A few weeks back, a part live - part animation film My Friend Ganesha was released. Though the film didn't do anything extraordinary at
the box office, the trend of making animation movies continues with yet another film on Lord Ganesha, which has been titled Bal
Ganesha. This time around, the action is totally animation with Pankaj Sharma as the film's director.
Telling the tales from the childhood days of Lord Ganesha, the film's USP is being said to be coming together of quality singers like Asha
Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, Hariharan, Shankar Mahadevan and Kailash Kher under the baton of composer Shamir Tandon.
Except for a song or two in Rakth, Page 3 and Corporate, Shamir Tandon has so far been plain average/below average with his
compositions in films like Umar, Traffic Signal, Undertrial and Red Swastik. Well, he only maintains the trend with Bal
Rather than taking a conventional devotional route set in traditional Indian classical music, 'Ganaa Ganaa Di' has Western
arrangements to go with the vocals of Shankar Mahadevan who holds center stage. Even though one can be sure about the fact that it is mere
coincidence, the rhythm of 'Ganaa Ganaa Di' comes quite close to that of 'Zara Zara Sa Bachke' [Chak De India]. Amanat Ali,
Aneek Dhar and Nirupama Dey have been roped in for this Shabbir Ahmed written number which, as expected, sings praises about Lord
The song mainly perks up only when the rhythm of 'Ganaa Ganaa Di' is in full force and is repeated later in the album with a version by
Asha Bhonsle. This time around Junaid Sheikh, Mauli Dave, Sumedha Karmahe and Rishi are the supporting vocalists who seem to be trying
an extra hard to make their presence felt. It is fine to exude energy and be all charged up about the situation but all of that doesn't quite add
on towards the final result.
Yet another track where a bunch of singers, Sanchita Bhattacharya, Sameer Mohammad, Pavni and Raj Pandit, come together behind the mike,
'Haathi Ka Bal, Akal, Shakal' written by Vibha Singh is nothing better than an average jungle. Also, one would want to catch hold
of some of the kids who have actually gone overboard in singing and have turned out to be truly irritating in their rendition.
The tune, which as expected is again centered on Lord Ganesha, goes all over the place with chants of 'Ganpati Bappa' being
interspersed with some English passages which just do not gel in. Even as one tries to settle down with the tune which is anyways average,
poor singing takes the song only further down.
The sound of guitar marks the beginning of 'Aao Sunaata Hoon Sabko', a storytelling by Hariharan who has, Lavanya, Siddhant
Bhonsle and Ketkee for company. Yet again, it is the weak tune which creates boredom in the first few seconds of the song itself. Hariharan
tries to fuse his Indian classical rendition with Western-pop but the outcome is hardly enticing in this Vibha Singh written track.
There are chants of 'Om Ganesha Namah' in the interim of this song which tells the tale about childhood days of Ganesha along
with Parvathi. Yet another jingle track which could at maximum fit into a children's nursery rhyme album.
First solo song comes in the form of 'Naache Dhin Dhin Dhintak' which is crooned by Kailash Kher. Kher, who had just crooned
'Bham Bhole' for his album 'Jhoomo Re', croons yet another track belonging to the same genre and style. Thankfully, this time around
the results are much better though one really wonders if there was any intrusion required from those occasional Western sounds.
Sung in an almost breathless manner by Kher, 'Naache Dhin Dhin Dhintak' by Rajendra Mehra moves at a fast pace and though it
doesn't say much, it is still one of the better songs heard in the album so far.
There is an extended sound of flute in Rajendra Mehra written 'Ganesh Utpati' which creates a serene mood. In fact as the song
moves into its second minute, one starts getting hopes of something better in the offering. Crooned by Hema Desai, this devotional track
makes its presence felt primarily due to it being staying away from anything that is Western.
Interspersed with the chants of 'Om Namah Shivay' and moving at a slow pace with minimal interfering arrangements, 'Ganesh
Utpati' has a core Indian feel to it and would be identified by those who follow devotional music.
Album reaches it's finale with Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar coming together for Shabbir Ahmed written 'Nanha Munna Bal
Ganesh'. The track follows the approach of being a melody rather than getting rhythmic and peppy, as had been the case for all the
songs in the first half of the album. Yet another track narrating the younger days of Ganesha, 'Nanha Munna Bal Ganesh' again follows a
serene approach, though it is unpardonable to hear that unnecessary Western accented rendition by a male voice in the interim.
Bal Ganesha is a barely passable album by composer Shamir Tandon who demonstrates his fascination for a Western sound in an album
like this that hardly warranted it. In an attempt to make it sound all cool and urban with children as a target audience, Shamir comes up with
tunes which hardly make a mark. Eventually, there is not a single track in the album which one can pick, choose and play on in a repeat