On this week’s episode of “Heroes”, apna desi scientist turned villan Mohinder turns against the Petrelli brothers. What’s that you say? This isn’t the hit American show? Oh, wait; it’s actually apna desi Bollywood film, “Heroes”. The unlikely recent sleeper hit, directed by Samir Karnik (who had much to prove with this film) and starring a mega cast that includes Salman Khan (in a new avatar as a traditional Sardar), Preity Zinta, Mithun Chakraborty, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Sohail Khan, Vatsal Sheth, and Amrita Arora. One would think this multiple story film with a huge star cast would have had more hype heading into the multiplexes, but for some reason this one slipped in under the radar. You’ll have to see the new Thums Up Thums Down update for a complete review of this film that is worth your time, especially for Salman Khan’s excellent performance. The soundtrack to this movie features three music directors. The team of Sajid-Wajid (“Hello”) and Monty (“Chamku”) each get a set of songs. I would think that these three individuals would be able to create a gem of a soundtrack. So, let’s spin this Heroes audio on end, and see if this is a diamond in the rough, or just coal.
I have two names of two superstar artists that will bowl you over. The first one is Sonu Nigam. The second is the long lost Kavita Krishnamurthy. Any true Bollywood fan will recognize the stellar talents of these two vocalists and it is the sheer beauty of their voices that lifts the first track, “Mannata” from the danger of falling into mediocrity. The track by Sajid-Wajid is one of those songs that feel like it was lifted straight from one a classic Yash Chopra film. You can almost smell the clean air and see the fields filled with beautiful flowers. In this age of dance schmance techno beats, it’s a refreshing change to hear a flute, violins, guitars, and a simple yet sweet dhol rhythm with a bare minimum of synths. The lilting lyrics are by Sajid-Wajid regular Jalees Sherwani. A straightforward traditional tune that evokes the best romanticism that Punjab has to offer. Give it a listen or two and it will grow on you. Feel the Balle Balle magic and add this one to your playlist!
The musical baton is handed off to Monty for the next track, “Wat’s Up My Bro”. This one is a bit of a departure from the kinds of tunes that Monty has composed in the past as it’s an out and out rocker complete with driving drums and heavy guitar licks. The rock culture really seems to be coming alive in India at the moment, with a lot of the recent soundtracks having at least one rock influenced song. Singer Kunal Ganjawala really sings his heart out with this one. It’s sad that we haven’t heard too much of him lately, what with the revolving door of male singers that has become the norm in Bollywood. Monty shakes things up by adding a classical sounding violin interlude that is playfully interwoven with the rock rhythm of the drums. Lyrics by Rahul B. Seth are just about ok. This one won’t set the charts on fire, but is a nice rock tune to bop your head to once in a while. So get out that air guitar, look out for those groupies, and ROCK ON!
Not bad, so far the soundtrack has two decent if not stellar tracks from Sajid-Wajid and Monty. The third track changes that though, as Sajid-Wajid fumble a bit. “Makhana” is the kind of Bhangra track that Sajid-Wajid have done many, many times. It almost seems like this is their standard format for Bhangra tracks and they have grown comfortable with this melody and arrangement. I wish I could be more thrilled about this kind of song, though it’s sung by one of my favorites Sukhwinder Singh with mucho gusto, there just isn’t enough creativity in this track to make it linger on the listener’s mind after it’s over. Standard lyrics by Jalees Sherwani don’t add anything. The song is pictured on Sunny and Bobby Deol and is an obvious ploy to appeal to their multitude of fans in Punjab. Just go ahead get drunk, dance on one foot, and forget about this song, but have fun while you are doing it!
So, we’ve gone through three tracks so far, and I’d be hard pressed to really remember any of them. That’s definitely not a good sign. Yet, onwards we go…to track four, “Wat’s Up My Bro (Slow)” a moody piece that starts out with synth violins then features excellent vocals by Shail Hada backed by soft synth rhythms. I feel that Monty always does well with melancholic songs. This one is a winner, one of those tracks to play when you are in an introspective mood. Stand on the cliff’s edge with the water pounding the rocks below as you contemplate life while listening to this track!
The short religious prayer, “Gurbani” is next, and is pleasant to listen to. The “Heroes Theme” that basically combines the first two tracks into a nice instrumental follows this. I don’t think that either of these have a lot of repeat value.
After this, it’s onward to the PB remix zone, with four remixes. Yes indeed, all four original tracks are remixed to varying degrees of success. “Badmash Launde (Blasted Mix) has some Mary Poppins Disney style singing, and the original dholak rhythm is replaced by typical programmed percussion beats. Skip it! “Mannata (Lover’s Paradise)” is next. Instead of heavy beats, the remix artist went the other way and slowed the track down. Soft beats and rhythmic guitar playing add a nice romantic depth to the original track but oddly enough, the vocals have been removed making this an instrumental. It’s worth a listen or two. This is followed by the inevitable remix “Wat’s Up My Bro (Cruiser Mix). Again, lazy remixing results in a halfhearted dance track that basically slightly changes the temp with a harder beat. You might enjoy bopping to this in a drunken haze, but sober? No way! The last remix (thankfully) is the “Makhana (Killer Mix)” which speeds up the original Bhangra track, with a Euro-Trance beat to it. It’s not too bad actually, and will probably be interesting to dance to in the clubs.
All in all, “Heroes” is standard fair that really fails to leave a lasting impact in anyway. It will probably pull a fast fade on the charts and from your playlist. For a short time, you might want to add, “Mannata” (including the nice instrumental remix) and “Wat’s Up My Bro”(including the slow remix) to your listening schedule. Still all in all, with the kind of talent involved, it’s a pretty disposable soundtrack. Here or “hear” today…. gone tomorrow! Perhaps we should listen to Tina Turner who sang the famous lyric, “…we don’t need another hero…”, as we ride off into the sunset.