Why is a seemingly creative composer such as Pritam churning out mediocre junk? Artistic independence and licence aside, surely the promising film-maker Imtiaz Ali and the sensible actor-turned-producer Saif Ali Khan have some logic in letting studio trash make it on to the CD. Whatever it is, I’d love to be in on it.
Okay, we’ve all heard worse but it has come to this finally—we’re left to scrounge around for the best pieces of garbage.
Love Aaj Kal: Composed by Pritam, Eros Music, Rs149.
Is it the belief that the masses will sing along if you play anything on repeat that lends ballast to gutless, soulless arrangements that pass for music?
While everybody says there isn’t a formula to a hit, Pritam has hit upon one. If all else fails (read Indonesian and Arabic hits), a hook from a vintage Hindi film score, some rap, and good ’ol bhangra should lift the soundtrack out of the miserable black hole where it belongs. Neeraj Sridhar, who’s been a Pritam favourite and featured in his last big banner project Billu, is back on three tracks—Twist, which is redeemed by Hemant Kumar’s Nagin, the spunky Chor Bazaari and Aahun Aahun. Chor Bazaari offers some of the best moments in the album with its wedding band horn sounds, clap beats and funk groove. Both Sridhar and Sunidhi Chauhan sound like they’re having a ball and ease you into the track effortlessly. The flute, echoes and reverb have been used impressively on the bhangra-dub number Aahun Aahun but the high lasts all of 1 minute—as long as Master Salim is singing his bit. Sridhar’s vocals bored me to death here and the guitar parts are also completely out of place.
Some of the lyrics are mindless fun, which fit a dance-y track like Twist well (Let’s have some raunak shaunak/Let’s have some party now/Let’s have some rolla rappa/Let’s have some dhol dhamaka), and some of them are plain flat (Ye dooriyan/In raahon ki dooriyan/Nigahon ki dooriyan/Fanaa ho sab dooriyan in Dooriyan sung by Mohit Chauhan). A voice like Chauhan’s is made for poetry but Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are terribly uninspiring.
Mohit Chauhan needs another reinvention after Masak Kali (Delhi-6) because he’s in danger of turning into Atif Aslam II. Dooriyan does nothing to show off his bluesy vocals and instead begs you to play back Tumse Hi from Jab We Met and never come back to this soundtrack. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who belongs to another school of power vocals and hadn’t delivered a Bollywood dud till date, has just got himself his first one in Ajj Din Chadeya. The track begins promisingly, and Pritam’s tried everything here—stirring harmonica lines, slick acoustic guitars. But it’s all just awful patchwork. To their credit, none of the playback singers have held back. Sunidhi Chauhan has tried to revive the senseless track Thoda Thoda Pyaar with all the spark that she could muster but the track’s as spunky as a deflated hit-me-doll. KK’s heart-to-mouth resuscitation couldn’t save Main Kya Hoon either.
This isn’t about the one or two hits that will succeed in promoting the film, it’s the four vacuous numbers delivered by some of the best talent in the industry that disappoint you. The soundtrack has put me off the film, but I’ll wait for Pritam to return to form.
Lalitha Suhasini is a freelance music journalist.
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