Music Review: ‘Happy New Year’

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The great King Khan is back with another home production for Diwali with one of the biggest star casts this year. Produced by Gauri Khan and directed by Farah Khan, ��Happy New Year�۪ (2014) is one of the biggest releases this year starring Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff and Shah Rukh Khan himself taking the lead. This action – comedy heist film that looks like a copy of Hollywood hit ��Ocean�۪s Eleven�۪ (2001). Super glamorous productions with all the glitz in the world makes the trailers look really good but also puts equal pressure on the music production of the film to try and keep up the expectations from this film. Already expected to be one of the biggest grossers on the box office, the music of the film will play a major role in selling out shows at every cinema around the world and Vishal-Shekhar have been roped in for this task. Rightly so, the music duo are on a high with the released of ��Bang Bang�۪ (2014) this year and having worked with Farah Khan previously on ��Om Shanti Om�۪ (2007) they are here to recreate the magic with the help of Irshad Kamil doing the lyrics.

Indiawaale - 'Happy New Year'

The three most powerful and dynamic male voices in Bollywood come together in Indiawaale. Vishal Dadlani with KK and Shankar Mahadevan sound like a trio boy band with their perfect harmonies performing together on stage in a song that reminds one of Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe. This song has an edge over other party songs with the whole patriotic feel and big up for Indians around the world which will help make it an instant radio, YouTube and TV hit. The big production stage performance for the song will make it a visual spectacle to see on the big screen as well. Technically the music production is quite crisp and the arrangement is well laid out and follows the layout that is easy to sing along to with simplistic lyrics by Kamil making it a good candidate for becoming the next big hit of the year.

Manwa Laage is a cute romantic rural ballad in the voice of the most romantic voices in Bollywood with Shreya Ghoshal and Arijit Singh taking a lead on the mic. Their vocal delivery steals the show with their perfectly emotive soft melodic touch. The lyrics by Kamil are very good for the setting of the song with great poetry that speaks the language of the heart in a very subtle way and magnifies the excitement of the heart on falling in love. Furthermore the musical arrangement by Vishal-Shekhar has been done in a gorgeous way with great instrumentation to give it a nice village vibe that has not been heard in Bollywood for a very long time. This is a top easy listening song and an easy hit from the album that is worth a listen.

Sukhwinder Singh has been missing from the Bollywood scene for a few months now and is back thanks to Vishal-Shekhar deciding to go to the streets for a party with a Satakli. The chorus of Radhe Radhe Jai Kahaniyalal ki will make this an apt song for the next Janmashtami street party across the streets in India. Singh�۪s vocals are good but Vishal-Shekhar hide them a little behind the instruments on the song. The strong beats and trumpets power throughout the song with well-done chorus vocals that work as layers of Singh�۪s vocals. The lyrics are average and not that one will take notice off. Satakli is an average song overall.

Lovely in the voice of Kanika Kapoor, Ravindra Upadhyay, Miraya Varma and Fateh is an urban mash up in pure UK style. With contributions and beat pattern from our awesome UK boy Dr. Zeus collaborating with Vishal-Shekhar there is a lot of familiarity with the song for the UK listeners. Unfortunately the song is quite dull overall. The lyrics are the biggest drawback and senseless at points thanks to the mediocre work by Jiwan Mann & Kumaar. The mash up of urban and Bhangra beats is the only saving grace of the song as even the vocals are quite average.

'Happy New Year' - 'Manwa Laage'
Manwa Laage - 'Happy New Year'

Coming to the forefront from doing backing vocals in Indiawaale, Neeti Mohan takes the lead in World Dance Medley starting the song with a gorgeous rendition of Manwa Laage before the song graduates into Satakli with Sukhwinder Singh followed by a voice over by Shahrukh Khan who talks about his love for India even beyond all its negatives. The real show stealer comes next with Vishal doing a really high pitch vocal before rolling this mash up into Indiawale. This version of Indiawale is quite suspenseful and signals its usage in the climax of the film. The lyrics are different than the original as well and Irshad puts more power and emphasis to these new verses fitting with the climax sequence. A decent medley overall of the songs so far and the placement of the medley is quite interesting considering it smack bang in the middle instead of being in the end.

