Monday January 22, 2018

Breathless (Music review), Indipop – Shankar Mahadevan

Posted by Karthik

Taufiq Qureshi’s gradual build-up in the percussion really kick-starts Tu paas hai beautifully. Shankar’s handling of Javed Akhtar’s lovely lines, by extending each line without a break is a neat touch before he opens the melody with the ‘Harpal yahi’ connection. There’s some fantastic guitar work for the interludes, even as Shankar’s tune for the antara too being so good! Taufiq effortlessly works his magic in Jane kya hua too! Shankar’s tuning of Javed Akhtar’s reminiscing verses in staccato sentences is really catchy, closing with the almost-Bhajan’ish kumbaya!

Tere khayalon se‘s exotic sound is perhaps owing to its possible use of the Middle Eastern’ish Vakulabharanam raaga and the music is early Rahman-style, complete with a pulsating ‘Deewana’ interlude. Mano ya na mano is an early sign of the music that we eventually came to identify with the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio! The sound is still very Indipop of that late 90s, but the racy desi tune is very reminiscent of what the trio produce so often. Koi nahin hai‘s desolate sound and lyrics combination takes flight when Shankar splendidly reaches for the higher pitch with the ‘Ik gehra dukh’ line! That ad-jingle style ‘Woh din bhi kya the’ interlude is an interesting diversion before closing the song with classy violin backdrop!

Ghul raha hai‘s melody is really affecting and pleasant. It seems to me like Mohanam raaga and it gets even better with the Pahadi-style interludes. The album’s magnificent achievement is, of course, Breathless! Transcending the gimmick of breathless, non-stop singing, Shankar produces a highly engaging Yaman Kalyan raaga based melody and adorns it with some scintillating music that keeps the sound steady and unwavering, to prop the breathless idea. Breathless—the concept and the tunes—was ahead of its time in 1998 and also seems to have aged very well, 20 years later!

Credits:
Composer, vocals, arranger: Shankar Mahadevan
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Guitar solos: Rupert Fernandes and Ehsaan Noorani
Percussion: Taufiq Qureshi
Bass: Karl Peters
Music co-produced by Indrajeet and Parikshit Sharma
String arrangement – Shiv Mathur
Engineered by Shantanu Hudlikar

Keywords: Breathless, Shankar Mahadevan, Javed Akhtar, 300, #300

Listen to the songs on Saavn:

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