'Humungous' - That's what described in one word the expectations one has from the music of Ra.One. Though this may seem like a simple word, there is a lot that goes behind the expectations here.
- Ra.One boldly claims itself to be the biggest movie ever made in the country
- Shah Rukh Khan is returning to the big screen more than year and a half after his last big screen outing
- Due to two reasons above, music has to be in line as well
- Vishal & Shekhar are synonymous with new sound especially when it comes to biggies. The stage is all set for them to justify the trust and confidence shown in them to deliver goods.
- Music of films made by Anubhav Sinha has more often than not always worked. Remember Dus, Cash, Tum Bin?
Simply put, there is no margin of error and with the kind of grandeur that the film promises; music has to be in accordance too. With expectations of a loaded experience ahead (Ra.One has 10 unique tracks with five remixes to further boost the prospects), one plays on Ra.One.
Expectedly, the album begins with 'Chammak Challo' which was 'leaked' a few months ago and has been in news ever since then. Well, the song more than lives up to the huge hype that has been built around it, courtesy Akon who has been dragged into the Bollywood music arena. A grand song by all means with huge production values that would be assuring enough for Akon to believe that this one can compete at an international level, 'Chammak Challo' is a fantastic amalgamation of Indian, Middle East and Western sound that gives it a distinguished appeal. Written by Vishal Dadlani and Niranjan Iyengar, the song is not just about Akon, as Hamsika Iyer lends him good support as well in the later parts of the song.
A huge winner all the way that Akon would certainly want to introduce in his international tours as well, 'Chammak Challo' arrives in an astonishing five 'remix versions'. Does one feel like being treated to an overdose of 'Chammak Challo'? Not at all as whether it is the regular 'remix', 'Punjabi mix', 'Club Mix' or 'International version' (where Akon goes solo), the impact is only accentuated as one is treated to a repeat play of this highly foot tapping number.
As one comes out of the euphoria of 'Chammak Challo', Vishal-Shekhar bring on a much sober and melody inclined 'Dildaara - Stand By Me' which is written by Kumaar. Now this is the kind of number that one always expects in a Shah Rukh Khan starrer and it is pretty much out there on a platter with Shafqat Amanat Ali doing quite well in bringing on a romantic number. While the start by itself is impressive, the song takes a different dimension altogether once the key word 'Dildaara' arrives. A love song which is a good fusion of modern day sound and Bollywood ethos, 'Dildaara' has Shafqat seeing good support coming from Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani and Clinton Cerejo as well.
It is back to Akon with 'Criminal' which is a surprise because all this while one had expected 'Chammak Challo' to be his sole outing. This time around Akon sounds more like the way music lovers have been used to hearing him for last few years. However, what impresses most is the way Vishal-Shekhar go on to give 'Criminal' an altogether different dimension as from a peppy Western outing, it moves ahead as a high paced quintessential dance number, only to turn into a full-blown Hindi film song with the arrival of Shruti Pathak. Also, as a singer Vishal Dadlani does well to fuse his lines along with that of Akon, hence giving 'Criminal' a unique appeal. Written by Kumaar and Vishal Dadlani, 'Criminal' isn't a song about crime but is instead about a man wooing his lady love! The 'remix version' only adds on to the appeal.
There is a surprise in store though with the arrival of 'Bhare Naina' which turns out to be a shocker of an outing. Reason being that the soundtrack completely changes track with Nandini Srikar making it a semi-classical outing, courtesy her rendition which is filled with pathos. The song starts off rather slowly and just when one felt that it would take an out and out classical approach, Vishal-Shekhar bring in a fusion sound with Western elements coming in play as well. In the later portions of the song, they can also be heard faintly in the background as back up vocalists hence lending a haunting appeal to this sad song. Written by Panchhi Jalonvi, 'Bhare Naina' may not attract one's attention instantly but has in it to create a cinematic appeal when heard as a part of the film's narrative.
It is a much safer outing though with the arrival of Anvita Dutt written 'Right By Your Side'. A peppy feel-good song by Sidd Coutto which is about living life to the fullest and celebrating an all around bonding filled with happiness, it is good but seems a rather ill-placed in Ra.One. The kind of number which is more suited for a I Hate LUV Storys or a Break Ke Baad or an Anjaana Anjaani - all being Vishal-Shekhar creations, it may just find itself lost in the crowd in an album like Ra.One since the film comes with an altogether different theme, subject and genre.
The real fun begins from this point though as one gets to hear the real sound of Ra.One with five tracks in a row that turn out to be theme/background pieces that truly define what the film stands for. First to arrive is 'Raftaarein' which is a killer of a track, courtesy some true homage paid to R.D. Burman with an old world 70s style sound of an action thriller. Vishal (who also writes the song) as well as Shekhar go totally uninhibited behind the mike and come up with full throated rendition to make 'Raftaarein' a high energy number that should turn out to be adrenalin pumping and quite high impact when seen on the big screen.
Fun continues with 'Jiya Mora Ghabraaye - The Chase' which, as the title suggests, is created for a chase sequence. The moment this near five minute long track begins, one is reminded of another supremely well orchestrated 'Adrenaline Nitrate' that Vishal-Shekhar had created for the theme of Dus. This time around the production is far grander with Sukhwinder Singh and Vishal Dadlani coming together with a fusion mix that ends up creating a trance effect. The song also sees Anubhav Sinha stepping in as a lyricist with Vishal Dadlani chipping in as well. Yet another track which is made for the big screen!
Next three tracks that follow last close to 100 seconds each and are actually the same musical pieces about which much has been said and written about the 200 piece orchestra that was put together by Vishal-Shekhar in Prague. International in appeal and pretty much fitting into Hollywood scheme of things, 'Comes The Light - Theme' is the first to come which is just what one would have expected from a gargantuan superhero flick like Ra.One. 'I'm On' pretty much takes the album forward with the sound of 'Raftaarein' presented in a contemporary manner instead of being set in the 70s mode. Last to arrive is 'Song Of The End' which has a sad feel to it and reminds one of the sound from Titanic. All said and done, these are the theme tracks that would have made acclaimed Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer stand up and notice.
Ra.One has brilliancy written all over it and is clearly a huge winner all the way. It isn't just the grandest score of the year but is also one of the hugest ever that has come out of Bollywood. Music here not just meets the huge expectations but also surpasses it at various junctures, hence making it a satiating experience for the listener. Not just that as it also promises a major cinematic outing once big screen comes calling. A definite choice of the season.
Chammak Challo, Dildaara - Stand By Me, Raftaarein, Criminal, Jiya Mora Ghabraaye - The Chase, I'm On