I went through quite a predicament before playing the songs of Agneepath. After all, from an album coming from the house of Karan Johar, you do expect a soundtrack that stays with you for long. On the other hand from a film like Agneepath that is basically a revenge drama with action at the core of it, nothing more than situational is expected. I wondered how composers Ajay-Atul, along with lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya, would strike a balance between coming up with something commercially while balancing it out with the core theme of the film. That's the reason why expectations were pretty much kept in check.
Perhaps Karan Johar too went through the same predicament due to which it's an item number that comes at the very beginning of the album. 'Chikni Chameli' is what kick-starts the proceedings for Agneepath and in one quick shot, it manages to lay all doubts to rest. A quintessentially mass pleasing number that has absolutely nothing to do with Agneepath as a film but would still ensure that not just the album sales/ringtone downloads are brisk but there are ample footfalls in theatres as well, 'Chikni Chameli' is a comfortable addition to Katrina Kaif's repertoire after 'Sheila Ki Jawani'.
A racy number that doesn't give a moment to breathe, 'Chikni Chameli' is bound to be the talk of the town for next one month at the least due to an intrinsic rhythm that gets the feet tapping. A special word for Shreya Ghoshal too who changes her singing style in a big way and comes up trumps. She gets the kind of rustic flavour that was the need of the hour and is superb in her rendition. Expect her to find quite a few award nominations coming her way.
There is quick speed breaker though that comes in the form of 'O Saiyyan'. Frankly, it doesn't quite make for a welcome entry here because such is the kind of euphoria set by 'Chikni Chameli' that one doesn't want the fun element to go off. Fine, so one isn't looking for yet another item number here but a song like 'O Saiyaan', which (despite being a love song) basically sounds like a sad outing by Roop Kumar Rathod, surprisingly comes way too soon hence making one quickly move on to the next song in the offering.
Spunk returns to some extent at the least with Sunidhi Chauhan coming behind the mike for 'Gun Gun Guna'. A happy-go-lucky song where Priyanka Chopra could well be singing with a bunch of friends about looking ahead in life and feeling happy about what it has to offer in abundance, this one is a situational outing as well and just doesn't seem to be belonging to Karan Joihar stable. With a 'desi' touch to it, 'Gun Gun Guna' is set in the 70s template. Though it is easy on ears, this song (which has Udit Narayan joining in later and reminding one of his 'O Re Chori - Lagaan' act) is well tuned and worded though it's shelf life is restricted to the film's run.
However the song that manages to create a huge impact after 'Chikni Chameli' is 'Shah Ka Rutba'. A 'qawalli' that starts on a high note with Sukhwinder Singh at his boisterous best, it manages to strike an instant connect with the listener due to it's apparent similarities with 'Yaar Hai Imaan Mera' [Zanjeer]. Frankly, even though quite a few songs in the last four decades have tried to ignite a similar mood as the song that was picturised on Pran-Amitabh Bachchan, not many have succeeded in doing that. However one can be rest assured that given the kind of overall setup that 'Shah Ka Rutba' boasts of (with Anand Raaj Anand and Krishna Beura joining Sukhwinder Singh), it would manage to create a powerful impact in the film's narrative. Now one waits to see whether it is Rishi Kapoor who faces camera for this 'qawalli'.
Finally comes a song that could well have been composed keeping in mind that this is a Karan Johar film after all! Sonu Niigaam, who is always a delight to listen to, especially when it comes to soulful romantic tracks, strikes again with 'Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin'. Just the kind of song that was pretty much required to give a sense of completeness to Agneepath, this one also boasts of some poetic writing by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Even though it isn't catchy enough to become the next big chartbuster, 'Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin' still has good enough holding power to keep you engaged while it plays.
Last to arrive is 'Deva Shree Ganesha', the 'Ganpati' song which can be heard in some bits and pieces in the theatrical promo of Agneepath that has been released so far. This one has just the right kind of verve that reminds one of the 'masala' films of 70s/80s. The pace is just perfect, the mood is vibrant, the mood more than just religious but also highly dramatic while vocals (by Ajay Gogavale) that are completely in synch with the mind state of the protagonist. In fact it won't be wrong to say that the song pretty much reminds of the kind of mood created in Sunil Dutt's 'Zakhmee Dilon Ka Badla' [Zakhmee].
When one revisits the entire album, it is quite apparent that Karan Johar, Karan Malhotra along with Ajay-Atul and Amitabh Bhattacharya wanted a 70s feel for the entire soundtrack. This is quite clear when one looks at the three most mass friendly numbers, 'Chikni Chameli', 'Deva Shree Ganesha' and 'Shah Ka Rutba', based on 'Mundga' [Inkaar], 'Zakhmee Dilon Ka' [Zakhmee] and 'Yaari Hai Imaan' [Zanjeer] - each of which was released in the 70s. While 'Deva Shree....' and 'Shah Ka...' should get popular after the film's release, 'Chikni Chameli' would be a good enough reason to set up brisk sales for the album.
Chikni Chameli, Deva Shree Ganesha, Shah Ka Rutba, Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin
Music review of Agneepath by Joginder Tuteja