Often the butt of all jokes, Pritam is regularly accused of plagiarism and downright arrogance and selfishness when it comes to producing original music. But the bottom line is he remains one of the most wanted music directors in Bollywood and his music to Agend Vinod proves exactly why; he knows the pulse of the audience like no other! Whilst there’s little originality in the music at least his partnership with Amitabh Bhattacharya will bring some much needed freshness to the lyrics department. So does Agent Pritam deliver?
No matter how much you want to hate “I’ll Do The Talking Tonight” for being a rip-off track, the music is so infectious you just want to groove to it! Now before everyone starts screaming “controversy”, Pritam has credited the song clearly on the CD cover (“Ruse Kose Curo Imas and Boney M’s Rasputine”). So yes the song is heavily borrowed from other work but how many of you would have come to know the original music had it not been for Pritam’s canny remixing for a Bollywood track? Neeraj is at his peering best for Pritam but that’s no surprise. He’s joined by a host of other singers to give the song a club vibe including Aditi Singh Sharma, Shefali Alvaris and Barbie Amod. Lyrics by AB are bang on the money for a dance track. All in all it’s a good start, just dance to this update of a classic and stop screaming “controversy”. If you prefer more thumping beats then try “I’ll Do The Talking Tonight Remix” .
We then get a mujra based song picturised on Kareena Kapoor. Titled “Dil Mera Muft Ka” , it is written by Neelesh Mishra (not AB) but instead of relying on classical instruments usually associated with this kind of song, Pritam adds a techno vibe and it just serves to overpowers everything else - the end result is pretty average to be honest although it might appeal to some listeners. Maybe he wanted to experiment a little or make the song upbeat but it doesn’t quite work. Singing is a plus point particularly by Nandini Shrikar with support from Muazzam, Shadaab & Altamash. Try the “Dil Mera Muft Ka Remix” for a more enjoyable listen with traditional instrumentation. Malini Avasthi provides the vocals here.
“Pungi” is a funny song thanks to AB’s clever lines but it’s really been made with the film in mind so it will work best on the screen. As a stand alone song it’s not a bad listen but you are not likely to hum to this often. Singing is by Mika Singh with support from Amitabh Bhattacharya, Nakash & Pritam. “Pungi Remix” appears later on as well.
“Agent Vinod” is a hard-hitting theme track that might work well in the film. It’s not bad but comparing it to other theme tunes, hardly memorable.
So far the album sticks to Pritam’s standard formula that includes a hard hitting club track, a mujra song, lots of remixes and some pulsating theme music. But was it too much to ask for something out of the ordinary? Well once in a while (ok a very long while!) Pritam showcases his finest talents and delivers a song so good it knocks you out cold.
Well listeners you can thank your lucky stars because this album has that gem of a song - “Rabtaa” has quickly become one of my personal favourite (Pritam) songs in years. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and let the song evoke your senses and chances are if you do that you will also be blown away. The piano starts proceedings perfectly and then sits in the backdrop, teasing at your heartstrings effortlessly. The music is just an intoxicating breeze from start to finish thanks to some exquisite drums alongside a soft accoustic guitar but it’s all done so deftly you rarely lift an eyelid…it feels like you’re in a vacuum filled with heaven’s purities and nothing else.
When you search for a breather in the interludes, the haunting alaaps connect each stanza which nicely bring us onto the singer…Arijit Singh. The young gun has slowly been growing a fan club over the years since his impact on reality show Fame Gurukul but after this performance one can expect his career to propel into the sky! His soulful vocals are perfect here but it’s the confidence he exudes while singing this challenging song that has longish stanzas and short interludes…mind-blowing stuff. The song also takes a whole new meaning thanks to lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya. Regular readers will know I have run out of superlatives for this man yet he continues to impress with soul-stirring lines, here's a taster of what to expect:
(Amitabh Bhattacharya, Agent Vinod)
And it’s thanks to AB’s extended writing of this song that Pritam is able to spoil listeners to THREE more versions, each one with enough novelty and uniqueness to make you want to listen to them individually and then pick a favourite depending on your mood! So perhaps you might prefer the shorter reprise version titled “Raabta (Night in a Motel)” which has a more prevalent and solemn piano giving the song a more passionate and melodious feel to it not to mention a haunting viola that kicks in midway through. Maybe Aditi Singh Sharma's vocals (the CD cover has wrongly credited this to Hamsika as female playback singer) will deliver more pathos to your mood as she overpowers Arijit with a superbly controlled but fragile voice here? Didn't think she could sing like this at all!
Those preferring a longer, classier version of the song should look no further than “Raabta (Siyaa Raatein)” where Pritam reigns back the impact of the piano, adds an electric guitar and softens the drums. Hamsika is an excellent choice (hoping this reignites her career) but Arijit is equal to her and sings in a more passionate avatar and impresses further. Take particular note of his powerful alaaps at his entry point to the song (2.02) as an example of the impact he creates. Joi adds further soul to the song with supporting English vocals in the background.
Pritam uses the same template for the final version of the song titled “Raabta (Kehte Hain Khuda Ne)” . Whilst Hamsika and Aditi have been a good choice for this song, a lot of music fans would crave to hear the inimitable Shreya Ghoshal co sing with Arijit. Well all I can say is she does what she does best in another memorable version and let’s be frank, you will savour every second of every version of this divine love ballad. By that time you will probably have forgotten everything else on the soundtrack because everything else pales in comparison.
To conclude, the soundtrack to Agent Vinod has some very Pritam-esque songs that he churns out blind-folded for producers who want music mainly for marketing purposes. But thankfully it will be best remembered for one sublime song (all four versions) written by a stellar lyricist in Amitabh Bhattacharya and produced by a stellar music director in Pritam. A rare occurrence indeed. Do treasure "Raabta" folks.