Going by his best friend Karan Johar’s strategy, Shahrukh Khan has released the music of ‘Raees’ (2017) a day before the release of the movie. With a few big pre-release songs for the album the job of using music to create a pull for the film the job seems to have already been done for the album. The strategy could be to not expose the poor songs on the album or rather to surprise with a few more good numbers revealed on the big screen. We will soon figure that out but rest assured this is a big release of 2017 that has been overdue for over a year with Shahrukh Khan in the lead with Mahira Khan & Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Tons of controversy should also help with the films business at the international box office. Ram Sampath is the primary lead on the music front with Aheer leading some of the songs while the lyrical work on the album is a mix of many artists.
Starting with a remake of a song that is perhaps the most remixed song in Bollywood, Sampath combines forces with the great Javed Akhtar to deliver a modern take of Laila Main Laila. The original Kalyanji-Anandji and Indeevar classic is by far one of the biggest dance tunes in Bollywood ever and thus the competition to better that is a major challenge. But Sampath & Akhtar deliver a really good version of the same unlike any of the million mixes of this song over the years. Pavni Pandey is one of the reasons for this strong song with her really sexy vocal on a rather sweet voice. The alternate lyrics are quite strong and work really well and could have well been a part of the original. The music has a lot of dynamic pace to it with a good mix of instruments with the beat not overpowering it like many remixes. The programming is really good with a lot of breaks that add a good layer of excitement of this number which combined with Sunny Leone’s hot performances makes this one of the best item numbers of recent years.
Zaalima is an upbeat romantic number composed by Aheer (Jam8) in a nice stylish way that is reminiscent with typical Shahrukh Khan romantic hits. It has that performance styling that will deliver well on screen with the usual King Khan charisma. The music is a really nice melody with a traditional touch with Tabla & Dholki beats that have been modernised in a nice way to give it a good overall sound that is soft and ambient to listen to. Combine the melody with the melodic delivery of Arijit Singh & Harshdeep Kaur and you definitely have a hit here. Singh’s vocals are the highlight of the song with a lot of masti and personality to it. Lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya are very nicely written with a good amount of simplicity to it. The chorus is very catchy and easy to sing along to and that adds a lot to the songs overall memorability. A great song overall and is thus an easy big hit.
Udi Udi Jaye is a true Gujarati flavoured celebratory song. Composed in a dandiya style, the music by Sampath resounds in the true style of traditional Gujarati instruments including Kachhi dhol and sarangi strings amongst an ensemble of other modern supporting instruments. The song arrangement is idle for dandiya and kite flying festivals of Gujarat. It has a good pace & musical progression and supported by decently well written lyrics by Javed Akhtar. The chorus is very catchy and works well for making this a perfect dandiya for couples with the love angle to it. The most exciting part of the song are the vocals by Sukhwinder Singh & Bhoomi Trivedi. The balance of fun and love in their voices are well balanced & delivered to note perfect levels. Traditional vocals by Karsan Das Sagathia is very well executed as well. A good job to all in this song and a great one to listen to.
Mika Singh takes on Dhingana next with the composition of Jam8 again along with Omgrown. A true street smart song it has the musical cross between Ganesh Chaturthi and Holi music but the lyrics by Mayur Puri are about attitude and feeling like a king of the land & business. Mika Singh’s delivery has that power and attitude in his voice to make the lyrics work for this song. The song is very situational and is about Khan’s character ruling the streets with his business and thus the lyrics are not really commercial and don’t work as a standalone song with music that sounds like many others. Not a great song as such, one that is easy to skip half way through the song.
Ram Sampath gets on the mic himself singing his own lyrics to his own music on Enu Naam Che Raees. The song is rather cheesy as a title song and talks completely about the character in a rather celebratory tone. The music tries to go from traditional Gujarati to electronic high end. The Gujarati lyrics & vocals are nothing great to go by either with really average work from Sampath on both. This is purely a background song in the film for a time-lapse heroic shot in the film for the great Khan of Bollywood but not a song worth listening to on the album.
Saanson Ke features the deep & soulful voice of KK for a sad, almost climax style song that talks about the break of relationship between a man and life. It talks about the challenges of life and not figuring out what it really wants from one and then leading to a tragic ending. Written by Manoj Yadav, the lyrics have a deep story to tell that combined with KK’s voice has a strong emotional impact. Music by Jam8 uses a great orchestra execution with strings & piano leading the group maintaining a strong intensity throughout. This is a good song but it’s rare a sad song gets strong credible airplay and fame which this might not get either.
Sampath delivers another Gujarati song with Ghammar Ghammar with traditional regional lyrics. Roshan Rathod’s vocals are strong but very karaoke style as if performed on stage at a garba nite. The electronic music executing is rather dull yet again and sounds like Sampath is trying too hard to take traditional music to the next level with his modern take but it doesn’t sound like it has worked.
The concept of releasing the album on the eve of the film release might have worked for ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ (2016) as a marketing tactic since it has packed with amazing songs throughout but for Shahrukh Khan’s ‘Raees’ it sounds like a way of hiding average musical work instead. The top three songs were released as part of the promotions before but the rest of the songs are quite average and thus it seems like a trick to hide them so as not to impact the films box office collections. The three top songs will surely help what should already be a big film on its first two weeks run at the box office, the others are just situational filler and background songs in the movie. Music by Jam8 and Ram Sampath is good in some songs while average in others. Zaalima is a big romantic song with Arijit Singh & Harshdeep Kaur doing an impressive job while Laila Main Laila should do well going against Haseeno Ka Deewana item song in ‘Kaabil’ (2017). Sukhwinder Singh and Bhoomi Trivedi impress in Udi Udi Jaye as well. Overall the album doesn’t pack a punch and even with a strong Gujarati touch to it, it does not do justice to a big Shahrukh Khan release.
Overall Rating – 7/10