One of the best kept secrets in Bollywood was about cricket being central to the storyline of the film ‘Lagaan’. The movie gave the Indian audience its two biggest passions rolled into one, the movie watching experience and cricket.
To add to this was an amazing soundtrack. A blend of Indian folk, semi classical and western classical music, the soundtrack is one of AR Rahman’s best work to date. Javed Akhtar in a fine form with his words and so are all the singers and musicians. The soundtrack won 3 National Film Awards and was the biggest selling Indian soundtrack at the time.
In this week’s Album Talk fellow cowboy Narendra Kusnur and I discuss Lagaan movie’s soundtrack.
Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: The Lagaan movie soundtrack has to be one of the feathers in AR Rahman’s hat. Even the lyrics by Javed Akhtar were highly appreciated.
Kusnur: It was one of the biggest soundtrack at the time. Rahman was at his peak at this stage. Though he started with phenomenal soundtracks like Roja and Bombay, Rahman became a bit repetitive. But after the release of Taal, he had his best run as a composer and Lagaan is one of the movies during that period. This soundtrack was not only critically appreciated but also fared well commercially.
Listen to ‘Mitwa‘
Me: Since the movie is themed around cricket, let me ask you a question.
Kusnur: Your questions make me nervous. But I don’t have any option, ask.
Me: Which only Indian cricketer has scored a 100 on his debut in both the longer and shorter format?
Kusnur: No idea!
Me: Aamir Khan. He hit a 100 in this movie and his ODI 100 in ‘Awwal Number.’
Kusnur: I am speechless.
Listen to ‘Ghanan Ghanan’
Me: Before people stop reading, let’s get on with the soundtrack. The song ‘Ghanan Ghanan’ has an amazing line up of singers. Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, Alka Yagnik, Shankar Mahadevan, and Shaan all top singers with very distinctive styles and voice textures.
Kusnur: It was a group song which the villagers sing while waiting for the rains. It has some superb rhythms played by Sivamani. It wasn’t as popular as ‘Mitwa’ but is certainly one of the best of the soundtrack. Udit Narayan is featured in all the songs and he has been terrific in every song especially ‘Mitwa’.
Me: That song features Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, Alka Yagnik, and this amazing singer named, Srinivas. However we never heard much from him.
Kusnur: He has done a lot of good stuff in the South. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done much work in Bollywood though he had some good songs in the 90s.
Me: It is one of Uditji’s best songs.
Kusnur: The way he builds up the tempo with his voice is totally insync with Rahman’s music and the lyrics are fantastic.
Listen to ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale‘
Me: ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’ is the peppiest song on the soundtrack.
Kusnur: It’s got a lot of folk influences and what can one say about Asha Bhosle’s singing. She’s brilliant as always.
Me: Vaishali Samant is also really good in this song. What are your views about ‘O Rey Chhori’? It has western classical music part too.
Kusnur: Vasundhara Das sings the high notes very well and she has done a good job in this song. It is not one of my favourites on the soundtrack but it’s a very well composed song.
Me: ‘Chale Chalo’ sung by Rahman and Srinivas become a sports anthem.
Kusnur: Ya. As far as the composition goes, no comments but the lyrics are spot on.
Me: Then there is the devotional, O Paalanhaare, sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Sadhana Sargam and Udit Narayan. Sadhanaji making a comeback of sorts.
Kusnur: She is one of the best singers we have ever had but didn’t get as many opportunities as many other singers. There’s a waltz number too.
Me: ‘Waltz for a Romance.’
Kusnur: It is rare to have such a song featured on the soundtrack as usually they are used as background score. Rahman is brilliant in it.
Me: He is pretty proficient in Indian folk and western classical which is evident even in ‘O Rey Chhori.’
Kusnur: That is my pick from this soundtrack.
Me: Mine too.
And for a change we agreed on the same song!
Until next time! Adio Amigos!!