Music Review: 'Cocktail'
The album begins on a rollicking note with "Tum Hi Ho Bandhu" which is just the kind that one expected in a Saif Ali Khan-Pritam-Neeraj Shreedhar collaboration. A sure shot chartbuster which fuses Indian melody with Western arrangements while being well aided by some terrific singing by Kavita Seth, 'Tum Hi Ho Bandhu' is the kind that would not just turn out to be a DJ's favourite but can also be expected to be hot favourite amongst campus crowds. A well tuned song in all regards and boasting of some poetic lyrics by Irshad Kamil which find their way into today's youth, 'Tum Hi Ho Bandhu' is a winner.
Just when one wondered if it would be difficult for rest of the album to match the zany feel of "Tum Hi Ho Bandhu" arrives "Daru Desi". An even better composition and bringing in much needed 'thehrav' after a foot tapping start, "Daru Desi" is written by guest lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya who justifies the reason why he has been roped in here. What is most amazing here is to see Pritam not just bring Benny Dayal on the scene but even lend an all-important song to newcomer Shalmali Kholgade who had created quite some impression in "Pareshan" ['Ishaqzaade'] just a few weeks ago. This one is for the beach!
What surprises though, and in a mixed way, is "Second Hand Jawani". First and foremost the title itself isn't the kind that suits the genre, setting and expected treatment of 'Cocktail'. In fact the song could have been a replacement of "Pritam Pyaare" ['Rowdy Rathore'] and no one would have noticed. Seemingly an item number which hopefully turns out to be a spoof of sorts, it is a foot tapping number but in a setting that just doesn't seem correct. Perhaps there is a situation in the film which actually warrants this Miss Pooja, Neha Kakkar and Nakash Aziz number but on the face value, it is a distraction amidst rest of the album.
Thankfully 'Cocktail' returns to the kind of sensibilities that had caught one's attention from the very beginning. Newcomer Javed Bashir, who was in an entirely different (semi-classical) mode when heard in "Piya Tu Kaahe Rootha Re" ['Kahaani'] gets into a contemporary fusion outing with "Tera Naam Japdi Phiran" which seeming draws influences from Punjabi folk. One has to credit it to Pritam here for presenting the song in such a mode that it would be gladly lapped up by the youth, especially the ones belonging in urban India. He also smartly uses the voices of Nikhil D'Souza and Shefali Alvares while keeping Javed on the front. By the time 'remix version' comes, you are totally sold to the idea of this song which turns out to be the third big one in the album.
Things cool down soon after with Arif Lohar and Harshdeep Kaur making "Jugni" their own. Expect this track to elevate the dramatic proceedings of 'Cocktail' as the song only goes on to prove that the film is much more than just fun-n-frolic. Also, one is amazed all over again to see the kind of grip Pritam has over the Punjabi medium, especially when it comes to presenting it in an avatar hitherto unheard at least in the Bollywood musical scene. In fact it won't be wrong to say that with this song, he brings an altogether unique sound for a Hindi film; a kind of experiment that not many would have been dared to attempt.
By this time one pretty much agrees to the fact that 'Cocktail' is a quality album with a huge commercial appeal to it as well. This is evidenced once again in "Lutna", which, just like "Jugni" and "Tera Naam", is rich in heritage Indian music content while being elevated to an altogether different level by Pritam. Later the 'reprise version' only smoothens the mood further and makes you click on that 'repeat' sign so as to play it on a lonely night. While Irshad Kamil's lyrics continue to be classy and indeed different, the final outcome of "Lutna" leaves you spellbound. One also gets an impression that perhaps Saif Ali Khan had a big role to play in the music here too. Otherwise one can hardly imagine newcomer singers like Masuma Anwar, Sahir Ali Bagga and Anupam Amod getting an opportunity as big as this album which is easily one of the best to have hit the stands this year.
The impact is accentuated further with "Mein Sharabi" which only adds on to the list of chartbusters that Pritam has composed for this highly energetic album. Though it starts off with a bit of 'qawalli' (that also makes an intermittent appearance), what strikes most is the rest of the song which is as foot tapping as one expects from Pritam. Though the song is pretty much in Neeraj Sridhar zone, even the coming together of Imran Aziz Mian and Yo Yo Honey Singh is pretty much welcome as they get the house on fire for this club track which is immensely infectious and is bound to keep the DJ busy for hours at stretch.
Last to arrive is "Yaariyaan" with which the trend of roping in untried and untested vocals continues. The man of the moment this time around is Mohan Kanan and expectedly, he ends up impressing as well. A love song with a soothing setting to it, "Yaariyaan" is the kind that makes one hear it quite closely due to its unconventional lyrics and genre. A soft rock track which lasts over six minutes and still doesn't bore you one bit, "Yaariyaan" also boasts of some beautiful arrangements that only compliment an inherent melody that flows all along. Later in the song Shilpa Rao arrives and just as is expected from her, she adds good weight to the proceedings. Such strong is the impact that "Yaariyaan" creates that when the female version appears with Sunidhi Chauhan leading the charge (with Arijit Singh giving her good support), you are more than just enticed to play on the album all over again.
'Cocktail' is a wonderful soundtrack which also boasts of best ensemble sound that one has heard this year so far. Pritam, Irshad Kamil, Saif Ali Khan and director Homi Adajania collaborate to create the kind of sound that ensures commercial results ("Tum Hi Ho Bandhu", "Daru Desi", "Tera Naam Japdi Phiran", "Main Sharaabi") while also bringing in a certain classiness ("Jugni", "Lutna", "Yaariyaan") to the affairs. In fact the album delivers much more than what one had expected from it and is inarguably one of the classiest that Pritam has composed since Saif's own 'Love Aaj Kal'.
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