Abbas-Mustan/A-M (Director) and Musical thrillers have become synonymous to each other since their inception in the Hindi Film industry with Khiladi (1992) and Baazigar (1993), which were superhit musicals of their time. The Directors used the service of Anu Malik for almost 8 years and then shifted to Himesh Reshammiya for Humraaz (2002) till 36 China Town happened in 2006. They are currently having a good run with the much-in-demand musician Pritam; case in point, Naqaab (2007) and Race (2008). With a vaccum of almost four years, the hit combination of A-M and Pritam returns with a remake of the Hollywood film ‘The Italian Job' (2003). Players is an action thriller about a gold heist with a huge star cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bipasha Basu and Sikander Kher which is bound to ignite fire onscreen and aren't the teasers bombastic and stylish? Does the soundtrack follow suit?
The first track "Jis Jagah Pe Khatam” is highly inspired by Pritam's previous compositions in particular “Race Saanson Ki” (Race) and the title track of Badmaash Company. Neeraj Shridhar sounds a bit different, Mauli Dave is sensational, Siddharth Basrur’s voice is lost in chorus. Talking of lyrics by Ashish Pandit, the hook line “Jis Jagah Pe Khatam Sabki Baat Hoti Hai, Us Jagah Se Hamari Shuruat Hoti Hai” is too simple but at the same time, the catchy and addictive tune saves the song which just falls short of being an anthem. Not a chartbuster opening as has been the case with Pritam but surely a good composition which would do well for the promotions and should be used at various junctures in the movie. "Jis Jagah Pe Khatam-Remix" is too loud and doesn't work at all.
Some carnival music arrangements begins the proceedings for the second song “Jhoom Jhoom Ta Ja” on the same lines as “Udi” from Guzaarish last year. Pritam brings on “Jalebi Bai” (Double Dhamaal) Ritu Pathak behind the mic where any other day and it could very well have been Sunidhi Chauhan at the helm of affairs. Ritu Pathak comes out of the item-number's shell and impresses in this raunchy-seductive-not-so-Pritam track which is no way near as good as “Zara Zara Touch Me” (Race) but will surely make up for a good visual treat onscreen with a probable Sonam Kapoor seducing Neil Nitin Mukesh. Easily one of the best songs from the album.
There are two alternative versions of this melodious song. ''Jhoom Jhoomta Hun Main" merely takes 50 seconds to set the mood and one can't resist grooving to this fast-paced-techno version. Siddharth Basrur replaces the female voice and some might argue that he steps into the shoes of Atif Aslam especially for the high-pitched tones, but that's a mere coincidence and would be a harsh comparison for a talented artist who has so far performed well in a few tracks for Haunted. Lyrics completely changes from the Female version which makes it a completely different song. So there you go, a definite chartbuster! "Jhoom Jhoomta Hun Main Film Version" makes up for almost a repeated hearing of Siddharth Basrur's version, the only difference is the singer Arijit Singh (reality show participant) who makes his debut as a singer and being a classically trained artist, does full justice to this western composition. Wonder why it is being called as the Film Version; hear it only for the young and upcoming talent.
Abhishek Bachchan (AKA Charlie in the movie) with his raw voice will make you listen the next track, "Buddhi Do Bhagwan (Charlies Song)" which will certainly see a promotional video rolling over your screens very soon. Shruti Pathak after giving some superhits with Salim-Sulaiman, first time joins hands with Pritam and may get unnoticed, as Abhishek's part is certainly the USP of this track. Lyrics are kept simple with Abhishek praying to God to give some Buddhi to the girl and then carries on with some conversational lyrics in the Antaras that follow. Make no mistake; it will shoot right up in the charts once the video is out with such a huge star cast.
"Dil Yeh Bekarar Kyu Hai" is a sure shot chart scorcher from the word 'Go'. It's more of a refined version of “I Am In Love” from Once Upon A Time In Mumbai which was a superb composition by Pritam and sadly wasn't even used in the movie, hope this number doesn't gets the same treatment and gets optimum screen space. Lyricist Ashish Pandit sparks love with Mohit Chauhan weaving the magic once again after his wonderful run in Rockstar. Shreya Ghoshal with her sugary voice is at her usual best. It's a highly addictive track and has a strong repeat value. Arguably the best remixer in the biz, Pritam calls on his prodigy, the hugely talent Nikhil D'Souza for the “Reprise Version” and the young gun pumps his vocals out to take the song to new heights! Debutant Priyani Vani (also the wife of lyricist Ashish Pandit) replaces Shreya Ghoshal but sadly has very little to do in this male dominated number. The instrumental piece in the second interlude is opulent, although some change of lyrics would have added that extra zing. Regardless it's a composition which one would love to hear in loop for hours at a stretch. Strongly Recommended. "Dil Yeh Bekarar Kyu Hai- Remix" wasn't required at all and can be skipped.
Pritam carries on his good run after Desi Boyz which should end the year on a good note for him. He has been receiving a lot of criticism lately for his abundant Reprise versions in a single soundtrack, but that's his trademark style. If you like the original song you will surely enjoy his other versions too. Mausam was one such OST where all the three versions of “Ik Tu Hi Tu Hi” had variety and showed the hard work he puts in for every version. Players certainly has two chartbusters in “Dil Yeh Bekarar Kyu Hai” and “Jhoom Jhoomta Hu Main” (Siddharth Basrur version) with “Buddhi Do Bhagwan” to follow very soon. Alas the only weakness is that it misses a theme track that is very much required for an action thriller…nonetheless it will help promote the film no end and that will be job well done for Pritam!