The try is not over for Sukhwinder Singh to establish himself as a proficient music director but it seems that his music has not yet clicked with the audience. Nevertheless, he continues to receive assignments and Kaafila is among one of his old projects, which is finally being released. Shot in the desert in locations like Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria, the theme of the movie revolves around illegal immigration. There is big scope for music for such a story and Sukhwinder Singh is provided with another golden opportunity to prove that his melodies are not flukes.
The intention of producing a merry masculine number with two distinct and powerful voices was good. However, the final product turns out to be not what one was expecting. Hum Raks is supposedly to be driven by Sukhwinder Singh and Daler Mehndi as the lead singers but disappointingly, both acclaimed heavy-weights deliver half-baked performances. Daler Mehndi is completely wasted to the extent that one may not clearly recognize his voice in the track. As a music director, Sukhwinder Singh has not extracted the best from his gifted voice. The orchestration is a complete let-down. The accordion - which could have made a great presence in the track, is wrongly used as an accompaniment in the background music and it is hardly heard! Repeated beats predominate all over and they fail to give the song an entertaining feel.
DJ Raju Shanker has the immense task into turning this piece into a rocking remixing score. Rap elements are incorporated into the reworked version where the accordion music has been deleted to make space for more funky beats. Earl D'Souza’s rap portions do not fit into the track and appear to be forced. Hum Raks (Club Mix) remains a weak remixed version.
Kabhi Kabhi Sapne Bhi is instantly catchy due to many factors such as the number of singers (Sukhwinder Singh, Abhijeet, Mohd. Aziz and Gurusewak Mann) and the resemblances to the Darbar-composed ‘Woh Kisna Hai’ (Kisna). One can’t stop reminding of the various old songs from the 90’s when this track is played. Sukhwinder Singh obtains the best singing portion while one would have expected Mohd. Aziz to sing more lines. Mohd. Aziz still makes his presence felt with the high-pitched rendering. Among the instruments used include the accordion, the shehnai, the tabla and various folk ones. The male chorus is extensively used in the last interlude and provides an army feel to the tail part of the track. ‘Kabhi Kabhi Sapne Bhi’ still makes a good listening.
The opening music sequence of Lodhi Di Raat is a straight lift from Rahman’s ‘Taal Se Taal Mila’ (Taal) before Sukhwinder Singh is heard in the background. Dolly Sidhu delivers a very honest performance while Abei contributes to the rap portions. Quite noisy in nature, the track has been stuffed with familiar ‘Taal’ beats - which have been mixed with traditional Punjabi lines. A plethora of vocals effects also render the piece quite confusing!
A relatively more entertaining track, though chaotic, is Chala Kaafila which is rendered by Sukhwinder Singh, Shahanaa Pandit and Gurusewak Mann. Equipped with a catchy tune and backed by the powerful voice of Sukhwinder Singh, it is probably one of the tracks in the soundtrack, which has a repeat value. Notice how the composer has blended different male choruses together, displaying the macho side of the situation. Accordion music is again played in the background and the arrangements are quite upbeat from the rest of the tracks. Shahanaa Pandit lacks this girly teasing effect in her voice (compared to Himani Kapoor, Amrita Tak or Akriti Kakkar) and delivers the lines ‘I don’t wanna wait no more, let’s bring the house down!’ in quite an old-fashioned way. Sukhwinder Singh is instrumental in the rendering of the alaaps and in closing the song with an energetic climax. Interestingly, a reprise of ‘Kabhi Kabhi Sapne Bhi’ is heard in the end.
The three minute Jab Tak Hai Saans is an inspirational number with Sukhwinder Singh and Abhijeet in the lead vocals (Credit is not given to the female voice). The situational number depicts the hardships faced and the upcoming challenges ahead. The slow-paced music picks up in the ‘antaras’ where a more engaging piece is played, featuring high-pitched renditions by all the singers. The male chorus is regularly heard in the background and the track ends abruptly on a flowing flute music.
Sukhwinder Singh banks tremendously on his voice in Kaafila and even uses it at core places as alaaps in some tracks. The challenge for him is to produce a soundtrack which boasts of newer sounds and haunting melodies as there is scope, considering the deserts’ picturizations. It seems that some tracks are very situational in nature and will take more time to grow. ‘Sandesa Aaya’ is worth a listen but cannot be termed as memorable or haunting. ‘Kabhi Kabhi Sapne Bhi’ and ‘Chala Kaafila’ are passable. Special mention to the lyricist who has chosen proper words for each song. Sukhwinder Singh fails in bringing a new sound to this mega project and relies on cacophony instead of proper music arrangements. At this stage of his career, one would have expected a more consistent sound and at least, one truly melodious tune for a Sunny Deol movie. Overall, the soundtrack has the potential to grow on listeners depending on the fate of the movie.