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No Smoking - Music Review

Published: Friday, November 2, 2007, 14:45 [IST]

By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Friday, November 02, 2007

Anurag Kashyap's love for making dark films with varied subjects continues. After Black Friday and an unreleased Paanch, he returns with No Smoking which perhaps has been his quickest film to travel from conceptualization to hitting the screens. Touchwood! Produced by Kumar Mangat and Vishal Bhardwaj who had also collaborated in last year's release Omkara, No Smoking has John Abraham and Ayesha Takia in the lead. With music by Vishal Bhardwaj and lyrics by Gulzar saab, one expects an unconventional soundtrack in the offering.

Well, unconventional it is and in at least a couple of places, exciting too!

This has to be one of the most original tracks ever written! 'Jab Bhi Cigarette' is the opening song of the album and may well be termed as the title song of the album. First to arrive is the 'jazz' version of the song which obviously creates a jazz mood with all the right instruments in place as required in a tune belonging to this musical style.

There is a trademark Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar stamp to this song about the mental and physical state of this individual who is completely dependent on smoking in spite of knowing well about its effects on his health and mind! A difficult song to write and compose, it is made to look easy due to the way Adnan Sami goes about rendering the track while making it absolutely kicking and jazzy. Well, literally. Now this is what qualifies as an OST, as witnessed in Hollywood flicks!

At the very end of the album, Sunidhi Chauhan comes behind the mike to sing the female version of 'Jab Bhi Cigarette' which has a different mood and outlook. While the first track was all jazz, this one is set in a club mode and has a more hep and cool feel to it. One would have never expected a song based on cigarette to be played in a discotheque. Well, 'Jab Bhi Cigarette' may be the first ever track of it's kind to find a place in discs, clubs and pubs!

Rekha Bhardwaj, who has sung a sensual-n-rustic 'Namak Issak Ka' in Omkara returns with 'Phoonk De' which is so catchy in the very first listening that you can't help but continue to hum it on hours after you have heard it just once. The beats (reminding of Bhardwaj's 'Chappa Chappa' - Maachis) are all over the 'club mix' version of this song which yet another comes with a rustic feel to it and can easily be counted as a commercial hit waiting to happen for Rekha Bhardwaj.

She sings in a leisurely style which borders on being casual and this is where the beauty of the song lies. Later Sukhwinder Singh gets his own style working into another version of this song that comes a little later. The lyrics are different here and especially haunting is the voiceover by a female which comes in the middle of the track. The voice does make mention about the ill effects of smoking and how it could lead one to his/her death!

Though the song is pacy and has Western arrangements to pep up its five and a half minutes duration, it would surely haunt if given a closer hearing as it plays on along with the narrative of No Smoking. While the music and rendition hold center stage in this song choreographed on Bipasha Basu and John Abraham, it is hard not to notice some deep rooted lyrics by Gulzar saab!

With the album making an impressive beginning with 'Jab Bhi Cigarette' and 'Phoonk De', 'Kash Laga' which comes next stabilizes the proceedings while being third straight song in succession with it's theme centered on the subject of the film. There are 'sufi' influences in 'Kash Laga' which is one of the rare instances of a song having better 'antaras' than a 'mukhda'. Well, at least musically.

Sung by the trio of Sukhwinder Singh, Daler Mehndi and Vishal Bhardwaj, 'Kash Laga' isn't quite as zany as the songs preceding it but is a fine track to be included in the album if one strictly keeps in mind it's situational appeal.

'Ash Tray' is the last track in the album which sees a newcomer Deva Sen Gupta coming behind the mike. With a pensive feel to the proceedings, it is a song for a mood when one is feeling blue. Everything from music to lyrics and the rendition contributes to creating a haunting mood when 'Ash Tray' plays. A song about the days and nights being lost as the protagonist fills his 'ash tray' with the remains of his cigarettes; it goes well with the film's subject and the genre that the soundtrack has adopted.

Anurag Kashyap deserves a pat on his back on two counts. First and foremost he has ventured into making a film entirely based on smoking. Secondly, he has even dared to have an entire soundtrack being created, courtesy Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar saab, when even a full length film seemed like a challenge in itself.

Topics: ayesha takia, sunidhi chauhan, no smoking, sukhwinder singh, omkara, anurag kashyap, gulzar, vishal bhardwaj
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