The immensely successful musical duo of Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani, better known as Vishal-Shekhar, have debuted into Regional Indian Cinema this year with the romantic-comedy Chintakayala Ravi (Telugu). The duo that first came into light with Jhankaar Beats, went on to be one of Indias’s music directors. Their most notable works are the energetic Musafir, the fast-paced Dhoom 2, and crowd-pleaser Dus.
With Chintakayala Ravi, Vishal-Shekhar maintain their trademark contemporaneity and postmodernist nuances but manage to effectively incorporate Telugu pop-culture, which is vibrant and energetic musical dance numbers. The album has 6 songs, with lyrics by Chandrabose. Singers include Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, K.K, Shankar Mahadevan, Shreya Ghosal and Mahalaxmi Iyer. Chintakayala Ravi is currently ranked no. 1 on Raaga.com’s Top 10 Countdown.
The album commences with a melodious romantic number, Bagundey Bagundey, sung excellently by Vijay Prakash (Ru Bu Ru — Title Song) and newcomer Hansika. Bagundey is a term associated with pleasantness and that is exactly the feeling that the song invokes in the listener. Vishal-Shekhar bring aspects of all their previous love songs in this track, especially the ‘Unse Pooche’ from Dus and ‘Falak Tak’ from Tashan. Despite its melodious nature, the track is relatively foot-tapping and catchy. Even if one is not of Telugu-speaking origin, they will be humming this song in no time.
Let the games begin with Oh Sunita, rendered enthusiastically by the talented Shankar Mahadevan. What most Bollywood music lovers might not know is that Mr. Mahadevan, who is himself a renown music-director and singer, sings extensively for South Indian films and was also awarded Best Playback Singer Male in the 2006 South Indian Filmfare Awards for the song ‘Chandrullo Unde Kundelu’ from Nuvastanante Nenoddantana. ‘Oh Sunita’ is a fun-filled dance number with strong traditional Telugu musical underpinnings. Vishal-Shekhar impress as they step out of their comfort zones and use their usual Punjabi dhols to create South-Indian beats.
Punjab and Andra Pradesh join hands with Say Shava Shava Balle Balle. It is another energetic dance number sung by Shankar Mahadevan who is well supported by the talented Mahalaxmi Iyer. Once again, Vishal-Shekhar make ample use of their ever-impressive dhols; however, the resultant sound does get relatively noisy.
The album slows down with the semi-traditional romantic duet, Merupula. What instantly gets one’s attention is the phrase, ‘You make my heart go na nana na…’ in a song which is a re-phrased version of the chorus from Vishal-Shekhar’s chartbuster ‘My Dil Goes Mmmmm’ from Salaam-Namaste. The track is sung well by Rajesh and Shreya Ghosal who also extensively sings South Indian numbers.
Next up is Endoko, which is easily the best track of the album. It is rendered well by Mahalaxmi Iyer and Sonu Nigam whose supposedly strong accented rendition was criticised by some Telugu reviewers. Despite its apparent vocal shortcomings (unnoticeable to non-Telugu speaking listeners), the song has been excellently composed. With an enthralling rhythm, the music is fast paced for a romantic number and is relatively catchy. Vishal-Shekar come up with a clever mix of traditional instruments and Western ones and do not fail to impress.
K.K and Sunidhi Chauhan bring the album to a close with the infectiously catchy Valla Valla Baby. It is a Vishal-Shekhar track all the way as the track is fast-paced with a healthy dose of English phrases. K.K and Sunidhi’s impressive energetic renditions and the groovy music will definitely become a favourite on the dance-floor.
In summary, Vishal-Shekar make a decent debut into Telugu Music. While they are nowhere near the musical genius of Manisharma(Pokiri) and Harris Jayaraj(Ghazini), Vishal-Shekar have made their presence felt. Furthermore, it is a relief to hear them outside the formula-ridden Bollywood camps and attempting something different. Chintakayala Ravi is a definite must for all Vishal-Shekar fans and makes a create introduction to wonderful world of Telugu Music.