Maestro AR Rahman compiles a one-of-a-kind soundtrack, blending digitized sounds with desi beats making sci-fi sound romantic, and bringing in his signature style of global fusion music to the world of robots, computers and technology. The film Robot starring Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is releasing worldwide on 24th September 2010 in Tamil as Endhiran, in Telegu as Robo and in Hindi as Robot. This music review is only for the Hindi album. The music is by Rahman and the lyrics are by Swanand Kirkire (Parineeta, 3 Idiots, Paa).
First up is O Naye Insaan. For a film on robots, you get a robotic track. From the audio, I’m hoping this song os picturised on the robot and not the leads. Vocals are by Khatija Rahman (yes! Rahman’s daughter) and Srinivas. With a deliberate balanced tenor, the track flows from ‘now slow-now fast’ pace. If you close your eyes and hear this one, you can almost feel the world spin around you and make you feel dizzy. The lyrics sound patriotic initially and it’ll probably take more than one listen to figure out the actual connotations. Khatija for a first attempt displays potential, Sreenivas effortlessly adjusts to the dual electronic requirements. Lines like ‘Lohe ka dum silicon chooman, Taaron ke jab ghat se, Hard disk mein yaadein lekar’ and the rest of the lyrics aren’t fun to hum or listen or interpret. Not a winning composition!
Then there is the romantic track Pagal Anukan, with Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal taking to the mike. This song has been featured in the first promos. The lyrics again are probably appropriate for a sci-fi film but definitely not going to draw any mass interest. The singers, sticking to their forte, try to uplift the song to fit the urban musical appetite, but when you have lyrics ‘Neutron electron neelay naino mein bolo kitne hain’ or ‘Main newton newton keh sakya dil yeh kahe dhol din ratiya’, it’s hardly bound to hit the mark. The music isn’t extraordinary either.
The third track is Naina Mile. The fastest number in the album, sung by Rahman, supported by Suzanne D’Mello, Lady Kash and Krissy. It’s a desi mix between 90’s singer Cher and 2010’s Lady Gaga’s supersonic ways, but not the usual variety for the musical tastes of Bollywood cinegoers. Techno beats, scientific words thrown in with a bad mesh of hinglish (combination of English and Hindi words) and the outcome is rather disastrous.
Arima Arima sung by Hariharan, Benny Dayal and Sadhana Sargam is again very situational, not something, that stays with the listener much after. Nonetheless, it is the only track that correctly highlights Rahman’s fabulous orchestration trademark. The song that starts with a good impact owing to decent musical arrangement falls flat within the first minute because of substandard lyrics. Even for someone like me who has been listening to Bollywood for the past 25 years, it’s hard to digest lyrics when penned as ‘Kamatur yantar hoon, Seedhay jo dil jhapte, Aisa silicon shape hoon mein, Yantaara’. Not your usual commercial score. Definite skip.
Next is the song called Kilimanjaro, a peppy love ballad crooned by Javed Ali and Chinmayi with additional vocal support by Clinton Cerejo. Rahman finally lets go of electronics in this one and finds solace in drums and percussion to give it a tribal feel and cadence. The lyrics are as cheesy as they can get and any romantic illusions built are killed right away. A fine example of how music and lyrics if not in-sync will destroy the best of melodies.
Chitti Dance Showcase is the semi-instrumental offering of the album with some aalaps and ragas thrown in to probably satiate the requirements of everyone associated with this song i.e. Pradeep Vijay, Pravin Mani, Rags & Yogi B. So in the around 2-minute track, there is an unusual concoction of western symphony, dhol beats, digital sounds and a tune which sounded belonging to Michael Jackson’s rendition. Although this one has all the requirements to be a hit among dance shows, auditions and break-dancers in city bylanes, there is nothing more to it.
Lastly, Boom Boom sung by Madhushree, Keerthi Sagathia, Tanvi Shah, Rags and Yogi B is a fast number bordering on the hip-hop genre. The tempo is comparatively louder that the rest of the tracks and seems like a complete mis-fit in the otherwise techno laced album. A couple of feet tapping moments, but once again the absolute disarray of lyrics don’t manage to keep the listener charmed for long.
As a whole, the album is nowhere close to Rahman’s winning compositions. The electronic touch in most songs might appeal to a certain segment but the lyrics are hardly going to get any accolades. The audio in isolation is undoubtedly not Rahman’s finest work, it remains to see how the songs fit into the movie as a whole. Hopefully, it does a better job fitting into the plot than making it to any of the chartbuster lists.