The political thriller is a genre that has its own major and many times important place in films. A reflection of the society we all live in whether it be Mumbai, London or New York, political thrillers are all about the machinations surrounding the rise of a great leader, often resulting to underhanded tactics to get to the point at which they can do their best work. Prassthanam is the latest amongst these, but rather than locking the audience into the political struggle, this one is more personal. Sanjay Dutt plays Baldev Pratap Singh, who is caught in the middle of ambition, loyalty and integrity. This work is a remake of an award-winning Telugu film by the same director. Since this is a political thriller, there’s not likely to be a lot of happy-go-lucky music from the untried trio of Ankit Tiwari, Farhad Samji and Vikram Montrose. But they have been given a chance to show off some interesting twists through this 21-minute album.
Where better to start then the title track. Prassthanam sung by Dev Negi is the expected power title track. A lot of big drums and strong male chorus back Dev while he delivers a rock song performance. The lyrics are the expected mix of bravado and shlokam, showing the main character in the best light while also showing off his willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. It’s extremely repetitive, with unchanging beat, matching stop point at the start of every verse and exactly the same background setup during the choruses.
With the title having passed, the story must then move to the love angle of the story and so Dil Dariyan sung by Ankit Tiwari and Deepali Sathe comes into play. Initially there is a very cool synth opening with a building but slow club beat driving it on. Near the end of the song it’s picked up enough speed to be noticeably faster, but the music director has certainly played with the graduation of tempo by setting it to auto and not changing it. Ankit himself is completely dominant as lead singer both in terms of singing time as well as in his vocals, with the background music dropping away slightly to allow his voice to shine. At the end of the song, it’s loss is felt but there was no magic involved in getting it there.
If there hadn’t been a title song this could have easily be it. Charo Khane Chit by Sukhwinder Singh is most likely a song for Jackie Shroff and Sanjay Dutt to have a bit of fun without being an item song. Sukhwinder is perfect for this song. but its the layering of his own voice and the use of a steady bhangra beat that rolls through this song. The lyrics are simply the cream, declaring that it is our time and there’s no one who can get in the way. However, nothing goes away from the repetitive nature of the song, to the point that a listener could drown in this sound never to come out till well after the 3:41 length of the piece.
Haji Ali mosque is the most famous of all mosque’s in Mumbai and maybe even in all of India. Many remember AR Rahman’s song about it in Mission Kashmir, a touching tribute to a fine place of worship. Thus, in creating Haji Ali here, even sung by Sukhwinder Singh, is only likely to bring comparisons from those remembering ARR’s greatness. To be honest, it was always going to be an uphill struggle and while these music directors have tried to take it in a different direction the song is always likely to be unfavourably compared with the maestro.
Finally, to round this album off is Dil Bevda. Bhoomi Trivedi and who else but Mika Singh are here to deliver the item number about the drunken heart. This one is so formulaic that listening to it, it’s easy to imagine the exact movements of the dancer specially brought in for the song. The combination of drums, shennai and the earlier male chorus do nothing to get away from the idea of a pub environment where the lady publican practically dances on the tables.
The advantage of being untried as a music director is the lack of expectation placed upon the shoulders. No listener or cinemagoer can say that a particular song or a particular use of an instrument is on style or not on style, nor can they define your skills as being better or worse than the last attempt. Imagine the pressure Amit Trivedi or AR Rahman has to innovate and find new sounds, new combinations of singers and instruments to get that sound that will bring in the crowds. However, for Prassthanam, the music directors seem to have gone in the opposite direction… giving formulaic music, repetitive and unchanging beats, no flourishes, no rap mix. The most innovative thing they’ve achieved is to have 2 opening/theme songs. Still, its not like the story was calling out for a massive range of music as you might get in a romance or comedy so the album gets a below middle rating.