Naren's indie round-up/ Jan 2023, Ep 4


Kamakshi Khanna/ Breathe

Label: Self-released 

Rating: *****

Everything seems just right about Delhi-bred Kamakshi Khanna's new single 'Breathe'. She sings from the heart, vents out, expresses anxiety and self-doubt, creates an impact.

Kamakshi has written the lyrics herself, using lines like, "Every day's a fight, but now I search for the light that was there inside". The main line goes, "I just have to breathe", and there's beauty in the way she sings 'breathe' each time.

Add to that a crisp production, with gentle ukulele, subtle rhythms and Ajay Jayanthi's angst-filled strings. Anjali Kamat's illustrated video adds to the vibe. The best thing is that it's a song many will emotionally relate to in the quest for peace.

Shehzad Ali & Siddharth Kasyap/ Ishqbaazi

Label: SK Music Works

Rating: ****

Composer Siddharth Kasyap has maintained a good balance between fusion projects and pop tunes. His new song 'Ishqbaazi', sung by Shehzad Ali, has a melody line that's infectious.

Kumaar writes the words, "Halki halki ishqbaazi ho rahi hai, dil ka pataa nahin par aankh raazi ho rahi hai". Shehzad's voice has the ideal pleasantness.

Cunal Shankar's video, starring Mrunal Jain, Neha Malik and Kurush Deboo, is cute, but offers little new by sticking to a typical Bollywood formula.

Akull/ I'm Flyin'

Label: VYRL Originals 

Rating: ** 1/2

Singer Akull Tandon has been regularly releasing stuff, with good backing from his promoters. In keeping with his style, he comes out with an upbeat love song in 'I'm Flyin'.

The problem is that the piece gets repetitive after a point. Kumaar's words go, "Udne laga hoon main udne laga, tere ishaaron pe main udne laga". Akull tries to bring out these guttural emotions which sound forced.

Amanninder Singh's video has some good-looking outdoor shots. But there's hardly any script and a surfeit of bland facial expressions and predictable postures.

Girish Sadhwani & Parthiv Shah/ Har Ghari Nigahon Mein

Label: The Cyclone Lab Productions

Rating: *** 1/2

Mumbai-based singer Girish Sadhwani collaborates with producer Parthiv Shah on 'Har Ghari Nigahon Mein', which is rendered in Sufi style. Written by Haider, the song was earlier sung by Azhar Chandwani.

The song has typical Sufi elements of tabla, dholak, sarangi (Dilshad Khan in picture) and handclaps, besides bansuri and guitar. Instead of a group chorus, this uses back-up vocals by Vivek Baretha.

The main lines are "Har ghari, har ghari nigahon mein, aapka nazara hai". Girish's vocals give you that spiritual feeling that comes with the pure form of the genre.

Mohammed Vakil/ Dhanak

Label: Self-released 

Rating: *** 1/2

Mohammed Vakil has been releasing ghazal albums since the late 1990s. His latest 'Dhanak' has been composed by Ramavatar Dayama, who had been prolific over the last couple of years.

A similar tune has been used often before, but in a ghazal, it's the lyrics and delivery that set things apart. Poet Yachna Phansal writes, "Meri aankhon mein dhanak rang sajaane aaye, raat aayee toh tere khwab suhaane aaye".

Vineet Johri's video blends footage of Vakil with shots of a couple played by Diljohn Singh and Amita. The film has a simplicity and freshness that makes it endearing.


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