Pritam
Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed and Sayeed Quadri
Singers: Adeel, Akriti Kakkar, Alka Yagnik,Atif Aslam, Hard Kaur, Mohit Chauhan, Neeraj Shridhar, Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, Suheil, Sunidhi Chauhan
Audio On: TIPS    Number of Songs: 11
Album Released on: 25 June 2008
Reviewed by: Samir Dave  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
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It’s summertime! Time for the mood to be light, the warm rays of the sun to wash over you and time for love to bloom like a rose (cue Bollywood style mandolin and cheery chorus ala “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”). It is time for innocent and not so innocent love. It is a time for rebirth and a time to gain some brownie points on the Karmic scale. One would say, that it is a time for a “Kismat Konnection”.

Last summer we had “Jab We Met” which fanned the flames of the lovey dovey set and catapulted the careers of Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor through the stratosphere. It’s a shame that in real life the couple in question broke up just prior to the release of that film. While the hype surrounding Kareena as the second coming in Bollywood has been doused by the disastrous “Tashan”, it’s now Shahid Kapoor’s litmus test, to determine if he can carry a film on his shoulders. The spin masters in Bollywood are notorious for creating and undoing relationships between the two leads of a film in order to generate public interest in the film itself. “Kismat Konnection” is no exception as the gup chup going around is that Kareena broke off with Shahid because he was in the midst of an affair with (drum roll please) co-star Vidya Balan. One thing is for sure, it’s a fresh pairing and it will be interesting to see how experienced director Aziz Mirza (“Chalte Chalte”), who is back after a long hiatus, is able to portray the two supposedly real life love birds.

So we have fresh love, a fresh pair of lead actors, a hopefully fresh director with renewed creative energy, but what about the music director for the film? Well, faithful PB readers, Aziz Mirza and the Taurani brothers( TIPS,the producers) have roped in none other than “fresh” faced Pritam to compose the music for the film. Pritam has been quiet of late, with very few releases this year (as compared to last year), his last being the superhit soundtrack for “Jannat” and before that “Race”. It seems that this music director whose music always sounds a bit “familiar” is trying to take on less assignments in order provide better quality soundtracks. Unfortunately Pritam continues to be dogged by the stigma of being a copycat who doesn’t have any originality, but let’s forget that for a moment and focus on his strengths. He is probably the best arranger/remixer in Bollywood today. No one else can capture the fresh youthful spunky funk of his tunes. Let’s face it; he’s the one to go to if you want catchy music that will get the youthful masses running to your door. So, it’s a wise choice that Mirza went with Pritam, especially considering the chart busting success of last year’s “Jab We Met”. So will this simply be JWM redux? Read on…. read on…. and perhaps your heart will skip a beat as you feel that summer love magic.

Last year’s summer anthem was the classic title track from “Bhool Bhulaiya”. I happened to be in India at the time, and no matter where you went, the track was being played all over the place. You know the song is a hit when auto rickshaw drivers are singing it while they are driving alongside Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai. Can Pritam pull a repeat? I think he almost has with the first track, “Aai Paapi (Tu Hai Meri Soniye)”, which could very well be the anthem for the summer of 2008. Immediately and immensely likable upon the first listen, the song gets into your head and won’t get out! Pritam has created an infectious melody with a repeating set of keys throughout the song and synth “bloops” and “bleeps” that add depth to the funky stomp hip moving percussion. The music director has roped in Neeraj Shridhar (former lead singer of the now defunct Bombay Vikings) to provide the stellar vocals, as his voice is perfectly suited for songs in this genre. Lyrics by the ever-dependable Shabbir Ahmed are straightforward and direct with a hint of naughty playfulness. I dare anyone to stand still to this as even I who am no “disco dancer” found my feet moving. The promos showcasing Shahid Kapoor’s dancing and Vidya Balan’s glancing is quickly gaining popularity on the music channels. Play this one loud, and feel the “Kismat Konnection”!

If you felt the funky love with the first track, then you’ll feel the sensitive heart skipping a beat kind of love’s desire with the second track, “Bakhuda Tumhi Ho”. This one is a soft rock romantic ballad, and the vocals are by the king of this genre, Atif Aslam. The singer, whose quivering voice makes the girls shiver in anticipation, does what he does best as he effectively conveys the whispers of the heart. Joining him on this track is Alka Yagnik, as Pritam continues his track record of giving veteran singers another chance to shine. She delivers an adequate performance but her voice is bit too mature for a youthful song like this. It’s Atif who realizes the true scope of the melody, as it is his song all the way. Instrumentation is kept sparse and light with the main driving force behind the melody being the strumming guitar heard throughout most of the song. Shahid has gone on record as saying this is his favorite song on the soundtrack, and I would have to agree that this is one of the best tracks on this album. Lyrics by Sayeed Quadri are sensitive and poignant. Watch for this one in the coming months to burn up the charts as a promo video has already been filmed. It must be Karma for the listener, as your loved one will feel a “Kiss-mat Konnection”.

