Sultan Music Review

With ‘Sultan’ being one of the biggest films of the year in terms of scale, magnitude and expectations, one hopes that the sports drama, which also has a love story entwined to it, has a good soundtrack to boast of. All the films (‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’ and ‘Gunday’) directed by Ali Abbas Zafar had some good music and the songs enjoy widespread popularity till date. Though Sohail Sen did not let down Zafar with his compositions in each of the two films, the director decided to work with the more experienced Vishal and Shekhar for his big budget extravaganza. Irshad Kamil, who wrote the lyrics for the director’s earlier films, teams up with him for the third time.

The soundtrack opens with a super catchy “Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai”, that will please not only hardcore Salman Khan fans but also discerning listeners who like dance numbers to carry some weight as far as the composition and the lyrics are concerned. While Vishal and Shekhar compose a tune that makes an impression in the very first listening, Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are peppered with playful banter that adds to the fun. Also, the Haryanvi touch is brought out nicely by Vishal and Badshah, the male vocalists and Ishita, who chips in with a few Haryanvi lines. Shalmali Kholgade adds a bit of sensuousness in parts which makes this fun track all the more interesting.

Whether Arijit Singh’s (his voice was reportedly ousted from this song) voice would have been suited “Jag Ghoomeya” more than Rahat Ali Khan’s voice does is something which can be debated upon. Rahat’s voice, which has an old world charm to it, works very well for this romantic number which has a folk texture to it. The track hugely benefits from some exquisitely spread arrangements consisting mostly of Indian instruments. The folk inspired ‘mukhda’ is nice but sounds a bit familiar. But, Vishal and Shekhar create a stunning ‘antara’ portion which takes the song to a different level altogether. The female version gets a nice laidback touch courtesy Neha Bhasin who has also sung (“Dhunki” – ‘Mere Brother Ki Dulhan’, “Assalam-E-Ishqum” – ‘Gunday’) for the director’s earlier films.

“440 Volt” has the kind of tune and lyrics which one associates with several songs in the 90s. That is not a bad thing though as Vishal and Shekhar incorporate the 90s sound with some appropriately zingy arrangements and an engaging tune which would make it hard for you to dismiss this song. Irshad Kamil’s smart alec writing serves well for this track in which Sultan (Salman Khan) expresses his feelings for Aarfa (Anushka Sharma) in a street-smart manner. Mika, as always, ups the fun quotient with his unique style of singing.

“Sultan”, the title track, does complete justice to the larger than life persona of Salman Khan and the might of the titular character that he will be seen portraying. “Upar allah neeche dharti beech mein tera junoon” – these lines written by Irshad Kamil give one a good idea about Sultan and the kind of dedication he has towards the sport of wrestling. The electric guitar riff, used dominantly in the song, serves as a wonderful accompaniment. The music, the lyrics and the vocals (Sukhwinder Singh and Shadab Faridi) – all merge together seamlessly to create an inspirational track that does not fail to rouse emotions within you.

The brass band sound that one hears in the beginning of “Sachi Muchi” gives one an impression of it being a wedding/celebratory number. However, the track soon turns into a country-style track with a free flowing tune and light lyrics indicating of romantic banter between the two lead characters. Certain portions of the song faintly remind one of “Slow Motion Angreza” (‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’) but that comes across as a feeble resemblance. The sound of the mandolin and the mouth organ that lingers throughout the song contributes vastly towards the country music led track.

Vishal and Shekhar merge the qawalli based structure and contemporary arrangements very well in “Bulleya”, sung by Papon. Irshad Kamil pours his heart into writing some heart wrenching lines for this melancholic number which talks about love and has a devotional touch to it. The composers seemed heavily inspired from some popular traditional qawallis, the influence of which one comes across in this track, but they make sure this composition sounds different from them. Though the song is underlined with a sombre feeling, it is highly uplifting and strikes the right chords with the listener.

Nooran Sisters and the tune lend an earthy touch to “Tuk Tuk” which is led by a mix of a techno heavy sound and traditional arrangements. There is a rap portion, rendered by Vishal Dadlani, in this wildly imaginative composition. The eccentric composition might just lead you to believe that it is a Sneha Khanwalkar composition. Nooran Sisters sing the song with a lot of attitude and with Vishal’s punchy rap, give the song an infectious energy.

“Rise Of Sultan” borrows a few sounds from the title track and is driven by some fantastically arranged percussions. The basic tune of the song, which lasts for less than three minutes, consists of an intoxicating ‘mukhda’ sung with the required aggression by Shekhar Ravjiani. One expects the track to play at several sequences in the film.

‘Sultan’ is one of the best soundtracks scored by Vishal and Shekhar and the best music one has heard in a Salman Khan starrer in years. The album has as many as eight tracks and not one can be termed as bad. The soundtrack does complete justice to theme and the rustic milieu of the film. Apart from the composition, lyrics and vocals, it is the finely designed orchestral arrangement that stands out in this gem of an album.

Rating: 4/5

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