It’s been a while, but I think I’ve found some good stuff to loop – mainly from this one movie called Kurbaan, which (if it didn’t have Kareena Kapoor in it) I might even try to watch.

Shukran Allah is really nice (even if the background’s a bit too much like every other popular song out there now), and Ali Maula features Salim Merchant’s surprisingly soulful voice. But Rasiya is what really stands out, and I swear it’s because they use Shruti Pathak.

This is the girl from Dev D who got me obsessed with Paayaliya, although I have to say I spent the whole summer looping all the songs on that soundtrack. And I know I overuse this word, especially when I try to review music, but her voice really is soulful. More than that, though, it somehow sounds so honest.

I think we’ve just been inundated with popular singers these days, doing songs that are so carefully mastered and choreographed and ruthlessly techno-fied, but so far (Salim-Suleiman and Amit Trivedi, anyway) have kept her voice almost entirely unadorned in whatever track they use her for. And hers isn’t the kind of voice you change, anyway – I think it’s got very specific personality. It’s still versatile though – in Paayaliya she hit quite high notes, and here in Rasiya she’s wonderfully low-key.

She’s not Shreya Ghoshal – but Shreya Ghoshal would’ve been used for either something light and sweet and/or sad, or something technically fluid. And she’s not Alka Yagnik – who might have been more high/deep, and possibly more class. She’s also not one of the many other random singers that Rahman introduces who have fairly interesting and specific voices but who sometimes drop off the radar (by the way, I am seriously annoyed that I didn’t like that one Blue song he used Vijay Prakash for, because I love that man’s voice after Manmohini Morey).  Shruti Pathak just seems to have this quality of being innocent-but-hurt, intriguing-but-honest. Or perhaps I’m just projecting.

But, and I’ve no idea how, Salim-Suleiman managed to find her (she’s got less than ten songs or something under her belt) and put her into this song – and the song itself is great. I love minor-key songs better than major-key because I think they’re more interesting, but this sounds aching and almost dangerous. I also love how the background doesn’t overwhelm the music at all; in fact, the background beats and violin chorus fade out so that Shruti’s voice sounds very in-the-raw.

Shilpa Rao is also someone I like – although she’s much more established, I know – but what did it for me was actually Tose Naina Lage. She has a completely different voice altogether – far less feminine somehow than what you’d expect, but still definitely female, somehow. And she hits low and high notes too, which obviously is great.

So clearly these singers get chosen for some particular factor – whether it’s technical versatility or voice with a personality, or some other undefinable quality. Which makes me wonder when Rahman is going to figure out this Sruthi Pathak thing and get her to sing for him.


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