Let’s dive right into this one. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing everyone say that Vishal-Shekhar do what they do best in Cash – Techno beats with a little Hip Hop thrown in. Because it’s just not true. Anyone who has thrown an attentive ear at their music in the past should find it quite obvious that the couple push their potential when they come up with soft rock tunes and light, romantic ballads. Alright, so some of their more “popular” tracks are from the techno genre, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they do best.
Anyways, if V-S persist on coming up with a completely techno-heavy album, as they do in CASH, then they better live up to their past creations. 2004’s Musafir was a run away success for V-S and deservingly so, it was touted as India’s first progressive techno album. Recently they fiddled with the genre while composing the track ‘Sajanaji Vari Vari’ from the film Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and gave us a wonderful performance. So if you want to continue with this style, then you must use your prior works as a base upon which to build a stronger, more progressive, sound. But I’m afraid Vishal and Shekhar have not been successful in accomplishing this. Without further adieu, let’s jump into this very loud group of songs.
V-S kick start the soundtrack with a thematic track titled, Cash. Unlike many of their prior tracks, V-S choose to uniquely light this racy number with some brass. The enticing intro pulls the listener into what turns out to be a very fun number rendered by Vishal, Shekhar, and Sunidhi Chauhan. During the first exposure to the song, the arrangements by V-S seem to create a very loud cacophony of sounds that don’t quite complement one another well. V-S’s hesitance to do much with the composition can be overlooked once your foot starts to tap with Vishal’s hypnotic rendition. Add to that Sunidhi’s sweet interludes you have yourself a very melodically and vocally strong piece. Lyrics are of obsession with what else…CASH. Verdict: All in all a fun number that isn’t worth too much analysis, just have a good time with it.
Cash appears once again towards the end of the album as an extended mix. Overall the enjoyment level stays the same, except for a few changes in the harmonic background. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one.
Thankfully Naa Puchho is not nearly as bad as the previous track. Although the composition contains some attractive synths, on a whole it is nothing to write home about. Vishal’s reggae-o-rap interludes are quite enjoyabe (since it’s unlike anything we’ve heard before in Indian Music), as is Sunidhi’s heavy rendition. Yeah, that’s about it. I really don’t have much more to say here. Verdict: Has a few appealing characteristics, but look…I already forgot how the song goes.
Smack dab in the middle of this awkward soundtrack and in comes arguably the best V-S have to offer, Rehem Kare. Rehem Kare is what you get when you mix a dynamic composition with a very catchy melody sung by a seasoned vocalist in Sunidhi Chauhan. V-S ease up on the synths a bit to give way to Sunidhi Chauhan’s tamed vocals and Panchhi Jalonvi’s pensive lyrics. Throw in Vishal’s ‘Have Mercy Girl Have Mercy’ refrains and you got yourself quite an enjoyable piece of work. Verdict: OK, it’s not a masterpiece and certainly not one of V-S’s best, but it fits the bill here.
Naughty Naughty is a very loud, yet very uniquely composed piece by V-S. Unfortunately, ‘unique’ doesn’t always translate into good. The MDs here try to do a bit too much with the song – you have traces of such genres as techno, hip hop, and even bhangra! While all this is going on in the background, Anushka Manchandani (who recently lent her vocals to V-S in the title track of Golmaal) is rendering lyrics like “Naughty naughty si fiza hai…Haule haule se dil mein chali koi hawaaein. Stop me stop me yeh do aahein, roko roko yeh mujhko na jaane kya hua hai…” I rather like the vocal interactions between Vishal and Anushka in the foreground, it takes away from the chaos which plays behind stage. Verdict: V-S had the right idea, but the execution wasn’t quite there. Better luck next time guys.
Wow. Was it really that bad? For a V-S album….Hell Yes! Three things really stand out at you when you look back at Cash’s soundtrack. 1) Sunidhi Chauhan actually disappoints with V-S for the very first time in Mind Blowing Mahiya. 2) There isn’t a single track that will be remembered by the year end. 3) V-S put all their eggs in one basket by creating an out and out techno album. They didn’t even back it up with one or two romantic ballads (what they truly excel at). I mean even Musafir had a couple of them.
If you’ll notice, I haven’t given much detail in my review to specific instrumentation or harmonic/melodic structures – that’s because V-S haven’t given any attention to these either. Why should I? While creating a soundtrack that is so rich in synths and heavy mixing, it is easy for a composer to get lost in his sounds, soon forgetting to nurture the quality of his music. This is what V-S have fallen victim of. I’ll say it again – Techno/Hip Hop is not what Vishal-Shekhar are best at, and Cash should attest to this very observation.
Usually careers start off low and build-up with experience and exposure. V-S are going the opposite way. They started on a tremendous high with albums like Jhankaar Beats, Shabd, Musafir, Popcorn Khao Mast Ho Jaao, Shaadi Ka Laddu, and even Home Delivery. But recently, whether it be because of the pressure of big banner projects or lack of creative space, the two have been regressing more and more towards mediocrity (Salaam Namaste, Golmaal, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Cash). Yet, I still hold utmost respect for these composers, as they have shown us many times, albeit in the past, that they have the talent to make it to the top - and I have no doubt that one day their resilliency will pay off.