Racial discrimination is one worldwide burning subject that has been in the limelight for decades and makes it's vociferous call in Bollywood through the Mohit Suri directed CROOK. Based on Australian racial abuse incidents, it brings back Emraan Hashmi, a regular for Bhatt's camp in the main lead with promise of chartbusting music by ever-reliable Pritam Chakraborty. Suri-Hashmi team-work has been always been high on commercial barometer in musical department and there are loads of expectations in store from CROOK. In the last few years, Pritam's tenacity in churning out rhythmical beat soft-rock theme songs has been a big highlight. It has not only mustered meteoric chartbusting success but has given sufficient fodder for narrative elements to flow in tandem. Can CROOK holds the key of making it happen again? Does the successful trilogy of Pritam-Hashmi-Suri be able to deliver out another potential musical success through CROOK? Let's find this out...
Going through customary Punjabi "boliyan", the first bombastic dent comes in the form of "bhangra-beat" cultured number that is flourished with all folklore lyrical and instrumental dexterity in "Challa". Babbu Mann, a renowned prodigy in Punjabi film and musical album gets a major break as a soloist as his rustic vocals combines well with earthen arrangement flavors. Pritam experiments well with heavy usage of traditional stringed instrumentals ("ektara") and amalgam well with funky electronically tuned peppy rhythms. Suzanne D'Mello's westernized back-up English vocals give it an upbeat look, while the enthused chorals befit the frenzied surroundings. On innovation count, it works primarily on its customary cultural values as this type of folklore-based track must be popular in North India (preferably in Punjabi speaking regions) but overall it's a genuine effort to usurp out Punjabi ethnicity feel with dash of modernity attached with it.
"Challa (remix)" comes with typical UK based "bhangra" discotheque number with all hyperactive and frantic instrumentals spiced up with accelerated tempo. It's likely to gear up senses for Punjabi speaking listeners and should be colorful add to the promotion of the film.
As we discussed earlier, Pritam's spotlight for Bhatt's camp has always been rhythmical groovy soft-rock ballad that always been winner on its D-Day and so it arrives in lovable sounding "Mere Bina". Nikhil D'Souza is turning out to be new "blue eyed boy" among new talents and he justifies this title well as his minty fresh voice soothes senses with tender paced arrangements. Pritam brings the "soulful" enthuse in those breezy hook-lines ("Tujhko Jo Paaya Aahaaa...") with slender soft-rock anthem-ic blues in those mellowed sentiments. After braving out with hitherto efforts in title track of ANJAANA ANJAANI, Nikhil's candidly poise in this solo number deserves a special mention and should make him stand out among best of this year. Kumaar's gracefully lucid wordings bring memoirs of "Lamha Lamha" (GANGSTER) and plays to the histrionics of the track. On melodic front, it's the finest of the album and worthy addition to the Pritam's list of "once-again" hearing soft-rock ballad. On repetitive hearing, one really feels falling in love with it...Soul-enchanting!!!
We, the listeners sometimes think like composers and as we all anticipate more versions of "Mere Bina" with different tonality, pacing and vocals, it arrives in confidence with unplugged version in "Tujhko Jo Paaya". Mohit Chauhan's sonorous textures sing out the similar lyrics minus the lovable hook-line to deliver out a likable background score in lower tempo. The guitar strumming coupled with Mohit's effective rendition has shades of Eric Clapton's sentimental hued singing but wordings deserved to be more evocatively soulful to leave an impression, still it caters well to the ambience.
Neeraj Sridhar is the next to arrive in credits to deliver and renders in his typical Indi-pop singing attire in average sounding "Kya". Pritam's composition sounds lackluster as it is too messed up electronically tuned effects rather than playing on effective instrumental displays. It charters back to the singer's old days when old Bollywood songs were rehashed with slick English wordings to woo urbane listeners. It's purely situational and works strictly for all those who have great liking for Neeraj Sridhar's peppy "Hinglish" singing.
KK, the prominent ace in Pritam's cards is at the helm of affairs in the last of the offerings of the album, with his typical "Metro" stylized band rendition in "Tujhi Mein". It picks smoothly with fine piano drills and then sporadically explodes with thumping percussions and racy distorted electric guitar riffs to deliver out a contemporary "concert-rock" appeal. The unique aspect is the latter half that has bright fusion of bass and electric guitar riffs in tandem with fine impact of brass and metals to deliver out a rhythmically eclectic signature tuneful appeal, similar in shades to "Welcome to Hotel California" (EAGLES). KK's vocals booms impressively and so are the tuneful rocking appeal in racy concoction but composition sounds too routine in present context. Kumaar's lyrics fail to be scintillating and play to the movement of the instrumentals with "easy-on-ears" wordings. For all those Pritam-KK ardent fans, it's a likable (if not outstanding) treat for ears with meticulously improvised guitar displays but lacking in contents to make it big on charts. The "reprise" version comes in mellowed textures with semblance to the situational needs. It has the feel of a typical Bhatt erotic thriller climax song sequence feel where the protagonist feels awakened in melodramatic flow of the situation . It's neither great nor disappointing by any standards and plays safe to the situational needs in the flick.
CROOK does not offend the standards of Bhatt-Pritam's solid musical foundation but is concise and contemporary in packaging and styling. Its brightest prospect lies in "Mere Bina" while the catchiness of "Challa" might turn tables and can confer it to be next massy track for the listeners. Pritam doesn't experiments much and plays safe with mix and match of some of his previous works. It won't be as successful as the director-composer's earlier albums like TUM MILE (2009), JANNAT (2008) or WOH LAMHE (2006) but will be good-hear for its set of target listeners.