Mani Shankar's directorial excellence has largely been associated with stylish and intelligently packed action-packed thriller. His bon-voyage of spectacular SFX packed cinema with innovative scripting 16 DECEMBER (2002), RUDRAKSH (2004), TANGO CHARLIE (2005) and MUKHBIR (2008)) might not have set cash register ringing, but have set new style statement in its genre. KNOCK OUT, a pulsating "edge-of-the-seat" enthralling entertainer promises bigger action, with mind-blowing SFX with bankable lead actors in its main leads. Promising Gourov Dasgupta (credited as Gourov DG) is the musical mastermind of this flick. From the encouraging days of DUS KAHANIYAN (2007) and RAAZ-THE MYSTERY CONTINUES (2009) to mediocre phases of recently released HELP, he has shown his flair of delivering out youthful rocking music that has been upbeat and entertaining in its content. It's difficult to anticipate or expect anything musically spectacular from Mani Shankar's film as all his previously directed film had average music. Can Gourov Dasgupta spring out a real musical entertainer in KNOCK OUT? Does KNOCK OUT have sufficient ammunition of making listeners "knocked-out" with its thrilling cum melodious musical contents? Let's find out the musical facts...
Energized with vibrancy of hard-metal rock concert aesthetics, the first offering brings out vociferously grungy sounding Vishal Dadlani in the roaring title track, 'Knock Out'. Fuelled with immense energy and thrive, this hot-headed sounding number has the conventional packing of distorted electric guitar riffing, thunderous percussive move with predictable sounding hook-line that connects well with the volatile theme of the film. As far as arrangements are concerned, it fairly rollicking in style and will certainly woo hard-rock music fans. Like many recently heard full-throttle rock songs, it will have aggressively resounding symbolic feel and is likely to be played in the opening or ending titles of the flick. It neither creates big waves nor disappoints and plays safe with the accepted contemporary rock feel.
Dasgupta's music take a benevolence in style and composure as it contorts to motivational route in somberly composed 'Khushnuma Sa Ye Roshan Hua'. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's deeply sonorous voice sings out this 'dream-come-true-paradise' about optimism, peace and harmony in midst of subtly composed arrangements. Panchhi Jalonvi's harmonizing wordings are easily perceptible and are meaningfully versed (Chhootey na apne hi jismo se kahin saaye, Jeenay se na ho dil khafa, Saansein ki tootey na kabhi yeh kahin dorein, Roothey na koi bhi dua...), to emote out the 'feel-good' factor in this action packed thriller. Once again, Dasgupta's composition is reasonably good and has motivational outset with mellowed flows that carries the feel but lacks the desired soulful binge.
The second version titled as 'Khushnuma Sa Woh Mausam', a distressed emotional prayer in Sufi tones, comes in the voice of Krishna that carries hilly Kashmiri touches (similar to 'Madno' -LAMHAA) with slightly raised tempo. It can be termed as 'Sufi' version with added 'Rubab' and 'Sarangi' stringed displays with poignantly penned lyrics that epitomizes the pathos, pain and suffering of the destitute protagonist. It proliferates well with invigorating 'Kashmiri music' and mixes divinity in its communicative wordings. This time it's Shelle as impressive lyricist with wordings (Yaadon ke har lamhe mein nihaan hai, Khushboo hai zikr tera, Seerat jaise paak ho daaman, Baatein ho jaise dua...) that makes notable presence in flair of subtle sounding music. Krishna, one among most underestimated singer in business, emotes beautifully in his varying pitches that conceptualize the gist of happening and scores better than the first version. It is presumed to be a striking background score featuring in the closing stages of the flick and likable addition to Sufi music lovers.
Spunk returns to scenario with 70's retro feel with highly energizing disco feel in foot-tapping 'Jab Jab Dil Mile'. It sounds like club song where songstress Sunidhi Chauhan croons out for the slick cabaret show in glitzy surroundings. It fares average and there's nothing to rave but to accept some sparks flowing across on big screen. This conventional Dasgupta dancing-singing number props up to another mediocre attempt that simply adds to the listing in the credits.
After the meaningful sounding 'Khushnuma Sa Yeh Mausam', Dasgupta churns out another ace with similar tonality and divine melodic feel in sensibly toned 'Tuhi Meri Hum Navaa'. The likable Sufi-rock touches have shades of Pritam's hits and create euphoria that bank heavily on lively KK's voice. This divine feel about 'Maula' (God Almighty) has composition that sounds similar to 'Haan Tu Hai' (JANNAT -2008) and its arrangements have "heard-before" feel. Against all odds, KK's voice is pure gem and his control over modulation and breath-control in emoting is simply superb and takes the song to greater heights. In terms of quality and execution, 'Tuhi Meri Hum Navaa' scores the best and adds life to the narration of the flick.
To add 'glamour ka tadka' in this stylish potboiler, the last original soundtrack 'Gangubai Pe Aai Jawani' brings out the histrionics of 'Gangubai' raunchy antics. After commercial success of 'Munni Badnam Hui' (DABANGG) and the recent 'Issak Se Meetha' (AAKROSH), there is another in this cadre that brings out gruffly voiced Sunidhi Chauhan at the helm of affairs. It has a blend of folksy Maharastrian 'Lavani' and Goan festivity with spicy lyrics that match the mood and tempo of the situation. For its intrinsically earthen appeal and heavy-duty instrumental displays, its prospect relies on its alluring on-screen and is likely to be next big thing on TV dancing reality shows.
KNOCK OUT is not at all a "knock-out" musical show and fares average on all counts. Gourov Dasgupta's music bears a conventional and "heard-before" syndrome feel in almost every soundtrack and fails to create any waves. The highlight of this audio packaging are couple of somber sentimental tracks like 'Khushnuma Sa Yeh Mausam' and 'Tuhi Mera Hum Navaa' but the melancholic feel is restricted simply to situational needs. It's difficult to expect anything chartbusting from this album and will be no major threat to present bestsellers in the market.