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Music Review - Hanuman

Ranjani Saigal

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Cast: Mukesh Khanna as the voice of Hanuman
Direction: V G Samant
Production: Sahara One, Percept Picture Company
Music: Tapas Relia

Animation and modern music promises to appeal to youngsters. In is obvious that composer Tapas Relia has youngsters in mind as he puts a new touch to golden oldies like the Hanuman Chalisa .  It is not a trivial task to bring a contemporary touch to devotional music and I think the composer has done a fine job with “Hanuman”.

The track opens with a grand orchestra consisting of no less than eight singers. In this song titled “Mahabali Maharudra” Vijay Prakash, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Palash Sen, Kailash Kher, Madhushree, Sneha Pant, each a celebrity in their own right, pull their weight in this song to make it an opulent piece of music. Lyricist Satish Mutatka has done a fine job. The Vedic chanting interspersed with the music gives it a wonderful effect.

Kailash Kher and Shankar Mahadevan’s fine vocalization adds a wonderful touch to the next track “Jai Hanuman” that succeeds in making this a not-a-run-of-the-mill bhajan.

Akdam Bakdam is bound to be a hit with kids.  A very entertaining number sung by Shravan who sings the song in a real cute voice. Quite a high paced song it highlights the games that 'Hanuman' played as a kid and his mischief and pranks Shravan sings the best track of the album 'Akdan Bakdam' that has been designed specifically for the kid.  Don’t miss the rap in Hanuman’s life!  The musical form of “Hanuman Tandav” is often considered a predecessor to rap anyway!

The track Jai Bajrangbali keeps up with the modern trend of using English words in Hindi. This song sung b by Kingshuk Sen and Palash Sen  is really cute and another song that will appeal to kids."Destroying The Ashok Vatika" and "Bridge Across the Ocean," both rendered by Vijay Prakash, compliment the overall tempo of this daringly different compilation.

What is a track on Hanuman without the famous Tulasi Das composition – Hanuman Chalisa? The Chalisa has been rendered by musical geniuses from all over the world including M S Subbalaxmi, Rajan Sajan Mishra, Hariharan and others. Each has brought their unique ideas to it.  This composition is certainly one of the finest works of Saint Tulasidas. Thanks to Hanuman ji being a Ishta Devata for Hindus all over the world, the Chalisa is probably one of the most familiar verses in the world.

So how does one make this oft presented composition contemporary? Credit has to go to the wonderful musical arrangements that alternate between fierce and subtle, a tribute to the Lord himself who some times takes on a “Bheema Roopa” or fierce form to attack the raskshasas or a “Sookshma Roopa” , a subtle and respectful form in front of Mother Sita.  Nandini Rashmi and Vijay Prakash have sung the piece very well.

Over all it is a nice album.  Children may enjoy it very much. The composer, lyricist, musicians and singers have done a nice job in trying to do something new with devotional music.

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