Before you fall into the whole kismat/destiny thing with your potential loved one, don’t forget that first you have to “Move Your Body Now” and get down and…ahem…dirty first. So, after the sensitive soul searching of the second track, the soundtrack takes it to another more physical level with this track that seems to be tailor made for some bumping and grinding on the dance floor. The track starts out with the strangely likable masculine-feminine vocals of hard-core U.K. rapper Hard Kaur (who shot to fame after her excellent singing on the “Johnny Gaddar” soundtrack). From there a staggered hip-hop beat is accentuated by the strong point of the song, Shaan’s vocals. Nothing conveys youth more than Shaan’s smooth voice, and he adds just the right amount of pep to the track. Akriti Kakkar (past winner of Sa Re Ga Ma and last seen on the soundtracks to “Red”, “Namastey London”, and “Shaka Laka Boom Boom”) complements Shaan’s vocals very well. The strength of the track is the memorable rhyming structure/rhythm of the vocals. Shabbir Ahmed provides the requisite “deep” lyrics for the song such as, “…kudi to lagdi hai naughty…” and “…freaky..freaky…raat ho gaye…”. Don’t mind the second version of this song found later on the album, as singer Adeel doesn’t sound siginificantly different from Shaan to change the nuances of the song. Pump up the volume on this one as you groove to the dhoom of “Kismat Konnection!”

Once you’re done sweating on the dance floor, and you are gasping for some romance, you’ll be more than ready to listen to the excellent fourth track, “Is This Love (Kahin Na Laage)”. The track is simply irresistible to the ear. It’s a perfect combination of soft pop music with lilting vocals and the catchy chorus singing the refrain, “…is this love…” at just the right moments. Vocalist Mohit Chauhan (of Silk Route fame) attempts to recapture the magic of his track, “Tum Se Hi” from “Jab We Met” and proves that he should be getting more opportunities to sing for apna Bollywood films. Shreya Ghoshal provides the sultry yet fragile vocals and matches Mohit Chauhan in a romantic jugalbandi that can warm up even the coldest of hearts. Lyrics by Sayeed Quadri add depth to the romantic momentum generated by the melody. Light the candles as you dance comfortably close to this magical tune and say to your potential loved one, “This is love and kismat!”

The next track is probably the weakest of the set, but at least Pritam is off the hook, since, “Soniye Ve (Dhak Dhak Dhak)” is a pretty straightforward Bhangra track that sounds so familiar that it could be mistaken for any of the hundreds of songs in this genre that listeners have heard throughout the years. There’s really not much to say about it. Bhangra fans will like it, but it fails to capture the manic energy of “Nagada Nagada..” from “Jab We Met”. Sonu Nigam gives an average performance as does Sunidhi Chauhan, and both singers seems bored singing along to this by the numbers bhangra track. Before you start cursing Pritam though, be aware that guest composers Sajid-Wajid who have in my opinion, a tendancy to provide average music, compose this one. The only saving grace for this track, will be if the video in the film is shot really well and raises the bar for the music, otherwise forget this one and go back to “Move Your Body Now”. Perhaps this one isn’t a connection, but rather a “kismat mis-konnection”!

The next few tracks are the now standard end of album remixes that have become a staple of the Hindi film music diet. DJ Suketu shows restraint in how he remixes the various songs and keeps the melody intact while adding the requisite synth arrangements and beats. Slower tempo tracks are always hard to remix, as some DJs will speed them up until the song is almost unrecognizable. Not this time though, as the soft rock tempo is kept and the music is only slightly tweaked for ““Bakhuda Tumhi Ho””. Next up on the remix parade is the already club-tastic “Aai Paapi” with heavy techno beats that are tailor made to make your feet move. The third remix is of the up-tempo track, “Move Your Body Now” and the (pardon the pun) hard-core elements of Hard Kaur are given emphasis by Suketu. A down tempo subtle and well-done remix is next for the track, “Is This Love (Kahin Na Laage)”, which is just an enjoyable as the original. The remix set is rounded off with a really poorly done reconstruction of “Soniye Ve (Dhak Dhak Dhak)” in which a Punjabi Bhangra track has it’s dhol percussion track surgically removed and replaced with some yawn inducing generic Euro dance drum programming.

“Kismat Konnection” is an enjoyable album (sans the Sajid Wajid track and disposable remixes) that sounds like it could have been titled, “Jab We Met 2”. Just like the summer, it’s warm, youthful, naughty, and full of love. It’s obvious that Pritam has spent some time and effort on his songs and I can see “Aai Paapi (Tu Hai Meri Soniye)” and “Bakhuda Tumhi Ho” scorching the music charts. Time will tell whether this film will add to Shahid Kapoor’s popularity, but one thing is for sure, Pritam has another hit soundtrack on his hands. The album’s a perfect backdrop for that sweetest of emotions…. summer love. Don’t fight it and you’ll find yourself scoring some extra karmic love points by giving in to this “Kismat Konnection”!

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