Apoorva Lakhia’s Mission Istanbul roars into theaters this July 11th. It is a full-on action thriller that stars Zayed Khan, Suniel Shetty, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Shreya Saran, Nikitin Dheer and Vivek Oberoi. As you can tell by the title, the film is set in Turkey, so the music for the film has a Bollywood, R&B, Turkish flavored mix. Lakhia used not just one music director but four: Mika Singh, Shamir Tandon, Chirantan Bhatt and Anu Malik. Each song has its own style and it all fits together to make a soundtrack that after a few listens is quite good. Great? No, but pretty good.
Shamir Tandon is the music director for World Hold On World Hold On, and he is backed by lyricist Shabbir Ahmed. The track begins with a heavy synthesizer beat that goes on a bit to long (it feels like the CD is skipping), but it gets much better when the voices of Kunal Ganjawala, Gayatri Ganjawala and Raaj come in and join a thumpin’ beat. The refrain grooves, with the World Hold On lyrics and the back-up beat. A very club song, you can imagine dancing to it with the flashing lights and the bodies moving on the dance floor. Nothing outstanding, but a good song to get your groove on. From the promo, it looks like this is the song that will feature belly dancer Tanyeli, but we will have to wait to see the movie to know. I have mixed feelings about the remix – as I listened I kept changing my mind about it – but overall it is a cool remix that takes in parts of the songs from the entire album. There are some really terrific sections and some others not so much. Give it a listen and you can decide. I am still not sure.
Mission Mission is written and sung by Hamza Faruqui and has Chirantan Bhatt as the music director. Now Mission could be a great song except for one thing, and this may seem picky, but the odd pronunciation of the word Mission (“MEEshun”) really does distract you, and it is almost annoying. Maybe it should have been ‘Operation Istanbul’? The other English lyrics are also not that great, or maybe it is just that they don’t fit into the cadence of the song. The inflections of the singers on the lyrics are brill but the lyrics themselves do not work. Besides that, the song totally rocks in the musical sense. The score and the club/rock beat definitely give you the feeling that you will be seeing an action film. I would give the song a thumbs up for the music and singers but a hmmmm for the lyrics.
Jo Gumshuda is composed by Anu Mallik and not only has Shaan and Mahalakshmi Iyer, but also the addition of the Turkish singer Ege. Ege totally steals the track with his voice and amazing guitar playing… I could have just listened to him for the whole thing. Ege said, “It was a wonderful and a new experience to join hands with the Indian film industry and render such a beautiful song. The way in which Apoorva explained the number didn’t let me have second thoughts about singing it.” When Shann and Mahalakshmi come in they make the song their own as well, and you like it even more. A beautifully composed track, it is a mixture of percussion, orchestra and Ege’s guitar that blends Bollywood, Turkish and western flavors wonderfully. I loved the musical refrain; it has such a cool sound with the mixture of all the styles. This track is the best of them all, a must add to your bollymix playlist or a song to start a new one like bollymix 2. (Though if you are like me you are probably on bollymix 25.) There is a remix, and if you had not heard the original, this mix would be really excellent. I prefer the original, but don’t skip the remix: give it a listen because it’s worth it.
Javed Ali and Sunidhi Chauhan are the voices of Yaar Mera Dildaara. The track has lyrics by Sameer and is the second track composed by Anu Malik. The haunting flute at the beginning is really wonderful and then amazing percussion joins in making you sit up and say, nice! It too has the Turkish flavor and Javed sings the song with great intonation and energy. Of course, you can always recognize Sunidhi Chauhan, and she infuses the track with her great voice; she makes the song even better. It will get your head dancing and maybe your feet too. A song that gets better with each listen, it made it to the playlist as well.
Mika Singh of ‘Mauja Mauja’ (Jab We Met) and ‘Ganpat’ (Shootout At Lokhandwala) fame has triple duty on Apun Ke Saath. He is the composer, lyricist and singer. His deep voice is joined by Pretti and Priya and they are all fab. This too has the Mission lyric that does not quite work, but then it expands to other lyrics and is another wicked track. It is an R&B flavored song that has lots of cool sections. It has a pounding beat, but it also is a mix of many different musical styles and they all work together to make a great song. Love the ‘hahahahaaaaa’. Definitely could see gorgeous Vivek dancing to this. Tt may just be a background song since Vivek himself said, “Music of the film has been used very intelligently. It’s not that suddenly the narrative stops, and a song is inserted. It is used in the backdrops. The story has international flavour so we didn’t want to create any breaks. It is a non-traditional script.” It will be interesting to see when this appears in the film.
Nobody Like You is sung by Neeraj Shridhar, Anoushka and Ishq Bector. With Chirantan Bhatt as music director again, the lyrics are by Hamza Faruqui and Ishq Bector. This is actually one song where the English lyrics don’t sound ridiculous as they have in so many songs we have heard recently. They are not bad and are sung excellently by the singers. It has a fast beat that backs up their voices well. I enjoyed listening to this one. The remix is less club, purer, and I liked it just as much or more. The remixes on this album are making me change my mind about them being included on soundtracks.
On first listen, the tracks of Mission Istanbul seem just OK, but then they grow on you, and several of them are ones that you will want to hear again and again. Jo Gumshuda stands out as one of the best and the rest hold their own, winding up to be a good set of songs to listen to. Is it outstanding? Well, no, but I would recommend listening to it once or twice, see the movie, and then give it a listen again – I am sure you will like it.