Leena Yadav’s sophomore effort Teen Patti tackles the dark and dirty world of gambling—and mathematics. Starring a cast of top-notch talent, including Ben Kingsley and Amitabh Bachchan, the film releases on February 26th. Salim-Sulaiman, contributing to the new trend of films without picturizations, have crafted a mixed bag of atmospheric songs that don’t stand well on their own.
The album opens with Neeyat sung by Sunidhi Chauhan. She pulls out her most sultry vocals for this number, which brings to mind the opening themes to vintage James Bond films. Shirley Bassey and Lulu would feel right at home amidst the pulsing strings and accordion. The remix is serviceable, if a little slow.
We then move from lounge music to rock. The next track, Intezar, is straight up power ballad. Sung by Naresh Kamat, it’s a decent addition to the new rock fad in Bollywood. Although there are a few interesting things going on in the vocal line in the chorus, the instrumentation and mix are uninspired and bland. The remix takes away the rock element and, using the same vocal line, creates an uninspired and bland dance track.
Of all the tracks on the album, Teen Patti, is the danciest—a pounding, dance floor ready track that is probably played over a club sequence. The remix is actually rather pleasant, creating a light, frothy pop song from the original material.
Life is a Game, sung by Sonia Saigal, who tries her best with the material, is an atmospheric track R&B track that goes on and on but never gets anywhere. It sounds like something that will play over the ending credits, as it throws back references to the ‘Neeyat’ theme along with the interspersed dialogues from the Big B. There are two versions — English and Hindi — that differ only in the language of lyrics.
Finally, Summertime is a ridiculous take on the classic Gershwin song ‘Summertime’. Joe Alvares sings it like he’s at karaoke — including an ill-advised scat section – and devoid of any meaning. This mashing of lounge songs and electronica was done and done again in the UK during the 1990s and it’s a fitting Occidentalist finale to an album full of Western influences.
Overall, the album doesn’t much to recommend it as a music album. The songs are atmospheric and don’t stand up on their own, although fans of campy lounge music might enjoy the ‘Goldfinger’-esque ‘Neeyat’.