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Koimoi rating: 4/5 stars
First things first. The music of Ra.One has all the elements to make it a commercial hit. Obviously, director Anubhav Sinha and the music composer duo of Vishal-Shekhar have applied their minds and skill to understand what works for the audience. Hence not only are the songs almost flawless, even the mastering of the song has been amazingly done. Just like Shah Rukh Khan’s superhero character in the movie, the sound of Ra.One has a sparkly feel to it — it is clear, crisp and punchy!
In some places, the sound has elements of a Rahman-like feel. However, the songs are very well planned and executed, be it in structure or form.
The Ra.One album has 14 tracks in all, including the theme tracks and 4 versions of the song Chammak Challo, which includes the film version, the international version and two remixes: one by Abhijit Vaghani and another by DJ Khushi. DJ Khushi’s version is more commercial and is the one which will be extensively used in clubs. Abhijit Vaghani’s version of Chammak Challo is more Punjabi. The album also has two versions of a track called Criminal. The best thing about the album is that it gives club DJs playing Bollywood more options to choose from.
Let’s now look at each of the songs in detail:
Chammak Challo – Ra.One
Chammak Challo is the main track of Ra.One and the film version is the first track of the album. The song cashes in on the Akon-ism in India post Smack That; in fact the chorus sounds a little bit like the international hit. No doubt that Akon is big in India and hip hop as a genre is catching up. The hip hop industry sees Bollywood as a good market. Who would have thought in the ’90s that Snoop Dogg would do a Singh is Kinng for Bollywood, but it’s all happening now! Getting back to the point, full marks to Akon for his wonderful Hindi, yes, he sings Chammak Challo in Hindi. He is, in fact, better than Remo. The song has good use of Vocoder and other classic ‘Akon-ic’ effects which also includes the “Oh oo oo” which is what Akon is known for. The song also has Tamil lyrics for its bridge, a smart move to be pan India and inclusive. I could smell a hit from a distance since the first time I heard Chammak Challo. In fact, the three remixes of the song, also included in the album, add value to the album from a commercial point of view.
Dildara – Ra.One
Track 2 of the album called Dildara is a romantic and happy song with a reggae-ish and hip-hop feel. The song has a constant foot-tapping tempo. Shafqat Amanat Ali’s warm vocals add the Sufi element. The combination with John Lennon’s Stand By Me is very well done. Good arrangement.
Ra.One Music Review – Criminal
Track 3 is Criminal and starts off in a very Akon-like fashion. The synth has a trance-like feel which is then taken over by the dhool and the use of mild vocoder. The great punch, energy and feel of this song makes it an instant club hit. This kind of hit can most certainly get you grooving in the club. My prediction, the next big club hits are going to be the two songs Chammak Challo and Criminal!
Ra.One Music Review – Bhare Naina
Track 4 is Bhare Naina starts off with a dark feel, well provided by the Prague Philharmonic Choir, who are simply excellent! The song then fades into a smooth, intoxicating melodic transition and blends with the tablas. The vocals are sensual, and at the same time convey a feeling of deep longing. The song then shifts to a more rock-like feel with the distorted guitar pieces rendered by Warren Mendonsa (who is also one of the recording engineers for the album) along with rhythm change. Full marks to the vocalist Nandani Srikar and the Prague Philharmonic Choir conductor Nic Raine, who is responsible for taking the song to another level with respect to feel, intensity and skill.
Ra.One Music Review – Right By Your Side
Track 5 is Right By Your Side. It is very rock and roll, has a twisty rock and roll groove, and is fast and peppy. It could be a blues busting song!
Ra.One Music Review – Raftaarein
Track 6 is Raftaarein which has a groove which resembles a running train in full throttle. The vocals and the overall feel of the song are like that of an R.D. Burman song. The horn players — namely Kishor Sodha, Joe Monserate and Ivan Muns — have done a great job. Don’t miss the interesting panning in this song! It is contemporary, yet very RD!
Ra.One Music Review – Jiya Mora Ghabraaye
The next song is called Jiya Mora Ghabraaye. It is full of various elements of electronic music, has influences of psychedelic trance and dubstep. The song is a little bit grungy in a digital way. The vocals by Sukhwinder Singh and Vishal-Dadlani are great. Overall, it is a good composition!
The rest of the songs are different remixes and theme songs, going by chronology. The theme songs are a real treat to a music lover of evolved taste as they has been conducted, arranged and executed very well by Nick Raine (conductor), John Swert (arranger) and brilliantly performed by the Prague Philharmonic Choir. The theme music makes you curious about how it would be used in the film. Good art.
Ra.One Music Review – Verdict
Overall, Ra.One is a massy album with emphasis on cashing in on the new found hip hop mania. It is music which is custom-made for delivering club hits. The songs are lyrically simple, good compositions with some great production value. A good buy for some musical satisfaction. Go for it!
Vivek V Warrier is a keen listener of music, has worked as a sound recordist and currently writes, acts and sings for the internet comedy show Jay Hind.