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Music Review - Life In A Metro

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Director: Anurag Basu
Starring: Shiny Ahuja, Shilpa Shetty, Kay Kay Menon, Sharman Joshi, Gautam Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kangna Ranaut, Irfan Khan, Dharmendra, and Nafisa Ali
Music: Pritam Chakraborty
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri, Amitabh Varma, and Sandeep Shrivastava
Singers: Soham Chakraborty, K.K., James, Suhail Kaul, Pritam Chakraborty, and Adnan Sami
Audio On: Sony BMG

The music in Life in a Metro, as the title may hint at or justify, is very western and very urban though a couple of songs have a distinct Indian flavour.  The music of Life in a Metro is already a big hit with the young ones and its huge success is evident from the top ranking it has been receiving in the charts recently. This all-male album does not feature duets or solos featuring any female singer.

Pritam Chakraborty has formed the Metro Band which has played for this film (and they appear in various junctures of the film too) and has also played the guitar and provided back up vocals for the songs.  The four-member band along with Pritam, comprises of talented Bangladeshi singer James (Faruk Mahfuz Anam), Suhail Kaul and Soham Chakraborty.  Niladri Kumar, credited as the creator of the Zitar (a modified sitar) has played the instrument for the songs in the film and done a splendid job.  

Over the last few years Pritam has been accused of music plagiarism for a number of his recent compositions – which include hits from films like Dhoom, Chocolate, Garam Masala, and Woh Lamhe to name a few.  However, to play devil’s advocate, he is not the only music director who has been inspired - some of our earliest and most respected Indian music directors have based some of their biggest and most popular hits on Latin, American, European and Middle Eastern originals and haven’t we just loved those songs!

Alvida sung by KK – he starts off really soft and then takes the song through to its resounding refrain of Alvida – poignant and profound and straight from the heart as he says goodbye – KK is proving to be a very versatile singer who can now sing any genre of song with élan and ease.  

Alvida reprise is sung by James (Faruk Mahfuj Anam- a well known and very popular rock musician from Bangladesh who sang the hit number Bheegi Bheegi from the film Gangster).  James sets the mood for the song and lets his passionate version peak in a very raw and angry culmination conveying a sense of helplessness and undeniable irrevocability to the parting.  

Baatein Kuch Ankahee Si  - Adnan Sami sings this soft and melodious number –Sami is controlled and has a great feel for the song as he serenades and croons away!   A stylish composition, which grasps the attention of the listener almost immediately!

Baatein Kuch Ankahee Si  by Suhail is the unplugged version of the song – the effective use of the harmonica and guitar give this song a unique flavor. Suhail is a very gifted singer and is bound to go places with his soft and soothing voice.  Both versions seem to be well composed and are melodious and easy on the ear.

In dino –which is the biggest hit of the album has lyrics by Syed Quadri and vocals by Soham Chakraborty. It is one of the best songs of the film –with an obvious Indian flavour that pervades the song – in an album that is otherwise very heavily into soft rock and very western in essence. Soham has done a great job with the emotional and heart rending lyrics with his high pitched and at the same time full throated singing. The song has shades of a few recent hits which are similar in style – in fact, the meter for the two lines ‘Hai tujhe bhi ijazat, karle tu bhi mohabat' are very similar to the line from Pakistani singer Waqar Ali's song ‘Mera naam hai mohabat’ -'Do dilon ki ijazat, ‘Mera naam hai mohabat’.  Another of Pritam’s inspirations?

Kar salaam – sung by Pritam, Soham and Suhail – a confused mishmash of folk and rock and seems to be the motivational song of the film and fails to impress or enthuse!

O meri Jaan – has an original and reprise version sung by KK and Suhail respectively – pleasant enough but not really engrossing or too remarkable.  

Rishtey sung by James – a slow moving and maudlin song – impressive in parts because of the range and power that are evident in James’ vocal cords as they effortlessly glide and soar between the lows and the highs.  

Of late, many songs from recent Hindi films have been inspired by the soft rock genre of music and this seems to be one such album.  Its strength is that it has three or four songs that are really well sung and have great lyrics and music arrangements – and its weakness is that is that at some point, the music starts sounding repetitive and this is not helped by the number of reprises, remixes or revisitations that abound in the album which are not nearly as impressive or effective as the originals are. But they might fit in, possibly in context to the title and theme and the song situation and perhaps appeal to those who prefer to dance or listen to western pop!

(Sudha has been with Saptaswar, a music group with a cause since her move to the US from Chennai in 2001, and has performed with Saptaswar for a number of fundraising music performances for various charities. Sudha has also been giving private Karaoke performances in the New England area and has also performed in other venues in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Missouri. )

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