Don 2's music could fare much better if the composers Shankar-Ehsaan-and Loy had tried to step out of the prequel's shadow, writes Sukanya Verma.
Mere dushman samajh rahe the mein ab kabhi laut ke na aaonga.
Ek gumnami ka samundar hai, usmein hi jaake doob jaaonga.
Abhi baaki meri kahani hai,
Poori duniya ko jo sunani hai. '
Is that meant for all the Ra.One haters out there? If only. Although the dual texture of the declaration is hard to miss as Shah Rukh Khan, fresh from a lukewarm response to his mega-budgeted superhero flick, stakes another claim to supremacy with his return as Don.
The afore-mentioned intimidating tone, penned by Javed Akhtar, opens the much awaited soundtrack of son Farhan's sequel, Don 2: The Chase Continues. Being a carry-over franchise, it retains majority of its original cast -- SRK, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Om Puri with a couple of additions like Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor.
Will the new, upscale Don with its sleek visuals, wicked attitude and ruthless SRK, put the superstar back in charge? Who knows? Friday has an unstoppable proclivity to surprise or soothe. Meanwhile, his imposing aura looms large as he introduces us to the pitch of his character as well as the film.
Farhan favourites Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are at the helm of the music, which kick starts with the retro, floor-scorching beats of Zara dil ko thaam lo. Other than displaying an unmistakable Aaj ki raat (from Don: The Chase Begins) hangover, Zara, sung in the vibrant voices of Vishal Dadlani and Anusha Mani, has no other failing. If the idea is to make the sound among both films look unified, it works. In terms of novelty, this is a mere reworking albeit a spunky one at that.
Usha Uthup gets in the Shirley Bassey mode with her dynamic rendition of Hai ye maya, a John Barryesque brand of ditty that embellished many a James Bonds. Better known for their restrained arrangement, S-E-L opts for a mash-up of various genres ranging from recurring fragments of the core Don theme to noir and electronic. The remix by DJ Shane Mendonsa packs in elements of rave and exaggerated rhythm to rock a club.
If S-E-L had an obvious reference point in Kalyanji-Anandji's grand score from the 1978 original, which worked fabulously for the remake, Don 2 labors to construct a similar sense of seduction and swagger with the follow-up. Ultimately, they have no alternative but rake in the merits of its source as binding agents that holds it all together. Get an earful of the tries-so-hard Dushman mera and you will know exactly what I mean.
Bollywood is all about massaging King-sized egos and playing up larger-than-life epithets. SRK gets a massive one at that with the custom-creation, The King is back. While it nowhere comes near the uber sophistication of Don Revisited (by Midivial Pundtiz) from the previous OST, The King's homecoming rendered by Sunitha Sarathy is adequately stylish and dramatic. If only this pepped-up Kalyanji-Anandji reworking wouldn't slow down, every now and then, to hit a jarringly maudlin note.
And it may start out like a David Holmes creation but Mujhko pehchanlo is strictly a reconstructed cousin of Main hoon doon interjected with iconic Don quotes in SRK's baritone. Staid KK steps into snazzy Shaan's shoes to resonate the same but doesn't have the instantly infectious quality of the latter. Its remixed, discordant avatar maintains a one-note, dull climate all through.
Electronic sounds dominate this action thriller's score for most part and so the entry of Don Waltz, with its classical hues and refined decorum, is most abrupt and conflicting. Presumably the Waltz sits perfectly in the narrative's context but as a part of the Don compilation, it's almost inappropriate.
With the pressure of comparisons with the original off them, Don 2 offered the composer troika an ideal opportunity to go wild and inventive. Instead they submit a safe, self-conscious and, at the most, serviceable album when the words I would have liked to confer been rocking and rebellious.