Ever since the 90s, Lucky Ali has been a dominant force in Hindi-language indiepop, with his songs still being adored by post-millennial listeners. A video from his Instagram, featuring a growing Ali singing a reprise of his classic hit O Sanam has brought him back to the popular imagination. Hence, it makes sense to revisit some of the albums that cemented his music legacy.
The aforementioned O Sanam belonged to his debut album Sunoh, which was followed by another popular record Sifar (most notable for the track Dekha Hai Aise Bhi).
And then, in 2001, came Aks…
The word ‘aks’ literally translates to a ‘reflection’ and the album indeed allowed Lucky Ali to reflect on a lot on his quintessential thoughts on love and life. It’s a Herculean task to argue which of his early albums was his magnum opus but Aks delivered some great hits like Tere Mere Saath, Tu Kaun Hai, and Kitni Haseen Zindagi.
Most of the tracks are simplistic and escapist in their song, riddled with poetic lyrics that find the singer-songwriter at his inquisitive best. Every song bears wordings that find him musing or wondering about all the nice things that he seems to explore in the journey of his life.
So, in Tere Mere Saath, Ali asks his lover why they can’t sleep when the whole world closes its curtains at night. It seemed like he feels a certain connection and wants to act upon it, even though he still questions the true nature of his love. Tu Kaun Hai is a question in its title itself. The song is filled with nature-driven metaphors as he mysteriously ponders on an enchanting figure of his dreams.
Such open-ended songs are aplenty all through the album, driven by Ali’s husky voice that bears a perceptual hint of melancholia (even if his songs might be positive). Guitars are heavily featured in most of the tracks. Having seen him perform many stripped-down acoustic versions of his own song, it’s no wonder that many of his fans record acoustic covers of his classics till date.
One of the fresh elements that Lucky Ali brought to the nascent indie scene in his time were his music videos, which mostly documented his visually vibrant and wholesome journeys, be it in America or the Great Pyramids of Giza. Similarly, Aks’ Tere Mere Saath stars the artist as a fugitive who finds a fellow lover who’s on the run.
He chances upon her in some sort of local fiesta as director Mahesh Mathai’s cameras explore the lively nature of neighbourhoods in Havana. Kitni Haseen Zindagi similarly had an iconic video that features Ali in his drifter avatar, calmly humming his tune while riding a bike under a lazy evening sky.
His videos have been aesthetically-pleasing and even if they incorporated foreign locations, the exotic nature was never flaunted to a flashy extent. Aks only bears testimony to this.
Tu Kaun Hai was featured as a promotional single for the Naseeruddin Shah and Zeenat Aman-starrer Bhopal Express, a drama that revolved around the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
Tere Mere Saath continues to be a crowd favorite and was last used in an ad for a Mahindra SUV. So, in the end, Aks lived up to its title. It was truly a ‘reflection’ of Lucky Ali’s finest years as a musician.
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