What an enigma Pritam is. No one can doubt his talent but most of the time he produces one or two winners in an album, taking applauds and criticism along the way but he takes it on the chin and carries on producing music regardless. However his latest offering Cocktail isn't just any old Pritam soundtrack! It's an out and out winner made with a lot of love and attention (to detail) and the result is his finest and most chilled out album in years (best since Love Aaj Kal?). Saif Ali Khan who is the leading actor and producer knows a winner when he sees one and in Pritam he has made a stunning collaboration which is now reaping rewards. So what makes Cocktail the best album of 2012 thus far?
FUN + FOOT-TAPPING + FREE-SPIRITED = “Tum Hi Ho Bandhu” , The first of many chilled out tunes on the album that are crying out to be heard again and again! The music is quintessentially Pritam here; a simple foot-tapping beat on some breezy music warps your senses instantly to another world. Add some mind-blowing vocals by Kavita Seth and a chorus by Neeraj Shridhar and you are already practising your dance steps...just relax and break free! What really makes this song truly stand out from the rest is the addition of some exceptional lyrics by Irshad Kamil, truly they are one of a kind as this verse proves "...Ban Ke Chaahat, Nazron Se Khat Likhna...Likhna, Tu Hai Jaisa, Mujhe Ko Vaisa Dikhna...Dikhna. Besabak Sarooron Ka Saathi, Mujhe Kya Parva Issi Duniya Ki, Tu Paas Mere, Jag Paas Mere, Mein Hoon Hi Nahin Issi Duniya Ki..." Wow! Just soak in the words, feel the vibe and you are in music nirvana no less...Tum Hi Ho Bandhu is quite possibly the most delightful, uplifting (romantic) song you will hear in 2012! Hats off to you Pritam for making us smile with joy.
“Daaru Desi” is a lot slower than the opener but it’s still a decent chillaxin’ tune with the acoustic guitar providing the foundation of the music. The mood of the song is brought alive by a fine duet by Benny Dayal and Shalmali Kholgade. Both sound youthful and help make the song a breeze to listen to. Special mention to Shalmali who is showing a lot of promise after her stunning debut “Pareshaan” (Ishaqzaade). Lyrics are fresh. Perhaps one of the weaker songs on the album but it’s not bad by any means. No doubt it will suit the film more than appease your ears but give it a try.
Still not in the mood for a bit of chillaxin'? Some fabulous drums and guitar strums open “Yaariyaan” although there's a hint of a lift from Coldplay's "In My Place". Going back to his eternal routes Pritam utilises a soft rock ballad that is so irresistible you can’t help but pause, take notice and strum an air guitar in complete awe - before you know it you are well and truly hooked! No idea where Pritam finds his singers from but Mohan Kanan (help anybody?) is a fine choice here. His lazy but dulcet tones kiss the music perfectly and the effect is mesmeric. Shilpa Rao has a short piece and is majestic as usual (if only Pritam gave her a reprise eh? We can but dream folks). Lyrics by Irshad ooze freshness and soul. Just sit back and relax to this finely composed rock anthem and then take back all the stick you gave Pritam over the years...yes it's going through my mind too, "wow how does he do it?" Don’t forget the “Yaariyaan Reprise” later where a soft piano replaces the guitar and Sunidhi Chauhan is joined by Arijit Singh to provide an utterly fab duet.
At this point Pritam adds a new dimension to the soundtrack with some Punjabi infused songs and rest assured they are a delight on the ears! Just remember these are mostly remixes based on traditional melodies so they are not wholly original songs. But this fact is credited on the CD cover so let’s not be too critical here. Pritam and his team are masters of Punjabi remixes so expect nothing less than rollicking tunes…
“Tera Naam Japdi Phiran” is another short Punjabi tune that will be an instant hit with the youth! The traditional melody has been recreated by Team Pritam on this occasion and the modern remixing effects are simply superb. Javed Bashir’s vocals are powerful but the addition of English vocals (sung by Nikhil D’Souza and Shefali Alvaris) brings a youthful contrast to the song that will be lauded in the clubs. The remix called “Version 2” adds even more groove to the original and is a little longer in length. Suffice to say it will be the choice of DJs for weeks to come! Highly recommended.
Just when you thought the album couldn’t get any better Team Pritam recreate another traditional melody to give us the brilliant "Luttna (Saif Ul Malook)" . Starting off slowly with the soulful vocals of Sufi kalam singer Masuma Anwar, the song builds up to a signature rock chorus with the impactful words “Luttna” “Tuttna” uttered by support singers Sahir Ali Bagga and Anupama Amod. Whilst the electronically pumped chorus (created by Sahir Ali Bagga) adds zing and energy, the song really shines in the softer antara portions with Masuma’s vocals making great use of Irshad Kamil’s wonderful Punjabi lines. The tabla play mid way is just the icing! This is a rare emotional song from the soundtrack yet is easily one of the highlights too. There’s nothing more to say about Bunty Rajput’s “Luttna (Version 2)” other than it’s simply unmissable!
For such an uplifting and chilled out soundtrack it would have been unusual to end with the emotional "Luttna" so Pritam and his team finish proceedings with another Punjabi track, “Jugni” . The song is based on the original Pakistani folk song by the same name. Arif Lohar (composer, lyricist and folk singer of the original song) returns in some style and sounds every bit as good as he did when he composed the original. He is ably supported by Harshdeep Kaur who adds effect by echoing the main lines. Team Pritam’s contribution is fantastic as usual because they don’t ruin the original, instead they remix it with soft rock instrumentation so that it appeals to a wider audience. The result is a song you can play repeatedly for hours on end. Fabulous.
Amazingly, whilst the album ends there the film also features a couple of renowned bhangra songs called “Angreji Beat” and “Main Sharaabi” featuring Yo Yo Honey Singh. It's a never ending cocktail of songs this one!
Every other producer is envious to the hilt because anyone listening to Cocktail will be blown away by at least one of the songs let alone the multiple winners it boasts…the film is likely to be a hit just based on the soundtrack alone! It's mostly fresh (just don't expect any innovation), varied and the most FUN + FOOT-TAPPING + FREE-SPIRITED album in a long while guaranteeing smiles and emotions every single time you take a listen. Add a host of new singers and some wonderful lyrics by Irshad Kamil and you have the best soundtrack of 2012 so far. This is Team Pritam at their very best...bringing joy to music lovers all around the world!