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It's safe to say Kabir Khan's upcoming espionage action thriller Ek Tha Tiger is the year's most awaited film so far. With box office juggernaut Salman Khan in the lead, paired with one of the most bankable actresses of our time, Katrina Kaif, and Yash Raj Films backing the film, it's no surprise that the hype around Ek Tha Tiger is reaching dizzying heights. The film's soundtrack, with only five original tracks and three remixes, is short and sweet.
It's a compilation soundtrack with three numbers composed by Sohail Sen, one by Sajid-Wajid, one by Julius Packiam, and the remixes by Joshilay. Ek Tha Tiger is a very hummable soundtrack, with an international flavor befitting such a multi-continental thriller.
The album kicks off with Sajid-Wajid's Mashallah, which was also the first promo of the film to go on air. Questionable choreography in the video aside, the song itself has a heavy Middle Eastern influence and along with sensual vocals by Shreya Goshal and Wajid, it's one catchy track. The Arabic interlude, by Benny Dayal, laced into the song only spices it up even more. The best thing about the song is its fusion of the Middle Eastern soul with a modern, urban touch, making it instantly likable. You might even find yourself hitting the "repeat" button.
The Mashallah (Remix) by Joshilay speeds up the original, making it typical fodder for the clubs. Regardless, the original version is far more memorable.
Laapata brings in the Cuban zest into the album. Singers K.K. and Shreya Goshal croon a romantic ballad to Latin American beats but unfortunately can't live up to the music. The vocal parts of the song fall into an unspectacular rut of typical Hindi romantic fare. However, the instrumental interludes is where this song shows glimmers of creativity. Steering clear of the filmy style of singing and adding more of an edge would have made this track that much better. Laapata (Remix) becomes a techno track but is missable.
Sohail Sen injects the Irish/Celtic flavor in full force with Banjaara, sung by Sukhwinder Singh. The track opens energetically and doesn't ever fall. It's not wildly original but the Celtic tune does provide a fun freshness to it. The lyrics are kept simple and Singh keeps the mood upbeat throughout. Another hummable song and let's face it, a little bit of Irish makes anything better.
The Banjaara (Remix) only detracts from the original, severely diluting the playful feel of the song.
The album's best track is, unexpectedly, Saiyaara. Sung by Mohit Chauhan, who really hit a career high with his domination of the soundtrack of Rockstar last year. Chauhan is joined by Taraannum Malik. This one's a soft ballad, starkly different to the peppy mood of the album until now. The song is emotionally heavier, aided by a melodious and more traditional instrumentation. Composer Sohail Sen gets the mood right, creating a song that is intense but not depressing. The grand, sweeping, dramatic music will translate well onscreen with the scale of the film.
The album ends with Tiger's Theme, an instrumental track by Julius Packiam. For an action thriller, this is the only track in the entire album that actually establishes that mood. After a string of romantic numbers, the theme tune is a pleasant departure. It's fast-paced and very typical of an action film.
Expect to hear this tune countless times during the film. The level of speculation around Ek Tha Tiger is at an all time high, with some predicting it will cross not just 100 but 200 crores in box office revenue. Lofty dreams for a big film, but its release on August 15 will decide what actually happens. For now, it's reassuring that the soundtrack of such a hyped film is actually enjoyable. While remixes have become commonplace for marketing a film, it's abundantly clear this album could have done without all three of them. If you listen to just the five original songs, Ek Tha Tiger's album is a winner. It's enough to amp up Tiger fever even more.