Dripping with style - Album Review #2 (3to6.com, 06/01/01)
Everything about Aks seems to just drip with style. Beginning with the attitude-drenched previews and now with the music. One can only hope that the film delivers all that it's promising and that it will not be one in the long line of attractive packages with no contents.
This is Anu Malik yet again. I worry about him. At the rate that he's working, I wonder what his stress levels must be like. Equating Anu Malik with originality is usually a prelude to a joke. However, in Aks, there's no tune that you'd recognize. Well, at least I haven't. But it's the style that's unmistakingly familiar- Rehman! The large Western style orchestrations, the distinct sound of the violin, the use of silence, the use of Chitra and Hariharan- Rehman favourites. Whatever the inspiration, Anu has really topped himself with this soundtrack.
Aks is fantastic. Don't expect the usual jhatkas and stereotypical melodies. And thanks to Gulzar, there's some beautiful lyrics to go with the album's cool sound.
Very very noteworthy is Ranjit Barot with his music arrangement on 'Aks'. Ranjit has silently contributed to some really fantastic arrangements in the past with soundtracks like Fiza and Kandukondain Kandukondain. It was nice to see a credit for his music arrangement on Aks.
Some staple ingredients of Hindi film music are missing here- no Alka Yagnik, no Kumar Sanu, no Udit Narayan, no Babul Supriyo. I think it was a refreshing choice. One of the highlights, as always, is the sensational Shubha Mudgal with her astounding vocals in 'Raat Aati Hai'. There's the fantastic Hariharan, whose voice always strums your heartstrings, on 'Hum Bhool Gaye'. And another Rehman- import, Chitra, with her own special version of 'Hum Bhool Gaye'.
My favourite track off the album would have to be' Bhala Bura' by the inimitable Amitabh Bachchan himself. One more time, the actor convinces that there's nobody like him out there. Shah Rukh, Salman and Sanjay Dutt have all attempted singing in their own voices recently. None of them came even close to the expressiveness and attitude that Amitabh can ooze with just his voice.
'Yeh Raat' by Anupama has the same urban, snazzy feel of the recent 'Kambakth Ishq'. It has a very addictive rock sound to it. One of my personal favourites, K.K, is back here with two tracks- 'Banda Bindas', the most upbeat one on the album and 'Aaja Gugaon Mein' with Vasundara Das. K.K. really has an elastic voice and loves to surprise you from time to time with how wonderfully different he can sound.
'Ramleela' is little family-skit with the voices of Amitabh, Nandita Das and Kavita Mundra. A lovely reminder of Amitabh in Mr. Natwarlal's 'Mere Paas Aao'. Sukhwinder Singh does a fabulous job with 'Rabba Rabba'. Unfortunately, Vasundhara Das doesn't complement him well enough in this duet. Vasundhara does have a nice voice but she doesn't seem to sing with enough heart.
Aks is a keeper. It really will jump at it from among your standard Hindi film fare. There's just no comparison.
Aks Music Review: A Haunting Melody (Rediff, 05/29/01)
Dark, haunting, mystical.
The music of Aks - The Reflection, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpai and Nandita Das is a high.
Inspired by John Woo's Face Off (John Travolta, Nicholas Cage) and Fallen (Denzel Washington), a sombre note hovers prominently throughout the album.
The credit goes to Anu Malik and Gulzar's stark poetry that seamlessly blends with Anu's tunes. Ranjeet Barot's cool acoustics and instrumentation are another plus point in this album.
Yeh raat is a sensual, aggressive number sung by the husky-voiced Anupama. This one is poised to go down well with the listeners.
Bhala boora is an eerie rap number laced with black humour. Rendered by the voice: Amitabh Bachchan. Some of its strains are reminiscent from the theme music of Being John Malkovich. Indrajit Sharma has composed this number.
Shubha Mudgal leaves you spell bound with the enchanting Raat aati hai.
Rabba rabba is a fusion of folksy and Arabic tunes with electronic instrumentation by Sukhwindara Singh and actress-turned-singer Vasundhara Das (Hey! Ram).
Hariharan's Hum bhool gaye falls in the category of some of his earlier heartbreak songs -- Tu hi re (Bombay), Nahin paas main (Taal). Nice touch of violins in this composition. There's another version of this song by Chitra.
K K and Vasundhara Das in Aaj gufaon mein are superb. It's a bewitching, seductive track.
Ramleela is the outcome of an imaginative modern day jugalbandi between Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das and Kavita Mundra. And in this version, Ravana (Amitabh as Ravana) wins hands down.
Banda bindaas is a Jamaican-style track with a difference -- it sounds remarkably like the tune of the Bacardi commercial on air than a songtrack.
All in all, Aks is a captivating album with funky, experimental, new age music. Go for it.
