Back in the 90s when indi pop was rising in popularity, a singer was keen to release his first album. The said album had a sound which neither indi pop nor Bollywood had explored so far. The songs were about a wanderer in search of love, sung by a young man dressed in denim with rugged looks and soulful eyes. Nothing about the album was conventional. The man is Lucky Ali and the album ‘Sunoh.’
‘Sunoh’ was a path breaking album in many ways. The mushy songs, written by Lucky’s friend Aslam Noor, were liked by both the sexes and across age groups. The album made Lucky Ali a star and won him many awards including the Best Pop Male Vocalist in the 1996 Screen Awards and the Channel V Viewers Choice Award (1997).
To know about his views about the album, I woke musicpedia and Bandra cowboy Narendra Kusnur from his afternoon siesta for this week’s Album Talk.
(no, I was not jealous of the fact that he was enjoying a slumber while I was in the office.)
Note – Language maybe changed to meet publication’s requirements.
Me: ‘Sunoh’ was one of the epic albums of that time
Kusnur: It came out in 1996 which was a crucial year for indi pop. In 1995 Alisha Chinai, Daler Mehndi were huge and in 1996 Colonial Cousins and Lucky Ali became stars. There were other artists like Suchitra Krishnamoorthi and Shweta Shetty too but these 2 were very big. For ‘Sunoh’ Lucky had approached a few companies but none were interested. Finally Cresendo agreed to release but asked him to make the video for ‘O Sanam.’
Me: It was a fantastic video. Shot in Egypt by Mahesh Mathai. Maybe the costliest video of that time.
Kusnur: Ya. To promote the album, Cresendo had fixed an interaction with the press. The press release stated ‘a new singer and Mehmood’s son’ so I ditched the event.
Me: You didn’t go? Abhi ulta ho gaya hai. Lucky doesn’t come for an interview.
Kusnur: Ya but the PR person called me again requesting for an interview and tried convincing me by saying Lucky is a very sweet chap. I said you say that about all your artists, you are not going to bad mouth them.
Me: This is a daily thing. I am sure fellow journalists will relate to this. All the artists managed by that PR firm are sweet.
Kusnur: Eventually I did go. Lucky hummed a few songs for me. He explained that he is not really a singer and the album is all about his experiences, travels and journey. The album gradually grew on me. The songs are very soulful and Lucky Ali has sung them straight from his heart.
Me: One can make that out.
Kusnur: Technically, this album was not produced well. The orchestration is very good, the choice of instruments and all.
Me: The arranger was his brother in law Mikey McCleary. Even the rhythm is amazing throughout the album.
Kusnur: Lucky Ali also goes off pitch at times in the songs. He admitted to me about that. Also though the lyrics are very good, he doesn’t stick to the ‘meter’. There are a few unwanted words too.
Me: Lucky bhai gets over emotional at times.
Lucky Ali – The Star
Kusnur: Luckily I didn’t review the album or else I would have pointed out these flaws.
Me: Album flop karva dete aap.
Kusnur: But it didn’t. It was a huge hit. My personal favourites apart from ‘Sunoh’ is ‘Kya Mausam Hai’
Me: I like ‘Yeh Mumbai Nagariya’ quite a lot.
Kusnur: I really like 4 or 5 songs. ‘Tum Se hi’, ‘Milegi Milegi’ and ‘Pyar Ka Musafir’, I love the guitar on it.
Me: In the entire album the guitar is the focus.
Kusnur: Also he has used some crazy rhythms which is probably because of Mikey. It is written beautifully and made Lucky Ali a star. Somehow Farhad Wadia thought it was a good idea to get him to play at Independence Rock.
Me: Ya, I was there and the rockers showed their displeasure at this idea with some flowery language. Back to the album, ‘O Sanam’ is still fresh in public memory. It is like the Indian counterpart to ‘Nothings Gonna Change My Love For You.’
Kusnur: I met some people the other day and they can sing the entire song, it is such a hit. Few years back at a concert, Lucky sang only 2 lines of the song and the crowd sang the rest. He also won quite a number of awards for it
Me: I always felt ‘Sunoh’ is a better song.
Kusnur: My favourite is ‘Tum Hi Se.’ He started the whole concept of singer/songwriter.
Me: Overall it is a very feel good album. None of the songs seem forced on you and are just simple, hummable ones.
Kusnur: Day before I heard the entire album again and enjoyed it. I could actually remember lyrics of all the songs.
Me: After this very ‘good boy’ album, let’s get back to something heavy next week.
Until next time, remember to stir the drink well.