Yashraj Films (YRF) first tryst with animation strikes big with ROADSIDE ROMEO, in alliance with giants Walt Disney Pictures that blossoms out on the big screen with the voice-over of actors like Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kappor and Javed Jaffery for lead characters. It's an experimental in its exhibit and marks the directorial debut of cherubic actor-turned-director Jugal Hansraj in the marquee. Salim-Suleiman, now a favorite with YRF (NEAL N NIKKI, AAJA NACHLE, CHAKDE INDIA and the upcoming RAB NE BANA DI JODI) makes their first major attempt at animation project with Jaideep Sahni penning out the essentials. Their combination worked wonders in CHAKDE INDIA but animation is an all-together different genre. Do they click as a team again? Even YRF has just one musical success with BACHNA AE HASEENO lately and now ROADSIDE ROMEO comes out as their next big hope of this year. Will the competence of Salim-Suleiman be delivering out another FASHION for esteemed Yashraj Films? Do find this out!
The vibrant arrival of vivaciously cute dog "Romeo" pump starts with a fervor of enthused chorals and rigorous arrangements in the title track "Main Hoon Romeo". Salim-Suleiman imbues the binge of "Neal "n" Niki" (NEAL N NIKI) in its rigorous tempo, signature tune and composition where Kunal Ganjawala's vociferous vigour sets the pace. It's an engrossing mix and match of genres and it's primarily "jazz" cum pop that rules with strong impulse of percussive elements and thriving horns in its loud backdrop. Jaideep Sahni's bouncy lyrical jumbles up with ease and matches pace with the boisterously paced composition. This impressive situational number may not be trailblazing but certainly jesters up all the synchronized comical acts of the bubbly protagonist in its lively melodic display. John Stewart along with Salim Merchant makes commotion of disco zing as this snooty title track "remix" gets spiced up with booming disco beat fillers. It's another party-loving that is likely to be having substantial takers among disco-freaks.
"Choo Le Na", a typical club-night "crooner" track comes out in 80's retro feel of "Panchamda" style of music with notable Sunidhi Chauhan making all hot-shots in her svelte tones. The bombastic outrage of "Laila O Laila" (QURBANI (1980)) with tinge of "Halla Re" (NEAL N NIKKI) in spicy flavor of Latino Salsa musical madness is enthralling but the over-energized and jarring orchestrations makes it hostile at places. KK's added vocals lights up affair while Sudesh Bhonsle's gruffly back-up vocals (similar to R.D Burman) add animatedly villainous touches. It's again a challenging task for the visual displays to emote every animated act but its "remix" version by DJ Suketu has much in store for party animals. It's a blazing "club" remix work that impromptu in its echoing and booming DJ beats and beat juggling and works well to evoke commotion on floors.
"Cool Cool", a preachy number about rules to be stylishly cool is an emceeing attribute by its lead actors Saif Ali Khan and Javed Jaffry in their jittery baritones. "Cool Cool" is presumed to be strong in its humor quotient and this chirpy tête-à-tête is likely to be sizzling out melodramatically witty animation on big screen. Naresh Kamath's fresh voice impresses to hilt in varying shades while Marianne D'Cruz back-up works with the feel and tempo of the track.
After lovable mushy "Kuch Khass" and remarkable "Mar Jaavan" (FASHION), the expectations from tranquil-paced love ballad "So Right" by Salim- Suleiman are soaring high. Kunal Ganjawala along with Gayatri Iyer makes whims of "true love" on a lovely moonlight with serenity of "jazz" music in air. It's pertinently synchronized arrangements are strong on saxophone notes, horns and subtle percussive elements but the soulful impact is comparatively week and unimposing. It will be really quizzical to view animated character exchanging love vibes on silver screen but do experience Kunal's modulating baritones getting into the soul of its mushy ambience with flair.
How to respond to one-liners like "Apni Dumm Bhi Oonchi Ho…Public Saari Neeche Ho!"? Quizzically Funny!!! Jaideep Sahni's quick-witted and cheerful wording in "Apni Dumm Bhi Oonchi Ho" are playfully snobbish to core and its amalgam with affable perky music and jovial singing makes thing even peppier for lively ears. It's an array of singers in the voices of Kunal Ganjawala, Earl, Jugal Hansraj, Salim Merchant and Anushka Manchandani that triggers off the flamboyance for colorful animated character in their pulsating vim for the track. Once again, Kunal Ganjawala leads from the front while Anushka's frisky add-on is racy in its rendition. Like "Cool Cool", it's likely to one big spotlight in its cinematic display and if met with needful of animation techno-wizardry, it can really set the screen on fire with its comical playful acts.
In a Salim- Suleiman album, it is predictable to expect instrumental striking chords with the feel of the flick and rightfully it arrives in the form of "Rooftop Romance". It's a brief instrumental version of "So Right" with subtle feminine chorals followed with Spanish guitar strumming and violin and piano works. Nothing spectacular in its upfront display, but still a laudable amalgam of instrumentals that epitomizes the feel of this romantically chirpy love saga.
Unlike FASHION, ROADSIDE ROMEO proves to be an average musical offering from competent duo Salim-Suleiman and promises nothing that can be termed as chartbusting or earth-shattering from an animation flick. Salim-Suleiman notches up another regular sounding album with the music that communicates to their early musical releases. It works appropriately with the comical feel of the film with tracks like "Main Hoon Romeo", "Cool Cool" and "Apni Dumm Bhi Oonchi Ho" making "cool" presence with couple of likable tracks. It's likely to be working in tandem with the spirit of the flick and can be surprise hit, if ever this animation extravaganza hits the jackpot on its D-Day.