Bollywood’s subservient reverence to the past has met with much appreciation in recent times. The tunes that came out of such films (Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Revolver Rani), managed to give us some sharp compositions and a somewhat interesting soundtrack where romance is elevated and no form of politics really prevails.
So, while listening to the tunes of Sooraj Barjatya’s upcoming Sonam Kapoor and Salman Khan starrer Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which intends to be a throwback to the ’90s, one expects a more than mediocre soundtrack. But more often than not, the album gives us just plain ordinary and sometimes extremely monotonous tracks. Himesh Reshammiya seems to be trying too hard to get that lilting melody back. But one can’t just mimic the past, without trying to break out atleast a little. In Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Reshammiya seems to ape that over familiar, middle-rung ’90s music, which was not impressive even back then.
The nine-track album opens with Prem leela, which is dominated by brass and dhol sounds. It’s easy to imagine Salman Khan shaking a leg to this one. There’s the shankh naad, a big brass section and dholak sounds, where Aman Trikha and Vineet Kumar sing a track that is passable. This is followed by the title song sung by Palak Muchhal. The prelude sung by her is better than the actual song. Jalte diye has a promising beginning on a guitar, followed by Harshdeep Kaur’s soulful voice. Even the album begins to change course into something beautiful. A minute into the song and that dholak and synth sound is back. Anwesha Dutta Gupta, who sounds like Shreya Ghoshal, sings the song with much gusto. The potent voices manage to lift a very regular composition.
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Shaan attempts a Kumar Sanu-esque Aaj unse, which takes you back to simpler times — when brass interludes paired with a choruses were followed by flute and dholak. The problem, however, is that it sounds highly plagiarised from at least three songs, one being Dil ne ye kaha hai from Dhadkan.
Aman Trikha sings Halo re, a percussion-based song, which becomes monotonous after one session. If plagiarism from others wasn’t enough, Reshammiya recycles his own song, Balma, from Khiladi 786, to deliver Tod Tadaiyya. Neeti Mohan, who sings alongside Neeraj Shridhar, sounds shrieky. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are also nothing to write home about. By the end of the album, one is struggling to find any really fine song. A throwback to the ’90s needs to be rigorous and absolute when done in present times, but Prem Ratan Dhan Payo fails. Can be easily skipped.
Movie: Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Composer: Himesh Reshammiya
Lyricist: Irshad Kamil