Can you feel the rhythm dear reader? Do you wanna salsa!?!? Not the stuff on nachos, but real live dancing! You might find yourself in the mood to salsa after hearing the âMumbai Salsaâ soundtrack by composer Adnan Sami (âLuckyâ, Dhamaalâ) with lyrics by Sameer. Amidst a sea of blockbuster soundtracks like Saawariya arrives a soundtrack that comes way under the radar. The King of âblink and youâll miss themâ movies, Vikram Bhatt produces and Monoj Tyagi directs this film that stars a group of relative unknowns. Manmohan D. Singh produces the film and the music is released on the BIG music label (a label that seems to be giving T-Series some competition). Adnan Sami started out brilliantly with his first soundtrack âLucky â No Time for Loveâ, but has yet to live up to that high standard in any of his follow-ups. In fact, his last pop album, âKisi Dinâ also failed to live up to expectations. The soundtrack to âDhamaalâ was adequate, but again not Sami at his best.
Never let it be said that I donât go all out for my reviews dear reader. To write this salsa-rrific review, I decided to take some salsa lessons. What better way to determine how good this album is than by actually (and quite painfully) learning how to salsa? So, off I went to the local dance studio, signed up for a few lessons and learned how to not be embarrassed when shouting, âOlĂ©â! The instructor was kind enough to play several tracks on the album while giving me a lesson. So letâs get down, dance the night away and review this soundtrack!
Being the uncoordinated reviewer that I am, it wasnât easy moving to the rhythm, but the first track on the album, âMumbai Salsaâ helped to get me going. This is a track that begs to be played loud, as the salsa beat is quite infectious. Adnan Sami and Alisha Chinoi provide the playful singing that completes the song. The track starts out with a strumming guitar along trumpets blaring within the typical salsa musical rhythm. The musical arrangement is refreshingly well done, staying away from the âcannedâ over synthesized atmosphere that is the norm for most songs these days. Sameerâs lyrics are perfect for a song like this, nothing too deep, but good for the moment (âCome on you people come on and party through the night. Come on you people party through the nightâ). For this track, I only stepped on my instructorâs feet (much to her anguish) five times, but slowly I was beginning to feel that I do have a latent ability to dance or maybe not. The track made me want to shout, âLetâs do the Mumbai Salsa oh jaanemanâ!
One would think that with a title like âMumbai Salsaâ, the entire album would be heavily influenced by that style of Spanish rhythm; however, thatâs not the case as evidenced by the second track, âFridayâ. The album suddenly and a bit jarringly switches to classic seventies disco mode. I had a hard enough time doing the âsalsaâ, and smashing my instructorâs toes, and now I was expected to break out my white disco outfit and dance the âJohn Travoltaâ dance. The music is classic disco, with strumming âwah wahâ guitar, violins, trumpets and synth âbleeps ânâ bloopsâ. For this track the dance studio was transformed into the decadent âStudio 54â (the infamous New York City disco hangout of the seventies). The vocals are adequately provided by Gayatri whose voice fits the disco theme. Adnan Sami seemingly takes a cue from the hit song, âFriday, Iâm in Loveâ by the Cure as this track, preaches the virtues of Friday as the best day of the week. Itâs best to check your mind at the door with this mediocre track and simply disco the night away while screaming, âI want to live it my way, why canât it just be Fridayâ!?
