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Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Karthik Calling Karthik Review

Soundtrack. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Looks, sounds and smells like Bollywood teen spirit.

Jaspreet Pandohar 2010

There’s no stopping the music machine that is Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendosa. Having started 2010 on a high with the soundtrack to My Name is Khan, the trio hit the rights notes once again with Karthik Calling Karthik. Fresh and full of youthful vigour, this album looks, sounds and smells like Bollywood teen spirit.

With an estimated 50% of the Indian population under the age of 25, the youth demographic is considered one of the country’s major consumer groups. The economic and cultural importance of this ‘MTV generation’ has undoubtedly influenced Bollywood’s filmmakers into demanding download-friendly ‘Hinglish’ song lyrics and Westernised scores. By handing the keys to the music studio to Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the producers of Karthik Calling Karthik have hit their target, as these guys sure know how to combine the two.

The album kicks off with the toe-tapping, finger-snapping Hey Ya!, a catchy little number with a cracking lead performance by Clinton Cerejo and backing vocals from Shankar and Loy. Uff Teri Adaa follows and stands out as the best song of the album, one that’s destined to be a surefire dance hit thanks to its free-spirited party vibe. Mahadevan’s trademark breathless tones make a perfect match for the high-energy vocals from Alyssa Mendosa (daughter of Loy), who makes her Bollywood singing debut with this track.

The synthetic sounds of Uff Teri Adaa can also be found in the title-track, sung by Suraj Jaggan, Mahadevan, Caralisa Monteiro and Malika Singh. Its experimental composition gives it a dark, edgy sound that sets the kind of tone you’d expect for this psychological thriller, starring Farhan Akhtar and Deepika Padukone. The decision not to bring in Akhtar as singer is surprising however, considering the popularity of his previous link up with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on the Rock On soundtrack.

Instead, it’s left to the pioneers of Indian electronica, MIDIval PunditZ, and their long-time US collaborator Karsh Kale, to lend the album more pace, polish and rawness in the instrumental Karthik 2.0, and two of the three remixes.

They may not be spring chickens, but with Karthik Calling Karthik, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy prove they are up to date enough to cater to the needs of young listeners.

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