You certainly do not expect a 'pyaar-mohabbat' kind of musical score in a film like 99 which gives an impression of an album that would rather have been set in a Johnny Gaddaar mode. You look forward to music which is primarily placed as a part of the background score without any lip synching. In that aspect, 99 does meet expectations as it doesn't deviate from it's theme and though the soundtrack isn't extraordinary by any means, it is just right for a film belonging to this genre and treatment.
Quite a few composers contribute to the music of 99. So we see Ashu, Roshan Machado, Shamir Tandon and Mahesh Shankar coming up with a few tunes each, hence aiming at bringing on some variety to the proceedings. First to come is 'Delhi Destiny' which is composed by Ashu. The song has a little bit of rock, a touch of jazz along with some element of Sufi rendition. However, the end result of neither the original track nor the 'spice mix' version is enticing enough to make it worthy enough to be called as a song of the month.
What rocks the show though is Roshan Machado composed 'Soch Mat Dobara' which belongs to the 'Pulp Fiction' genre as evidenced in the title track of Cash that was heard some time back and would be heard once again in Kaminey. A full on fun track that should appear at numerous junctures of the film's narrative, it is an out and out Western track that should keep the adrenalin pumping in 99 which is a comic thriller. The composer also creates '99 Theme Song' which is decent but doesn't carry a punch similar to that of 'Soch Mat Dobara'.
There is a big difference in the way 'What's Up' begins as a raunchy item number and then transforms into a club dance number. Not that it breaks any new grounds but as an inclusion in the album, this Shamir Tandon tune does contribute in a good way. In fact when compared to some of the tunes that the composer has made in the last few years, 'What's Up', which is also heard in a rather innovative 'Grooving Blues Mix' and a rollicking 'Dance Mix' version, still makes for a better hearing!
The party mood continues with a Mahesh Shankar composition which has been innovatively titled 'Punjabi Size'. The song is a mixed affair though because while it is exciting at places, overall it isn't catchy enough to make youth go gaga over it just like they did for 'Chak De Phatte' [Khosla Ka Ghosla] a few years back.
Ashu returns to the scene with 'Kal Ki Tarah', first romantic number of 99. A kind of song that can never go out of vogue and can always be played on a low volume for your loved one, 'Kal Ki Tarah' is based on melody with simple arrangements. Okay, so we are not staring at a potential chartbuster here but it certainly helps in bringing some 'thehrav' in the album.
Just like a horde of composers that come together for 99, there are also quite a few lyricists who have been roped in for the soundtrack. So we see Vaibhav Modi, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Shabbir Ahmed and Chintan Gandhi sharing credits for the lyrics of various songs. Vaibhav Modi writes 'Delhi Destiny' which appears to be an introduction song of Kunal and Cyrus, once they make their entry into the city of Delhi and try to explore their destiny. An okay track which is followed by a far better 'Soch Mat Dobara' (written by Amitabh Bhattacharya, who is also the man behind '99 Theme Song') that fits in absolutely well with the subject of 99. This one should be a lot of fun to hear in the film's narrative as it reflects the state of mind of the principal protagonists.
Shabbir Ahmed certainly knows a thing or two about writing youthful tracks and 'What's Up' is an addition to the list that the lyricist has been growing over the years. Chintan Gandhi writes 'Punjabi Size' but sadly their lyrics are hardly audible at places, considering a blazing orchestra that goes with the tune throughout its duration. It's all mush and romance though when it comes to 'Kal Ki Tarah' which is written by Vaibhav Modi.
Raja Hassan and Ashu come together to sing 'Delhi Destiny' and succeed in reaffirming the youth flavour of the movie as well as music by means of their rendition. However, an average tune doesn't help their cause much. Bonnie Chakraborty and Earl come together for 'Soch Mat Dobara' and '99 Theme Song' and appear to be thoroughly enjoying themselves in this wild party called 99. K.K. and Sunidhi Chauhan come to the scene soon after and immediately take over the proceedings. They also demonstrate all over again that their experience over the years counts in the larger scheme of things after all as they render the most massy song of the album so far. One wonders why the number hasn't been promoted to the optimal so far?
Labh Jhanjua, K.K, Kalyani and Roopa come together for 'Punjabi Size' but even with a horde of singers, the 'size' of entertainment isn't as huge as one would have anticipated. Shaan is the usual suspect for 'Kal Ki Tarah' which is a number tailor made for him while Sunidhi Chauhan joins him behind the mike as well. As expected, they are good in their rendition.
The music of 99 isn't as zany as one would have expected but still a couple of songs do strike a chord. With the music release barely a week before the film's arrival in theatres not helping it's cause, 99 would be looking at audience response to 'What's Up' and 'Soch Mat Dobara' to make some impression at the stands.