Monday, October 8, 2007

"No Smoking" - Music Review

“No Smoking” ..Pretty unusual name for an Indian name right …then imagine if Anurag Kashyap had gone ahead with the first choice, “Cigarette Smoking is injurious to health”..People would have seen the poster and thought it’s an ad by John Abraham. Thankfully thats not the case.

There’s actually a big story behind this unconventional movie, as to how Anurag had to struggle to get a producer for this movie. You can read his complete struggle in his website Anurag Kashyap's diary. It’s really disheartening to see that our producers are only up for making loads of money and not really making meaningful cinemas. This is the reason why we get mediocre movies which still become hit, thanks to some item numbers which satisfy the front benchers. Take a look at few responses he got when he approached some big time producers with this story (names concealed for obvious reasons) :

” Go back to the planet you came from”
“Try and get a movie release first, get a star, make a movie, ”
“you are talented, why are you wasting yourself over such absurd films”
“tell me something more intelligent”
“too bizarre”

His belief was “dus baar deewal mein sar maaro…deewal kabhi tho tootegi”. And so he kept on trying till he found Vishal Bharadwaj, who agreed to produce the film as soon as Anurag read the story to him. Naturally Vishal also took on the role as music director and delivered songs which go well with the mood and the setting of the movie. Now lets digg into the songs..

"Jab bhi Ciggaret" is a super cool song for me. A smooth jazz with apt rendition by Adnan Sami. You can’t help but notice Gulzar saab’s brilliant touches here and there or may be everywhere.

Lambe dhaage dhuen ke
Saans silne lage hain
Pyaas udhti hui lagi
Honth chhilne lage hain

Shaam hone lagi hai
Laal hone lagi hai

Genius…One has to get high to appreciate the mood and lyrics of the song..hey don’t take it seriously haan :)..Gulzaar depicts the state of mind of a smoker sooooo clearly, that it makes me wonder if he ever was in that situation before ;). I guess its just talent.

The jazz version reappears as a trance version in the end sung by Sunidhi Chauhan..Just like in Jab we met remixes, this song is a complete transformation from the original and feels like a different song. The saxophone loop is replaced by a guitar loop here. This song sure does have a haunting feel to it. A good song, a different song belonging to one of the unattempted genres of music in hindi, I would place it besides the title track of Johnny Gaddar.

"Phoonk De" has Rekha Bharadwaj singing it in a very familiar style which we’ve heard in Omkara. Quite easily I can imagine Bipasha when hearing this song and I believe she is doing an item song in this. The tone of this song is once again dark, gloomy and mesmerizing, with nice electronic beats usage on a bhangra base. The word ‘phoonk de’ is pretty addictive. Again brilliant lyrics by Gulzar..

Aas paas kuch nahi jee udaas hai zara
Dard sabz hai abhi mujhko raas hai jara

Hayaat phoonk de
Hawaas phoonk de

Saans se sila hua libaas phoonk de

Actually the entire song has amazing lyrics describing a man totally drowned in smoking…Gulzar you are a genius. Sukhwinder’s version of the same song comes again in the end, with different musical setup, a bit more pacy..mostly like a background song.

After 2 dark songs, “Kash Laga” comes in as a “smoke-free, fresh air zone” type of song. When I was listening I could make out Sukhwinder’s voice, but couldn’t make out Daler’s voice, even when I knew it was him singing. Amazing variation in voice. Vishal’s voice however sounds like a school kid singing amidst music teachers :). Gulzar is once again at his best in the lyrics department.

Ye jahaan faani hai
Bulbula hai paani hai
Bulbulon mein rukna kya
Paaniyon pe behta jaa

It’s a joyful song, like a celebration. I like it for the lyrics and rendition, not so much for the music.

Vishal once again tries to create an eerie effect with the next song "Ash Tray"…I feel I’m surrounded by smoke listening to it…dhuan dhuan…somehow when he says yeh ash tray it feels awkward and forced in the song…Just being the nature of the song, one can totally concentrate on the lyrics and find the sparkling poetry of Gulzar

Na haath daalo
Ki waqt se chheele hue lamhon ki raakh Garam hai
Waqt se chheleey hue lamhon ki raat narm hai

Wah wah …It’s sung very sorrowfully by Deva Sen Gupta, which means he’s done full justice to the song.

Kudos to the team – Anurag, Vishal and Gulzar, in coming up with a daring album and a bold movie. They are making films which they believe in, and we know that there aren’t that many in this industry. Its not appropriate to compare this album with any of the other soundtracks released this year. Not even with Johnny Gaddar, as that was a more upbeat, retro feel music. You have to be alone or in a calm place to enjoy this music, especially the lyrics. This has its own charm, uniqueness, sadness and for such an experimental subject, it’s an incredible soundtrack. I wish Anurag all the best for “No Smoking” and hope he continues making meaningful movies, no matter what happens.


Anonymous said...

Nice review. Looks like you've enjoyed every line of every song. Now more eager to check them out.

Anonymous said...

Nice review, but I can never understand why you give the scores that you do. You said nothing negative about it, so why the 3 and half stars? What do you like better about Jab We Met that would make you give a 4? Just wondering...

Sirish said...

A very good point. Actually rating a music album is the toughest job and I'm trying my best to be very fair than other reviewers. When you look at No smoking, its an excellent album, with doing full justice to the theme. All songs are great, but there are just 4 songs in the album and 2 remixes, whereas in Jab We Met there are 6 songs, 3 remixes and 1 instrumental. You can see that more effort has gone into making that album, which is understandable as the subject allows for a musical unlike No Smoking. Also JWM has more chartbusters than NS. Believe me, I think a lot when I rate albums. If you noticed I rated Taare Zameen Par 4.5 stars. It deserves it.

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