A quintessential full-on-Punjabi soundtrack - that's what one expects from the soundtrack of Patiala House which brings Akshay Kumar back as a Punjabi (more than two years after Singh Is Kinng). Of course the difference in sensibilities of Anees Bazmee and Nikhil Advani means that despite Punjabi being a common thread here, the flavour and treatment of the music would be totally different here. This is the reason why when one reads the names Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as the composers here (instead of Pritam) and Anvita Dutt Guptan as the lyricist (instead of Irshad Kamil), it is quite apparent that there would be something different that Patiala House would have to offer.
Well, different Patiala House indeed turns out to be as the first note of 'Laungda Lashkara' is hit. Really, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy crack it instantly by coming up with a chartbuster of a track that doesn't require more than half a listening to be confirmed as a song that has marked a rocking kick-start to the New Year. Pace and rhythm with a melodic element to it make this fusion 'bhangra' mix an instant hit which, if released a fortnight before the New Year, would have played in all the parties then. The song belongs to Jassi who makes a major impression in this foot tapping song that has good support from Mahalakshmi Iyer. Add to that Hard Kaur's rap and some lively picturisation and you know that after the title song of Salaam-E-Ishq, film maker Nikhil Advani has nailed it again with 'Laungda Lashkara' which has an equally enticing 'remix' version to match.
However, this is where the twist in the tale comes. Just when one would have thought that it is a kick start to one great Punjabi celebration comes 'Kyun Main Jaagoon' which brings an altogether different 'sur' to the album. Now with this song, it is the Kal Ho Naa Ho sensibility of Nikhil Advani that one can clearly sense. The pace and flow of the title song in Kal Ho Naa Ho touches upon 'Kyun Main Jaagoon' which is a fantastic track with immense repeat value despite a sad connotation to it. A song that takes a listener through the protagonist's journey who is trying to find life for himself, 'Kyun Main Jaagoon' is a victory for lyricist Anvita Dutt Guptan and singer Shafqat Amanat Ali who does sound like Adnan Sami at places but eventually leaves a mark for himself. The 'remix' version of this song with a slight Western base to it could have been avoided though as one would rather stick to the original.
It is back to celebrations though with 'Rola Pe Gaya' which frankly doesn't catch up with you instantly. At the beginning it sounds like one of those regular Punjabi base tracks that one has been hearing for ages. Even after repeated hearing, this song which sees the coming together of Mahalakshmi Iyer, Hard Kaur, Shankar Mahadevan, Earl and Master Saleem would primarily find an audience for itself once it is seen rather than just heard. Yes, it is pacy and has the rhythm but then it is made primarily for that segment of audience who want their regular dose of 'bhangra-shangra' at the drop of the hat. One does expect Anushka Sharma to get her facial expressions do the talking all over again after 'Ainvayi Ainvayi' in this song that also appears in a 'remix' version.
As is the flow of the album by now, there is a slow track that follows every celebration number and this is what happens at this juncture as well with 'Aadat Hai Voh' following soon after. It is tough to believe that the man behind the mike is Vishal Dadlani as he goes totally low key for this soft-rock number that could have just found a way into Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's Rock On. Heavy duty poetic lyrics by Anvita Dutt Guptan means that this one would primarily find only a niche audience for itself. However, for those who like their soundtrack to be non-Bollywoodish in appeal and carry an urban flavour to them, 'Aadat Hai Voh' could well be a good pick. One waits to see though how the song is picturised on Akshay Kumar because the song gets into a completely different zone which is contrary to his massy image.
There is a comfort zone that he would definitely find himself in with 'Baby When You Talk To Me'. A kind of soft track that reminds one of 'U & I' [De Dana Dan] (it's just the genre which is similar, not the tune), 'Baby When You Talk To Me' is a contemporary love song with new generation singers Suraj Jagan and Alyssa Mendonsa coming behind the mike. One wonders though if lyrics like 'Saaddi Railgaddi Chali' were indeed required in a track like this which otherwise carried a strong Western flavour to it. Having said that, one can't deny the fact that the song hooks on to you in a couple of listening itself and after one has heard the 'remix version' as well, it is difficult to let the sound go.
A song that just about passes muster though is 'Tumba Tumba' which seems to be picturised on Rishi Kapoor and his family. There is an obvious attempt to bring back the family outing kind of atmosphere a la 'Ae Meri Zohrajabeen' [Waqt] (though the situation is different here), especially in the middle portions of this song which again has a Punjabi base to it. Hans Raj Hans sings this number where one does wonder if it would have sounded better with a different singer. Patiala House ends with a devotional track 'Aval Allah' which is the shortest of the lot and has Richa Sharma doing the honours.
Patiala House delivers more than what one expected from the album. While the quest for including Punjabi tracks is met through a definite hit like 'Laungda Lashkara' and a potential success in 'Rola Pe Gaya', what surprises most is soothing tracks like 'Kyun Main Jaagoon' and 'Aadat Hai Voh'. These are the tracks that make Patiala House stand out from the crowd as one didn't quite expect such songs in an Akshay Kumar starrer. Add to that a safe song like 'Baby When You Talk To Me' and it is obvious that listeners could well be picking up the first popular album of the new decade in the Millennium.
Laungda Lashkara, Baby When You Talk To Me, Kyun Main Jaagoon, Aadat Hai Voh, Rola Pe Gaya.