One has to make himself doubly sure before picking up the album of Robot. Firstly, because there are two soundtrack versions of Robot made available on stands - a Tamil and a Hindi version. Secondly, even in Hindi version, song titles (is it really Swanand Kirkire who has written lyrics here?) go as 'Pagal Anukan', 'Chitty Dance Showcase', 'Arima Arima', 'Boom Boom', 'Kilimanjaro'. Frankly, it is hard to fathom if the songs in the album would indeed be in Hindi. Despite the name A.R. Rahman being associated with Robot, one still plays on the album with some apprehension because it is a classic case of a soundtrack carrying a feeling of being dubbed rather than something like Raavan which carried its own distinct flavour of Hindi as well as Tamil due to the film being a bilingual.
As expected, Robot sees a techno beginning for itself in the first song 'Naina Miley'. The song does carry the kind of sound that Rahman had made popular in the 90s and hence there is a strong sense of deja vu. However, the lyrics really kill the show here with words that go as: 'I Robo Dooba Mai, Pyaar Mein Dooba Re; I am a Super Girl, Teri Pyaari Rapper Girl'. Surprisingly, even though Rahman himself comes behind the mike for this one, there is little impact made. Comparatively, Suzanne's voice does carry a naughty streak to it which does lend an added zing to the song. With English lyrics and background vocals by Kash n Krissy, 'Naina Miley' is the kind of dance number that comes with the potential of looking good more than sounding phenomenal.
'....Neutron Electron Neele Naino Mein Bolo Kitne Hain' - It is hard to imagine that Swanand Kirkire actually sat down to write a song with lyrics like these. Agreed that the film is futuristic with robots and stuff alike but bringing elements like neutrons and electrons is taking things a little too far. On a regular day, a duet coming from Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal would have come with a very good probability of working with the audience. Here, the tune is not bad but still the sense of deja vu due to a heard before tune and some bizarre lyrics don't quite allow the song to make much of an impression.
Thankfully there is some fun in store with 'Chitti Dance Showcase' - an uninterrupted three minute long dance piece with accompanying vocals by Pradeep Vijay, Pravin Mani, Rags and Yogi B. It's a good mix of Western and Indian classical as this dance piece with a heavy thump to it makes for an engaging hear. This one should look really good on screen as it comes with the promise of a robot dancing to the beats.
One doesn't quite remember when was the last time a song had featured Sadhna Sargam. One of the preferred singers for Rahman, she comes along with Hariharan to render a theme track 'Arima Arima' which has - hold your breath - lyrics like 'Yeh Yantrik Maanav Sabse Ooncha'. While one continues to figure out the meaning of 'Arima Arima', more heavy weight words follow that give an impression of some of the literal translation that late lyricist P.K. Mishra used to give to Tamil lyrics of Rahman songs a decade back. Oops, but this one too stays on to be strictly situational.
Ok, this one has to be heard to believe. 'Kilimanjaro ladki parbat ki yaaro.....mohan jadado isko dil mein utaro' - A song like this is bound to turn you speechless. Really, the tune isn't bad here and singing by Javed Ali and Chinmayi is decent too. Still, 'Kilimanjaro'? If one ignores this aspect of the song, it does promise big screen experience.
'Aizak Asimov Kaa Kela Hai Robo, Aizak Newton Ki Leelaa Hai Robo' - Let's not even try to go beyond that. The beats do carry a thump; the sound is on the same lines as 'Chitti Dance Showcase' and the Western zing does promise an electrifying outing once the visuals start making an impression in Robot. However, for that you wait for the movie to arrive and not quite give much attention to what this song by Rags, Yogi B, Madhushree, Kirthi Sagathia and Tanvi Shah has to offer.
Last to come is 'O Naye Insaan' - a theme track about the birth of Robot. A slow piece with a haunting feel to it, this Srinivas D and Khatija Rahman sung track is strictly situational and doesn't carry much shelf life.
Robot disappoints. While Rahman himself hasn't come up with anything exceptional, something which is expected from him film after film; it's the lyrics that are chief culprit here. It is clear that a lot has been lost in translation here, literally so, as the song dubbing Tamil to Hindi just doesn't work here.
'Chitti Dance Showcase'