Sonu Nigam had a quiet year
Friday, December 29, 2006 14:30 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
by Subhash K Jha

What a sad year for the ear. Very few soundtracks stood out. And the once that did, did so only for a few tracks.

It was more individual singers making an impact than an entire album. Sunidhi Chauhan rocked the charts with Beedi jalay le in Omkara, arguably the most successful item song before or after Kajra re.

Isn't it ironical that Gulzar, a poet known for his immensely profound images just sizzled at the top of the chart two years in the running, first with Kajra re in 2005, and now with Beedi in 2006.

Gulzar saab also gave us the most beautiful love ballad in 2006....Humko maloom hai ishq masoom hai/dil se ho jaati hai ghalatiytan/sabr se ishq mehroom hai in the film Jaan-e-Mann.

If you heard better love lyrics in 2006 let me know.

Sunidhi who ripped through Beedi did a searing ballad, Humko choone paas aayiye in the underrated Zindagi Rocks.

Interestingly the two bong-shells Bipasha and Sushmita for whom Sunidhi sang Beedi and Humko choone both have declared Sunidhi's hand in making them appear larger-than-life on screen through the two songs.

So has Sunidhi arrived at a stage where she gives sublime succour to actress' image? Not quite. Her Yeh mera dil for Kareena in Don left much to be desired.

Strangely, despite her stunning versatility, Sunidhi failed to be the first choice for the heroine's voice. That mantle is moved a bit more away from Alka Yagnik to Shreya Ghosal who sounds like an incredibly accomplished singer in the Barso re megha track in Guru. Aishwarya frolicking in the rain helps. But A R Rahman now shows clear signs of filmy fatigue.

Among the older singing divas Asha Bhosle was in peak form in Lamha lamha in Corporate. Such was her rapport with Shamit Tandon that she got together with the composer at year-end to whoop it up in Asha & Friends with celebrity-'singers' like Urmila Matondkar, Sanjay Dutt and Brett Lee. Gimmicky marketing devices don't always mend the music market.

Among the other seasoned singers Alka Yagnik did a soul -stirring job of the title song in Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna. But in this soundtrack it was the Pakistani crooner Shafqat Amanat Ali who stole the show.

Voices from across the border echoed in Sufi-rock splendour once again throughout 2006. Onir's Bas Ek Pal had Tere bin by Atif Aslam...the new pinup crooner on the block threatens to take over from the Udits and Sonus of our singing world.

And there was Zubin winning over the entire nation with Ya ali in Gangster, Pritam's straight-off rip-off of a number from across the border.

Dhoom 2 had Vishal Dadlani singing a new interpretation of a song Pritam had already done in the first film in the series.

Made you wonder whether originality had become a dinosaur. Our own singing experts Sonu Nigam and Udit Narayan had a quiet year. Kunal Ganjawala fast caught up with them with Tere bin in Bhagam Bhag.

A uniformly hearable soundtrack? Yes, Anu Malik's Umrao Jaan had some soul-piercing Mujras written with sophistication and simplicity by Javed Akhtar and rendered with surprising finesse by Alka Yagnik.

Though the tunes had a pronounced derivative dimension to them, this was perhaps the only soundtrack this year with a heart.

...Unless Chand sifarish jo karta hamara in Fanaah made its way to your heart. A tall order since it blended Sufi-rock elements with roadside-romeo rhythms in a mix that made time fidgety.
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