A sequel, that too of a Remake develops humongous expectations, be it the soundtrack or the movie, and nothing short of some elegant and stylish stuff will be accepted by the music buffs. Don 2 comes from the house of 'Farhan Akhtar' (Director and Story Writer) who shot to fame with his debut movie Dil Chahta Hai almost a decade ago, from thereon, he’s stuck to the same team- Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for the Music Direction and his father Javed Akhtar for penning the lyrics. The same team has produced some smash hits in Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Lakshya (2004) and Don (2006) - now with Don 2, one expects another thrilling and sizzling outing from S-E-L and the Akhtar's. In the past two years it has not been prolific for S-E-L; Aarakshan and Game this year proved to be a huge disappointment while Patiala House and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara were strictly ok albums. So, let’s see if the composers put an end to all the criticism they have received lately! The proceedings start with "Aa Raha Hu Palat Ke", a 35 second monologue by Shahrukh Khan (SrK) which marks the return of Don and tries to set the mood for the rest of the songs.
The second track, "Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo" starts with Anusha Mani (“Lazy Lamhe”) knocking at the doors of “Aaj Ki Raat” from Don. The chorus is a bit loud while the musical arrangements maintain the same rhythm and pitch during the whole song- Vishal Dadlani’s entry after two minutes and SRK’s stylish onscreen presence make it more interesting and brings an evil attitude to a song that is being promoted aggressively and is sure to rise up the charts over time. However the second antara disappoints as do the lyrics which make this an average effort from S-E-L.It's innovative, it's fresh and certainly the best of the three originals, "Hai Yeh Maya" starts with retro-techno beats and the talented, Usha Uthup behind the mic. It's been two decades since she sang “Koi Yaha Aaha Nache Nache” from Disco Dancer and recently “Darling” in 7 Khoon Maaf, and her voice still has the power and exuberance to thrill the listeners. A perfect choice of singer for an enthralling composition like this which will find its place at various junctures in the movie. It refreshes the memories of the Asha Bhonsle - R.D.Burman classic “Jab Andhera Hota Hai” form back in 1972 and will certainly will grab ears post the movie release if not now. "Hai Yeh Maya Remix" by DJ Shane Mendonsa is a mix of various arrangements and gives a club feel to the song.
There’s even more retro and techno in "Dushman Mera" which seems to be a perfect climax outing for Priyanka Chopra and SRK. Sunitha Sarathty starts off well (remember “Khuda Hafiz” from Yuva?) and joined later by Shankar Mahadevan whose tone of voice sounds a little different from his usual self (read Kishore Kumar). The composition could have been much better if S-E-L had tried to come out of the 'Don' zone, the lyrics are lame and there is hardly any innovation here, on the flip side though, a terrific visual treat should blast a dynamite onscreen. Wait for the video!
Sunitha Sarathy perfectly brings on the thrill element with her lines- “Har Dil Me Hulchul Hai, Aaya Hai Dekho Kaun” at the very start of "The King Is Back (Theme)" and from thereon, electrifying guitar riffs, some pretentious keyboard arrangements will take you for a roller-coaster ride. It takes forward the majestic “Don Theme” and at 2.30 it completely goes in the “Dushman Mera” zone. Perfect ringtone material.
"Mujhko Pehchaan Lo" is a reprise version of “Main Hoon Don” (from the first film) minus the chorus. It's an animated and darker version and will disappoint those listeners who compare it with the original version by Shaan. K.K. provides the required attitude and arrogance alongside some powerful drum beats and guitar strumming. Instead of going for something new, the director sticks to the old theme but hopefully it won’t be wasted in the starting credits. What disappoints is "Mujhko Pehchaan Lo Remix" which suffers from an infinite loop of “Don Ko Pakadna Mushkil Hi Nahi, Namumkin Hai” and SRK's continuous chanting of ‘Don’..Don in the first interlude irritates but 3 minutes into this you will want to rip off your hair out for sure. Skip the remix!The last track/instrumental is named "The Don Waltz" where Caralisa Monteiro throws in some opera style notes. The violins remind you of some Tom & Jerry series and refreshes the scene from the previous ‘Don’ where SRK was shown in his bath tub watching Tom & Jerry. A good innovative attempt but one wonder how and when the director will use it in the movie (may be for some Ballet Dance sequence or may be something else?).Overall Don 2 doesn't quite live up to expectations which were sky high after the huge success of the first film- it's a soundtrack that will only work alongside the movie and will take the story forward, but as an audio alone it just doesn't deliver. S-E-L play it safe by continuing on from where they left in the previous venture and there is hardly any innovation. Javed Akhtar lyrics are standard stuff and lack the artistic touch so as a result “Hai Ye Maaya” is the only song worth listening to. The rest may gain popularity post the movie release.