The Gordhan Tanwani produced and Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha’ (1998) had some lovely music by Jatin Lalit. Himesh Reshammiya got to compose all the songs in an album for the first time with Tanwani’s ‘Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge’ (2000). Of course, it’s anybody’s guess that leading man Salman Khan had recommended the composer’s name for the film. Prabhu Deva is known for directing hardcore commercial entertainers and the music of his films reflect similar populist sensibilities. It comes as no surprise to see Prabhu collaborating with Himesh who is known for creating music that caters to the masses. ‘Action Jackson’ features Ajay Devgn in an out-and-out action-oriented role and the actor has three heroines – Sonakshi Sinha, Yami Gautam, and Manasvi Mamgai for company. That should give Himesh enough scope to showcase his skills as a composer and belt out dance numbers, romantic songs, and of course, the mandatory item number/s that one has come to expect of such commercial potboilers.
“Keeda“, as stated by the makers, is a tribute to Elvis Presley. The video has Ajay trying to pull off some Elvis Presley moves rather badly, with some dancers dressed as Elvis giving him company. I would refrain from commenting any further on the video but the song, well, by no means is a tribute to the late singer-actor. The song does not remind one of any of the songs performed by Elvis Presley. It has Himesh’s stamp all over it and will remind you of one of Himesh’s own compositions “Pe Pe Pe“ (‘Shortcut Romeo’), which was far more engaging than this one. Shabbir Ahmed’s lyrics are too simple to make any impact. The song sounds extremely dated and the music lacks punch. Elvis would turn in his grave if he knew they were paying a tribute to him with such atrocious songs!
Himesh uses his oft-repeated formula of repeating a particular phrase or the hook line multiple times in “Punjabi Mast“. Ironically, that’s the only thing that works in this song. The phrase ‘Surya Ast’, Punjabi Mast’ is repeated many times and is the only thing one remembers about this song after listening to it. Himesh has successfully used this formula in many of his songs where the hook line got stuck in the listener’s mind because of repeated listening. However, some of these songs were tuneful and the songs as a whole (and not just the hook line) remained etched in one’s mind. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with “Punjabi Mast“ as the basic composition fails the reasonably catchy hook line. Although as many as five male singers are credited with the song, it’s Vineet’s voice that dominates the song. Those who have followed this singer right from his days as a reality show participant would agree that the singer deserves better songs than the ones he has been getting from his mentor Himesh Reshammiya. Neeti Mohan sounds so much like Mamta Sharma that one is tempted to check the credits. The singer, somehow, manages to sound different in each of the songs she sings. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, only time will tell.
Himesh makes a smart move by roping in Shalmali Kholgade for “Chichora Piya“. The singer, with her voice, brings some novelty to this dance number bogged down by a dull, templatized tune. Shalmali drops off her anglicized accent and stylized singing for this number and amazingly, modulates her voice in a manner that would carry the earthiness required for this song. Cringe inducing lyrics like ‘Deti Invitation Yeh Teri Jawaani, Dil Kare Karun Main Tujhse Chhedkhani‘ (your youth gives the invitation to my heart to want to flirt with you) suggest that the song might be staged in a villain’s den! The worst part of the song is, undoubtedly, Himesh screaming “Chichora Piya Chichora Piya“ at the top of his voice.
There is some respite in the form of “Dhoom Dhaam“, a romantic number picturized on Ajay Devgn and Yami Gautam. Himesh’s current favourites Ankit Tiwari and Palak Muchhal have been appropriately cast as vocalists. The song has a pleasant ’90s feel to it, thanks to the wonderful use of dhols. Sameer Anjaan, as usually is the case with him, reuses several phrases written by him in the past. The simple lyrics add to the ‘charm quotient’ of the song but do not have a single path-breaking line that would make one take notice of them.
The worst track of the album is also the one to arrive last. “Gangster Baby“ is the kind of song that Bappi Lahiri would compose when going through a creative bankruptcy. Wait! He has composed many such songs in the last ten years for some B-Grade projects. But, what’s wrong with Himesh? The song sounds like a leftover of the ’80s. Why pick it up? The song is, presumably, a promotional track what with Neeti Mohan mouthing lines like ‘You are my Gangster Baby AJ’ (AJ obviously stands for Action Jackson here) and Ajay chipping in with ‘Me Criminally Good‘, a dialogue from the film. The song, at best, is a poor imitation of the dance numbers that were popular in the ’80s.
“Keeda“, “Chichora Piya“ and “Punjabi Mast“ can also be heard in their remixed versions but you have to lend a very sharp ear to them because they barely sound any different from the originals. The remixed version, of each of the three songs, comes across as indolent with just some additional beats that serve no good. What really baffles one is the fact that “Keeda“ also has a reprise version which has Neeti Mohan getting some lines to sing which Himesh sang in the original.
Each of the four Hindi films directed by Prabhu Deva had some catchy music (in varying degrees) to boast of and the songs still enjoy some good to decent popularity for them. ‘Action Jackson’ turns out to be the weakest soundtrack that any of his films have carried so far. Barring “Dhoom Dhaam“, none of the songs have a repeat value to them and repulse you with the first listening itself.