Raveena dressing the part for Aks music launch (Bollywoodonthenet, 05/15/01)
Is that a hooker's role she's playing in the Amitabh film Aks? After keeping everything about the film under wraps like a great defence secret, Aks director Rakesh Mehra is busy wooing the media and seeking cover stories for his actors. He also finally let the world have a peep at promos of this Amitabh--Manoj Bajpai starrer including snatches of a sizzling night club dance by Raveena Tandon. Oops, was Raveena asked to dress the part for the promotional party too? For Ms Tandon came with permed hair, a deep-neck black dress and frail red straps that matched her flaming red lipstick!
Special Aks preview for Aamir Khan (Screenindia, 05/11/01)
HMV played the perfect host at the sneak preview of the music of Aks held at The Club recently. The film is Rakesh Mehraís directorial debut and stars Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai, Raveena Tandon and Nandita Das. A thriller reportedly along the lines of the Hollywood hit, Face Off , the film is being presented by Jhamu Sughand and has already sparked off a lot of interest thanks to its unusual promos.
The evening was a beginning of what is hopefully going to be a long association between Saregama, AB Corp, Flick Motion Pictures and Jhamu Sugandh. The four have joined hands for their forthcoming production as well. Speaking on the occasion, Amitabh thanked Amar Singh, Anil Ambani, Jhamu Sughand and others for their emotional support.
Ravishing Raveena had to rush immediately after the promos to catch a flight. Rakesh Mehra engagingly narrated how Aks came into existence. Manoj Bajpai payed a tribute to his idol Amitabh. Anu Malik spoke about his original film score even as the audience wondered if they had heard a particular number before. Then Rakesh Mehra extravagantly introduced Nandita Das as Gods own contradiction between beauty and brains.
With this film Nandita enters the commercial stream but she refused to make a distinction between the two worldís of cinema. There can be only good or bad films, she insisted but still managed to grab a lot of attention from all the media persons and directors present. Ramesh Sippy opely told her he wanted to work with her. Nandita was unfazed by all the attention and was seen discussing plays of substance with theatre artist Mohan Agashe.
Abhishek Bachchan and Aamir Khan came in only after midnight. Amitabh organized a special preview of the songs for Aamir alone. It had taken AB two hours to arrange this exclusive screening with the technical guys. AB Corp has signed Aamir for their next venture and knowing Aamir, it must have taken Amitabh a lot of time and energy to convince the Raja Hindustani. It was 3 a.m. before everybody went home, happy and contend.
Not a Copycat (Chalomumbai 05/11/01)
Aks (reflection) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai, Raveena Tandon and Nandita Das directed by whiz-kid Rakesh Mehra (of Aby Baby music video and BPL ads fame) is a slick desi adaptation of the Hollywood thriller Face Off. At the music release event hosted by HMV, director Mehra, however, denied that it was a 'reflection' of the Hollywood flick and insisted that it is a fresh, subject hitherto unheard of in Indian cinema.
Aks music launch party (NDTV, 05/06/01)
Bollywood's big event of the week was the music launch of Rakesh Mehra's long-awaited feature film Aks. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das, Manoj Bajpai and Raveena Tandon.
Ad-film and music video maker Rakesh Mehra is all set to hit Bollywood in a big way with his debut film Aks and even though the film's story is far removed from regular Bollywood fare the music release of Aks was done in true filmy style. In attendance was the film's entire cast, which includes Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das, Manoj Bajpai and Raveena Tandon.
Director, Rakesh Mehra, expressed, "Whenever I've found myself humming a tune it was an Anu Malik tune or it was a tune out of the 60's. So the bridge, which was between the 60's and me, I guess, was Anu Malik. I love his music, and his melodies are absolutely haunting."
Aks has been in the making for over a year and Rakesh Mehra hired foreign technicians to give it a slick international look. The award-winning Anu Malik has composed the music. "I have experimented with sound, with my sound designer, Ranjit and the results are there to see. I have used melodies as the base as I believe in melody. When I compose a tune, I must hum it under my breath. If I can't hum it then it has no meaning. But I didn't want to experiment in such a way that it should be so different that people won't relate to it", stated Anu Malik.
Several ad filmmakers in the past have attempted to make Hindi films but only few have been successful. Rakesh Mehra's film has the necessary padding -- a good star cast backed by a good script. The success of Aks would be incentive for other ad filmmakers wanting to try their luck in Bollywood.
Aks will generate a lot of heat...(Indiafm, 05/04/01)
Amitabh Bachchan is enjoying his third innings like never before. At a lavish function on May 3 at The Club, Andheri, hosted by Bachchanís outfit A.B. Corp, Jhamu Sughand, Rakesh Mehra (director of AKS) and H.M.V., the star spoke of his plans after AKS.
Actually, the party was a formality to announce the tie-up between A.B. Corp and H.M.V. The music of AKS, which was initially with T-Series, has been taken over by H.M.V., who will release the music of the film exactly two weeks from now.
