Music Focus: Vishal-Shekhar

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The music of Bollywood is listened to and much appreciated worldwide. It is fair to say that the success of any given soundtrack or song is sometimes only apparent because of the huge star-cast of a movie or perhaps the lyrics. However, the background score or tune doesn’t seem to get its due outside the award functions where there are special dedications to the talented musically-inclined individuals which reside within the industry. Starting today, every week we will take a look at the music directors that have gotten our toes tapping and heads nodding… And their musical creations which will keep us humming and partying for many years to come…

Boldly, and somewhat aptly, branded by Abhishek Bachchan as “Hip-Hop fakers” in Bluffmaster, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani first burst into Indian cinema with their score for the film Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999). Over a decade later, the duo is still going strong with their latest soundtrack I Hate Luv Storys. With influences of western rock and classical, earthy Indian vibes, Vishal-Shekhar have always promised very distinct soundtracks as well as evergreen compositions.

With every film since their first, the two have not only amalgamated their music with the look and feel of each movie but also taken particular care in giving actors and actresses songs which have helped their respective careers. Who can forget Abhishek’s signature hand-in-pocket move in ‘Dus Bahane’, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta’s beach-dancing in Salaam Namaste‘s title track or Ranbir’s flawless moves in ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’?

Having said that, don’t be mistaken by the list above! Vishal-Shekhar’s versatility is their USP. For every dance-beat move of Abhishek’s, they’ve also given us the very fabulous ‘Hey Shona’ in Ta Ra Rum Pum, for every ‘Salaam Namaste’ in an Aussie surrounding, they’ve shown us the romance of Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Main Agar Kahoon’ in Om Shanti Om… and for every attempt of Ranbir’s to make ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ his own for the current times, they’ve also given us the soulful ‘Khabar Nahin’ of Dostana – and that’s with the leaves and the wind to match!

It is arguable that the twosome is more recognised now due to their stint as judges and mentors on a popular reality show. It seems many have tried their hand at such reality shows – cue Anu Malik in Indian Idol who started the trend – and it seems Vishal-Shekhar’s popularity seemed to grow with these additional roles.

I Hate Luv Storys, their latest offering, has left all and sundry utterly speechless. Recently voted as the most awaited film of the year, the music has been well-liked pretty much ever since it hit the shelves. With ‘Bin Tere’ and ‘Jab Mila Tu’ as firm favourites with the masses, it seems this particular soundtrack has done wonders – once again – for the duo and for the industry as a whole. With the industry seeing a somewhat dry-patch of late, I Hate Luv Storys has hit us like a welcome surprise. The perfect accompaniment to the new Imran Khan-Sonam Kapoor pairing, the songs of the film have, undoubtedly, been a significant contributor to the film’s avid anticipation before its release.

Here’s a short list of some of their best slow-jams:

‘Tu Jahaan’ – Salaam Namaste
‘Hey Shona’ – Ta Ra Rum Pum
‘Tu Aashiqui’ – Jhankaar Beats
‘Khuda Jaane’ – Bachna Ae Haseeno
‘Aankhon Mein Teri’ – Om Shanti Om

And a short list of their most popular dance numbers:

‘Sajna Ki Vaari Vaari’ – Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd
‘Say Na’ – Bluffmaster
‘Dus Bahane’ – Dus
‘Desi Girl’ – Dostana
‘Saaki Saaki’ – Musafir

So what’s next for the magical double act? Although they have many big-banner films to boast in the coming days, their next music venture already promises to be as exciting as their current. Rumoured for release in October, Anjaana Anjaani – starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra as main leads – is sure to contain yet another set of songs which will come with a bang. It seems this pair simply cannot give us enough. May they continue to bestow upon us more tantalising and spellbinding music… and may we never forget their colossal talent.

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