The Indi Pop era had a glorious run in the 1990s which unfortunately ended at the turn of the century. One of the last hit albums from that era is Adnan Sami’s Kabhi To Nazar Milao.
Adnan collaborated with the legendary Asha Bhosle on a collection of love songs on this album for which he composed the music too. The album became an instant success and reportedly sold 4 million copies.
After a couple of failed attempts, I finally got fellow cowboy and musipedia Narendra Kusnur on the call to discuss this album for this week’s Album Talk.
Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: All the songs on this album were composed by Adnan Sami.
Kusnur: He had worked with Asha Bhosle earlier for a Pakistani film called Sargam. A couple of songs in this album were also used in the movie.
Some other songs were from his earlier album called Badalte Rishte in which Asha Bhosle had sung four songs. So this album is more of a compilation of these two. In India, Adnan Sami was relatively unknown so the marketing focus initially was on Asha and then it shifted on him.
Me: The first single was the title song which was a huge hit.
Kusner: It was a hit largely due to Asha but of course people recognised Adnan Sami’s voice too.
Me: The video was also pretty good.
Kusnur: Yes it was and then they started highlighting Adnan Sami as the fastest pianist in the world, I don’t know what that term means. He played the electric piano and had done a classical-fusion album with Ustad Zakir Hussain in London.
Me: He was based in London right?
Me: Pakistan origin man who lived all his life in London and Canada and is now an Indian!
Kusnur: Ironically his birthday is on 15th August.
Me: Coming back to the album, this one is a very well balanced one.
Kusnur: It has a mix of ballads and fast songs. His ballads were hugely inspired by R. D. Burman. This is evident in the ballads on this album like Bheega Mausam, Barsaat, Pyaar Hai and there is one more, Pyaar…
Me: Pyaar Bhi. He has used a lot of falsettos too.
Kusnur: He has that husky voice to carry it off like R.D. But R.D. sang in a husky voice only when singing in Hindi.
If you listen to his Bengali songs, he sounds completely different. This apart, all these songs were wonderful compositions. But due to the video the title tracked was the biggest hit.
Me: The other release, Lift Kara De, also had a good video with leading Bollywood star viz., Govinda.
Kusnur: It worked as it was an aspirational song. People identified with the lyrics as everyone aspires to live a good life. Some songs work on this factor, like Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe from Dil Chahta Hai.
Me: Mehndi Masala was aimed at wedding parties.
Kusnur: Yes, they had used ‘morsing’ in this song. There is one more song Dholki aimed at the wedding parties.
Me: I don’t remember this one.
Kusnur: It is probably the only weak song on the album. The album had a good mix of duets, wedding songs, ballads, and peppy songs.
Me: Also a couple of unplugged versions, Kabhi Toh Nazar Milao and Barsaat.
Kusnur: I think he did the unplugged version of Barsaat later.
Me: I remember it as I had seen him play the unplugged version of Barsaat on some music TV channel when they actually broadcasted music. Nowadays, well let it be.
Kusnur: According to me this album was the last of the good ones in that phase of Indi Pop. The other good album that was released after this was Kailasa by Kailash Kher.
Me: Because it had a fresh sound.
Kusnur: There is an interesting story related to Kailasa.
Gather around simpletons, the cowboy is telling a tale.
Until you do, Adios!