A.B. Corp is in the process of starting four more films, starting with the Aamir Khan-Rani Mukherji project, to be directed by Mansoor Khan. Then there is the Rakesh Mehra-directed film, starting the three Bachchans together for the first time Ė Amitabh, Jaya and Abhishek. Two more projects are likely to roll shortly, although the details werenít revealed at this juncture.
A special preview of AKS was also witnessed by the writer and must add, the film is bound to generate a lot of heat once it releases. The songs are stylishly shot and the look of the film is akin to a Hollywood product.
Incidentally, the music rights of all the five films produced by A.B. Corp have been acquired by H.M.V.
Aks audio slated for a May 3 release (Filmfare, 04/20/01)
Aks: Bye Bye, T-series, Hello HMV!
HMV has been relaunched in a big way and this time round, they're
not taking any chances with any big music. If T-series has lost out
on a mega-starrer like 'Aks' then 'HMV' has come to the rescue.
They have bought the music rights to the film and will be launching
it in the first week of May (May 3rd if we have our info right). That
should leave the film clear for release soon. And boy, we can't wait!...
How different IS the music of Aks? (Filmfare, 04/14/01)
If reports are to believed Rakesh Mehra's mega cast starrer 'Aks', based on the hit Hollywood flick 'Face Off ' has landed itself in trouble The film which boast of an impressive star cast led up Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai and Nandita Das was almost ready and was due for an all India release on May 4, but now news has trickled in that the film has been postponed indefinitely. The music of the film was to be bought by Super cassettes industries. But the deal went wrong between them. According to the grapevine apparently the financer of 'Aks' Jhamu Sughand asked for a higher price for the music rights. Not one to give in Super cassettes decided to immediately relinquish the music right of the film. "Yes we have decided to give away the music rights of the film," informs Mukesh Desai of Super cassettes and adds. "Actually the music companies are going through a low phase right now. There is absolutely no guarantee for the returns of the investment we made in the music of a film. Super cassettes may sing a different tune but the gossipmongers in the industry insisted that the problem is due to Anu Malik's music. It seems Malik this time has come up with music, which is far too unusual for commercial film. In short the music doesn't have a mass appeal. "The music company decided to back out of the deal at the last minute because they were scared of losing heavily in the music as it lacks mass appeal according to them," says a unit member of the film on condition of anonymity. And adds " On the top of it the Jhamu Sughand, who is financing the film refused to give in the rights at a lower price, thus delaying the release of the film." Before going to press another rumours come trickled in that the music rights have been finally taken over by HMV, much to the relief of Jhamu Sughand.
Raveena in Screen Magazine (04/01/01)
Rakesh Mehraís Aks is a much-awaited project. The industry is already buzzing about his talent...
Rakesh Mehra is not a first-time director, trust me. Donít get fooled by his looks. He is one of the most stylised directors in the industry. It has been a phenomenal experience working with him. I play an ultra-glamorous club dancer in the film. The role is a complete contrast to Daman.
Aks is also your second film with Amitabh after Bade Miyan...
Yes. Amitji did Khuddar and Majboor with my dad. I never thought we would ever work together since I had seen him as a child. Even he feels that way. So often when he comes on the sets he tells everyone. I get surprised every time I see this girl. The little baby who came up to my knees is my co-star now. I think thatís so cute, so magnanimous of Amitji. He puts me at ease and leaves a sense of warmth. Itís a pleasure working with him.
Vikram Gaekwad - Prosthetics manager for Aks (04/03/01)
But you seemed quite pleased with Rakesh Mehra, the director of Aks?
I have known Rakesh Mehra from the time he started out, with a docudrama called Mamuli Ram, which was about the Amul project in Gujarat. When I met Rakesh Mehra for the first time, I took my portfolio with me. He explained the work to me. I asked him to take a look at my previous work first, but he said, I donít need to. Take an advance from my office and begin the work. He has an insight into people. And he trusts you completely. For Aks, he gave me whatever I asked for. Heís a no-compromise person. He told me, Go anywhere in the world London, South Africa, Paris but get me this effect. Money is not a problem. Because make-up is the soul of my story. How many such directors are there in the Hindi film industry?
How was it working with Amitabh Bachchan for Aks?
Bachchan is a person from whom you can learn daily. He is an institution. Just by watching him I feel you can achieve success sometime in life. I designed his make-up in Pune by morphing his image on my home computer. We gave him a few options from which we finally decided upon a French beard and silver streaked hair. For Manoj, Rakesh Mehra suggested long hair. So we went with that look. In Aks we have used masks like never before. This is the first time in Indian cinema in which we have shown in a single shot that a person pulls out a mask to reveal that he is actually someone else. Mr. Nick Weldon from London came here, he had worked for The Mummy and Star Wars. I was very impressed by his technical know-how and he was impressed by my resourcefulness (SRKWorld)
Preview from Narad Online (04/01/01)
A psychological thriller says the director and everyone present on the sets of Aks. No one wants to say more. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan as a cop, and there is Manoj Bajpai acting like a killer with long hair and a strange look in his eyes, followed by glam doll Raveena Tandon who insists she has an important role in the film.
