I know I am just one of many looking forward to the upcoming release of the sci-fi romance Action Replayy starring Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The story, said to be based on a Gujarati play, sees the son of squabbling parents hopping in a time machine and going back to when they first met, to see if he can change their marriage from an arranged marriage to a love marriage. Is it possible to change the past to change the future?
I don’t know about that, but whatever Pritam’s doing, he doesn’t need to change a thing, because with this album he has delivered yet again! For Action Replayy, he’s put together a super-sized package: a whopping 9 original tracks and 4 remixes. The album is a hugely enjoyable listen – a fun blend of retro 70s inspiration, carnival vibes, dance beats and romantic love songs, all mixed up together into one big crazy album. If this soundtrack doesn’t get you totally psyched to step into Action Replayy’s time machine and REWIND… then nothing will!
The album opens with the high energy, hugely infectious Zor Ka Jhatka, which fans have loved since the first promo. A thumping, beats heavy track with a relentless rhythm that doesn’t let up for a 4 minute duration that just flies by, the vocals (a fun duet all about the downside of shaadi) are handled by Daler Mehndi and Richa Sharma, who both sound like they are having SO MUCH FUN! It’s not a big surprise that this track is already a big hit.
The first of four remixes included on the supersize album is the Zor Ka Jhatka (Tigerstyle remix) featuring vocals from Master Salim and Richa Sharma (track 10). The remix adds a bit more melodic instrumentation to the backing track and substitutes Master Salim for Daler Mehndi — and it’s a great track (though I personally prefer Daler Mehndi’s vocals). But really — how could it fail, when the original track is pretty banging to begin with?!
The second track, O Bekhabar, is exactly the kind of track I hoped for from this album — a romantic, retro throwback to the 70s, totally the kind of song Hindi film fans will imagine picturised amid flowery meadows or atop snowy mountains. Nostalgic sounding yet with a modern twist — with vocal layering and subtle electronic touches, Shreya Ghoshal’s vocals ensure the track is romantic and sincere without being cloying or cheesy.
With the third track, Nakhre, the album kicks us back into party mode, at the same time emphasizing the retro theme of the film. A definite festival atmosphere comes through in the music, before Francois Castollino’s vocals kick in — and he’s doing his best Hindi Elvis Presley impression. I’m not sure the Elvis thing really works — but I’m thinking it’ll ultimately be all about the picturisation — but the rest of the track is cute, upbeat and fun. A retro rock’n’roll party song!
A remix of Nakhre by DJ A-Myth is also included on the album (as the final track). The remix is a lot less fun that the original — it’s actually a bit weird, because it takes the Elvis style vocals and puts them over a modern, techno background. My only disappointment on the album.
I remember reading a while back about how Action Replayy was going to have a Holi song, picturised on Aishwarya Rai and Neha Dhupia. And guess what? I CANNOT WAIT to see it, based on how good the song sounds. Chhan Ke Mohalla literally starts with a bang, and is another track with a persistent, infectious rhythm, lots of percussion and some awesome beats. It’s been a while since Hindi film has consistently celebrated Holi onscreen like they did back in the 70s, and appropriately, the song, like the rest of the album, has a vaguely retro feel to it, without feeling old-fashioned. Sunidhi Chauhan and Ritu Pathak both have gorgeous voices and use them in beautiful harmonic unison, and in soaring , fierce solos to make this a sensual, powerful, bound-to-be chart-topper. This is BY FAR my favourite track, and one I will be playing over and over again!
The Chhan Ke Mohalla (Tigerstyle Remix) comes at track 11, tweaking the percussive backing and seeming slightly more subdued than the awesome fiery fierceness of the original.
Tera Mera Pyaar is a typical Pritam love song, which wouldn’t be out of place in an Emraan Hashmi film. While initially this track seemed a bit like the odd one out after the party/retro vibe of the other songs, I still really enjoyed it. Karthik , Mahalakshmi and Antara Mitra take turns with the vocal duties, against a backdrop of soaring strings and crashing drums that build into an epic, yearning romantic song.
The remix of Tera Mera Pyaar by Hysinth (track 12 on the album) funks things up and brings the track firmly back into the party realm, upping the beats per minute and adding some electro/synth touches and some new rhythms to the instrumentation. This is an example of a good remix done with a good reason: it takes a slow, traditional love song and makes it danceable and different, without destroying the essence of the original. A decent track.
Halfway through the album and the theme is pretty clear : the Action Replayy soundtrack is a mix of retro influenced party songs and love ballads. Track 6, Dhak Dhak Dhak is a quirky, upbeat, definitely infectious number from Mika, delivering the repetitive lyrics (like DHAK DHAK DHAK, obviously) with a relentless machinegun rhythm and earnestness that’s bound to have you coming back for more.
Luk Chup Jaana is another minor surprise that actually shouldn’t be surprising at all — a pop-rock number. Another very Pritam sounding track, with vocals from Tulsi Kumar and K.K., this one, with handclaps, synthesizers, grungey guitars and a stadium rock feel to the anthemic vocal delivery, has a touch of the 80s about it. This is a particularly strong track on an album full of solid songs.
The rock vibe is continued with the next track: I Am Dog Gone Crazy. Suraj Jogan’s voice is deep and gravelly and has a good rock sound, but there’s something restrained about the track — like he’s holding back. With so many other great tracks on offer on the album it’s hard for this one to impress me but there’s nothing really wrong with it — it’s a straightforward hard rock track with a driving beat, and another anthemic sounding vocal backed with a chorus of “Nah nah nah”s.
Finally we come to Baki Main Bhool Gayi, another chance for Shreya Ghoshal to shine, this time in a Middle-Eastern inspired number. Zig-zagging rhythmic patterns and offbeat instrumentation entwining with Shreya’s diamond sharp vocals make this uptempo love song a compelling listen, and a satisfying close to the album before we hit the remixes.
Standout track: Chhan Ke Mohalla, without a doubt.