The newest musical duo to join the heavy 5 (A.R. Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar, Himesh Reshammiya, & Pritam) is Salim-Sulaiman. Despite a loyal relationship with Yash Raj Films, the two composers/arrangers/programmers have yet to hit the ball out of the park. Only two soundtracks have sat fairly well critically and commercially (Dor & Aaja Nachle).
They've been served once again on a golden platter with the YRF produced, Aditya Chopra directed, and Shah Rukh Khan starrer, RAB NE BANA DI JODI. Skillful lyricist, Jaideep Sahni, joins the duo on this highly anticipated musical rendezvous. Let's just have a listen and see if RNBDJ is the breakout score Salim-Sulaiman have been waiting for.
Salim-Sulaiman start things off with the very nostalgic Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai. The highlight of this composition would have to be the musical arrangements themselves. The reason I say it's nostalgic is because the groove that's used throughout the piece is very reminiscent of much of the rhythms we've heard during the 90s by Anu Malik, Jatin-Lalit, and Nadeem Shravan. However, S-S have done a commendable job in renovating the style and adding their own touch via gentle acoustic lifts and smoothly running bass lines, something that was still largely undiscovered in the 90s. Similarly, their melody also runs parallel to much of the tunes we've heard in the 90s. But this time, they really haven't invigorated it with any catchy hook-lines or poignant lyrics by Sahni. Thanks to this, Roop Kumar Rathod's rendition, although first-class, lacks the extra oomph you heard in say a "Maula Mere Maula" (Anwar). Verdict: This is a track that has potential if S-S re-worked the tune, while Jaideep Sahni stylized the lyrics a bit more.
Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai is reprised towards the end of the soundtrack in a slower piece rendered by our nightingale, Shreya Ghoshal. Once again, S-S entice with some nice arrangements. Yet this version takes the same fate as its original.
S-S up the tempo with a uniquely modern take on the 'qawwali' in Haule Haule. There's no lack of diversity in the arrangements, as S-S have harnessed the very rudimentary elements of the qawwali while imposing some interesting new sounds and instrumental flavors. It's been a long time since Sukhwinder Singh has come up with a mega-chartbuster. Here, he gives a plausible rendition. However, one wishes he would have max's out the energy levels as he has done in the past with tracks like "Chaiya Chaiya" and "Chinnamma Chillakamma" to name a couple. Jaideep Sahni's lyrics are sufficient. Nevertheless, he is unable to take advantage of adding his own creative touch to the lyrical awakening that a qawwali can emote. Verdict: Brownie points to the composers for doing something a little different.
Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte deserves your attention thanks to its tributary aura and Sonu Nigam's groovy medley of past classics. Recall the Medley of YRF's Mujhse Dosti Karoge and you'll understand what this track is all about. Despite the heavy influences, Salim-Sulaiman and Sonu Nigam breathe fresh life into the re-created compilation to make this song completely their own! Verdict: This will be loads of fun for the generations of old and young. I can't wait to see SRK frolic through the yesteryears in Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte!
Seeing as how Salim-Sulaiman excel when it comes to arranging, you'd expect a lot from the closing theme track Dancing Jodi. However, instead of being treated as a true thematic piece, S-S have merely compiled a medley of the entire soundtrack amidst a quasi-trance groove. Verdict: It makes for a decent closing thanks to the engaging rhythmic beat and the all-encompassing melodic riffs.
If there's ever been a knock on Salim-Sulaiman, it's that they are much better background scorers than soundtrack composers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi's soundtrack excels in the musical arrangements department with some unique innovations in 'Haule Haule' and 'Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte.' Unfortunately, the album lacks the melodic and lyrical depth one yearns for from a true quality soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, the potential has always been there and it's just a matter of time before these brothers click. Seeing as how S-S tend to put their best foot forward for filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor (Teen Deewarein, Iqbal, Dor), we're all pinning out hopes on their forthcoming venture, Aashayein. Here's wishing them all the best!