Even though Emraan Hashmi is the lead protagonist in Shanghai and Vishal-Shekhar are at the helm of affairs, one doesn't expect a conventional soundtrack here. Reason being that the film is pitched as a dramatic outing instead of being out and out 'masala' or hardcore romantic. This does make one a little apprehensive of the commercial appeal that the album may carry. Still, one plays on the album and hopes to be pleasantly surprised.
The song which kick-starts the proceedings is 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai ', the theme track of the album. Expected to arrive at numerous junctures in the film's narrative due to the thematic appeal that it carries and also finding way into the promos, 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai ' is an addictive number that strikes from the word 'go'. Of course Dibakar Banerjee's lyrics (yes, he has penned this number) are acidic as well as satirical in nature which means the plusses and minuses of 'Bharat Mata' are being spoken about in their full glory. Still, it is the rhythm, pace and the way Keerti Sagathia and Vishal Dadlani sing this one with Bhupesh and Dibakar (again) pitching in additional vocalists that make 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai ' a song that could have been just an ideal number to act as an antithesis of political campaigns. The 'remix version' of this out and out 'desi' number is well placed too and one looks forward to the song being picked up by the news channels once the next scam is revealed or a corruption saga is unveiled.
It's continuation of rhythm and pace once again that does the trick for 'Imported Kamariya '. No, this one is not a memorable number in the making and also doesn't come close to Vishal-Shekhar's item songs like 'Chammak Challo' [Ra.One] or 'Sheila Ki Jawaani ' [Tees Maar Khan] . Still, for the purpose of fitting into the film and also hinting of a satire once again when it comes to prevalent corruption, 'Imported Kamariya ' written by Anvita Dutt fits in well with Richa Sharma going behind the mike. Vishal and Shekhar are the additional vocalists for this yet another out and out 'desi' song which is fun but only till it lasts.
Things come to an almost standstill though with the arrival of 'Duaa ' that is almost unplugged with just the vocals of Nandini Srikar and Arijit Singh taking the song forward. A slow moving number which has a sad undertone to it, it is set in the same semi-classical style as 'Kaa Karoon Sajni' [Swami] with a touch of new-age style to it. Kumaar does well as a lyricist here and when one listens to the song (which has Shekhar as the additional vocalists), it teases listener to find out more about the film. Though this isn't quite the one to set the charts on fire, for those looking hunting for a soft outing, it fits the bill.
Similar subtle mood continues with 'Khudaaya ' which is a sad song with a difference, is written by Neelesh Misra and has various shades to it in the way it begins, continues and ends with Raja Hasan's vocals interspersing it. This time around Shekhar Ravjiani makes the song entirely his own and brings on the pathos of the one who has lost his love and is pining for it to be back in his life. Having said that, the song isn't the kind that fetches your attention in the very first hearing and has to be played repeatedly, especially the well put together 'remix version' (it is quite good indeed) which ultimately manages to hook you on.
It is time for Shanghai to return to its theme with Vishal Dadlani written 'Morcha ' which is based on the manifesto of political parties. This means there are promises of food, education and other things being made with Raja Hasan (along with Vishal Dadlani as the additional vocalist) leading from the front. Pun intended. Not really the kind of a vociferous outing that one generally associates with a song of this genre, it promises to fit in well into the film's narrative.
Last to arrive is 'Mantra Vishnu Sahasranamam ' which is the longest track of the lot and lasts as good as five minutes. A traditional track by Srivatsa Krishna, it doesn't have any other instrument in the background other than the 'sitar'. Quite soothing to ears and a quick pick for those hunting for a devotional outing, this 'mantra' is about 'The Thousand Names Of Lord Vishnu'.
Music of Shanghai turns out to be as expected with Vishal-Shekhar experimenting as per the film's genre and succeeding reasonably well too. Other than creating songs like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', 'Imported Kamariya' and 'Morcha' which are as per the demand of the film, they also compose 'Duaa' and 'Khudaaya' which could have fitted into any other romantic outing of theirs. One does hunt for the kind of songs though that would turn out to be chartbusters and boast of all-around success. However if complimented by a steady marketing and promotional campaign, there are good chances that 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai ' and 'Khudaaya ' would find good popularity coming their way.
Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Khudaaya (remix)