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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Kalyug is heavily borrowed from the neighbors.

The soulful melancholic voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is what you get to hear for the first time the promos appear on the TV for the movie “Kalyug”, the latest from the Bhatt camp.

Lately Bhatt camp has been highly dependent on our neighbors. Be it Paap or Zeher or Nazar, all had some elements from across the border. Good indeed, the gesture is commendable. One of the advantages is that we get to experience their art, music and talent. More over, we develop stronger people to people contacts. And Mr. Bhatt too gets to speak on and advocate more on such issues like peace and mission and culture-vulture.

But for a while, let’s take a break from political desires and diplomatic tactics and concentrate on the music of “Kalyug”.

Released under SAREGAMA label, Kalyug is directed by Mohit Suri, who directed Zehar and is produced by Vishesh Films, the Bhatt’s banner. The CD says its music is done by our very own Anu Malik. No, we aren’t in for any surprise. Sticking to his guns, Mr. Malik has once again done it. Kalyug is a compilation of songs which are not from his studio. Let’s see how.

The album has total 8 numbers and out of which only 3 has been done by Anu Malik. Rests of the 5 are the compositions done by artist from Pakistan. But overall, Kalyug does give you a good listening.

The first track, “Jiya Dhadhak Dhadhak Jaaye”, is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and is composed by Rohail Hyatt and Faisal Rafi and lyrics by Asim Raza. This one number takes you back to the days of Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rahat Ali proves to be a worthy disciple of a great master. The soulful lyric has been perfectly amalgamated with a mesmerizing voice and the number is already a hit. With a Sufi hint, the number haunts you, inspires your soul and takes you to a different world.

“Aadat” is the 2nd number in the album which incidentally is an original composition featured in “Jal The Band”. Sung by Aatif and music by Goher Mumtaz, this number is re-arranged by some Mithun Sharma. I wonder what does re-arranged mean when we have more than one versions of the same number in the same album. “Aadat” is one hunting, beautiful love ballad, with a fusion of western and eastern sounds. Slow and steady, it’s like a potion which takes time to show its affect and once it has taken you over, you get intoxicated.

“Dheere Dheere” is sung by Alisha Chinai and incidentally composed by Anu Malik is a mix of sensuous and exciting sounds. It starts slow and gradually grows on you. Another good number.

“Tujhe Dekh Dekh”, is an extension of “Jiya Dhadhak Dhadhak Jaaye” which is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and is composed by Rohail Hyatt and Faisal Rafi and lyrics by Asim Raza. The tale which started with “Jiya Dhadhak Dhadhak Jaaye” continues with “Tujhe Dekh Dekh”.

“Thi Meri Dastan”, is sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Amit Sana, the runner up in the India Idol race. Music done by Anu Malik, the number is bit slow, with a dragging sound and doesn’t belong to the album. The age factor is clearly apparent in Anuradha’s voice.

Another version of “Aadat” and this time spiced up is next in line. A great number with equally great expressions with a hint of jazzed up sounds – promises to give you a great listening.

Yeh Pal, sung by Nazam Sheraz; this one is the third and the last number by Anu Malik in the album. It may sound repetitive but ultimately ends up keeping the spirits alive as this one’s a perfect club number. Quite groovy at soul, this one is for the foot tapers.

Third version of “Aadat” and this time remixed by DJ Suketu, is the last in the album. Lately too many of them have been following this trend of releasing remixed version of the numbers in the same album and we don’t get to see them on the screen, do we? They are usually made for the promos only. I don’t like DJ Suketu’s work too much and this one wouldn’t have been an exception but since the originality of the composition refuses to die, this one is quite a number and would go a long way.

The album has a considerable age and audience would certainly enjoy it. A must listen for everyone. Go, grab your copy today.

one night @ the call center – a perfect cross over flick substance.

This review comes much later as a result of, partially my busy schedule and partially my laziness to write it. But now I realize that probably this is the most suitable time to write it. I had finished “one night @ the call center” quite a long back. And since then I had been reading others’ reviews – what others have to say about the book.

When I first picked “one night @ the call center”, I was skeptic. Since the hoopla over this new book was subsiding, I thought to give it a reading. And I was in for a thing. Chetan Bhagat was already one book old and had received rave reviews. I was still ignorant about his previous book “Five Point Someone”. And perhaps this helped me to dissect his work objectively, without being in awe of this new writer.

The book is 290 pages long and I really wondered what Chetan had to say about one night in these much pages. After all this was just about one night. But no, this isn’t about a night. This is about the confused, somewhat frustrated, still chirpy youth. This is a story about 6 people who are working together in a Gurgaon Call Center. They have their own lives, so different to each other yet so alike and entwined.

The book opens at different levels. At one level, it is a fast paced story involving 6 people and at a higher level, it’s an inspiring tale, which might give you that push you require to run that extra mile to achieve your dreams. Chetan being a management chap has touched that motivational chord for which these management gurus are known for.

The narrative is, though unstructured, fast and once you pick the book, you would want to finish it in the first sitting – because of the interesting story which keeps you asking for more. The story is about 6 friends who work at a call center as a team. This is a story of underdogs – all of them are fighting with their own share of problems. All of them know that they may lose the battle in the end but the temptation of survival and witnessing the ray of light at the end of the tunnel keeps them going. It’s set in a single night, though Chetan takes de tour at more than one occasion to develop the characters and showing the chemistry between them.

It’s also a story about a love struck couple and their relation, which has broken up after regular ups and downs. It’s also a story which narrates tales of ambitious, restless youth and the compromises on the way to a life style which come with a price tag, a rather costlier one. It’s a story of constant struggle and not giving up.

The characters are such that you’d really want to live their lives, no matter how weak they sound, how wimp they appear. Language – which is actually not at all Queen’s English – is highly induced with slang. In fact, call center workers may feel at ease reading it as this is the kind of language they actually use at their work place. But this doesn’t make this a book strictly for the call center employees. It’s a book which can be read by one and all but it certainly has an age group which would enjoy it. People outside the age group wouldn’t even want to have a look at it. The book’s target audience is confined to an age group of 18 to 25, they’ll love it.

Considering the usual ingredients – romance, flirtations, a sexual encounter, humor, fun, tragedy, melancholy, climax, anti climax, heroism, villains etc. – the story is perfect for a crossover flick with the characters and the way they have been shaped up. I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow someone comes up with a film called “one night @ the call center” and I would be writing a review for it too.

A must read for anyone and everyone between 18 to 25.