With the pending release of Nikhil Advani's next big film, CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, 2009 is set to hit the floor running. Looking at the film's OST, the first thing that pops out at you is that there are a total of four very diverse composers who create six original songs. The year has hit both the high and low notes. However, what we have rarely witnessed is the successful collaboration of multiple MDs to form a synergistic relationship and produce a quality album that will be remembered beyond the year's end. To a certain extent, we have that with the music of CC2C.
The very off-beat trio of the Kailasa group are privileged to open the soundtrack on an extremely fresh, breezy, and musically soothing note with S.I.D.H.U. Very similar to an earlier track that was rendered by Kailash Kher, O Sikandar (Corporate), S.I.D.H.U. harnesses the upbeat Punjabi flavor while adding a bit more to it. Atop the harmoniums, acoustics, and dhols is a very lively and animate melody that does nothing but entice and engage - something we've come to expect and love from the group. Kailash Kher, Paresh Kamath, and Naresh Kamath have been having a breakout year with their foray into films (Pranali, Dasvidaniya). And although they haven't quite matched the masterpiece of their debut album, the group proves to be one of the nation's brightest and most unique musical sensations. Verdict: Get up and groove to the feel-good vibes of S.I.D.H.U.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are up next with the title track, Chandni Chowk To China. Unfortunately, this song is by far the weakest link of the OST. Melodically, the song brings very little to the table. In fact, the monotonous riffs begin to irritate - a composer's worst nightmare. Vocally, Neeraj Shridhar is completely out of his regular club element. His Chinese inflections appear as if he's simply trying to hard to leave an impression. Anushka Manchanda's support is more welcoming. In terms of musical arrangements, there is very little creativity utilized. SEL felt that they can make this track somewhat Chinese if they open with a short traditional intro and merely add minor vocal shrills beneath the composition. The rest of the song has heavy hip-hop traces and northern Indian influences; none of which have been used to their fullest potential. Verdict: It's a very disappointing result after seeing SEL come off one of their strongest and most successful OSTs in Rock On!!
Bappi Lahiri just never seems to completely fade away does he! Nevertheless, he's back again with India Se Aaya Tera Dost. A spin-off of the earlier track "Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost," Lahiri adds a bit more pizzazz to the arrangements, while heightening the situational feel with some typical Chinese instrumentation like the Pipa, the Liquin, and the Sanxian. Thanks to the original melody, the song maintains a mediocre level of enjoyment. Verdict: If anything, the song may be better appreciated on screen.
The Kailasa trio make a repeat appearance with another high-powered composition in Chak Lein De. Needless to say, Kailash Kher and the boys once again succeed in forcing your body to bounce by conventionalizing the arrangements a bit, while maintaining their signature melodic flair. The reason I say "conventionalizing" is because normally the group sticks to using live instrumentation and original musical quality. With Chak Lein De, it seems like they've spent a bit more time programming the sounds. Either way...if you have skill...you have skill! Verdict: A very cool new side to the three-dimensional group of Kailasa.
The soundtrack closes on a very unique note with C C 2 C. Bohemia, who turned heads with his hard-core Punjabi rap album "Pesa Nasha Pyar," makes his Bollywood debut. In collaboration we have superstar Akshay Kumar who renders his first full-fledged Bollywood number. Carrying the Bohemia stamp all over it, Akshay Kumar completely blows you away as a novice rapper. The man has mad skills, as he takes Bohemia's song to a completely new level with a vocal attitude rarely heard in India's markets. Akshay Kumar and Bohemia could single-handedly give birth to an entirely new genre in India with C C 2 C. Verdict: Wicked!
The OST also contains remixes of Chandni Chowk To China and Chak Lein De by DJ A-Myth.