So far, after the first two tracks, Adnan Sami has created fun but forgettable music that is perfect to dance the night away, but there is little in the way of the meaningful or memorable emotional music that is his trademark. Just when you think that the rest of the album is going to be pretty much the same, Adnan Sami throws the listener for a loop with what may be his best track ever. The third track, âChoti Siâ is simply put, a magnificent track that combines just the right amount of melancholy and emotions into one melodious song. The music and flow of the track is reminiscent of George Michaelâs hit song âFather Figureâ, yet is purely Adnanâs composition all the way. The way his voice breaks and quivers at just the right moments while the music softly plays in the background is very moving. shenai and santoor are ably supported by the soft use of percussion. This one is arguably his best track since, âShayad Yahi To Pyar Haiâ fromâ Lucky â No Time for Loveâ It will make you hit the repeat button right away. Lyrics by Sameer are top-notch and fit the music/melody perfectly. Sway to the track and whisper, âChoti si intazar mere yaar maan ja. Mujhe chodne se phele ek baar aa gale se lag jaa.â
Track four, âAkeli Zindagiâ is another feather in the cap for this album, as the music director presents us with a funky jazz-dance tune. Shaan sings this as only Shaan can. His voice is perfect in conveying the mood for this song, which mixes jazz trumpet, electric guitar and synth percussion together with a melancholic salsa inspired dance melody. This track along with âAao Miloâ (âJab We Metâ) and âDastaan-E-Om Shanti Omâ (âOSOâ) truly cements Shaan as one of the best playback singers in Bollywood. Lyrics by Sameer are again above his usual quality and itâs nice to see him being a bit inspired. Iâm back to my salsa lessons and hey, Iâm getting fairly good at it! This one will make you dance and feel with your heart while you say, âAkeli hai zindagi, akela har lamha, hai tanha tanhaâŠâ
With the last two tracks, Adnan Sami has taken what started off as a fairly mediocre soundtrack, and raised it to another level. But can he keep it up? I need to stop dancing and take a breather while I listen to the rest of this album.
Track five, âPyar Seâ just about maintains the quality of the previous two tracks. It starts with some very moody guitar strumming and muted trumpet playing. From there, Shreya Ghoshal sings the chorus in an inviting way. Right after the intro, Shaanâs smooth vocals come up and he brings his best as always. Shreya Ghoshal impresses with her vocals as well and both singers sing a breathless jugalbandi. The only negative about the track is that it has a bit of the âbeen there, done thatâ feel to it. Thereâs a distinct lack of originality within the melody. Lyrics by Sameer are passable if not overtly poetic. If you can get past some of the negatives, then the track isnât that bad, itâs just not that great. This one will make you slow dance with that special someone while whispering, âPyaar se aise na humme dekho, ke kahin na hum mar jayeâ.
Track five ends the set of original compositions by Adnan Sami, with the remaining tracks being either reprises, different versions of the original song, and an instrumental. My lessons are just about over, and so is this review. Hang in there dear reader!
Track six is a reprise of the opening song of the album, âMumbai Salsaâ. The music is the same, but this time itâs a solo by Alisha Chinoi. Track seven is a reprise of âFridayâ, but this time lead singer Gayatri is joined by Kunal Ganjawala who is pretty much wasted on this song. Is this overlooked singer not getting songs worthy of his talent? Track eight is a reprise of âPyar Seâ, this time Adnan has pulled Amit Kumar out of retirement to sing the lead vocals. Somehow, it just doesnât work, as Amit Kumar sounds horribly nasal, and just canât seem to muster the emotions within his vocals. It just makes you appreciate Shaan and Shreyaâs vocals on the same song (track five).
Finally, track nine is a very short two minute instrumental track simply titled , âSalsaâ that is perfect to dance to with a nice salsa beat, oboe and saxophone to drive two dancers to ecstacy. Itâs the perfect way to finish my salsa lessons and review, to give my poor tired feet a rest. Twirl your partner round and round with this one!
âMumbai Masalaâ is better than Adnan Samiâs âDhamaalâ but not as good as his first Bollywood soundtrack, âLucky â No Time For Loveâ. He still has not been able to top that first soundtrack. Add âChoti Seâ and âAkeli Zindagiâ to your playlist. Dance like crazy to, âMumbai Salsaâ and âFridayâ at the clubs. Hold the one you love close and slow dance to, âPyar Seâ. Ultimately though only two tracks out of the five original compositions leave a lasting impact on the listener. As a reviewer, I expect much more from Adnan Sami. As a listener I have to say, âAdnan bhai, thodi si to lift kara de?â Hereâs hoping for better soundtracks from this talented musician/singer. Still, at least I learned how to salsaâŠsort of. I think that I need more classes to master the âMumbai Salsaâ.