Before 2007, we used to look at Pritam as the guy who was expected to deliver some cool dance numbers and groovy club beats, nothing more. However, with the releases of LIFE IN A‚Ä¶METRO and JAB WE MET last year, expectations for Pritam have simply sky-rocketed. With power comes responsibility. Now it is up to Pritam to sustain himself and broaden his musical horizons in order to jump up to the next echelon of quality.
And yet again, the stage is beautifully set for Pritam to showcase himself, as RACE boasts of a big banner and an even larger star-studded cast in Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif, and Sameera Reddy. So, exposure is not the question here. But can Pritam regain his composure after a debacle of a soundtrack in MY NAME IS ANTHONY GONZALVES? Let us wait and see...
On your mark...Get set...Go! Race Saanson Ki starts this race off on a somewhat exciting note. Pritam's clubbed-out rhythm and animated flavors create a rocking harmony for vocalists Sunidhi Chauhan and Niraj Shridhar to get their groove on. Give special attention to the voices here, as both singers sound a bit different than their usual outings, which only adds to the punch of this cool track. An underlying electric guitar and firewire synth provide that added quazi-techno feel you like in this particular style of song. Sameer's lyrics fit nicely with the naughty aura created. All in all, Race Saanson Ki is another one of those fun Pritam groove tracks that gets this race off on the right foot.
Race Saanson Ki has been reprised in the form of Race On My Mind. This is pretty much the same fun, seductress that its predecessor is, yet with a mix of English rap and Hindi lyrics. With the track featured twice again on the second CD, Race Saanson Ki is the song that will be playing in the clubs all night. Note: The track has a wicked music video on air featuring the entire cast of RACE. Be sure to check It out!
Dekho Nashe Mein is Pritam's take on tracks like Where's The Party Tonight and Rock and Roll Soniye. Featuring a trio of the Industry's finest vocals in Shaan, K.K., and Sunidhi Chauhan, one expects an out and out dance number full of electrifying beats and foot-tapping rhythms. Alas, we are left disappointed and thirsty for a decent number to shake too. Except for a Spanish guitar spattered here and there, there is hardly any instrumental value. Additionally, the lackluster melody and cacophonic sounds give you a headache more than anything else. Verdict: Dekho Nashe Mein is the sluggish horse out of the gates. P.S. The other re-wrapped versions don't help the lost cause either.
A tropical wave makes its way into the race with Mujh Pe To Jadoo. Pritam has everything in place for a classic tropical number, especially with the fine touch of vocals by Apache Indian (where have you been all these years my friend?). However, he goes astray with his selection of Taz as the feature singer. The man behind Thoda Daroo Vich (Tum Bin) sounds completely out of place atop the stifling arrangements. Sunidhi has also been criminally ignored in the track. Sameer's lyrics are another piece of the puzzle that just doesn't fit. The nonsensical combination of English and Hindi is laughable. Sample: "Teri baaton se mila temptation. Tere pyaar ne diya vibration. Yeh mere dil ne kiya confession. There ain't nobody that can make me feel the way you do." Verdict: While some may definitely find the track enjoyable, Pritam for the most part let a great opportunity slip away.
With all these naughty/sexy numbers up his sleeve, it leads me to believe that Pritam must be quite the lover in his personal life! Perhaps that's a question better aimed at his newly wedded bride, Smita Bhattacharya, eh? Nevertheless, he displays his playful side again with the alluring Zara Zara Touch Me - an instant hit all the way. Pritam keeps things extremely simple and slow in the background, and it works wonders for the atmosphere the track gives off. Newcomer Monalisa is pure enticement in her vocal role. Lyrical temptation has also been nicely incorporated by Sameer. The melody in the stanza sounds very familiar to Reshammiya's Gela Gela (Aitraaz). Nevertheless, this one will make for a potentially steamy video between Katrina and Saif! Verdict: Another feather in the playfully naughty cap of Pritam.
On the second CD, which comprises of remixed versions of the original by DJ Suketu - Pehli Nazar Mein (Club Mix), Pehli Nazar Mein (Lounge Mix), and Zara Zara Touch Me are the three tracks worth grooving to (especially Pehli Nazar Mein, which is simply rocking in its remixed versions). The rest are worth a miss.
So the clear winner, without question, is Atif Aslam's Pehli Nazar Mein. Coming in at second, and a very close third, are Zara Zara Touch Me and Race Saanson Ki, respectively. Not far behind is Race On My Mind coming in at fourth. Dekho Nashe Mein and Mujh Pe To Jadoo make it in at a distant fifth and sixth.
Pritam gives us a fairly solid soundtrack, reminiscent of a lot of his 2006 works [GANGSTER, WOH LAMHE, PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS, ANKAHEE]]. However, he doesn't quite live up to the expectations he'd set for himself last year [LIFE IN A...METRO, JAB WE MET]. Although, one thing is for sure - he always manages to come up with at least one really great composition in each of his outings (for the most part). This time it's Pehli Nazar Mein. The soundtrack is well worth your money thanks to this beauty of a song.
Aakash Gandhi is Managing Editor and Senior Writer for Planetbollywood.com. He also freelances for the Asian Variety Show at avstv.com.