Composer : Pritam Lyrics :Amitabh Bhattacharya, Kausar Munir
For director Kabir Khan’s Tubelight, a Salman Khan-starrer that has the 1962 Indo-Sino war in the backdrop, the release of composer Pritam’s tunes was spread over a couple of months by the producers. Although the singers used in the album deliver earnestly, their voices set amid interesting orchestration, the compositions aren’t as strong as one would like them to be. Then there is the concept of alignment with the theme; there isn’t much. The four pieces don’t capture the sense of instability, the intensity of a war epic, and the longing of waiting for a loved one to return.
We have always enjoyed vintage Pritam (think Barfi!), but the composer doesn’t give us much inventiveness and creative power here. The only time one notices a spark is during the preludes and interludes in the album — the taut arrangements that are crafted really well.
The first song of Tubelight released in the list was Radio; one of the more catchy pieces in the album. Radio is an ode to well, the radio when it was still a bulky box and a generation gathered around it. Pritam uses an accordion and a shehnai to create the prelude just before Kamaal Khan and Amit Mishra sing this one. Baal banake, joota polish karwa ke, naachenge hum taata thaiya, sajan radio bajaiyo zara — the imagery Bhattacharya creates is interesting when put alongside the dholak and the drums. But rest of the song lacks the punch needed in terms of lyrics. What ripples through and works is brilliant orchestration that lifts an ordinary composition.
Main agar opens with a piano prelude with a violin playing in the background. The prelude merges into Atif Aslam’s melancholic piece. Just when Aslam is trying to raise the bar by giving his nasal voice a miss despite being on a high pitch, some synths and drums interrupt him. It’s an odd intrusion and throws the song, for which the only section that works is the fixed melodic composition and a triumphant end.
Tinka tinka dil mera begins just after a prelude on a piano. Then there are xylophones and powerful female vocals followed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice. The beats are big in the latter part of the piece. Pritam adds strings and background vocals to give the piece an operatic feel. But after a while Rahat begins to sound too mechanical and it’s easy to lose interest. Towards the end, the background vocals and orchestration are reasons why one keeps listening to this one. Naach meri jaan by Kamaal Khan, Nakash Aziz, Dev Negi and Tushar Joshi is interesting for two reasons: Bhattacharya’s line Naach meri jaan hoke magan tu, chhod ke saare kintu parantu. It’s why he stands out in the current pack of lyricists. And the sprinkles of Pahari folk. But the song loses its sheen in the attempt to tie it all up.
Overall, Tubelight doesn’t deliver Pritam’s finest. It doesn’t even deliver his average style of compositions. They are the kind one listens to in two situations — either they appear in a film or if it’s one’s job to talk about them.