Despite the name Pritam staring from the credit details of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, you are not overtly enthused about what the music would have to offer. Despite the fact that most Milan Luthria films (Kachhe Dhaage, Taxi No. 9211) have boasted of good music, you are not really sure if there would be something similar this time around. Despite the fact that Emraan Hashmi and good music go hand in hand, you wonder whether the good run will continue with Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. There is a singular reason for that. The film belongs to gangster genre which, on paper, leaves very minimal scope for a popular soundtrack. At maximum a song or two goes on to become a chartbuster, as has been evidenced in Company (Khallas) and Shoot Out At Lokhandwala (Ganpat). However, something with lends wholesome popular appeal doesn't quite appear to be on cards. Well, the speculations go out of the window as Pritam along with Irshad Kamil, Nilesh Mishra and Amitabh Bhattacharya prove otherwise and come up with a soundtrack which surprises and entertains.
It's trademark Pritam in the very opening notes of 'Pee Loon Hoto Ki Sargam' which has an 'alaap' going in the background before Mohit Chauhan arrives on scene. A beautiful melody that has chorus adding on that additional zing to the proceedings, 'Pee Loon' is a loveable track that boasts of some poetic lyrics by Irshad Kamil. With a slight sufi touch to it, 'Peen Loon' is the kind of track that Imtiaz Ali would have loved to grab with both hands. In fact if 'mukhda' is a great kick start, 'antara' is even better as Mohit Chauhan gets the boyish charm of Emraan translated through his voice. A good kick start and a winner all the way, the song also arrives in a enjoyable 'remix version' and in the process keeps Emraan's hit record intact.
Set in the 70s, 'Tum Jo Aaye' is a quintessential Bollywood track where Tulsi Kumar leads from the front. Even though Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is also roped in for the song, he arrives only two minutes into the song. Yes, Tulsi does fine in giving the song a kick start but Rahat's entry brings an altogether different dimension to this love song which has elements of 'qawalli' to it. Also, despite the fact that the song is set in the 70s, Pritam doesn't make it sound like a caricature and keeps it true to its theme. Written by Irshad Kamil, this song also arrives in a solo 'reprise version' by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and it is tough not to play it on in a repeat version. Yet another winner in the album.
Remember 'Monica O My Darling' from Apna Desh? The song is presented in its new avtar with Irshad Kamil rechristening it as 'Parda'. While the basic essence of 'Monica' is kept intact, Pritam brings in a new flavour to it by doing his own bit. Rather than a straight forward 'remix version', 'Parda' is presented as an altogether new song especially during the 'antara' part. Sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, Anupam and Rana, this song stays totally glued to the cabaret tracks of the late 60s/early 70s and should definitely make for a very good impact on screen as a part of the narrative.
The song that is timeless though and doesn't just belong to the 70s or the current times is 'I Am In Love'. If 'Pee Loon' reminded one of Imtiaz Ali films, 'I Am In Love' is the kind of track that follows Anurag Basu template. If Life In A Metro is your poison, rest assured Milan Luthria has inspired Pritam good enough to make a melodious track like 'I Am In Love'. A song which you just wish could be played in loop for hours at stretch; it is yet another instance of an 'antara' turning out to be even better than 'mukhda'. Also, Nilesh Mishra brings in a new combination of words despite the song being titled plain and simple 'I Am In Love'.
The song arrives thrice in the album with backup vocals by Dominique and while the solo version by relatively new entrant Karthik is good, it is K.K.'s version that takes the song to a different high altogether. The experience matters here and so does the composer-singer combination which results in yet another song which will definitely find popularity, especially amongst youth. Also, rest assured, the song will find a definite inclusion in all the 'love compilation' albums in months to come. The 'dance version' further adds variety and also justifies the confidence that the makers had in bringing this song multiple times in the album.
'Babu Rao Mast Hai' - Now any college goer will hear these lyrics and would immediately imply what it is trying to say. However, to the credit of the team here (lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya, singer: Mika), there isn't anything risque about the song until and unless someone truly runs his imagination wild and reads between the words. Yes, it is spicy, mischievous and edgy. However, it is more about the escapades of a gangster rather than his love for women and wine which makes it stand apart from 'Ganpat' or 'Khallas'. It takes a couple of listening to grasp the tune but once that happens, it hooks on to you. Given Emraan Hashmi's on-screen image, that of someone who has a naughty streak to him, 'Babu Rao' can find good patronage coming for itself.
As mentioned above, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai throws a surprise, a mighty pleasant one at that. There is no average song in the album as all range from good to very good. Also, there are definite chartbusters like 'Pee Loon Hoto Ki Sargam', 'I Am In Love' and 'Baburao' (if the movie runs, there won't be any stopping this one). In addition, 'Tum Jo Aaye' and 'Parda' add further value to the film's music, hence making it a complete album. Once the initial inhibition about the album offering only gangster score settles down and the fact emerges that there are quite a few love songs on the offing as well, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai should enjoy a long innings ahead.
'Pee Loon Hoto Ki Sargam', 'I Am In Love' (K.K.), Baburao', 'Tum Jo Aaye - Reprise'