Vikas Behl after Queen, Shahid Kapoor after Haider, Alia Bhatt after Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya after Bombay Velvet - You expect a good soundtrack here. In fact, considering the fact that these artists come from extreme ends of the spectrum, one awaits the five songs that unfold. More so, since Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap are the producers here. Too many brains, too many talents and one soundtrack - let's check it out.
It's a country setting for the opening number 'Gulaabo' which has the beats straight out of 'Pardesi' [Dev D]. That said, other than the beats and styling, the song has an altogether different stage and setting to it as Vishal Dadlani takes stage as a singer. In fact he sounds quite different as a singer here and is a little subdued when compared to some of his earlier hits. He is joined a little while later by Anusha Mani who brings on naughty rendition while getting into a playful mood, something that goes with the situation in the narrative. One wonders though about the need of some words like 'Gand faila do' in the song.
It is a 'bhangra' beginning for the next song that arrives, though the effect remains for a mere 35 odd seconds as Amit Trivedi takes this one into a different territory altogether. It is for the better though as he goes all out to make sure that both as a composer and the singer, he gives it all for Shahid Kapoor to get his dancing antics into play for 'Shaam Shaandaar'. A chartbuster number all the way that could well find an inclusion in many a dance parties as well as stage show events, it is a fun club number that registers an instant presence.
Nikhil Paul George and Neeti Mohan come together for the first (and only) romantic number of the album, 'Nazdeekiyaan'. One wonders about the choice of singers here as Nikhil sounds like a pop artist whereas Shahid is a quintessential Bollywood star, which means the voice (that was actually needed) had to compliment the filmy stage and setting, especially in a song belonging to this genre. Moreover, the flow and arrangements too are quite Western in treatment which take the song further away from those who like their music to be in a filmy setting.
A bunch of singers come together for the longest song of the enterprise, 'Senti Wali Mental', that goes on for a good nine minutes! A song which is seemingly set in a celebratory mode, it is surprisingly quite subdued in its treatment and stays low key right through. Though there is good talent on display with Arijit Singh, Neeti Mohan, Swanand Kirkire and Amit Trivedi coming together behind the mike, even the spinning of Hinglish lyrics don't quite make you root for this modern day qawalli that just doesn't manage to hold you on much for its duration. There may be some interest though basis the song's picturisation.
Last to arrive is 'Raitaa Phailgaya' which gets into the 'daaru' mode, something that every composer and lyricist today is getting trapped in big time. The song aims at being all foot tapping and entertaining while maintaining its core of being 'desi' in treatment without explicitly getting into the Punjabi mode. Still, the end result is just about okay, though one can say here that with Shahid Kapoor's exuberance on play, this one may well turn out to be visually entertaining.
Music of Shandaar is a mixed bag where the title song is a sure-shot hit but rest stay on to be strictly situational. Honestly, one expected better.
'Shaam Shandaar', 'Gulabo'