Viju Shah, a name synonym with the magical success of rollicking “qawalli” “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast” (MOHRA (1994)) and snazzy discotheque bonanza “Duniya Haseeno Ka Mela” (GUPT (1997)) has been off the track lately. His latest outings in mediocre albums like ASAMBHAV, YUN HOTA TO KYA HOTA and SHIKHAR hasn’t been of his standards that he excelled and triumphed in early 90’s. VICTORIA NO.203, his latest submission proves to be pits of his musical vocation for its wearily driven compositions and wretched arrangements. Viju Shah’s prowess is at its “all-time-low” and has skidded to dearth to mediocrity with no single impressive score to album’s credits. Unfortunately, this musical genius insipid and jaded work is too hopeless and incompetent to match up the standards of his predecessor’s (Kalyanji-Anandji) work.
Viju Shah tries to incorporate the soft mushy feel of “Dheere Dheere” (SHIKHAR) with rather timid and sluggishly paced arrangements in lifeless duet “Deedani”. The old-fashioned harmonic style has been skillfully coordinated by ever reliable Shaan and mellifluous Shreya Ghoshal but overall it’s a sloppy track with zilch impact.
“Do Bechare”, an immortal “escapist” cinema soundtrack that invigorated comical tinge in “diamond heist thriller” is renovated into trendy hip-hop mode with dismal outputs. Udit Narayan and fervently audible Amit Kumar get into the shoes of legendary duo singers (Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor) amicably but Viju Shah’s higgledy-piggledy music is too hard to digest. It’s no contest to Ganesh Hedge’s improvised version of “Mehbooba” (RGV KI AAG) and too meek to be anything similar to cinematically figurative “Yeh Mera Dil” (DON).
The theme track “Victoria No. 203’ hires its techno-electrifying prelude from theme track of DON where the “Bond” style rip-roaring flair simmers up with raunchy vocals. Dominique’s sensuously flowing accented voice comes with the grueling and thrilling thrust of “diamond heist” thriller in remarkable ways. It catalyzes more like an initial or end title musical work and certainly a promising background score in compelling moments of the flick. Annika delivers the second version with slightly thinner voice that’s more akin to enticing acts through voguish charm echoed with similar tonality and textures.
Viju Shah’s disharmonized another vintage act “Thoda sa Thero” with topsy-turvy rhythmical flow and pugnaciously punched arrangements where Shreya Ghoshal fills in for Lata Mangeshkar replacement for the track. This time its over-bouncy orchestration of “Main Cheez Badi Hoon Mast” (MOHRA) with added classical instrumental works that proves extra jarring to ears.
“Zindagi Aa Gayi”, a fervently vociferous track has blend of Sufi Rock and “bhangra” thump that works aggressively with ever enthused vocals of Zubin Garg. It’s cut-above-rest from the rest of the musical works for its trendy flair and is presumed to be surrogated choice for “Tu Na Mile To” (VICTORIA NO. 203 (1972)). Even this vigorously motivated track isn’t inspiring enough to be any chartbusting stuff and works mechanically with the joyous sentiments of the flick.
VICTORIA NO 203 is a bundle of musical disenchantment and proves to be one of most forgettable works of this year. Viju Shah has failed miserably in recreating the magical madness of 70’s magnanimous thriller. It’s scores a big zero on the musical front as none of the soundtracks promises anything strikingly impressive in their lackluster rendition.