out of

Producer: Sujeet Kumar
Director: Padam Kumar
Music: Anu Malik, Vishal Shekhar & Anand Raaj Anand
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar, Nitin Raikwar & Anand Raaj Anand
Audio on : Tips

Reviewed by: M. Ali Ikram

Most contributors were sure in an uninspired frame of mind when collaborating on the music for Champion.  With names such as the illustrious Javed Akhtar and Anu Malik, disappointment is an understatement for the results of this soundtrack.  Much better results were expected than this mediocrity. 

Sure, we have Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Prashant and a truck-load of kids trying to infuse life in "Ek Ladki Jiski Aankhen".  What is the point when the effort is bound to fall flat on its face?  For lyrics conveying such an upbeat mood, Malik should not have used such over-orchestrated music in a medium tempo.  The results are about as exciting as watching paint dry. 

Javed Akhtar's turn to let us down comes courtesy of "Tu Kya Cheez Hai".  What kind of inspiration led the writer of "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" (1942: A Love Story) and "Sandese Aate Hain" (Border) to come up with these pedestrian words?  Yes, we realize that Javed Akhtar is writing a massy number here, but for those types of songs, we need better word play than "Tu Kya Cheez Hai".  (Anand Bakshi did it far more successfully with Mohra in 1994.)   Kavita Krishnamurthy and Abhijeet's vocals are passable, but to add salt to the track's wounds, the music style sounds like left-overs from 1998's Duplicate soundtrack.

Luckily, credible singing by the always pleasant Roop Kumar Rathod and the prolific Alka Yagnik makes "Koyi Deewane Ko Samjhaaye" an engaging experience.  The soft "Aa-weem-ba-we" choral sounds and African sounding riffs are indeed pilfered from the " the jungle, the mighty jungle..." song one first heard as a kid. So this theft is likely what will prevent us from remembering the tune in the long-run.

Kavita Krishnamurthy & Shankar Mahadevan should have said "Na Baba, Na Baba" to the producer when asked to sing the tune of the same name.  Far from the horrible category, it is tolerable, but what is the hook to entice you to rewind it and listen to it more than once in your life?  Na baba, not the vocals, na baba, not the juvenile lyrics and na baba, certainly not the music.

My guess is that by this point, poor Padam Kumar was probably in agony over the banal results of his hiring Malik and Akhtar for his movie's score.  Using new music director Vishal Shekhar and the coloquially entertaining Nitin Raikwar for a couple of other songs in the movie was likely his decision.  And I must say, the decision was not too bad.

Giving Vishal the title song for the movie was quite a risk, but a challenge to which the newcomer rises most successfully.  You just have to love the dream team vocals of Jaspinder Narula and Sunidhi Chauhan in "Hai Aisa Champion Kahan" along with the amusing and lively chorus singing "chop-chop" (karate style) through out.  I certainly did.  It is hands down the best track.

Composing the enjoyable title song must have tired Vishal Shekhar out (too early in his career I would say).  His second attempt, "Lelo Lelo" brings back early nineties' sensation Poornima to croon with Udit Narayan.  There is nothing special in this Punjabi-jazz tune.  The new composer had the opportunity to completely upstage Anu Malik by giving two awesome tracks to Champion, but a 50% success rate is still pretty impressive.

Finally, Anand Raaj Anand composes and writes "Jatt Lutiya Gaya" for Hema Sardesai and new playback singer Shankar Saini.  Given that Anand still contends the superlative "Jhanjhariya" tune from Krishna was really his and not Anu Malik's, I figure he must have insisted this producer remember to give him full credit for his composition.  He sadly did not need the (dis)credit for this over-exposed Punjabi number.  It is only the voices of the singers which set this tune marginally above the common place.

Okay, so Champion is not a quality album.  No worries.  One had little musical expectations for this film, whose title bounced around from an original Sunny Deol boxing flick to brother Bobby's launch pad to Bobby's boxing flick.  It ultimately bequeathed itself to this adaptation of Govinda's suspenseful Hatya and Bruce Willis's dreadful Mercury Rising.  We are just hoping that National Award winning director Padam Kumar can overcome the musical shortcomings and deliver a commendable product in this, his first foray into Hindi commercial cinema.  Best of luck!