Sajid and Wajid are definitely becoming the go-to composers for the latest trend of masala film music with a South Indian twist. Whether the duo often succeeds in this genre is up for debate, but the Rowdy Rathore soundtrack comes with mammoth expectations. If the Housefull 2 and Tezz soundtracks were a bit lacklustre, then the duo has a lot more to prove in their usual comfort zone. The film features a return for director-choreographer Prabhu Deva since his last hit Wanted. This time Akshay Kumar takes over the masala hero duties and Sonakshi Sinha making more of an impact since her debut in Dabangg. Truly the spirit of the 90s is back with this loud and catchy album, which may divide the listeners with its gleeful use of every drum imaginable!
The album starts with a raucous bang in Dhadang Dhang, which immediately brings you back to the 90s with the heavy drums that lines the track throughout. You can definitely see a Govinda dancing to this back in the day, and the music definitely gets you on the dance floor. The song is a complete Mumbaiya song with its strong dandiya beats that makes this track one that you won’t fall asleep while listening to it! Shreya Ghosal and Wajid sound brilliant together and make good use of the tapori style Hinglish written by Sameer. Both singers seem to be having a lot of fun with the stock lines and build up a good conversational tone for the tune. Sameer’s lyrics are perhaps a bit cliché, but he did pen most of the masala tunes of the 90s that Sajid and Wajid are seeking inspiration from, so if the lyrics do annoy then just listen to that catchy chorus! Keep this on repeat.
We veer into official remake territory in Chinta Ta Ta Chita, where Sajid and Wajid have redone ‘College Papala’ from the film’s remake source Vikramarkudu. It does borrow the same melody at points, but this Hindi version seems to improve on the original with its arresting hook. With the more tabla and drum heavy redo, this song works because of Mika Singh. Singh brings his usual swagger here that makes the fun and stock lyrics by Sameer work extremely well. If the promo is anything to go by, then this is song will grow on you with the huge presentation and sheer amount of extras on the big screen. And it looks like we have a new hilarious masala move with Akshay Kumar doing some sort of roti-making move along with waving his shirt around. Mika unusually reminds one of Vinod Rathod with his voice during the bridge and enhances the track to stick with you. The song is positively delightful, again it is another loud one but this hero-introduction is nicely nostalgic.
We finally get to the rowdy part of the album with Aa Re Pritam Pyare, sung by the go-to item singer Mamta Sharma and Sarosh Sami. As soon as the melody hits in the opening of the track, it is so catchy and striking. Of course, the loud drums and full blast shehnaiis punctuate the tune, which enhances its mawali sound. The lyrics are suitably vulgar and unabashedly lewd with chorus lines like, “Pallu ke neeche chupa ke rakha hai,/ Utha doon toh hungama ho.” Mamta Sharma is in her element here, and she keeps up with the melody commendably, however she does resort to shouting a bit in the later part of the song. Sarosh Sami is not there for much, except for lending a bit of backup whooping and shouting. This song is one of my favourites but it is likely to annoy a few with its noisiness but give it a try.
Offering a tiny break from the loudness is Chamak Challo Chel Chabeli, which is proper 90s territory in its orchestration. The melody is quite meh, but the cascading tablas and brass band drums and trombones when ‘Bajaa re band bajaa’ line comes on, it does win you over at parts. Shreya Ghosal is the main singer through most of the song, and it’s not a stretch for her, but she sounds good here. However, major thanks for Sajid and Wajid for bringing Kumar Sanu back in this song, which does make you want to hear more from him. Yet we all know from the crescendo of violins and orchestra that the hero has arrived and voiced by one of the best singers of the 90s period. The song overall has nostalgic appeal that works in its favour, but it needed a lot more of Kumar Sanu.
Another humdrum number is Tera Ishq Bada Teekha, which sounds very similar to ‘Chand Sifarish’ from Fanaa with its harmonium peppering the track and you half expect Kailash Kher to chime in! The lyrics are quite pedestrian and inconsequential, but the orchestration and melody keeps this song a bit peppy. Javed Ali and Shreya Ghosal do the best with the material, and it may charm some listeners looking for a quieter tune. Skip this one or have a listen if you need a breather from the first 3 loud tracks!
Another better song is the situational song, Chandaniya (Lori Lori), which is sung by Shreya Ghosal who is gorgeous on this track. The lyrics are quite eloquent and will likely grow on the listen after a few listens. It does rise above its situational appeal with the serene instrumentation and Ghosal’s melodic voice. Keep this one on repeat.
Last on the album is the Rowdy Mix, a remix framed around Akshay’s punchlines, which is a dud. His lines are slowed down and sound hilariously bad like a bad comedy gag. These lines are peppered with dubstep beats that just annoy rather than get you in a dancing mood. Skip it!
Rowdy Rathore is one of those soundtracks that does not set out for something new, but the listener knows what they might get from a masala film like this. In this way, Sajid and Wajid draw on 90s influences and create an album that celebrates all the kitschy and loud songs that we grew up on. The album is likely to divide the audience as the songs throw over subtlety for adding the loudest beats and cheesy lyrics that allow some of us to revel in the kitsch. Naturally the first four tracks are quite OTT, but it’s that massy appeal that makes this album worth more than a few listens.
Listen to the album now @ http://www.saavn.com/search/album:+Rowdy+Rathore