Despite doing quality work and delivering respectable soundtracks for films like 'Jai Gangaajal' and 'Poorna', they have been pushed to the sidelines of the Hindi film industry and big banners like Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions, whom they had collaborated on several films in the past, do not offer them work anymore. Umesh Shukla's last two films did not have great music to offer but each of them had some hummable tunes nevertheless. One does not really expect his new film '102 Not Out' to be a musical as the film is driven by just two elderly characters and is expected to have limited scope for music.
A carnival-like sound, accentuated by the sound of trumpets and percussions, marks the beginning of "Bachche Ki Jaan", a song that showcases the relationship shared by Dattatraya (Amitabh Bachchan) and Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) and the individual traits possessed by each of them. Arijit Singh sings the song with flair and in a certain merriment manner that adds to the fun quotient in the track. Hiral Brahmbhatt writes some easy-on-the-lips lyrics which get registered in your head in no time.
Amitabh Bachchan does a very good job as a composer by creating an earworm of a track in the form of "Badumbaaa". Rohan-Vinayak lend good support to the tune by producing it rather well. While one has heard Bachchan's voice in some popular numbers, the inclusion of Rishi Kapoor as a singer comes as a surprise. The jugalbandi between the two actors work well for this infectious song. Amitabh Bhattacharya writes some super-catchy lines that get on your lips immediately.
Sonu Nigam is one of the finest singers we have in the country and as he sings very rarely these days, one looks forward to something special when his name appears on the credits of an album/track. "Kulfi" is the kind of song which only Sonu's voice could have done justice to. Saumya Joshi writes some evocative lyrics that gel very well with the slightly pensive mood of the song. The arrangements are a good balance between Indian instruments like tabla and sitar and western instruments like pads and piano.
Rohan-Vinayak recreate the classic number "Waqt Ne Kiya" from 'Kaagaz Ke Phool' (1957) and get Amitabh Bachchan to render it in his wonderfully sonorous voice. Though comparing the recreated version to the original would be blasphemous, the composer duo do a good at recreating the feel and mood of the original and the track sounds wonderful in Bachcha's voice.
"Kuch Anokhe Rules" is a track that celebrates getting old or ageing. Armaan Malik sings the songs well in his youthful voice. He still needs to curb down his anglicised accent while he sings. There is also a need to brush up his diction; he pronounces 'jhurriyan' as 'jhuriyaan". The tune is quite functional and it is the jazz based sound of the song that makes it a sound little interesting.
"Phir Laut Aayi" is a song which talks about being optimistic but it also touches upon the tough times an individual has gone through in the past. Hiral Bhrambhatt doubles up as a singer and a lyricist. Though she sings pretty well, she does not have the kind of voice that would catch one's attention instantly. It is not the kind of song that will linger in your mind for long but it makes for a good hear nevertheless.
The music of '102 Not Out' is actually a lot better than one had expected it to be. Though the songs are of varying quality, none of them would reach for the skip button.