Compared with the hype surrounding Shahrukh Khan’s Ra.One, his second and last release for the 2011, Don 2: The Chase Continues (Don 2) makes its entry with a whisper rather than bang. While Don: The Chase Begins Again (Don 1) had immense pressure on the makers to aesthetically re-create the yesteryear favourite, the sequel has not been subject to such expectations. Don 2 is an entirely new and different concept, opening the makers to a goldmine of creative opportunities. Arguably, this applies to the music directors, Shankar-Eshaan-Loy (SEL), more so than the reminder of the film’s cast and crew.
Don 2 sees SEL reprise their role as music directors while Javed Akhtar reprises his as lyricist. No surprises there as all Excel Entertainment ventures have featured the lyrical and musical combination of SEL and Javed Akhtar exclusively since their advent in 1999. The album comprises of 11 tracks and features the vocal talents of Vishal Dadlani (I Hate Luv Storys – Title Track), Shankar Mahadevan (Desi Girl – Dostana), KK (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan – Title Track), Anusha Mani (Lazy Lamhe – Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic), Caralisa Monteiro (Phir Dekhiye – Rock On!) and the legendry Usha Uthup (Darling – 7 Khoon Maaf).
Don 2 hits cinemas Christmas 2011.
Shahrukh Khan gets into the skin of Don with Aa Raha Hoon Palat Ke and sets the tone of the soundtrack, confirming that the King really is back!
Vishal Dadlani and Anusha Mani render the recently unveiled Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo, a trendy yet retro number with an appetite for the sinister. While Anusha gets the track off to the good start, the song clearly belongs to Vishal Dadlani who embodies Don’s irresistible evil charm to perfection. The lyrics are definitely not award-worthy but music and vocals more than make up for it.
Hai Yeh Maya is delivered amazingly well by Usha Uthup, naturally. However, it suffers from one flaw, an atrocious chorus line. The trumpets take away from the slick-philosophical-action-thriller number (like the 007 title songs) and sounds very amateurish. The rest of the track is fine but since the cringe-worthy chorus line obviously repeats at regular intervals the whole track more or less falters. That is why the remix of the track by Shane Mendonsa is a godsend. Uthup’s vocals get the strong pulsating musical background they deserve.
Dushman Mera begins with what sounds like bongo drums, an immediate deal breaker. The rest of the track unfortunately does not make up for this travesty as more mediocrity follows, the most appalling of which is the vocalisation of the second interlude of Don 1’s title track. Further, the tacky lyrics make the song more unbearable. Sunitha and Shankar’s vocals are wasted. In a nutshell, Skip!
SEL get their groove back with thematic piece, The King Is Back. It commences with Sunitha Sarathay melodiously asking ‘look who is back?’ which is followed by some pulsating techno/rock that leads up to Don theme. Also included is a nice interlude with violins and piano on the tunes introduced in Zara Dil Ko Tham Lo. All that mixed with Shahrukh’s echoes of “Don” and the track is an instant winner!
Mujhko Pehchaan Lo, the renewed version of Don 1’s title track is perfectly alright if you can effectively gets Shaan tongue-in-cheek rendition of the prior track out of your mind. K.K does an impressive job but he lacks the way Shaan embodied the irresistible bad-romance feel of the original number. KK does a great job rendering the following line:
“duniya mujhe jo bhi kahe, iski mujhe parwah kya; mukhko to hai yeh dekhna, jeetne ki hai rah kya”
And why not since this is the only bit that is not a rehash of the original. Arguably, KK’s rendition is more work and less play and the same can be said of the music. While the original had an intoxicating elegance about it, Mujhko Pehchaan Lo is more sleek and purposeful. The remix of Mujhko Pehchaan Lo is a mess at best that muffles KK’s vocals and has the dialogue, ‘Don to pakadna mushqil hi nahin, namumkin hai” in an infinite insufferable loop. Two words, epic fail.
The album ends with the The Don Waltz, a beautiful classical thematic piece at odds with its predecessors. SEL’s clever insertion of the Don’s theme, particularly the one vocalised by Sunitha Sarathy has to be commended.
In summary, even in the absence of pressures of living up to the 1978 original, SEL did not manage to create an impressive album with Don 2. Their work in box-office disaster The Game that featured similar themes with Don 2 was more commendable than this. In addition to Shaan, Midival Punditz (Don Revisited) and DJ Rudolph (Main Hoon Don – Funcinternational Mix) were sorely missed. Also, we have seen Javed Akhtar pen out better lyrics than the likes of this album. Here’s hoping his regains his eloquent talent soon.
In any event Zara Dil Ko Tham Lo, The King is Back and Yeh Hai Maya (Remix) are the pick of the pack. Maybe Mujhko Pehchaan Lo if Don fans manage get over Shaan’s Main Hoon Don. The Don Waltz may be effective as part of the film’s narration but does not do any favours to the OST while Dushman Mera is a total write off.