Due out in January, Yamla Pagla Deewana has been creating a lot of positive chatter all over the internet since the official trailer was released, opening with classic Sholay dialogues and revealing that Bollywood legend Dharmendra will be returning to the screen with sons Sunny and Bobby in a colourful comic con-man caper, promising “action hai, comedy hai, drama hai, romance hai..aur maa kasam!” It looks HILARIOUS.
With a trailer like that, you’ve won half your audience over already. It doesn’t mean you can neglect the music though. Especially in a year when film music has been soaring from strength to strength – there’s no excuse for neglecting the music in a film these days. People pay attention.
Which is why I was a bit surprised to discover that instead of picking one strong music director to oversee the music for the Yamla Pagla Deewana soundtrack, the task has been divided among a number of people. RDB, Nouman Javaid, Anu Malik, Sandesh Shandilya and Rahul B. Seth each get one or two tracks to work on.
With the Deol trio onscreen and bringing their charismatic chemistry, a lot of that energy is reflected in the soundtrack, which is undeniably heavily Punjabi in flavour throughout.
The best track on the album is the opener, which features on the trailer: Yamla Pagla Deewana. You’ve no doubt heard the saying “old is gold” – well, this song is a reworked version of a Laxmikant-Pyarelal superhit from Dharmendra’s 1975 film Pratigya. Sonu Nigaam and Nindy Kaur handle the vocals beautifully. The song is energetic, retro, and just gorgeous. An unnecessary house remix of the song also appears on the album – with all the charm of the original removed and replaced with electronica and synthesized beats.
The second track, Charha de Rang, is obviously a track the producers believe (or hope) will be big, since it appears on the album no less than FOUR times. My preferred version is actually Track 9, Charha De Rang (Version 2) – but each of the four versions on the album is worth listening to, as they are not remixes. Vocals are provided by Ali Pervez Mehdi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shweta Pandit, Mahalaxmi Iyer and Rahul B.Seth and (depending on which version you listen to), the women tend to outshine the men. It’s a decent love song, one that grows on you with repeated listening.
Track 3, the Anu Malik-penned Tinku Jaya, definitely aims at bringing a party vibe to the house. Javed Ali and Mamta Sharma handle the vocals with lots of energy against a beat heavy, rustic sounding backing – and to be honest, the first thing that comes to mind is that this is Yamla Pagla Deewana’s Munni Badnaam Hui! This is total item number territory and if it’s picturised well, it’ll be ROCKING.
Sau Baar brings together Pakistani pop singer Omar Nadeem and the ever lovely Shreya Ghoshal for an uptempo, pop-infused, pretty little love ballad. This kind of song is either totally your cup of chai or you dismiss it as completely ordinary. I LOVE these romantic filmi songs! Shreya’s voice is, as always, beautifully expressive and ethereal, and Omar Nadeem has a pleasant, emotive pop- rock tone.
Track 5, Chamki Jawaani, brings back Mamta Sharma with Daler Mehendi and Master Salim. The swaying, pounding number sounds like it’s always on the verge of getting raunchy and really breaking into a full-on party item number; sadly it never really happens, with everyone sounding a little restrained throughout, despite the abundant dhol and whistling and cheering, which make you SO want the party to really start. Another wanna-be Munni Badnaam (unfortunately it doesn’t really come close).
Son Titariya is more infectious and delivered with high energy and emotion by Krishna Beural – but by this point in the album, the Punjabi flavored “desi party” tracks are starting to sound a little bit interchangeable and generic. It’s all a bit…boring.
Kadd Ke Botal is another heavily Punjabi track, all dhol and bhangra beats, with lyrics apparently penned by Dharmendra himself, which is a neat USP. Sukwindher Singh, Harshdeep and Rosalie Nicholson team up for this celebration track – but it lacks any of the sheer joy, charisma or effervescensce of the title track of the album, the only real standout.
Final track is the brief, haunting, recitation of Gurbani from the holy scriptures of Shri Guru Granth Sahib – an interesting note to end such a predominantly upbeat album on.
Overall the Yamla Pagla Deewana soundtrack is nothing earth shattering – it’s packed with decent upbeat Punjabi-flavoured tracks but nothing innovative or especially original, save the wonderful opening title track that proves that you can’t beat the classics – just like Dharmendra.