Mika Singh takes centre stage next with Nonsense Ki Night. The song is nothing but pure nonsense with what sounds like a very cleverly written song with English and Hindi words alternating. Moreover, Vishal-Shekhar use the opportunity to highlight how Indians translate Hindi sentences into English sentences in a literal word to word translation making it sound really funny. The purpose is served making this a really comical song but to really get the humour one has to listen to it a few times and that too very carefully. The arrangement is quite good and fun set to a soft dance beat with Indian music instrument elements cleverly thrown in. Mika does a good job with the tongue twister lyrics but the focus is totally on the lyrics that have been brilliantly put together by Vishal-Shekhar and Farah Khan herself. The song is designed for cheeky listeners looking for a laugh or taxi drivers worldwide and thus might work well on radio plays.

Sunidhi Chauhan is heard in her best spirits and really well recorded by Vishal-Shekhar on Dance Like A Chammiya. Her vocals are really soft compared to her usual style but have the same oomph that she is simply amazing at delivering. The song has a bit of seduction to it and can be classified as a modern day item number. The composition goes from a club to a Mumbai lavni style dance sequence with Vishal doing the supporting vocals. The lyrics by Irshad are naughty and fun laid down nicely on a dance tune. At parts in the music one can hear references to Sheila Ki Jawani and the song fits in the same league as that superhit song.

Sharabi is in the voices of Manj & Nindy Kaur from RDB (now MANJ Musik) now doing their solo thing along with Vishal and Shekhar on the backing vocals. In the midst of a legal break-up of the band, the husband-wife work well under Vishal-Shekhar�۪s musical direction. The fully Punjabi song is apt for Manj who delivers it well with a great composition from the duo Vishal-Shekhar. The beat patter is really interesting and really funky. Adding layers of Punjabi instruments and dhol beats gives this song the perfect vibes to make it an instant hit at weddings across India with the wedding season coming up. The drunk Punjabis would love shaking their booty�۪s to this song as the lyrics by Vishal-Shekhar and Kumaar are quite cool for an full Punjabi song.

Indiawale (Electronic) is exactly what the same suggests ��� an electronic remix of the original. The mix is really cool and a sure shot hit with DJs around the world to break the dance floors open to funky moves and high jumps with this remix. The mix adds a lot more class to the original and is thus a great remix.

The Heist (Instrumental) is composed by John Stewart and is a good instrumental background piece that sounds perfect for a big heist film sequence. With inspirations in ��Ocean�۪s Eleven�۪ and the animated Pink Panther show this piece is a good arrangement that serves the purpose and should sound good in the movie as the gang goes around with their heist in the film. As a standalone track it is nothing super to listen to as sounds like other background scores in the same category.

Deepika Padukone in 'Happy New Year'
Deepika Padukone in 'Happy New Year'

Kamlee is the Punjabi version of Lovely and what sounds like the original Dr. Zeus version that must have been adapted by Vishal-Shekhar for the film. This version with the same singers works much better and a lot cooler. The lyrics by Jiwan Mann finally make sense and are perfectly delivered by Kanika Kapoor who sounds really good and in her comfort zone with the Punjabi lyrics. The rap is very cool to and suits the overall song making this song an easy winner over the dull Lovely song earlier.

FINAL WORD

With a range of song for a massive 11 track album it is clear that the directive from Shahrukh Khan and Farah Khan to Vishal-Shekhar has been to make a meaty album that will make tons of money for the team via album sales. With this many songs and variety of different genres the music duo do deliver to the requirement but with more average than top-class songs. The fully commercial nature of the album gives them limited room to experiment and try something new so they stick to the basics with what they know would work nonetheless and thus rick sounding clich̩d in some of the songs. Overall they still manage to create the big tunes and good songs with a nice balance but their talent and capabilities are not rightly represented by this ��Happy New Year�۪ OST. Indiawaale and Manwa Laage are the only two really good songs while Dance Like a Chammiya and Satakli are songs for the masses with good vocal performances on all songs. The album also packs in a good taste of the UK music scene with the help of Dr. Zeus and ex-RDB crew Manj & Nindy who deliver the Punjabi flavour on Kamlee and Sharabi respectively. Overall for Shah Rukh Khan fans this album will be disappointing as it does not have the quality and personality of his previous films but it works for the current commercial music market.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating ��� 7/10

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