Bollywood lovers are literally swimming in a pool of music these days, with monumental albums like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Saawariya, Om Shanti Om, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Jab We Met giving us ample choice. Among them emerges No Smoking, an album visibly different from what we have heard lately. Still, for those that aren’t interested in the commercial, massy-oriented albums making the rounds right now, this album composed by ace Vishal Bhardwaj comes as immediate respite. From an objective point of view, the album impresses in parts but fails to capture you in totality.
If an album is different from the regular crop of tracks topping the charts, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unconventional albums like Bluffmaster, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local and Johnny Gaddaar have worked in the recent past. No Smoking is expected to follow the same route, but not to the same extent.
Adnan Sami kicks the album off with a bang in Jab Bhi Cigarette [Jazz] which is a true-blue soft rock track with plenty a dose of jazz thrown in. Don’t expect real jazz, but it’s definitely a nice track to listen to when you aren’t looking for something loud and brash. Sami’s voice is soothing, as usual, and the track grows on you with each listen. The nice thing is that it doesn’t jump on you like a monster and claim to be a chartbuster of any sorts, but rather slowly slides up and wins you over. It also comes in a second verson titled Jab Bhi [Trance] where Sunidhi Chauhan takes over and sounds soothing and inviting. The track is faster paced than the first version and should increase excitement within the film. Still, one cant help but think that Adnan’s version is slightly better.
Get ready for a big bang! Phoonk De [Club Mix] arrives with great excitement but for some odd reason leaves you puzzled after one listen. Eventually this expression changes to delight after you realize what a catchy and fun track this is with interesting lyrics by Gulzar. Touted to be the next ‘Beedi’ featured on Bipasha Basu and John Abraham, the song is sexy, sultry and fun. Rekha Bhardwaj is at her seductive best and brings an extra edge to the song. The second version, Phoonk De with Sukhwinder Singh is far less inspiring. Stick to the first version!
Trio Vishal Bhardwaj, Daler Mehndi and Sukhwinder Singh croon Kash Laga which comes across as a pleasant listen. The problem is, though it doesn’t come as a damper to the soundtrack, it doesn’t stay with you after it finishes. But it’s still a welcome change in the album which so far hasn’t had any feel-good numbers like this. Also worth noting are Gulzar’s lyrics which are situational but work well.
I hate to say it, but Ash Tray is really pointless, tuneless and boring. Deva Sen Gupta gets next to zilch opportunity to sing and his voice seems powerless. In parts, Gulzar’s lyrics are nicely written and in others they are completely disappointment. One wonders if this is an attempt at something different gone wrong. Or is it intended solely for situational purposes? Even then, it would be boring to watch in the film. This one’s painful to get through!
The album is quite short with only six tracks, two which are duplicate versions. In some respects, it’s a disappointing album from Bhardwaj who usually exceeds expectations. After Omkara, one surely expected better though there are a couple good tracks. Nevertheless, ‘Phoonk De’ will prove a mighty proposition for the film as it slowly works its magic as a steamy item number. Initially it will meet with mixed reactions but will slowly pick up and should prove to be the anchor of the album. ‘Jab Bhi Cigarette’, with its innovative picturisation, is perfect for the film as well. If you’re bored of the recent starry albums, it can’t hurt to give this cigarette a whiff (no pressure!).