Without a shadow of a doubt, if there is one music director who has consistently been on top of his game in the last year or so it’s Pritam. Just as 2006 propelled him to the upper echelons of music directors after some great soundtracks such as Ankahee, Gangster, and Woh lamhe, 2007 has only added to heighten his reputation even further with more evidence of his ability as a top level composer, cue: Just Married, Hattrick, Kya Love Story Hai, Awarapan and of course Life in a Metro; arguably the best album of 2007 thus far. None of these can be said to have been failures in terms of quality and furthermore he has picked up countless fans along the way including this reviewer.
Consistency has therefore been synonymous with Pritam’s name and that’s one of the main reasons why so many directors are after his music. The question however is how long can Pritam continue to produce quality soundtracks especially if his increasing popularity results in overburdening work (remember how Himesh’s music suffered in 2006?).
The duo that brought us Humraaz (2002), Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla, are the latest in a string of directors to rope in Pritam to provide a soundtrack befitting of their highly anticipated thriller Naqaab; Disguised Intentions, starring Bobby Deol and Akshay Khanna (who incidently also starred in Humraaz). Back then Himesh Reshammiya produced a chart topping soundtrack so expectations are high for Pritam, the question being can he deliver?
The Tips album contains 2 CDs; one with the Naqaab music and more worryingly, the other contains popular music from the past released by Tips. Concentrating on the Naqaab CD, you realise why you get the additional compilation as there are only 3 original songs, 4 remixes and 1 instrumental. Does this change the expectation levels for Pritam? Surely his task is made even more difficult with only 3 songs to work on? Thankfully any initial doubts you have are eradicated as the album starts off in classic Pritam fashion with the very agreeable Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein. Right from the opening of the song when you are greeted with nothing but the sound of slow guitar strings, an eerie feeling grabs you at which point you close your eyes, clench your hands and wish for something special. That feeling is further strengthened with the opening lines a few seconds later which are uttered in bewitching fashion by Javed Ali:
Ek din…..ek din teri raahon mein…baahon mein panahon mein aaounga…koh jaounga…ek din tera ho jaounga…
With your attention well and truly grabbed, your senses slowly follow suit and eventually you succumb to its beauty… you feel obliged to turn up the volume, sit back, relax and listen to the rest of the song not realising the big smile that had adorned your face right from the start! Maybe it was the extremely addictive theme with a semi rock / haunting feel or the catchy synthesized beats interwoven with the sound of the guitar which had such a soothing and pleasant impact, whatever it is you just want to close your eyes and lose yourself in its magic…again and again…and before you know it you are well and truly HOOKED!
On repeated listening you may notice an uncanny resemblance with the song Ek Pal Ke Liye from his 2006 album Ankahee as both songs are acquainted to similar beats and relaxing moods. You therefore wonder how much Pritam has borrowed from that work however there is a subtle difference (although in all honesty the song is probably a notch or two below the quality of Ek Pal Ke Liye).
The song is undoubtedly the shining light of this album and will have you floating on cloud 9 in no time! Unfortunately it has limited replay value and hence the song falls some way short of being special as you had initially hoped….
The remix for Ek Din Teri Raahon mein has only one thing going for it which is a change of singer to Zubeen Garg who, despite a good effort, fails to keep you interested for long due to the unnecessary loud music and a somewhat rushed feel to the remix- its not long before you desperately want to get back to the original.
Unfortunately the next track, Aa Dil Se Dil Mila Le, is a BIG let down indeed and you wonder what on earth Pritam was thinking of when composing it. Maybe it’s a situational dance number but as a stand alone song, it does not impress at all. Sure it has a catchy beat to it but the music is lacklustre and how many times have you heard that irritating tabla-filled chorus before? The singing is uninspiring and the lyrics mundane, and all in all it’s a track you should keep well away from. Oh dear, the album is taking a nose dive after such a good start!
Although the remix version is much more bearable, due to the damage done in the original you just want to press ‘skip’ at the earliest opportunity. For that reason it’s unlikely you will ever reach the end of this track (and if you do you will not feel rewarded in any way!).
Another poor choice for this song (and the album overall) is Sameer who, apart from Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein, writes nothing out of the ordinary. On this evidence he should probably stick to writing for Himesh who he appears to keep his best work for.
The instrumental track is probably one for the movie but does nothing for the soundtrack so it’s probably a good time to conclude.
They say success breads success. But in the music industry success can also bring failure as we have seen in the past with the likes of Anu Malik and Himesh Reshamiya over burdening themselves with too many albums and then failing to deliver on quality. Pritam has clearly reaped the reward of success and he is now in big demand. Until the release of Naqaab, it was safe to say that he had generally delivered and although his latest effort will probably still go onto sell, it will be on the back of his/the movie’s reputation alone as the music falls a long way short of what he is capable of. It lacks the magic, cohesion and spark attached to so much of his better work. In all honesty it feels a rushed and lazy effort (in parts somewhat cribbed from his earlier work) and apart from Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein which is a good listen, the album is a big let down and cannot be recommended especially with only 3 original tracks.
Incidentally, in a recent interview Pritam appears to understand the dangers of overburdening oneself “I have been doing a lot of work in the last couple of years or so. There have been some projects that have truly been exciting while there have been some which have been done because of friends. Now before my excessive work starts taking toll on the quality I look to deliver, it is better to apply the brakes at just the right time". On the evidence of Naqaab (and to some extent his other recent albums Raqeeb and Speed) you can see why he has decided to take a break which is something overdue and as a fan I believe something he deserves. We all wish him a good break and hope he’s back soon, preferably in Metro form!