Nandita Das plays Amitabh's wife. Ad guy Rakesh Mehra is making his directorial debut with this film, and his earlier works include the Eir Beer Phate album by Amitabh Bachchan. The set is a dance club, and Raveena is wearing the barest minimum. She uses a robe to cover herself while answering questions about the film. ''In Aks, I am a club dancer. The film is a thriller with a deadly story line. It's too good. Working with Amitji again was a pleasure. Aks is a phenomenal film. It just turned out that way; it's a trip. I can't explain much, you just have to watch the film. I have balanced out my roles. If in Daman I'm playing the housewife, then in Aks I'm playing a glam girl. In Daman there is only kajal and lipstick and that too in the happily-married portion of the film while in Aks I have full make-up and flashy clothes."
''My role is quite important in the film. I did the film because not only did I get the chance to work with Amitji again but also Manoj. In this film we are quite playing face to face and I was like Oh my god will I be able to do it. The subject is more like the quadrangle kind. It will release in April end. Rakesh Mehra too was cool. I call him as cow-boy director; he's fantastic he's just like wild," she raves.
''His standards are like the techniques of the foreign film. He has made Aks on that level. It is a completely fantastic film.'' Raveena is quite excited, then she gets up to give her shot of a dance sequence, which she delivers in one take. Rakesh is happy and they move on to the next dance step, which Raveena masters as she is a good dancer. She delivers it like a pro once again. In a matter of one hour she gives three takes in a jiffy. (Narad Online)
Narad Online sits down with Nandita Das (04/03/01)
The most happening thing in your career today is Aks. Tell us about it.
People have made it real big but for me Aks is like any other film. They think it's my big foray into mainstream cinema and have even called it a big career move but it's not that for me. I have just chosen Aks from the number of films offered to me. If this film is more commercial than the other films I have done good or if it's more arty, good. I choose Aks for the story the director and my role. It's besides the point that there are commercial names associated to the project like Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpai and Raveena Tandon. Initially I was quite hesitant to accept Aks, but Rakesh Mehra convinced me about the role. I play Amitabh Bachchan's wife's role, the story is about an older man marrying a young girl and their relationship. The film is more like a psychological thriller talking about the good and the evil like lot of Hollywood films. It was exciting to be a part of a thriller.
Was it equally exciting working with Amitabh Bachchan?
I respect Mr. Bachchan very much and I have watched his films since I can remember. And working with him was an equally pleasurable experience as was watching him on screen. Though there was a huge age difference we vibed very well in the respective roles. Any ways I play a wife much younger to him and how we adjust to it (Narad Online)
Manoj Bajpai on the Wolf chase in the film: You're said to have a phobia for dogs. And you shot with wolves in Hungary for Aks. However did you manage that?
"It was nightmarish! I didn't dare touch any of them. But I'm
like that -- scared about everything in this world. I don't want to put
myself in any kind of danger. I don't insist on doing my stunts, since I
don't specialise in them. But yes, I admit I enjoyed myself thoroughly
after three days of shooting without my shirt on. The temperature was
around, say, minus 3 Celsius in Budapest with these wolves chasing me.
Even now, I can't believe I actually did it. But I guess when the director
shouts Action!, there's no way out but to act! I managed. I scraped
Nandita Das on working with Bachchan
"He's an icon. So there was a certain amount of excitement while shooting," she
says. "But I also feel that it is a collective effort and you have to do
your own thing. Because I have not grown up seeing so many commercial
films, I wasn't really overawed with him. He is very professional, very
punctual. Really good to work with." (Rediff.com)
Raveena Tandon on
the negativity of her roles
"I am waiting (for an out and out negative
role). The only role that comes close is my role in Aks. It has negative
shade to it..." (Rediff)
Rakesh Mehra on the traditional hero/villain
concept in his film
"...Debutant director Rakesh Mehra, who is making Aks
with Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai, insists that in his film
"everybody is a hero and everybody is a villain". Says Mehra: When I
started writing it, I thought of it as good versus evil but now there is
no concept of a pure villain. Finally, there is a struggle within
everyone." (India Today, Feb 1)
Anu Malik on the music of Aks
my music for the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aks is barrier-breaking. I had
the singular honor of working with the poet Gulzar for the first time in
this score. Incidentally, I'm also composing music for Gulzar uncle's
daughter Meghna's debut film Filhaal. After hearing the songs in Aks
people will wonder what has happened to Anu Malik." (Indiainfo, Jan 11)