Although Priyadarshan has a reputation for making hilarious comedies in Bollywood, his regional films often tackle very serious subjects, such as the National Award winning Tamil language film Kanchivaram (2008). Aakrosh, a story of honor killings and caste prejudice in small town Bihar, finds director Priyadarshan in this serious mode. The film stars Ajay Devgn, Bipasha Basu, Akshaye Khanna, Reema Sen, and Paresh Rawal and features Sameera Reddy in a special appearance. The score, by Pritam, also captures a more serious tone than the light-hearted music we often associate him with and finds the pop-music master giving a more subdued sounding album than he normally produces.
The Aakrosh soundtrack opens with a bang with Isak Se Meetha, a rustic sounding item song in the same style as ‘Munni Badnaam’ and picturized on Sameera Reddy in the film. Sung with great vigor by Kalpana Patowary, ‘Isak Se Meetha’ is fun while it plays but leaves no lasting impression. The two remixes – a Dhol Mix which evens the beat and adds dhol and a Remix which places the vocals into a dated almost disco-sounding club track.
Next up is Saude Bazi, a pleasant sounding tune sung in two versions, one by Javed Ali and the other by Anupam Amol. The orchestration is fairly tame, with Indian drumbeats mixing with a soaring synthesizer string section, and a harmonium line but the addition of a chanted male chorus adds some zest to the track. Anupam Amol’s vocals are plaintive and very straightforward while Javed Ali’s in the Encore version are a bit more filmi.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s distinctive voice opens the third song Man Ki Mat. Like everything else on this album, the tune is very plain and free of frills and serves merely as a conveyance for the lyrics by Irshad Kamil and the orchestration makes one think of the open sky and the hero flinging his arms open wide to greet it.
The energy level of the album gets a boost with Shreya Ghoshal going for gusto in Sasural Munia. Packed full of a giggling girlish energy, the song skips along at a frantic pace that should fit a wedding scene and lead to an entertaining picturization.
Last on the album is a religious track sung with soul by Sukhwinder Singh. Ramkatha tells the portion of the Ramayana where Ram defeats Raavan and saves Sita. Sukhwinder Singh switches between singing, chanting, and plain narration. The track, which has very sparse instrumentation, rests on the emotion of his voice to carry the song forward and Sukhwinder is more than up to the challenge, giving an invigorating performance.
Overall, the soundtrack to Aakrosh is not very memorable. Pritam has given an album of songs that will probably sound wonderful in context but without picturizations, they are lacking in character. Although there are excellent performances from heavy-hitters Sukhwinder Singh and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the real treat of the album is Anupam Amo’s simple but heartfelt turn in ‘Saude Bazi’. Otherwise, you are safe giving this one a miss.