Pritam is at the musical helm of the Irrfan Khan/Shah Rukh Khan/Lara Dutta starrer, Billu Barber. The album is huge with 15 tracks, but the film boasts special song appearances by three Bollywood beauties: Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, and their individual tracks each have two remixes. Since there are so many songs, Pritam worked with five lyricists: Gulzar, Neeraj Shridhar (he is also heard as a singer), Sayeed Qadri, Mayur Puri and Ashish Pandit. The songs range from pretty ballads to rock anthems, and of course some dance beats are included. It is a nice collection of songs that certainly intrigues you with what the film is going to be like. So, let’s take a look at what Pritam brought together for this highly anticipated film.
Ae Aa O has a very majestic and powerful beginning, and one cannot imagine what could be possibly be happening in the film…unless it is just SRK’s introduction. It is a rock anthem sung by KK, Rana Mazumder, and Suraj. I do wish KK had used his rock voice (think ‘Mere Khuda’ in Sorry Bhai!) because it seemed as if he was not up to the strong beat of the music. As is becoming the norm (sadly), there are some English lyrics, some not half bad, but some pretty bad ones, too. The music is very well played with a really cool percussion section near the end. The track is pretty good for what it is, and it probably will get better once we see its meaning in the film.
Ae Aa O – Remix is a completely new take on the song. They made it into an electronica dance mix that is really good, but the synth beats are too overpowering in parts. Interestingly, KK’s vocal actually fits better with this version. The beat will make you get up and move, however it gets old after a while, and it seems like the song is really long with still 1.30 left to go.
Billoo Bhayankar has a very rural feel to the beat and the vocals of the song. It starts off with an a cappella section by Ajay Jhingran. The track transforms into a very peppy beat that is sung with great energy by Ajay Jhingran, Kalpana, and the back up singers, and is played fabulously by the musicians. I loved the a cappella section near the end with all the singers. This seems to be another song that will play better in the context of the film, especially with the ending dialogue section.
The album slows down a bit with Jaoon Kahan and it has one of those beats that gets your head swaying right away, with a really great sound to the music and a fabulous arrangement. Of course, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is brilliant. The harmony on the refrain is gorgeous. I can’t decide if it is the music that makes it so good, or his rendition of it. A wonderful song, this is one you will listen to over and over again, I know I have! It’s my favorite song on the album.
Khudaya Khair starts off simply with acoustic guitars and I loved it already. This sweet song is sung by Soham Chakrabarthy, Akruti Kakkar and Monali. Soham Chakrabarthy has a great voice quality that is shown off in the Khudaya Khair refrain, and Akruti Kakkar and Monali also sing very well on their sections. In the middle, the music grows to a full orchestration that has a wonderful, rich sound. Overall, it has very pretty music with a nice vocal. Picturized on Irrfan Khan and Lara Dutta, it should be a treat for the eyes as well as the ears.
Abhijeet takes over singing duty for Khudaya Khair – Reprise. Again, the pretty guitar line stands out. The girls’ voices are bit lower on the register and I actually like it better. Abhijeet’s voice seems to be a better match for the song as well, and is brill on the track. One criticism is that the stronger Khudaya Khair refrain does sound a bit odd in this softer version of the song. I think I like this version better, but both are so lovely I would say listen to both!
Love Mera Hit Hit is the song that will see Deepika and Shah Rukh Khan grooving together. It has a fabulous Western beat with a strong percussion line backing it up. The vocal by Neeraj Shridhar has a cool effect added to his voice that makes it sound wicked. The English lyrics are okay: they fit into the beat but I prefer how the Hindi lyric sounded, especially on Tulsi Kumar’s sections. Her voice definitely fits Deepika; I could see her “singing” those sections in the picturization. A jammin’ beat that will get people a-movin’! The Love Mera Hit Hit – House Mix is also fab! If you can’t get enough with the original, this one is a great version as well with a bit more groove to it. The third version, Love Mera Hit Hit – Remix, is even more a hip-hop dance mix that is good as well. The beginning with the rap is especially awesome. This is more a sped-up version with some synth added in, so I think unless you need to hear it yet again I would stick to the original and House mix and skip this one.
Kareena Kapoor will be on screen with Shah Rukh Khan in the picturization for Marjaani. Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan are fab on the fast-paced track. The music is full of terrific beats and gets your feet dancing from the first refrain. In fact, I was having trouble typing on my laptop because my feet kept moving to the beat! Love the sound of the Maarjaani stanza. Everything fits together to make a killer song! This song is already a favorite with fans, and once seen on the big screen it is only going to get more popular.
‘Maarjaani’ is so good you wonder why we need more, but like Deepika’s song it has two more versions. One is Kilograms’ Balkan Mix, which features KK and Akruti Kakkar at the mic. This track has a very different beginning with an energetic violin line, and that melody appears every now and then throughout the mix. I am a little confused with the addition of the new arrangement. It doesn’t seem to fit at all, so I would say skip it.
As the name suggests, the Marjaani – Electro House version is a sped-up electronica synth filled remix. The additional beats add to the already great version, so I say to get your ‘Maarjaani’ fix keep this one on your Billu Barber playlist.
You Get Me Rockin & Reeling is Priyanka Chopra’s song with SRK. The music is full-on hip-hop with a gorgeous vocal by Dominic. Neeraj Shridar does the main vocal line and sounds quite good, especially on She Get’s Me a Rockin & Reeling. However, it is Dominic who is the star of the song: every section of hers is fabulous. The English lyrics are distracting but not as bad as some – you actually don’t mind them. I like the harmonizing on Love is Glorious. The addition of the Khudaya Khair stanza seems really out of place, which was disorienting. A nice song in parts, but nothing outstanding. The song tried to be too many things – a hip-hop jam that transfers to a Hindi ballad – and it really makes the song less than it could have been.
There are two more versions of the song. You Get Me Rockin & Reeling – Video Edit is a bit less hip-hoppy and more of a ballad with some street-type popping in the background. Again Dominic is brilliant, I love her voice tone. Neeraj is good, too. Another good version of the song. The You Get Me Rockin & Reeling – Remix is the original song sped-up with some extra synth beats and it just does not work. The nice parts of the original worked because they were a ballad. Skip this one.
I was really worried when I saw all the remixes but surprisingly, with the exception of ‘Maarjani Balkan Mix’, they are all quite good! Pritam knows how to put together a good album with lots of different tempos and great vocals, and Billu Barber is another one of his terrific soundtracks. Don’t miss ‘Maarjani’, ‘Love Mera Hit Hit’, or my personal favorite ‘Jaoon Kahan’. I say that most of these songs, as well as the film, are definitely to be checked out!