Pyaar Ke Side Effects is a new love story from the U.S.A. based Pritish Nandy Communications. Their past films (including; Chameli, Shabd, Ek Haseena Ek Khiladi) have always been glossy and technically proficient, but have failed to ignite at the box office. Directed by Saket Chaudhary, the film has music by Pritam. That means heavily influenced songs. Pritam is more of a remixer than composer, however the results are always catchy and popular (witness the success of Dhoom, Gangster, etc.). This time around is no different, the music is hip hop/pop and youthful, sure to make a mark on the charts.
The albums opener is the best song on the album. Pyar Karke...is a hip hop song mixed with Punjabi folk. Labh Janjua provides the Punjabi vocals and there could not have been a better choice. For some of you who may not know, he's popular in the West (especially the U.K. bhangra scene) and has several hits to his name. His strong folk rendition is a cool offset to the lazy bongo drum beat. Pritam adds soft synths to the background, and some essential Tumbi for that bhangra flavour. For the singers melody, he uses the basic tone of the classic Punjabi song 'Jindh Mahi', showing his obvious influences. Mayur Puri's lyrics are well written and often funny. The rap by Bob and Suzy is pretty decent for Bollywood. A remix is included (surprised anyone?) and just makes the song more danceable by adding a thumping dance beat and dhol.
Dil Tod Ke Na Ja is hard to classify, my best guess would be an electro-qawwali. Pritam lays traditional qawwali elements (tabla, hand claps, harmonium and eastern string instruments) over a throbbing dance beat. Rakesh Pandit's vocals are rustic and fuse nicely with the song. Much like Pyar Karke, this composition integrates both Eastern and Western elements. Mayur Puri's lyrics are heart felt and nicely penned again. An unnecessary remix is also included, rendered by the overrated Mika. His vocals are overproduced and nasal at times. The remixers are DJ Kiran and DJ Myth, they add a darker ambience and some Arabic themes. It's listenable but unneeded.
Speaking of unneeded, the song Bad Boy is available in three different versions on the album. The first two are hip hop/pop, but rendered by two different singers. The first version by Sophie (who makes an appearance in the film during the song), is safe and she hits the right notes. The second version (titled Allah Bachaye) is sung by Alisha Chinoy who has a strange hiss to her voice throughout. Alisha sings off tone as usual (she has made a career of it) but Pritam mixes it into the song well. Alisha's version is also the one with more life, so despite her lack of vocal strength, she still makes for the better listen. The way she slows her vocals in the verses, and sings in a whispery tone gives it more edge over Sophie's version. Ironically Sophie makes the appearance in the film, but it's Alisha Chinoy's vocals that are being used in the promotional trailers. Mayur Puri switches it up again and provides naughty and playful lyrics. Ishq Vector provides a terrible rap performed by Earl, the less said the better. DJ Sunil Spinz remixes the Alisha Chinoy rendition for the third version of the song. It starts off as a Euro trance remix, then slows for a minute and speeds backs up. All three versions are just above average, so take your pick.
Amid all the hip hop beats and remix craziness, there are two soft songs as well, which are really exceptional if you can get past the corny English lyrics. The first one is named Jaane Kya, another one of Pritam's East meets West fusion's. The opening lines are rendered in English by an uncredited voice and the refrain appears throughout the song. It's not that bad after a couple of listens. Thankfully the main vocals are provided by the soulful Zubin. His traditional rendition gives the song classical undertones. Mayur Prui's continues to show his versatility with traditional folk lyrics with a sad theme. Pritam ties that into the composition with the Sarangi adding a rustic touch to an otherwise upbeat westernized composition. The song takes time to grow and eventually stands out amongst the lot.
The other slow song is equally outstanding. Is This Love (A-Mi-Manera) is Pritam's take on a soft and sexy Latin love ballad. I'm not sure, but A-Mi-Manera may in fact be credit given to an original Latin version. The soft guitars are played over maracas and soft drums, making the song upbeat, yet mellow. Mayur Puri's lyrics are typical, but the vocals by Kunal Ganjawala and Sunidhi Chauhan more than make up for it. Both voices are equally strong but controlled. And both vocalists have a slight Western element to their renditions that fits the song beautifully. I'm a big fan of both (their the best amongst their contemporaries) and they compliment each other wonderfully in this song.
Pyaar Ke Side Effects should garner a few hits on the charts for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if every song on the album was a chartbuster (although Bad Boy is sub par compared to the rest). Pritam has put together five good compositions on this album, but the pointless remixes and three versions of one song dilutes the impact. Pyar Karke, Jaane Kya and Is This Love stand head and shoulders above the rest, and on the whole this album is a definitely worth the buy.