So the first quarter of play in the music Industry has come to an end. Although we haven’t had any sort of masterpiece hit stands, we have pleasantly received a steady dost of what some would call “good” music. Such soundtracks as Just Married, Traffic Signal, Namastey London, Honeymoon Travels Ptd. Ltd. Delhi Heights, 1971, Hattrick, Eklavya – The Royal Guard, Nishabd, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, Kya Love Story Hai, and most recently Life In A…Metro have all brought their own share of quality songs – and it’s only been the first quarter of play!
Although one would look at composer Pritam Chakraborty (Just Married, Hattrick, Kya Love Story Hai, and Life In A…Metro) to be the hottest kid on the block this year, composers Vishal-Shekhar always seem to be right on his heel when it comes to youthful, pappy, and energetic sounds (V-S’s first release this year was the diverse Honeymoon Travels Ptd. Ltd.). Vishal-Shekhar hook-up with the Yash Raj Banner for the second time after a mere ‘above-average’ outing in Salaam Namaste.
Please bring us back the V-S of 2003 and 2004, where we heard some of their best work by far! These guys broke new grounds with their most highly-qualified work in Jhankaar Beats (2003), and followed it up very nicely with Popcorn Khao! Mast Ho Jao, Shaadi Ka Laddu, Musafir, and Shabd in 2004, all of which were top-of-the-line scores. Unfortunately, it’s been a staggered career ever since. V-S do continue to remain in the upper-echelon of composers due to their new-age touch and catchy melodies. However, they haven’t really been able to lift their head up above the crowd – something I really think these guys can do if they put their souls into it (i.e. Jhankaar Beats).
But today is NOT the day they do any of that! No sir. The music of Ta Ra Rum Pum is a bit above average at best, and is definitely poor when compared to V-S standards and potential. Joining hands with veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar for a second consecutive time, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani seem to have programmed their way through this set of songs pretty quick, and consequentially, my review will do the same…
Usually I save the best for last, but…let’s flip things around. The best song on the lot (by some distance) is the track titled Saaiyaan, rendered, quite surprisingly, by a very earthy/sufiyish Vishal Dadlani. The piece soars because it does what we expect it to do from these young men – transcend the boundaries of mastered genres, treading newer, deeper, richer sounds. With traces of rock (one of Vishal’s specialties) splashed throughout the background, Vishal’s vocals slither through the foreground, seamlessly uniting to form a very different sounding track. Special mention to the guys’ use of a very deep, earthy guitar and the play of the piano. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics only add to the diversity of this uniquely exquisite song. This is why I absolutely adore the work of V-S. Only if they could have kept it up…
The title track, Ta Ra Rum Pum, is not worth an attentive ear. The song will go down well with the younger listeners (I’m talking small children here). It’s surprising because usually when V-S use Shaan and Mahalaxmi Iyer together only wonderful things happen (Kuch To Ho Raha Hai of Shaadi Ka Laddu, and a number of beauties by each artist independently). Sneha Suresh and Shravan Suresh offer very limited vocal support. The similarly titled Ta Ra Rum Pum Tararumpum, rendered by Shreya Ghoshal, is a pleasant piece to listen to, as almost all of Shreya’s songs are. Coupled with a sweet melody and catchy chorus-line, this track isn’t so bad at all. But it fails to meet the standards set forth by Saiyaan.
Ab To Forever starts off with a wicked synth, followed by Vishal’s typical vocal interludes. The first 1:00, including K.K.’s intro would lead you to believe that this song could very well match the ingenuity of Dus Bahaane. But, I was wrong…oh so wrong! V-S are unsuccessful because the piece lacks any sort of creative transgression. Meaning, we’re given basically a single blend of sounds to listen to throughout the entire five minutes. 100% effort is a given with K.K., but it is the lack of scope that is given to his range. This is another surprise, given that the K.K.-V-S combination almost always yields gold. I absolutely love when Shreya uses her lower octave range, which is exactly what she does here. However, V-S only use her in support of K.K.. Lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very typical to say the least. Verdict: V-S had the right idea, but should have experimented a little more.
Hey Shona has really grown on me over the past few listens I’ve given it. It’s the song’s innocence and simplicity that captivates me when I listen to it now. Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan are in superb form as their vocals portray a young romance enfolding on audio. V-S deserve credit for restricting the instruments, keeping it simple, and squeezing everyt sound out of every note from every instrument. The richness seeps through the playful vocals of Shaan and Sunidhi, who come together under the V-S umbrella for the third time after Cham Se (Dus) and Ishq Hai Nasha Nasha (Rudraksh). Javed Akhtar’s lyrics aren’t really anything new, yet they fit beautifully with the theme of the music. All in all this song is much better than what I initially labeled it as!
Nachle Ve is the mandatory Punjabi/Group dance number for YRF to show off their art, costume, and set design prowess. Although the song doesn’t necessarily sound bad, you can tell that it is out of V-S’s comfort zone, as they restrict their creativity in the background, use typical bhangra sounds, and hesitantly mix synths to seemingly add flavor. On top of the chaos, we have V-S completely misusing Sowmya Rao. If you listen to some of her previous work, it is obvious that Sowmya excels in slow-ballad, romantic tracks…not this! Sonu, God bless him, tries his best as always. But Rao is completely wasted. A decent melody is non-existant as well. Verdict: Poorly executed track. Fault falls on YRF who unreasonably demand V-S to compose out of their aura of expertise.
So Vishal-Shekhar do manage to come up with one outstanding track (Saaiyaan) and a couple catchy/melodic ones (Ta Ra Rum Pum Tararumpum and Hey Shona). The other half of the soundtrack is forgettable at best. I’m no genius, but I don’t think the VS-YRF hook-up is reaping any massive benefits after a disappointing Salaam Namaste (Tu Jahaan being the most note-worthy piece) and now a somewhat disappointing Ta Ra Rum Pum. It seems to me that the effort level was somewhere around 70% here. But I hold very high hopes for their music in Anubhav Sinha’s Cash, in which they promise brand new sounds. And so we wait…