Frankly, one doesn't have many expectations from the music of Sikandar primarily due to the film's offbeat theme and a 'hatke' genre. Moreover, the film isn't one of those routine Bollywood flicks and brings to fore the life of a teenage boy who happens to stumble upon a pistol in the valley of Kashmir. With expectations of a soundtrack that will mainly be played in the film's background, one puts on Sikandar.
'Dhoop Ke Sikke' sets a sweet beginning to Sikandar as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy come up with a tune which is quite easy on ears and makes for a relaxed hearing. One can instantly visualize the valley of Kashmir in the background as this soft rock number plays on. Bringing with a fresh appeal which makes Sikandar an outing which is positive, full of life and looks forward to better days ahead, 'Dhoop Ke Sikke' makes you look forward to the songs that follow.
It's a similar lyrical flow that one experiences in 'Gulon Mein' which is composed by Justin-Uday [who were last heard in Hijack]. This time around, the composer duo give an altogether different account of themselves as they move away from creating conventional Bollywood compositions and instead choose to create a song which brings with it a thematic approach. The song first comes in a slower 'serene version' and later an 'upbeat version'. Though one expected a 'remix' version here, thankfully that is not the case as the tune has been reworked a little with Sandesh Shandilya arriving on the scene.
It's a teenage voice for the song 'Arzoo', a traditional devotional track. A two minute track that would be appreciated by the followers of Muslim religion, it comes sans any musical instrument in the background and would most likely play during a situation in the film where prayers are being offered. On the similar lines is 'Allah Hoo' which has Justin-Uday coming up with a conventional tune that one has heard in number of tracks belonging to this genre before. However, to the credit of the composers, they keep the flow of the song steady and do not spoil the final results by playing unnecessary musical instruments in the background.
With a Kashmiri background to it, 'Manzaraat' is a bona fide item number that is completely off the mood and genre of the album that was set so far. With a 70s feel to it, this one is nothing better than being ordinary, due to which the listener's interest only keeps going down in this album. Finally comes 'Chaal Apni' which is meant to be a playful feel good number between the two teenagers. However, it turns out to be yet another ordinary song which doesn't quite make you go 'wow' even after a couple of hearing.
Prasoon Joshi shows once again that he could well be the Javed Akhtar of the 21st century if his poetry in 'Dhoop Ke Sikke' is any indication. He is one of the few lyricists today who bring a poetic narrative through their words and 'Dhoop Ke Sikke' further validates that. Later Neelesh Mishra too follows a similar poetic approach while writing 'Gulon Mein' which is a poignant but positive and hopeful tale of life coming back to normalcy. Kumaar's lyrics for 'Manzaraat' gets lost due to the tune being totally ordinary while 'Allah Hoo' is conventional. However, he unleashes the child in him while writing 'Chaal Apni'.
Anusha Mani, who has made an impression in both the songs that she has sung in the recent times - 'Dil Mein Jaagi' [Dev D] and 'Lazy Lamhe' [Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic], makes it three in a row as she comes up with a very good rendition in 'Dhoop Ke Sikke' as well. Shankar Mahadevan as her singing partner only makes it a competitive platform for her to perform and she does doesn't disappoint at all.
Mohit Chauhan sings in a style that goes with his name and ensures that 'Gulon Mein' maintains a similar quality to it. However, KK sounds a lot different from his characteristic upbeat self even as he sings the 'upbeat version' (quite ironically) of 'Gulon Mein'. Mehrajuddin's voice is unconventional but goes with the mood which is required to be created for 'Arzoo'. Yash Narvekar and Hrishikesh Kamerkar are decent as they sing 'Allah Hoo' but the genre of the song restricts them from doing anything beyond that.
Shlipa Rao has been making a rapid progress in the Bollywood playback singing world but with 'Manzaraat', she proves that she too can make wrong choices. In the song 'Chaal Apni', Hrishikesh Kamerkar is average though Hamsika Iyer does sound pleasant.
In the end, Sikandar turns out to be an average album with 'Dhoop Ke Sikke' making the best impression with 'Gulon Mein' doing decent as well. Beyond that, the tracks are primarily situational with not much shelf life beyond the film's narrative.
'Dhoop Ke Sikke'