Right from his debut film KAL HO NA HO with Shah Rukh Khan, under the banner and guidance of Karan Johar, Nikhil Advani has shown that he certainly is a connoisseur of good quality music. And that continued with SALAAM-E-ISHQ, despite Nikhil going solo. On both the occasions his favourite composers were the highly versatile and talented trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The compositions of KAL HO NA HO (specially the title track with some awesome lyrics by Javed Akhter) are still a favourite with many music buffs and 'Its the time to disco', a must number for every happening party. The music of SALAAM-E-ISHQ was the only redeeming factor of the long and in parts boring film. However, this time around Nikhil has been extra careful and as is the norm in big budgeted extravaganzas, he has chosen multiple composers to do justice to the music department. Of course his favourite S-E-L have the major portions followed by Kailash Kher, who along with his brothers Paresh and Naresh has been assigned two tracks and then there is Bohemia, the rapper from USA who has a single track. And last but not the least our very own, Bappi Da. So, lets get, set and go and see what they have in store for us.
The first track has Kailash-Paresh-Naresh painting the real character of the main protagonist, Siddhu (played by Akshay Kumar) in a really humorous way. And in their own characteristic manner they come up with a superb situational number, 'S.I.D.D.H.U'. In fact, there could not have been a better and more entertaining way to convey the essence of the character, a simpleton who dreams big but does not believe in hard work. The totally Indian raaga (melody) with help from Indian musical instruments like harmonium, 'sitar' and 'tabla' is good. The absolutely on dot hilarious lyrics by Kailash Kher ('Maar ke man ko pyaaz tamatar kaat raha hai' and 'Chandni Chowk ka hai ladka, Lagaye tadke par tadka') including his transition into a brave-heart, need praise. And of course Kailash Kher's brilliant rendition, all converge into a number that will help establish the character and introduce him to the audience in a light hearted manner. The song is in keeping with the narrative of the film.
Then we come across three different versions of the title track, 'Chandni Chowk To China'. The first one is an all fun and rib-tickling composition with Akshay Kumar's voice, Neeraj Shridhar holding fort along with Anushka Manchandani and Shankar Mahadevan. The number is a totally 'bindas', 'dhamaal' and 'ched-chaad' one but people with real knowledge of music will know and agree that a lot of effort has gone in composing the number. The music arrangement is a superb blend of Indian, Western and Oriental, and to top it all, the rhythm is gripping. The drill (march- past) sounds along with some bombastic drumming drive home the thriller/action point well. The part where Shankar Mahadevan comes in and the song changes from Oriental and Western to Indian is typically and adorably S-E-L. Neeraj is in his elements as he conveys the over confidence and the typical self praising attitude of the lead protagonist well and so does Anushka, whose voice modulations are great. The title track manages to convey the theme and spirit of the movie and is thus successful in its attempt to provide the listener with ample amount of fun as well as gives an insight into the film through it.
The remix version of the title track by D.J Amyth is good and once again shows that a lot of musical input has been used. Despite the rhythm and pace being heightened the fun and frolic continues unabated.
Its buffoonery all the way, as you are made to suspend your grey matter as Sidhu goes flying as high as an aircraft and comes down with the powers of a superman. In short, this is comic action at its tragic best. Yet, there are moments when the laughter is turned on, but some jokes are on Akshay's gotis! Jokes that will appeal to the frontbenchers.
Technically, this movie is sound. The fights measure up to international standards and the presence of Gordon Liu as the evil Hojo and Roger Yuan as inspector Chiang lend credibility to the martial arts. Akshay Kumar is now getting repetitive but there is no denying his star presence. Deepika Padukone is not exactly fire and brimstone but as the Chinese 'twin' she stands apart. Mithun leaves his mark.
Although this is a tragic tale of our current times (buffoonery), this film will do well at the box office. I mean, if OSO and WELCOME could, this definitely will.