One of the biggest films of the year (Sultan - Ali Abbas Zafar). The biggest production house (Yash Raj Films). The biggest superstar (Salman Khan). One of the top composer duos (Vishal-Shekhar). One of the top lyricists (Irshad Kamil). A setting that warrants as many as nine songs. Expectations? A wholesome and complete soundtrack that does well as a part of the narrative, and not just come across as a series of item/quick fix songs.
It is a Haryanvi beginning for the album and soon enough within 30 seconds Vishal Dadlani brings on his boisterous vocals to give 'Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai' a rollicking start. The fusion of Haryanvi tone and setting with Western styling is done amazingly well and the add-on vocals of Shalmali Kholgade and Ishita add on further fuel. The song is an instant winner and the hook manages to form an instant connect. While the song has a wonderful flow, the rap portions by Badshah seem a tad unnecessary to begin with. However, after listening to the song for a couple of times, this one gels well too eventually. Chartbuster.
Next to arrive is the much-in-news 'Jag Ghoomeya' which had a version sung by Arijit Singh. However, while that is not included in the album, the one you hear is by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. While one can't really state how Arijit's version would have sounded, the fact remains that Rahat does a wonderful job for this love song which has a definite 'thehrav' around it and flows seamlessly. A beautiful melodic number that should do quite well even over the years (and not just as an instant chartbuster), it later also arrives as an (almost) unplugged version by Neha Bhasin. This has even more traditional feel and fits in well again.
The very title of the song '440 Volt' gives an impression of a 'tapori' number in the offering. Well, this is what you get in Sultan, what with words like 'dish antenna', 'signal' and 'Argentina' thrown in. Really, within one minute of listening to this song, you get an impression that this one could just have made a straight entry into Dabangg 3. It would be interesting to see how this rhythmic and 'smile through' number fits into the film. Meanwhile, it has to be acknowledged that Mika Singh sounds really different from his usually full-throated best and goes relatively sober in this song that has better 'antara' portions that 'mukhda'.
Next to arrive is the title song 'Sultan' which has an epic feel to it in the way Shadab Faridi opens it. Soon enough Sukhwinder Singh joins in as well and the kind of guitar that comes into play along with the drum beats makes one sure that it would be a riot when heard in theatre with a state-of-art Dolby systems coming into play. A 'desi' rustic number with Western arrangements to it, this one should appear at number of junctures in the film, hence lending a theme feel to the proceedings. The same song sees a relatively sober start in another version 'Rise of Sultan' which is rendered by Shekhar Ravjiani. A good follow -up.
Next to arrive is a fun song 'Sachi Muchi' that takes a really long time to set in. This one is actually in a completely different mood, stage and setting when compared to the soundtrack so far. It is more in the Barfi! mode with an innocent feel to it, what with Mohit Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur coming together for a sweet-n-simple outing. It is not a bad hear at all, it is just that you want the feel of Sultan to continue.
It is a different kind of start that the next song to follow, 'Bulleya', gets as Papon vocals are the first to arrive than any musical instrument kick-start. While one wonders how the song would shape up in seconds to follow, the 'sufi' sound that follows starts giving certain groove to the tune. After a brief pause, Papon returns behind the mike and what you hear is sheer magic as his soft vocals integrate beautifully with the tune. A rather quiet song that has your feet tapping, 'Bulleya' is a slow song that grows on you eventually and lends an impression that this one is in for a long run.
The album concludes on a high with 'Tuk Tuk' which has a Haryanvi base to it and manages to form an instant connect. If you liked 'Main Ghani Bawri' [Tanu Weds Manu Returns] then you would definitely pick up 'Tuk Tuk' as well which has Nooran Sisters making an impression (yet again) as the singers. What is really remarkable is the fact that despite its regional feel to it, there is a quintessential Vishal-Shekhar sound to it as well, something which keeps becoming all the more prominent as it proceeds. While Vishal Dadlani too chips in as a rapper, it is amazing to see how two different spectrums of music integrate here.
The music of Sultan is a big winner. After a really long time, one gets a sense of a complete soundtrack for a film instead of a series of songs working independently without really coming together as a unit. Vishal-Shekhar arrive as composers after a while but along with Irshad Kamil, they make the wait worth it as they bring something which is different from anything that they have made before. What they succeed tremendously is bringing on songs that are musical, and not ringtone tones.
‘Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai’, ‘Jag Ghoomeya’, ‘Sultan’, ‘Bulleya’, ‘Tuk Tuk’