Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya & Kumaar
Music Label: Sony Music
We always have high expectations from a Karan Johar film and a Vishal-Shekhar score. Naturally expectations are fairly high from a score that has the combination!
The opening prelude and Shafqat Amanat Ali are both brilliant in the album's first - and best - track 'Mann Chala' (with Nupur Pant), in which we find surprises at every turn of the composition. The treatment is completely fresh and the use of (Western) instruments ingeniously different. Amitabh Bhattacharya's lyrics are inspired in parts (Khamoshiyon ki sooraton mein / Dhoondhe tera shor / Mann chala mann chala teri ore), but the main strength of the song lies in its haunting compositional curves.
Also, the interlude music between mukhda and antara is plain fabulous. Here's a song that proves conclusively that V-S have tons of talent within them if they work hard rather than mechanically, and seek to explore fresh grounds within the Hindi film music ethos and beyond mere trendy stuff.
The smartly-worded (Amitabh Bhattacharya) lifts a normal fun track to appealing levels in 'Drama Queen' (Vishal Dadlani-Shreya Ghoshal). That said, the song is catchy enough and has a zing rarely found in the duo's songs in recent months.
The third track, 'Zehnaseeb' (Chinmayi Sripada-Shekhar Ravjiani) is a winner, but the mukhda does have a resemblance to recent melodies, with the word 'Zehnaseeb' having the same tune as Pritam's 'Mere bina' (Crook) and the rest of the mukhda sounding like another song that we cannot place rightaway.
The downslide begins a bit with the fourth track, 'Punjabi Wedding Song' (Sunidhi Chauhan-Benny Dayal) in which Sunidhi completely dwarfs Benny. The musical style of V-S - the compositional phrasing, the choral patterns, the orchestration and beats and the sound - is becoming very predictable as a rule, as opposed to the evolution of a distinct style for a composer. The song has the usual mÃ©lange of grooves, dhol and (intentional) noise and has a frenzied pace that sounds as if it was made in a 'deuce of a hurry' as a British native would put it.
Next up is 'Shake It Like Shammi' (Benny Dayal), which is clearly intended to be a tribute to Shammi Kapoor and rock-n-roll but lacks the very USP of Kapoor hits - a strong and peppy composition, great lyrics and superb and expressive vocals! The rap is a further irritant in this noisy track. The music too in parts seems to be modelled on R.D. Burman, rather than revisiting the far more prolific and fantastic trademark output of Shammi Kapoor with Shankar-Jaikishan.
The last track 'Ishq Bulaava' (Sanam Puri-Shipra Goyal) is an eminently forgettable song with Punjabi that is beyond the ken of non-Punjabi listeners, especially since the vocals are drowned by the orchestration. And why does the line 'Tainu takdi ravaan / Nainach tere main vasdi ravaan' sound so much like R.D. Burman's 'Tumse milke / Aisa lagaa tumse milke' from Parinda? Yes, there is a certain superficial old-world melody in the song, but the overall impact is a shade weak.
Vishal-Shekhar have done better than in some recent soundtracks, but they should get more serious about their do's (strength and freshness in compositions) and don'ts (poor mixing and over-orchestration).
'Mann Chala', 'Zehnaseeb'