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Music Review: The Dirty Picture

Music Review: The Dirty Picture

November 08, 2011

An album that seeks to recreate the outlandishness of the 80s but doesn't quite make it.

This is a review of the soundtrack.

Click HERE for a review of the movie.

Camp is back! And who else but producer Ekta Kapoor could be expected to bring it back with such unashamed gusto, borderline sleaze and actually make it look like one of the more intriguing films of the year? The Dirty Picture, directed by Milan Luthria, stars Vidya Balan as the controversially raunchy actress Silk Smitha, along with Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor.

The film dives back into the 1980s and early 90s - as the trailer points out abandoning any kind of subtlety - to an era when Hindi cinema was at its campiest and most forgettable. This "period film" about the titillating 80s with Balan at the helm has aroused (had to go there) plenty of interest.  However, the soundtrack, composed by Vishal-Shekhar with lyrics by Rajat Aroraa, doesn't get close to tapping into the immense potential of reliving the cheesy music of that era.

Those who have missed the kitschy pleasures of Bappi Lahiri (let’s admit it, there are many out there), will rejoice at the first song – Ooh La La. Joined by Shreya Goshal, this song epitomizes the cheap, cheesy “romantic” dance songs from the decade no one talks about. It’s done very tongue-in-cheek, with plenty of heavy panting, retro beats, and lots of oomph by both Lahiri and Goshal. As reluctant as we may be to admit the 80s existed, this song's infectiousness will make it into a guilty pleasure to reminisce how Hindi cinema survived through outlandish costumes and dance moves, lemons rolling down hills, random assortment of clay pots, giant drums and anything else that should not have been part of the cinema.

The Dhol Mix of the same song forces Punjabi beats into an already solid song and composition and could have been done without.

After a rollicking first track, the album slips into the ordinary. Ishq Sufiyana is as predictable and plain a love song that could have been created. After such a promising start to the album this track, sung by Kamal Khan and then by Sunidhi Chauhan in the Female version is pleasant but doesn't do much for the mood established by the first song.

Sunidhi Chauhan makes another appearance with Honeymoon Ki Raat, a track which tries to recreate the disco and synth dance numbers that characterized many films from that era. The song is brimming with suggestive lyrics and sounds very much like a track meant for a seedy nightclub. We can also imagine Balan's character a shiny, sequined, revealing dress gyrating provocatively. This song doesn't recreate the 80s as effectively as the first song but is a decent effort in that direction.

The rather short album ends with Twinkle Twinkle, another song that relishes the double entendres and raunch of the era. Shreya Ghoshal jumps right into this one by channeling her sultry side. Rana Mazumder comes in later with a R.D.Burman impersonation that makes the song sound like a cheap knockoff of 'Mehbooba O Mehbooba,' and deliberately so. The lyrics - trying to push many boundaries of decency - seem to overcompensate for a composition that never really catches on.

How fitting that the best song from an album harking back to the 80s is the only one sung by Bappi Lahiri. Vishal-Shekhar try to give the rest of the album that garish feel of the 80s but really only succeed with 'Ooh La La.' The rest of the songs might become dependent on their visualization to be effective. However, they don't have much effect or repeat value just by listening to them. The soundtrack of The Dirty Picture isn't nearly as fun as you would hope from such a premise. Here's hoping the film itself does more.

Listen to the album here

1 Comment

    08.11.11 10:22 PM
    I like the way you have written the article PULKIT. The film DIRTY PICTURE is not about the music. This picture is about only one thing SEX, I should have wrote sleaze and sex.

    This kind of films have certain kind of audience and they don't go for music and sound track. When I watched SHOLEY first time, I thought wow, not because of action but only one thing "HELEN".
    This is when I realised there is god bearing in mind, I was only 12 years old.

    The song Mehbooba O Mehbooba even in SHOLEY doesn't fit with the music proprely but that's small price to pay to watch HELEN dance to it.

    If you have chosen better picture then not having nice love song is the stoning offence of the music director in the question, but for this film we can ignore this without making any fuss.

    Comon we are all grown men and we don't need to tell our spouse that we are watching this for nice music.

    Damn I have to clean the keyboard after watching the trailer and lemmons rolling, Just kidding. Happy dreams PULKIT.


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