Madhur Bandhakar, the award winning film director and script writer returns to the big screen shortly with Jail, another expose along the lines of his most acclaimed projects such as Chandni Bar (2002), Page 3 (2005), Traffic Signal (2007) and Fashion (2008). This time we are given an insight into the harsh reality of prisoners in Indian jails from the perspective of the lead actor, Parag Dixit (Neil Nitin Mukesh). One factor that is pivotal to all of Bandhakar’s movies is quality music and background score. In fact, he is one of the few directors that actually tries to integrate music into his movies rather than include it for the sake of doing so. Over the years his favourite composers include Shamir Tandon, Raju Singh and Salim Sulaiman who produced the superb score for his last movie, the underrated Fashion (2008).
For his Jail, the same duo (Salim Sulaiman) were also outlined to be the composers but for some reason they were not able to fulfill the project and therefore Bandhakar has looked elsewhere to fill their void. The end result is a relatively short soundtrack with music from Shamir Tandon and the talented Sharib Toshi, who hit the big time with their sufi rock anthem “Maahi” from Raaz: The Mystery Continues (2008). Yet one feels they still have a lot to prove particularly after their disappointing contribution to Jashnn (2009) (remember the best songs from that album were composed by Pakistani artist Nouman Javaid!). Indeed, the first two songs here are composed by Sharib Toshi so let’s see if they can impress…
Don’t look so surprised! “Sainya Ve” is another sufi rock tune that sounds similar to songs (particularly Pakistani rock music) gone by including “Maahi”, though it’s still catchy and should satisfy fans in the short term. Toshi’s vocals have that sufi touch to them but here they are beginning to sound stale, alas we have heard him in this mould before! Furthermore, the words “Sainya Ve” are repeated far too often but just like in “Maahi”, this maybe an intentional ploy to make the song catchy… the lyrics (by Sharib Toshi) are limited and apart from “Sainya Ve” you get little else. Overall, don’t let the catchy beats blind you, this is strictly an above average track with little originality and long-term value…in fact, one can call it another “Maahi” hang-over? Either way, the duo will not survive long if they carry on in this manner.
But wait, the remixes are more enjoyable! Both “Saiyan Ve Remix” (by Anamik) and “Saiyan Ve Rock” (Sharib Toshi) feature vocals by lead actor Neil Nitin Mukesh who seems to be enjoying himself behind the mic! Take your own preference but it has to be said, the Rock version has a very laid back lounge feel to it with some cool rock laden instruments, perfect for chillaxin to, this version definitely comes recommended!
After that short albeit disappointing contribution from Sharib Toshi, we move onto the other composer, Shamir Tandon…can he improve the soundtrack?
“Bareily Ke Bazaar Mein” is a wacky item number featuring one of the hottest Bollywood actresses, Sayali Bhagat! An extremely peppy song with bouts of qawaali thrown in, it sounds interesting thanks to some intoxicating singing by Sonu Kakkar but in reality, this one is going to rely on Sayali to give it a hit status. Lyrics by Sandeep Nath are weak and rely far too much on the song title. Having said that the “Remix Version” by Nikhil Chinappa and Nawed Khan just explodes onto a different level making it a more infectious listen. Not bad!
The final track is unusual because it completely changes the mood of album, which has been upbeat thus far. In what marks her 80th Birthday, the incredible Lata Mangeshkar returns with the haunting “Daata Sun Le” . Shamir Tandon keeps the pace slow here which is ideal for Lata jee and proves that given the opportunity, her vocals are still immense, she simply defies her age! Lyrics by Ajay Kumar Garg unearth a plea to God forgiveness and will be appropriate for the movie. If you enjoyed the original be sure to catch the “Contemporary Remix” which enriches the arrangements with some fine traditional sounds (from the tabla and other string instruments). But it's Lata jee who steals the show again.
As far as Bandhakar soundtracks go, this is fairly average and in all honesty it feels a rushed and disjointed effort with the sole purpose of promoting the movie (hence the use of Sharib Toshi). Salim Sulaiman are sorely missed. Having said that, some of the tracks are catchy and it’s likely to sound better on screen keeping in mind the theme of the movie...give it a try.