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Raees Music Review

In spite of creating good music consistently, Ram Sampath continues to remain one of the most underrated music composers in the Hindi film industry. One was hoping to ‘Raees’, one of the biggest releases this year to put him in the spotlight but Ram, who was signed in as the solo music composer/background scorer for the film, had to make space for JAM8 and the three songs that the A&R outfit had put together for the film. Given his repertoire, one still expects Sampath to leave a mark in this album consisting of seven tracks.

Ram Sampath brings new age programming and an appropriately arduous orchestral sound to the Kalyanji-Anandji composed “Laila O Laila” (‘Qurbani’) in “Laila Main Laila”. Though Javed Akhtar adds some new lines in the song which was originally written by Indeevar, Ram does not make any changes to the original tune. However, the kind of production value and vocal arrangement he brings to the table make the song sound fresh despite it being the original composition largely being the same. Pawni Pandey, who has a couple of songs to her credit in the past, leaves no stone unturned to make sure that this turns out to be her breakthrough number.

“Zaalima”, composed and produced by JAM8, an artiste management company founded by music director Pritam, is reminiscent of some of the songs composed by Pritam half a decade back. In fact, this is the kind of song you envision being picturised on Emraan Hashmi in a Vishesh Films’ venture. A tuneful song, which does not boast of any novelty, this one should work fairly well as a promotional tool. JAM8 (then known as J.A.M) had earlier composed and produced two songs for ‘1920 London’ and the composers (Kaushik-Akash) were given due credit. Here, the name of the composer/s is oddly missing.

One finally gets to listen to a Ram Sampath original in the form of “Udi Udi Jaaye”, a song that carries the flavour of Garba, a dance form which originated in Gujarat, the state which the film is set in. A seasoned performer like Sukhwinder Singh and a relative newcomer Bhoomi Trivedi (“Ram Chahe Leela” – Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela) pair up for the song and lend exuberance to this song which has an infectious energy and an addictive tune to it. After listening to the last two tracks, which sounded like standalone/promotional pieces, you get a feel of the film as the song, in a way, represents the milieu of the film.

Barring a short piece, played on horns, that Aheer (JAM8) seemed to have borrowed from the background score, “Dhingana” sounds like many of those dance numbers from gangster films set in Mumbai. There is no hint of Gujarat or something that would suggest the presence of the character played by Shah Rukh Khan in the film. A templatized song that the makers might have picked from JAM8’s music bank, “Dhingana” is a noisy track that adds nothing to the soundscape of the film.

In “Enu Naam Che Raees”, the choral portions (in which the singers sing in Gujarati) wonderfully compliment the appropriately high-handed rendition by Ram Sampath. The Gujarati element weaves in seamlessly with the dark theme within which the song operates in. The track, which has a length of three minutes, should sound even better with visuals. The Hindi lyrics (Ram Sampath) could have been better.

“Saanson Ke”, composed by Aheer (JAM8), sounds like a poor cousin of Pritam’s “Janam Janam” (‘Dilwale’). The song is expected to arrive at a point where Raees (Shah Rukh Khan) and Aasiya (Mahira Khan) are going through a rough patch in their relationship. Despite the evocative rendition by KK and a mildly haunting background, both of which contribute towards the melancholic feel in the song, the song fails to strike a chord with you because of its lacklustre tune and a heard-before feel.

Ram Sampath ends the album on a high with “Ghammar Ghammar”, a recreated version of a traditional Gujarati folk song. Roshan Rathod’s power packed voice and some mettlesome arrangements give you an adrenaline rush. The original tune, itself, is extremely catchy and the way gives it a new spin is commendable.  Though the track lasts for less than three minutes, it packs a solid punch.

With the kind of contribution Ram Sampath has made to the soundtrack, one cannot help but wonder as to why he has not been entrusted with the responsibility of composing music for the entire album. The three songs that JAM8 have put together are far from being exemplary and after listening to the tracks composed by Ram Sampath, one wishes the album had a couple of originals more by him.

Rating: 3/5

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