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Music Review: Patiala House

Music Review: Patiala House

February 09, 2011

It's a hip, Punjabi album to the core but does the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Nikhil Advani magic work once again?

Akshay Kumar has long been championing the musical talents of NRI and non-Indian artists in Hindi films. With his latest release, Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House, Kumar once again associates with an international array of artists for the music. The soundtrack is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; their loyal partnership with Advani in the past has delivered the peppy and varied music of Kal Ho Naa Ho, Salaam-E-Ishq and Chandni Chowk to China. With Patiala House, the team – with lyricist Anvita Dutt – once again aims for a hip soundtrack that comes out as good but not as impressive as their previous outings. Regardless, it has a couple of standout numbers, while the rest are worth listening to once.

The album kicks off with Laung Da Lashkara, sung by Jassi, Hard Kaur and Mahalakshmi Iyer. It’s the designated chartbuster of the album and has a catchy tune and Jassi and Iyer lend soothing vocals to the duet parts of the song while Kaur adds the rap element, which at times seems out of place. The track has quickly become a hit due to the promos but still leaves a bit to be desired, and the synthesizer effect on the vocal leads seems unnecessary. The Remix by Harry Anand is a good fit for the club scene.

Kyun Main Jaagoon by Shafqat Ali Khan sounds like a mix between the title song of Kal Ho Naa Ho and ‘Tanhaiyee’ from Dil Chahta Hai, yet fails to carry the emotional resonance and strength of either of those previous songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. It is designed as the quintessential “sad song” and, going by the promos, will be used on a montage showing the protagonist’s despair. The Unplugged version of the song is also quite similar. However, the Remix by Asian Dub Foundation gives the song an entirely new lease of life. The percussion fusion adds a dynamic element to somber lyrics and makes for a much more innovative version of the song.

Rola Pe Gaya is a Bhangra fusion track, combining club beats with more traditional folk sounds. Sung by an ensemble of Mahalakshmi Iyer, Hard Kaur, Shankar Mahadevan, Earl and Master Saleem, this song is catchier than the album's flagship track ‘Laung Da Lashkara.’ It offers diverse moods and sounds all packaged into a fast-paced dance number. For the situation in the film, the song is designed to show parallel celebrations in the same house – the traditional wedding party with the parents and families running simultaneously with the much more youthful and faster beats for the nightclub-esque party in the basement. The Remix by Harry Anand is another great thumping dance track.

The best track in the album is actually one of its slowest and most mellow. Aadat Hai Voh has Vishal Dadlani singing in a way that he’s never done before, which makes this a truly unique romantic song. The song has a gentle guitar riff throughout building to a soft rock chorus. Dadlani’s vocals and the rhythmically simple and effective lyrics by Dutt make you want to hit the play button repeatedly.

Next is Baby When You Talk To Me by Suraj Jagan and Alyssa Mendonsa. It’s a youthful love song with a peppy beat that reminds of the increasingly similar love ballads composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar and Pritam these days. Besides the solo refrains by Mendonsa, the song is quite ordinary for the lack of originality in its music. The Remix by Shantanu Hudlikar adds a zestier foot-tapping beat to the song, lifting it from its rather tepid previous version.

Hans Raj Hans makes a return to playback singing with Tumba Tumba. The song has an old-world feel to it, affected greatly by Hans's vocals. The singing and music are a refreshing departure from the other very urban rap-infused Punjabi numbers, and in this lays the song’s greatest strength. It’s a patriarch’s moment of fun, singing about his family. With Rishi Kapoor in that role, it should be a treat to watch too.

The last track in the album is Aval Allah by Richa Sharma. It’s a devotional song that is given grace and serenity by Sharma’s vocals.

The soundtrack of Patiala House doesn’t quite live up the memorable tracks of Kal Ho Naa Ho or even Salaam-E-Ishq but it’s still a good effort by the team and delivers Punjabi musical flavors in abundance, keeping well with the theme of the film. 

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