Yuvvraaj - Review by Desipundit.com

EVEN IF I DIDN’T KNOW THAT AR RAHMAN was behind the album for Subhash Ghai’s upcoming Yuvvraaj, a glance at the track listing would have prompted me to pick it up instantly, if only for these seven words in unholy communion: Salman Khan with the Fifth of Beethoven. How can anyone not want to see what this is about, this musical analogue of Govinda starring in a film by Satyajit Ray? The piece (titled Main hoon Yuvvraaj) kicks off with the famously dramatic four-note fortissimo phrase, played twice, and then Salman’s voice – affected and accented as ever – chimes in, first to introduce himself as the eponymous character, and later to request the composer’s forgiveness. “Maaf karna Beethoven saab,” he simpers, “they think I’m a bad guy. Yeah right, I am a bad guy.” There. If you were wondering how Ghai was planning to bounce back into big-budget filmmaking after the earth-shattering bomb that was Kisna, it’s by placing a Hindi actor with a faux American twang in the middle of the work of a German composer interpreted by a Tamil music director. How’s that for Bollywood going global?

Main hoon Yuvvraaj is just the starter, it would appear – a sampler morsel of the delectable East-meets-Western Classical feast to follow. But as of this writing, my stomach is still rumbling – even after a couple of passes through the entire album. The initial impressions are that the songs feel too fussed over – too much icing, not enough cake. Rahman is a composer who can sound “different” in his sleep, but here it appears that he’s trying to be different, that the attempt to be different is no longer unconscious and organic but a product of the wielded will – and the effort shows. In Tu meri dost hai, soaring lines of melody swoop down startlingly in the first antara, as if suddenly experiencing the effects of gravity, or else, as in the second antara, they seem to have their course rerouted by a sly tonic shift. The results are interesting to note but hardly ingratiating. Tu muskura is the album’s loveliest tune, but it rests on an alarmingly monotonous rhythm section powered by a tinkly-tambourine synth. And for all its tragic aspirations, Zindagi has the weight of spun sugar, harking back to Rahman’s early years with vaguely pleasant pop ballads that vanished like vapour even while you were listening to them.

The anthemic Dil ka rishta, the playful Mastam mastam (which sounds like a composite of Rahman’s own I am sorry and Alle alle from One Two Ka Four), the dance-ready Shano shano – these did nothing for me at all, and what saved the album single-handedly was Manmohini morey. This is one of those classical tunes dressed up in western clothes – like Alaipaayuthe kanna, from Alaipaayuthe, where Rahman retained the traditional tune of the Oothukkadu Venkata Subbier composition, but tweaked the background ever-so-slightly to render it contemporary. Even the synth stylings that cocoon the composition are entirely one with this piece, not merely backdrop but backbone. There’s not much in terms of lyrics here – and the words that open the song, Lat uljhi suljhaa jaa re baalam, have been rendered earlier on stage and in film by the likes of Noor Jahan and Pandit Jasraj – but what few lines there are, Gulzar imbues with the kind of erotic imagery he reserves for Rahman. (Their earlier collaboration, Jiya jale, spoke similarly of the aftermath of lovemaking. And speaking of Gulzar, this has got to be one of his least characteristic efforts – “pairon mein paatal hai” in one of the songs was the closest I got to a fingerprint.)

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Abhi-Ash to sing for 'Raavana'

Finally, it's gonna be the sensational couple before the mikes at recording studio of A.R. Rahman. Yup! Abhishek and his wife Aishwarya Rai would be rendering their voice for a song penned by Rahman himself in Mani Rathnam's 'Raavana'. Earlier, we had our Modern Day Mozart penning those poignant lyrics and tuning them for Mani Rathnam's 'Lajjo'. The film was supposed to feature Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles. Due to busy shooting schedules of these actors, technicians and Mani Rathnam, the project has been prorogued. Perhaps, it was supposed to be Aamir and Kareena singing this song and now the chance has been hop-skipped to Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.

Getting on with this, Rahman has said, "Some of the songs in 'Lajjo' were off same musical backdrops, so we could shift them into Raavana. Of course, it's very rare as this doesn't happen all the time. Working with Mani Rathnam keeps refreshing me with new innovative thoughts".

Shooting for this bi-lingual flick is fast approaching on all schedules and plans are to release it by mid of 2009.

News Courtesy: IndiaGlitz