You expect a riveting soundtrack in Agent Vinod. Due to its genre that encapsulates thrills and action elements, the film presumably has stage set for the kind of soundtrack that one had heard (and immensely enjoyed) in films like Cash, Dus or Blue, to name a few. With Pritam at the helm of affairs this time around and Amitabh Bhattacharya handling lyrics, Agent Vinod makes one look forward to an adrenalin pumping score.
First to arrive is 'I'll Do The Talking Tonight' which is actually an uncharacteristic start of an album. Though one wasn't expecting a romantic number to kick-start the proceedings, a situational/item number like this does come as a surprise. Nevertheless, the song races by soon after as Neeraj Shridhar and Aditi Singh Sharma lead from the front with Shefali Alvaris and Barbie Amod joining in as well. A fusion mix of a popular Russian tune with Western arrangements and Pritam's styling (which is most apparent in the way Neeraj goes about singing this one), 'I'll Do The Talking Tonight' is a decent start though not extraordinary.
The 'remix version' that follows expectedly pumps up the jam and as one hears it repeatedly; you do get a slight hint of 'Music Band Na Karo' [Hum Tum Shabana] . It isn't surprising though since Sachin-Jigar were once assistants with Pritam and hence similarities can be expected to seep in.
It is time for the most hyped number of the album, 'Dil Mera Muft Ka', to arrive next. A 'mujra' track that has been in news for over six months now, it is finally unleashed with the kind of characteristic sound that one associates with this genre. However the song takes volte-face in one minute flat with a club sound holding prevalence and the 'mujra' losing its relevance sooner than one could have actually classified it as one. In fact it won't be wrong to say that the song (with Muazzam, Rizwan, Shadab Faridi, Altamush Faridi, Shabab Sabri as the add-on vocalists) is more in a 'Munni'/'Sheela' mood than an Umrao Jaan one was looking for here.
Nevertheless, coming back to the song for what it is, 'Dil Mera Muft Ka' (which has Neelesh Misra as the guest lyricist) doesn't quite come close to the hype that was build around it and just about manages to pass muster. What is also noticeable is the fact that Nandini Srikar's voice is just not the right fit for Kareena Kapoor and seems out of place here. Yes, she sings well and also demonstrates a good range (after being terrific in 'Bhare Naina' (Ra.One) last year but in case of 'Dil Mera Muft Ka', it is a case of mismatch.
Thankfully the 'remix version' (surprisingly) is more 'desi' with Malini Avasthi sounding further authentic. Also, the kind of arrangements that one hears here makes one strongly feel that perhaps the tagging of 'remix' was exchanged here and the earlier version could have been rather termed as one.
Soon Pritam does come on his own with 'Raabta (Siyaah Raatein)' which is clearly the best track that one has heard in the album so far. Just the kind of sound that one associates with the composer, 'Raabta' is a beautiful melody that may have more suited an Imtiaz Ali film but is still a welcome inclusion in Agent Vinod even if it is nowhere near to being adrenalin pumping. Thank goodness for that though since after 'I'll Do The Talking Tonight' and 'Dil Mera Muft Ka' one was looking for some 'thehrav' and that comes in good abundance with 'Rabta'.
The song arrives in as many as four versions and one doesn't mind that one bit as it manages to hook you on every time it appears. While Aditi Singh Sharma (in an altogether different avtar from 'I'll Do The Talking Tonight') leads from the front for the 'Raabta (Night In A Motel)' version, it is Arijit Singh who does well for the male version 'Arijit Singh'. Later he also joins Shreya Ghoshal for the final version 'Raabta (Kehte Hain Khuda Ne)' which does well as a round up version. Special mention for lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya who indeed ends up getting something new to cheer about and demonstrates once again that he has a good knack of playing around with words.
Next to arrive is the massy track 'Pungi' which could well be Saif Ali Khan's naughtiest song for a long time. Since he comes with this suave and debonair image, you don't really associate a song like this with him. However one can well expect some all-around convincing to have gone into putting together this song which has Mika leading from the front with Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash and Pritam himself joining in. With a 70s/80s feel to it and 'Jahan Teri Yeh Nazar Hai' [Kaalia] being a clear reference point, 'Pungi' (also arriving in a 'remix version') is a little better than 'Mauka De' [Aarakshan] but doesn't quite go the whole way.
The album culminates well with 'Agent Vinod - Theme' track which has its own mood and movement, hence turning out to be a wholesome affair. Traditionally it has been seen that theme songs don't quite last for more than a couple of minutes. However this one is close to five minutes which means Pritam had enough time to build a base and then take it to crescendo. Of course one does get a hint of James Bond and Mission Impossible coming together but then that's absolutely fine because 'Agent Vinod - Theme' manages to form its own identity. The fact that it is fast paced and immensely enjoyable add further weight.
Let's state the fact here - Agent Vinod may not have turned out to be an ultimate entertaining experience that one would have hoped for. Still, it has its moments where one does feel that if only could have gone an extra distance, it may have been memorable. Still, despite not really the kind of soundtrack that one would remember six months down the line, it is still good enough to ensure that it helps the film's narrative. Songs like 'I'll Do The Talking Tonight', 'Dil Mera Muft Ka' and 'Pungi', though not extraordinary, keep up the pace while the theme track is an absolute killer. As for the one that may stay on long, there is 'Raabta' that one can play on a repeat mode and feel content.
Raabta (Siyaah Raatein), Agent Vinod - Theme, Dil Mera Muft Ka (remix)