Prem Kaa Game is an upcoming extra-marital comedy, starring Arbaaz Khan and Tara Sharma as a married couple whose relationship is threatened by a beautiful temptress, played by Madhuri Bhattacharya. Most of the buzz surrounding the film this far has been due to the fact that the most famous Khan bhai, Salman, will be narrating the film.
If you’re anything like me, on hearing that the film was based on the Hollywood classic, Marilyn Monroe vehicle The Seven Year Itch, you might expect a few retro-inspired tracks on the OST – think the sweet, jazzy ‘Tu Bole…Main Boloon’ from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na – as shout-outs to the classic screwball comedy origins of the film. After all Raju Singh, who is in charge of the music, has successfully worked on a range of films and previously managed to create a ‘thriller’ mood balanced with a rocking soundtrack for Raaz: The Mystery Continues.
Judging by the soundtrack to Prem Kaa Game, I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumptions. Forget retro-cool. This one is firmly aimed at the club kids, with 6 of its 7 tracks heavily techno-inspired, with a token strings-laden love song to stick out like a sore thumb among the pumping dance beats.
Title track Prem Kaa Game gets things off to a promising start – if you can ignore the super annoying chipmunk voice that inquires “Hey Mr Prem…what’s the game?” Get past that and the song soon sucks you in with its hypnotic rhythm and compelling beats. Even with the annoying chipmunk voice, I have a feeling there could be a decent dance picturisation behind this one, because it’s impossible to stay still listening to it at home in the lounge. Imagine what professionals can do!
I Wanna Fall In Love is a mediocre song that suffers from the cringe inducing use of English and spoken asides: “You wanna marry?! No, NEVER!”, “You CRAZY!”. It sounds like a jokey item song a la ‘My Name is Ali’ in Dhoom 2 – e.g. more fun to watch than to listen to. The first of three Sonu Nigam tracks on the album (this one a collaboration with Sunidhi Chauhan), this would definitely be the one to skip – even for hardcore Sonu Nigam fans.
Javed Ali’s Tum Hi Mere sounds like someone was listening to some generic techno one night, got out their mixing deck and decided to see what would happen if they jazzed up a standard Bollywood ballad with a synthesized up-tempo backing. You’ve heard Bollywood ballads. You’ve heard generic techno. Neither improves by being combined with the other.
Duniya Se Jo Chaaha, on the other hand, is slightly more successful at the techno thing, making an effort rather than just sticking some lyrics on top of a techno backing. From the shouted “If you wanna groove, groove with Twinkle” intro, to the bunch of keyboardy, almost M-People-esque motifs, various synth sound effects and the, um, saxophone solo?!, it has an early 90s feel – so maybe I wasn’t totally wrong about the retro thing (just off by several decades). Sunidhi Chauhan makes a much stronger impression in this track than in the forgettable ‘I Wanna Fall In Love’.
The undeniable standout track of the album is Zabardast, thanks to the collaboration of the fantastic Vishal Dadlani (of Vishal and Shekar fame) with the legendary Sonu Nigam, who finally gets a good track on the album. This track is – dare I say it? – both rocking and grittily sexy, combining a wailing “soniye” refrain against layers of sung, whispered and spoken lyrics, fragments of rap, and relentless beats that break down and build themselves right back up again. Electronica is largely absent from this one but when it peeks in it’s super hot, seasoning the song just right. This track will definitely end up on my “Most Played” playlist, and if there’s a standout hit on this album, it’s GOT to be this one.
Magar Kuch To Hai is the odd one out of the album – the lushly orchestrated, syrupy, string-laden piece is nothing you haven’t heard before. You’re more likely to notice it through wondering what song it reminds you of than through any real merit of its own. Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshlal duet sweetly enough on this soft, syrupy romantic number, but it’s derivative enough that it leaves you wanting something…more, especially after the funky, gritty, knock-you-out originality of the preceding ‘Zabardast’.
Finally, wrapping the album up is Khan Kaa Gyaan – not so much a song, as Salman Khan speaking dialogue from the film over a few beats. My Hindi abilities…are limited, to say the least, but in the 5 minute track I did understand Sallu-Bhai asking me: “Mujhse shaadi karoge?” Unless the dialogue is especially witty (and I’m really not qualified to comment), or you’re a huge Sallu fan and the appeal of hearing him croon “Mujhse shaadi karoge?” isn’t something that will ever get old, I’m not sure how much replay value this last track has.
Overall, this album is strictly mediocre, with only a couple of decent tracks (‘Prem Kaa Game’ and ‘Zabardast’) that stand out beyond being okay background music. Whether the music stands up better when integrated with the film remains to be seen.