“Dhol” is a return to form for Pritam after a drought of several months. Most of the releases by the talented music director over the last few months have showcased his weaknesses rather than his strengths, so not much was expected from this new release. Pritam has been a real workhorse this year, surpassing Himesh Reshammiya to become one of the most prolific music directors in India. Still, quantity does not necessarily equate to quality and his soundtracks this year have been a mixed bag which has included “Speed”, “Hat Trick”, “Darling”, “Life…in a Metro”, “Kya Love Story Hai”, “Naqaab”, “Awarapan” and “Just Married”. That’s a mind-blowing forty songs or so for the year so far! Now here’s his latest soundtrack for a madcap comedy film.
Comedy king Priyadarshan directs “Dhol” . The Priya/Pritam combo has previously produced the super hit music of “Garam Masala”, but can they recreate that blockbuster magic? Percept Picture Company produces the movie. This time around, Priyadarshan has assembled a highly eclectic cast that includes Om Puri, Tusshar Kapoor, Rajpal Yadav, Arbaaz Khan, Tanushree Dutta, Payal Rohatgi, Kunal Khemu, Sharman Joshi, and Murli Sharma. The movie should have a fresh presentation as seasoned comedic actors are paired with actors that are new to the comedy scene. The promising story focuses on four boys who are tired of making ends meet with odd jobs, and who quickly come to the realization that in order to get rich quick, they will have to marry a wealthy girl. Enter Tanushree Dutta who quickly becomes the focus of their greedy and amorous advances, as they compete to win her affections. Little do they know; however, that she has a deep dark secret that will shock them and tickle the audience’s funny bone.
One point that should be noted is that director Priyadarshan directs his movies in a very kinetic style with a lot of movement in the frame. The music, as such, in his movies is often suited to that kinetic movement and style.
So, by the time you listen to the tracks on this soundtrack, will you be exclaiming, “dhol bajne laga”? Let’s get on with this review and find out!
The second track, “Namakool” has a reggae beat and does it’s best to let the listener know that this song isn’t just cool, it’s “Namakool”! Don’t think too hard as to what that actually means, as Ashiesh Pandit writes the enigmatic lyrics. Playback singers Shaan and Kunal Ganjawalla make this tune bounce with energy. The funky electro-harmonium that Pritam adds to the mix only adds to the impact of the music. This track is Pritam doing what he does best, creating melodious and youthful sounding dance music. This one won’t be a huge hit, but is definitely worth a listen or two. So say it with pride, “Namakool, namakool…. we are cool, cool, cool….Namakool”!
The third track is a “sexy” reprise of the first, “O Yaara Dhol Bajake” . This remix by DJ Nikhil/DJ Javed has vocals by Labh Janjua who sang the intoxicating “Rabba Khaire Kare” from Pritam’s “Hat Trick” soundtrack. This one has less of the youthful exuberance of the first version and seems to be trying a bit too hard to be mad sexy cool. In terms of energy, the first track wins hands down, but this version still stands up pretty well due to Janjua’s singing. This one stops the momentum a bit (which is strange for a remix), but still makes you want to shout out, “O Yaara Dhol Bajake”!
The fourth track on this album, “Haadsa” has vocals by Sunidhi Chauhan and Akriti Kakkar. Honestly, it sounds like some kind of Britney Spears song. One can almost picture Payal Rohatgi dancing in a little outfit while lip-synching to the vocals. It’s got that “Oops I did it again” feel and really, we expect more from Pritam than a generic sounding track like this. The lyrics by Irshad Kamil are ok, but not memorable at all. All in all, this is the first disappointing track on the album. This one will fade pretty fast. “O yaara, nahi dhol bajake”!
The sixth track, “All Night Long” takes the listener back to the 70’s to those crazy beach parties our parents went to. Usha Uthup’s (“Teri Meri Christmas”, “Hari Om Hari”) vocals for the song and her boisterous style fits this track perfectly. How can you not have fun as you sing along with her husky vocals? Hers is the ultimate party voice. The lyrics by Mayur Puri are fittingly exuberant. Pritam makes good on his promise to give the singers from yesteryear another chance. Sing it with pride, “RAMBA HO”!
The seventh track, “Dil Liya Dil Liya” features the vocals of the computerized electronic Shreya Ghoshal. Pritam uses what seems to be a vocoder or some kind of filter to give her voice a slightly mechanical quality. The results are an almost hypnotic affect as the main title is repeated over and over again. Shreya Ghoshal is an excellent playback singer who is has unfortunately been pushed to the side by Sunidhi Chauhan’s louder and more forceful voice. She is the best part of this track, since the music is pretty lackluster. This one won’t win any popularity contests. Pritam could probably compose a song like this in his sleep. The lyrics by Amitabh Varma are just about ok. Not a bad song, but one that is best when played in the background. This one makes you ask whether or not, “dhol bajne laga”?
Now we finally get to the final track, and by this point we have had something old, something new and have forgotten all but the first track “Oh Yaara Dhol Bajake” , the “Namakool” second track and the excellent fifth track “Bheega Aasman” . It doesn’t get any better I’m afraid, as the last track is another version of the first, and is totally overkill. Even if you liked the song the first time around and enjoyed it the second time around, do you really need a third version of the same track? Pritam goes for an electro-funk beat that is just ok. Vocals are by Soham Chakraborty and Sohail Kaul. After Soham’s excellent playback on the “Life in a Metro” soundtrack, I think his talent is wasted on this song. Ultimately, the best version is the first version on the album. By the end of the album, you’ll just about be ready to put away that dhol.
All in all, this soundtrack is a welcome relief from the banality of most recent releases, but definitely is not Pritam’s best work. The music director still seems to simply be coasting along to fulfill his list of assignments. Add “Oh Yaara Dhol Bajake” ,“Bheega Aasman” and “Namakool” to your playlists and forget the rest. Call a few friends over, try to win over that rich beautiful girl, and proudly shout, “Oh Yaara Dhol Bajake”!