After a winter of films that seemed to mistake the box office for the bully pulpit, fans of action, adventure, and excitement finally have something to look forward to in Prince: It’s Showtime, formerly known as Prince. Vivek Oberoi takes center stage as the titular “Prince,” a thief who needs to uncover his past. Directed by Kookie V Gulati, the film opens March 26th. Instead of the usual suspects brought out for a masala soundtrack, the Prince OST is penned by rock musician Sachin Gupta, with remixes by Bollywood stalwart DJ Suketu.
The album opens with ‘Tere Liye‘ sung by Atif Aslam and Shreya Ghosal. The song flows along like a rushing river, the flutes and violins a nice counterpoint to the driving drum track. Like ‘Khuda Jaane Revisted’ from the Bachna Ae Haseeno soundtrack, ‘Tere Liye’ is a nice mix of ballad and dance track. The dance remix is superfluous, especially considering that the original is already dance-floor ready and the hip-hop remix doesn’t have much hip or hop but Sachin Gupta treats us to a sweet ‘unplugged’ version of the song, sung by himself that is worth taking a listen to.
Next is ‘Aa Bhi Ja Sanam‘ which opens with Atif Aslam’s rich vocals backed by a melancholy piano. The track is drenched in reverb, which combined with the piano, gives one the feeling of sitting in a grand concert hall. While the melodramatic mood might be out of a place in a smaller film, the scope should fit Prince perfectly. The dance remix is fantastic. It picks up the pace, with the frantic drums adding a great sense of urgency to Atif’s vocals.
Atif Aslam’s golden voice is at the center of power ballad ‘Kaun Hoon Main.’ Atif’s voice is layered and layered again, giving a sense of dislocation and split identity that fits perfectly with the theme of the song. The instrumentation mixes driving guitars with more traditional Indian elements for a big swirling mass of music that is the highlight of the album. The remix sands down the rough edges of the track for a slicker but still enjoyable take on the same theme.
‘O Mere Khuda‘ is a bombastic track that finds Atif Aslam singing in an unfamiliar style. Rather than setting his voice to soar free over the driving beats, Atif’s voice is mired deep in the distorted guitar riffs, echoing their dirty grit very closely. It’s an unusual sound for Atif but he does it well and the result is a song that pulls you in and begs you to get dirty with it. The remix is okay but seems unnecessary in an album already backed full of remixes.
After all the melodramatic tracks that come before it, ‘Jiyara Jiyara‘ featuring Hard Kaur and Alisha Chinai is a refreshing break in the mood. It’s always a party when you see Hard Kaur’s name on the liner notes of a track and ‘Jiyara Jiyara’ is no exception—it’s a bouncy, playful song that should have you running out to the dance floor to join in the fun. The ‘bhangra’ mix of ‘Jiyara Jiyara’ autotunes Alisha’s vocals but is otherwise much the same as the original.
Finally, the one song without a remix version is ‘Ishq Mein‘ sung by Monali Thakur in an outstanding performance. It’s a breathless, slinky track with a slightly seedy undertone, making it the perfect ending to an already dark album.
Tacked on to the end are the ‘Prince Theme (Instrumental)‘ which is a fun little minute-long tag that should be the perfect accompaniment to Vivek Oberoi doing cool stunts onscreen. Meanwhile, the ‘Prince MegaMix‘ gives you the entire album smooshed together in a very intense 6 minute burst.
Overall, the music of Prince is a lot of fun. The soundtrack is dark, edgy, and melodramatic which seems to fit the style of the film perfectly. Sachin Gupta has given a soundtrack that, while not traditionally filmi in sound, is very filmi in mood. It’s a good showing from both him and Atif Aslam and hopefully we’ll be hearing more from both of them in 2010.