Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam

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Music has no language. This was evident early last year when Bollywood favourites Vishal and Shekhar made their debut down South with the film Chintakayala Ravi (Telugu). Now, the rocking musical trio of Shankar-Eshaan-Loy (Dil Chahta Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho and Rock On!!) have also entered the arena of Regional Indian Cinema with Siddhartha’s (Rang De Basanti) up-coming Telugu family entertainer Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam (KIKK). This may be termed as their debut but Shankar-Eshaan-Loy have done countless advertising pieces in different languages while Shankar is almost heard in every second South Indian soundtrack.

Although KIKK is a Telugu album, the list of singers are not unknown to Bollywood fans. The album boasts of the talents of Shilpa Rao (‘Khuda Jaane’ – Bachna Ae Haseeno), Shreya Ghosal, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Raman Mahadevan (‘Sinbad the Sailor’ – Rock On!!), Sadhna Sargam (‘Aao Naa’ – Kyun Ho Gaya Na), Shankar Mahadevan and Sonu Nigam. The music of KIKK was launched in absolute style on the 9th of January in Hyderabad while the movie itself is slated to release early 2009.

KIKK kicks off (no pun intended) with Egire Egire, a youthful number full of life and attitude. Shankar-Eshaan-Loy let a little left-over rock from Rock On!! seep into this delightful number. The guitar work is highly impressive while the enthusiastic vocals of Clinton Cerejo, Hemachandra, Raman Mahadevan, and Shilpa Rao elevate the song even higher. ‘Egire Egire’ is sure to win hearts within no time.

It is hard to categorise the next song, Aanandama into a fixed genre as this Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Ghosal vehicle shows shades of happiness and melancholy. The music alternates between the somberness and playfulness smoothly, a great achievement for Shankar-Eshaan-Loy. The traditional music is endearing and entertaining at the same time. Shankar and Shreya’s vocals sound heavenly and one wonders why have we not heard them together before.

Abacha is next, a typical Telugu number with a lively melody sung excellently by Mahalaxmi Iyer and Shilpa Rao. No doubt to be picturised on Siddhartha’s love interest in the film, the beautiful up and coming actress Tamana, ‘Abacha’ will be a delight to watch on screen with Telugu cinema’s incredible choreographical talents. Shankar-Eshaan-Loy capture the traditional Telugu sound with utmost ease and do not fail to impress.

If the title song, Kochem Ishtam, does not grab hold of your mind and remain in your head long after it’s finished, one should seriously seek a physician. That is because this delightfully sweet, not to mention annoyingly catchy number, just takes your breath away (no matter what language you speak). The bhajan-kirtan like percussion with Shankar Mahadevan’s mischievous vocals and an endearing bunch of backup singers is a winner all the way. This much is promised: you will be humming and singing the foreign lyrics in no time.

After the ‘Kochem Ishtam’, Evade Subramanian is a bit of a letdown. Unlike ‘Abache’, this typical Telugu number is a tad bit loud. Shankar Mahadevan’s vocals match the energetic and comic nature of the song. Despite its shortcomings, the tracks enthusiastic chorus is quite fun.

Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghosal sing the playfully beautiful Antha Siddanga. Initially the song does not leave a mark but it picks up in the second half with the incredible flute solo. Sonu sounds great despite being a non-Telugu speaker while Shreya’s fine vocals blend well with Sonu’s. Moreover, Sonu and Shreya’s vocals will suit Tamana and Siddhartha to a T.

Acclaimed classical singer Unni Krishnan makes a rare appearance with the sad yet soulful Enduku Chentaki. The traditional classic music elevates this endearing number even more. Unni Krishnan’s vocals are simply out of this world. Even though one may not understand the lyrics, the doleful melody will surely tug at your heartstrings.

The album ends on a happy note with Panchirey. A fast paced number surely to be picturised with vigorous dance sequences, ‘Panchirey’ makes a place in your heart 30 seconds into the song. Sadhna Sargam sounds so much like Lata Mangeshkar that if one does not read her name on the album’s back cover they will totally believe it is Lata singing. The male vocals singing the chorus are definitely the highest point of the track. Shankar-Eshaan-Loy must be commended on the amazing blend of western and traditional music.

In summary, Shankar-Eshaan-Loy make a confident and impressive debut into world of Telugu Music. While Vishal-Shekhar’s Chintakayala Ravi carried trademarks of their Hindi albums, Shankar-Eshaan-Loy have a created a totally different sound for KIKK. They excellently captured traditional Telugu-style of music while still managing to be innovative and creative. The songs ‘Konchem Ishtam’, ‘Egire’, ‘Panchirey’ and ‘Enduku Chentaki’ are the strongest in the album followed by ‘Abacha’ and ‘Antha Siddanga’, with the situational ‘Evade Subramanian’ being its lowest point. Nonetheless, do not be surprised if Shankar-Eshaan-Loy make a habit of directing Telugu musicals because they have without a doubt left their mark.

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