‘New York’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ – the two films Kabir Khan and Pritam collaborated on, had a couple of hummable numbers but overall, both the soundtracks left a lot to be desired. The soundtrack of ‘Phantom’ was put together by Pritam after Kabir had finished shooting the film. That makes one further apprehensive about this soundtrack which is expected to carry a situational appeal.
A foot tapping number, with a Middle Eastern sound, arrives in the form of “Afghan Jalebi (Ya Baba)”. You might not take a liking to this unusually crafted number in the first hearing but after listening to it for a couple of times, it grows on you and how! This Asrar (Syed Asrar Shah) sung track turns out to be a highly addictive with its groovy arrangements and pulsating rhythm, making you listen to it again and again. The track has three more versions.
“Afghan Jalebi (Film Version)” is almost the same as the original with the only difference being is that it has been sung by another singer. Interestingly, Akhtar Channal, who sings the film version, sounds like Asrar, who has lent his voice to the original. As “Afghan Jalebi (Dumbek Version)” arrives, you realize that the record label has goofed up with the credits. Akhtar Chanal Zahri has been credited as the vocalist on this track and he does not sound like anything like the singer whose voice we heard in the film version. One assumes that the original and the film version have been rendered by Asrar. Akhtar Chanal Zahri has a lovely voice texture which works brilliantly for the ‘Dumbek Version’ which has some pleasant tabla and dumbek (a percussion instrument) beats. The fourth version “Ya Baba (Fitna Farebi)” has been sung by Nakash Aziz and he seems much more in control of his voice than some of his earlier songs in which his voice came across as squeaky.
Some minimally used techno beats and an ambient sound lend a haunting feel to “Saware”, a romantic number that envelopes you in its breezy melody. As the track moves forward, the haunting feel makes way for a lively and somewhat dreamy mood. Pritam has struck a beautiful balance between a lively and a little melancholic feel. The track is consistently engaging and makes a strong impression with the first listening itself. Arijit Singh’s soulful rendition and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s heartfelt lyrics accentuate the beauty of this Pritam’s composition.
After “Afghan Jalebi”, one gets to hear a plethora of Middle Eastern sounds, evident by the use of string instruments like oud and rabaab, in “Nachda”, sung by Shahid Mallya. The lyrics (Kausar Munir), which are a mix of Hindi and Punjabi words, have a philosophical bend to them. Shahid Mallya gets a song worth his talent after quite some time and he impresses yet again. “Nachda” is the most intense track of the soundtrack which boasts of an evocative tune complimenting a dark background.
‘Phantom’ is a short but highly impressive soundtrack in which each and every track stands out. “Afghan Jalebi”, the promotional track, is bound to serve its purpose and the rest of the songs (“Saware” and “Nachda”) are expected to fit within the narrative. ‘Phantom’ marks the most fruitful collaboration between Kabir Khan and Pritam.