Vishal and Shekhar. One of the most prominent and well respected music directors in Bollywood right? Is that a present tense? Should it be a past one? Needless to say the duo are certainly in need of a challenge after some pretty average scores in 2008. I mean how many of you are still listening to Tashan, De Taali, Bhoothnath and Bachna Ae Haseeno? But wait, Karan Johar now presents that challenge to the duo in the form of Dharma Production’s latest flick Dostana starring Abhishek Bachan, John Abraham and the pretty gal herself, Priyanka Chopra.
Actually come to think of it, Dharma Production don’t do 'average' especially in the music department so we have a pretty good chance of getting a winner here do you agree? So ladies and gentlemen….everyone confident in V-S delivering the goods? Before we get onto the music it has to be said that it must be appreciated in the context of the movie which looks like a fun packed comedy entertainer based in Miami, Florida. In fact it reminds me a little of Hey Babyy from last year when SEL did a decent job with the music.
And certainly starting on a decent note here are V-S with Jaane Kyun, an upbeat little number that gets you in the groove whilst portraying the fun-n-frolics of friendship! The piano tune grabs your attention from the off and stays there pretty much till the end. The mingling guitar play by Randolph Correia is also catchy but by far the most impressive aspect of the song is the singing by Vishal, my word how he impresses! Lyrics by Anvita Dutt Guptan are passable. Without doubt this is an enjoyable track but let’s be honest, it’s nothing special either. V-S are capable of much better but at least it’s a promising start.
Unfortunately the soundtrack takes a nosedive from hereon with three, count them THREE very average songs on the trot (in fact to call them average is being kind to V-S!). The first of these Desi Girl sounds very much like Small Town Girl from BAH which is a bad thing (unless by some miracle you enjoyed that song). I have to say if there’s one saving grace here it’s the singing by Shankar Mahadevan who proves yet again why he is amongst the best singers around, making an average song sound somewhat interesting through his electric vocals set against a peppy track with a typical use (or even overuse) of dhol play and one that wears off very quickly….Sunidhi Chauhan’s entry is pointless and the lyrics by Kumaar even more so. This is the first major disappointment of Dostana but admittedly it will sound better on screen.
And things get worse still with Shut up and bounce…Er…Shut up and what?! I mean talk about a pathetic title. Nevertheless let’s focus on the song itself which dents Dostana further with arguably the worst of the lot….get this listeners, you are supposedly one of the best composers out there and want to impress everyone with some inspirational tune or instrument so what do you do? Well you get some drums (or better still a percussion) and enact beats repeatedly to flow with the title, beats, beats and…more beats. Randolp tries to improve things with his guitar strings but unfortunately they are lost somewhere in between the beats….oh how I feel for Sunidhi Chauhan who has to sing to this rubbish….Never mind ‘shut up and bounce’, you just want to shut the damn thing off!
Thankfully Khabar Nahi provides a much needed boost to the soundtrack. It marks the end of the silly dance theme that has done so much damage to the OST and marks the return of love/friendship with a pleasant tune supported by Sanjay Gateva’s guitar strumming. Otherwise, the rest of the instrumentation lacks V-S’s trademark innovation. The trilogy of singers (Vishal, Shreya Ghoshal and Amanat Ali) makes this one a worthwhile listen, at least a few times. Amanat Ali in particular is excellent. Anivita pens the lyrics again. A welcome respite if there ever was one.
But wait, at long last V-S stand up and be counted! Kuch Kum provides a snippet of what V-S are capable of even though the reality is, in their heyday, this would have been counted as one of their weaker tracks…the soft percussion, the irresistible piano together with a heartwarming melody is there in abundance again…that eerie attraction is present and one that will make you usher the fine words (by Vishal) with Shaan who provides a knockout performance in the singing department (just like he did with his previous songs with V-S including Bekhudi and Kaash) . Kuch Kum is easily the best track from Dostana but by no means a classic either. Just remember that with every poor track on offer, there is a tendency to overrate the decent ones.
However the overriding legacy of Dostana OST is a worrying one as it confirms (in my eyes) the fall from grace of Vishal and Shekhar as elite music composers in Bollywood…apart from Om Shaanti Om they have been virtually unrecognizable since 2006 (when they produced their last praiseworthy soundtracks in Taxi 9211 and I See U ). Since then their music releases, in the main, have had one word written all over them: MEDIOCRE, cue Ta Ra Rum Pum, Cash, Tashan, Bhootnath, De Taali, Bachna Ae Haseeno and arguably one of their worst ones to date, Dostana. Their final project for 2008, Aladin and the Magic Lamp, will need to dig deep to unearth the music to rival the wonderful compositions from the early career of V-S, one that promised so much. And on a personal level (as a huge fan of V-S), I will no longer be picking up their soundtracks with a butterfly in my stomach...they simply don't have that effect anymore like say an ARR or an SEL do. The much talented duo have lost their focus and have become complacent. What a shame for all music fans.