Boo! It’s what your friendly neighborhood ghost would say, and what I as a music reviewer have to say towards Vishal and Shekar’s latest soundtrack, “Bhootnath”. The usually cutting edge music directors, this time fail on all fronts to provide even one memorable track for this spiritual movie about a ghost that befriends a child (Perhaps the title of the album should have been “Bhoolnath”. “Tare Zameen Par” and Shankar Ehsaan and Loy recently showed us that a child-centric movie could still have truly memorable music. Sadly, the lesson doesn’t seem to have been learned and instead we get a woefully miscast music director duo known for their hip ‘n’ happening soundtracks attempting to soften their creative style to fit this family film. Whereas V&S’s “Tashan” was mildly enjoyable in that have too much to drink and dance in the club kind of way, “Bhootnath” simply scares away the listeners with uninspired music. To add fuel to the missed opportunity fire, Javed Akhtar has provided the lyrics.
“Bhootnath” is produced by Ravi Chopra (director of “Baghban”) and directed by former assistant director (“Sir”) and now full-fledged director Vivek Sharma. The film is aimed squarely as a feel good family movie. Incidentally, Ravi Chopra usually has Aadesh Srivastava as the music director for his films; let’s see if the change to V&S was a smart move on the part of the producer.
If you are going to get an actor to play a cranky ghost who befriends a little boy, then Amitabh Bachchan is the perfect choice. Chirpy Juhi Chawla returns to the silver screen as the boy’s mother, and Aman Siddiqui plays the little lad himself. Take the premise of an old U.S. television show called, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” wherein the cranky ghost befriends and falls in love with the widow who moves into his home with her children, and “Casper” the friendly ghost who is beloved by children all over the world and you get the basic gist of the screenplay for “Bhootnath”.
So let’s pull out the white sheet and scare the beejeezus out of all the people around us as we listen to this soundtrack and dance like giddy kids while shouting, “BOO YAH!”
The first track, “Mere Buddy” is as cringe inducing as it sounds. V&S were aiming at sentimental cuteness but instead come up with a song that is trying to ploddingly manipulate the listener to feel some emotion. Amitabh Bachchan’s vocals are in his usual low key almost talking style. The child vocalist, Arman Mallik is ok. Lyrics by Akhtar are not bad, but cannot rise above the mediocrity of the song itself. A great big, “BOO” to this track!
The second track, “Hum to Hain Aandhi” features four child vocalists (Aparna Bhagwat, Sneha Suresh, Sharavan Suresh and Koushtuv Ghosh) singing an interesting vocal jugalbandi that might have been a fun song had the music truly measured up. Alas, this second track also doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance at the charts, as it won’t make you press the repeat button. What’s going on V&S? You are capable of better than this. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics once again rise or float above the music, but can’t save this song. Another, “BOO YAH!”!
The third track, “Banku Bhaiya” is arguably the catchiest of the album and that’s because of the lively and playful vocals by the excellent Sukhwinder Singh! Unfortunately the music (which has a typical folk pattern and lackluster instrumentation) and lyrics are pretty run of the mill with not much creativity evident. Worth a listen or two simply for Sukhwinder’s always amazing vocals. One could argue that this track is kind of “BOO-TIFUL”!
The fourth track in this ghastly non-spiritual experience is, “Samay Ka Pahiya”, a quiet sad tune that again just doesn’t catch the listener’s ear. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are quite poetic; however, Hariharan seems to be less than inspired in his bored by the book rendition. Oh, and least I forget, the big B’oo himself chimes in for a few lines. You won’t be shaking your sad “BOO-TY” to this one!
And now, inexplicably between the new tracks, we interrupt this spooky soundtrack to bring you (by spiritual popular demand), a reprise of the first track, “Mere Buddy”. Need I say more?
The sixth track, Chalo Jaane Do” painfully ends this duller than a white sheet soundtrack. The melody for some reason reminds me of, “Main Yahan Tu Wahan”, from the “Baghban” soundtrack. Perhaps it’s the low scale vocals by Amitabh Bachchan, but that’s where the similarities end, for where “Main Yahan Tu Wahan” was emotionally touching, “'Chalo Jaane Do” fails to achieve the heights to which it aspires to. Perhaps the only thing worth mentioning on this track is the debut of chirpy Juhi Chawa who provides the female vocals. YIKES! Sorry, I got the scare of my life, as somehow I get the feeling that the song has been sung by Uncle Amitabh and Aunty Chawla. You’ll be crying “BOO-HOO” after this one.
Track seven’s ghostly atmosphere can’t be claimed by V&S, but rather by those clever music director/background scorers Salim-Sulaiman. The theme for “Bhootnath” is suitably fitting. It is what it is and doesn’t strive for more. I guess you might play it, if you want to creep your girlfriend or boyfriend out.
I have to say again, that Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy really showed with “Tare Zameen Par” that a soundtrack for a child centric soundtrack does not have to hit you on the head by being overly by the books cute. If a ghost that looks like Amitabh Bachchan came up to me and started singing “Mere Buddy”, I’d think he was a pervert and run the other way.
V&S truly dropped the ball on this one, and I don’t know if this is because of too much involvement by Ravi Chopra, a lack of directive vision by the director Vivek Sharma or simply because the music directors are out of their element. One would think that with talent like Amitabh Bachchan, Hariharan, Sukhwinder Singh, lyricist Javed Akhtar and the admirable vocals of Juhi Chawla, the music director duo would have been able to let their creative juices flow. Unfortunately, “Bhootnath” is just a blip that will fade away faster than a ghostly scare. Don’t bother hiding under the white sheets for this one; it’s a ghostly disaster that whimpers a mediocre, “BOO”.