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Witty words for Upendra-Prabhudeva starrer 

This Article is published in Association with "The Music Magazine" and they hold all the copyrights to this Article.

H2O
Akash Audio
Rs 45 

H2O is a colorful album, music composer Sadhu Kokila's best yet, where actor Upendra pits his singing talents against Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan

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H2O is a Kannada film that stars Upendra and Prabhudeva, both of whom have had some sensationally successful films to their credit.

Upendra directed films like Om and gave Shivarajkumar, Rajkumar's son, his now well-established angry wronged man image. Upendra also donned the greasepaint as hero in A and Upendra, which also turned out to be huge commercial successes. He has found fans even in places as remote as Japan, and one of them has devoted a Japanese-language website to him.

Prabhudeva became India's answer to Michael Jackson with Kadalan, the Tamil film whose songs and dances inspired hundreds of imitators. One song, Muqala muqabla, was everywhere, and producers forced every music composer in the business to recycle it, with no thanks being officially offered to A R Rahman!  Prabhudeva also acted in Rajeev Menon's Minsara Kanavu (dubbed into Hindi and released as Sapnay).

H2O has been in the news for its controversial theme -- the Cauvery river dispute. It is already the second film dealing with the water-sharing problem. Shaapa, the first, was released recently. As far as I can remember, Kannada cinema has not made full-length films, or even shown at some length, a Hindu-Muslim love story -- there are quite a few Hindu-Muslim love affairs in Karnataka just as there would be in any other part of India -- but it seems to be rushing into love triangles involving Kannadigas and Tamils.

The two language groups have lived together for centuries (you may know, for example, that the great Srivaishnavite philosopher Ramanujacharya found refuge in Karnataka when he was persecuted by the Saivite kings of the Tamil country), and history hadn't till recently witnessed any Kannada-Tamil riots. But the Cauvery river dispute changed all that, and the last decade of the 20th century has disturbed an old amity. How Upendra will handle this subject has already aroused curiosity, and apprehension.

Upendra has a track record for gimmickry, and you will find plenty of gimmickry on this album. Each song is preceded by a chatty conversation -- it's useful if you want an idea of the patois of Kannada, Tamil and English that people in the film industry speak! In one chat, Upendra and his assistants get music composer Sadhu drunk to give a "realistic" touch to a drunkard song! In another they go on talking in silly rhymes like punch, bunch, bench and lunch!

The opening track, Bidabeda bidabeda , is what Upendra describes as a "running song". It has a fast beat, and Upendra pits his singing skills against Hariharan. Upendra is no singer, but he manages to hold his own with the force of his expression, although you can all along make out that one is a trained polished voice and the other has more enthusiasm than musical talent. The words are part Kannada, part Tamil again.

I want to kiss my darling is sung by Rajesh Krishna and Pratima Rao. Rajesh is very obviously influenced by S P Balasubramanyam's style. Upendra's words show a capacity to bring together startlingly unlikely rhymes -- Namibia, India, Mandya, Himalaya, and Kalasi Paliya are just some of the places that are used to talk about the beloved's beauty! 

Kavitha Krishnamurthy sings the only soft number in the album, Hoove, hoove, and Upendra's words are replete with classical images reworked interestingly -- she asks the flower why she is smiling: is it because the sun is shining on her, or because she's thinking of the moon.

Later on in the song, the heroine asks her parrot to go along to the goldsmith to choose a nose ring for her, she invites a peacock to go along to choose her sari, and asks the deer to tell her who drew the lovely patterns on her body... I also found some lines very lyrical though the images are not really new -- like beladingalootava badisu baa chandrama (Dear moon, come serve me a moonlight dinner).

A B C D okay is sung by Gurukiran and the drum programming stands out here, as in some other numbers. This is a Latino  number, somewhat like Que sera sera from Pukar.

Naa ninna bidalare/naanunnai vidammatten is sung by Shankar Mahadevan, and you can be sure it will be shot against a spectacular backdrop -- you hear horse hooves and emphatic brass and violins with some soft tinkling passages for contrast. Shankar Mahadevan sings with the gusto that is now his trademark. 

The words in this song are grand proclamations of obsessive love, of the kind we see in Hamsalekha's En hudgiro yaak hing aadtaaro from Premaloka. The heroine, apparently torn between two suitors and trapped by circumstances, offers her body ('khandavideko maamsavideko'  ) to one and declares her heart will remain with the other. Nandita sings playback for the heroine here. There are lines suggesting reconciliation as well, where love is compared to a diamond that can't be broken with the sword of hatred.

Dil ilde lav maadakkagalve is sung by Upendra, and paints the scene of a drinking binge. Upendra comes up again with witty expressions:

Nin maatin chow chow ildene
nin kopad uppinkai nekdene
whishkyeenu brandeenu shampaniu beerenu
ellanu waste kane

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xw Nyl Ezw-N wN۰w
ʰw 0mw   0yw w
Hw ԰ Nn 


(What's the best whisky, brandy, champagne or beer if there's none of your spicy anger to go with it?)

Music composer Sadhu Kokila is a wiz on the keyboard, but has only composed music for scores of forgettable films. In recent days he has been acting as well, doing C-grade slapstick comedy. H2O is his best chance yet to fame, and he just might climb a step higher with this film. 

Amritamati S

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This Article is published in Association with "The Music Magazine" and they hold all the copyrights to this Article.

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