Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire and Kausar Munir
It’s not everyday that maestro Ilaiyaraaja composes a Hindi film music album. For this reason itself Shamitabh is special. The album’s first song Ishq-e-phillum like its title, makes an effort to make it sound as Hindi as it gets. An ode to cinema, it’s not a regular joyous anthemic song. Generally speaking, Suraj Jagan’s voice is an odd choice for a song like this. But maybe the straight melody lines needed Jagan’s deep-throated grunge.
Sha sha sha mi mi mi is a curious, retro hybrid. It starts with what sounds like an orchestral cue for the dramatic entry of a film hero and goes all techno till it segues into one of Ilaiyaraaja’s signature symphonic interludes. The pulsating disco beats are hard to not like, but what makes it sound so special is the way the composer plays with the phonetic break up of Shamitabh, syllable by syllable. Kausar Munir’s lyrics, “Dekhoon tujhko jabse jabse, zoom e camer-e-tabse tabse”, are fun.
It’s difficult not to like Piddly too. The song is designed to be sung by Amitabh Bachchan and this is the most melodious the baritone ever sounded. Sannata is a remix of Aasaiya kathula thoothu vittu, an ’80s Ilaiyaraaja classic. As with a large part of the album, Ilaiyaraaja toys with electronic sounds making Shruti Haasan sing. The last two tracks, Thappad and Lifebuoy seem like fun and original creations.
Shamitabh isn’t a perfectly rounded album. It is patchy, but with two stellar tracks in Sha sha sha mi mi mi and Piddly, it stands out for it’s originality and irreverence.