For a film which is a product of Khiladi franchise, features Akshay Kumar as the lead protagonist and has Himesh Reshammiya as the composer, one expects its soundtrack to be out and out massy. While this also means that purists may reserve their opinion about what is in the offering, for the target audience the demand is for some 'kadak chai' to be served. This is exactly what one gets in Khiladi 786 which has an ensemble of songs with Sameer and Shabbir Ahmed contributing as lyricists with Himesh Reshammiya chipping in as well.
Homage to R.D. Burman is paid in its own small way with 'Balma' which starts off exactly in the same mode as many of his compositions from the late 70s/early 80s. While one gets a glimpse of Sholay and 'Shaan' here, what with trademark 'hah hah' being heard at the very beginning, real fun kick-starts once Shreya Ghoshal takes centre-stage. If there is one song after 'Ooh Laa Laa' [The Dirty Picture] that she seems to have let her hair down on, this Sameer written song has to be it. It is rare to hear her in a seductive avtar and she just grabs the opportunity with this catchy number (also arriving as a 'remix version') where her co-singer Shriram gets it right too.
While by now one pretty much gets the 'sur' of the album which is clearly taking a commercially friendly route, the song which arrives next is 'Long Drive'. Written by Sameer, this one is a fun-n-celebration number about making merry with the loved one. Mika Singh comes behind the mike for this hip-hop number which is instantly catchy as well. While the beginning catches your attention, one can sense a quintessential Himesh stamp to the song as it warms up (and later reappears in the 'remix' format). In fact this is one song which one doesn't expect Himesh to give up and it is rather surprising that Mika leads from the front.
After three dance numbers in a row arrives a love song in the form of 'Sari Sari Raat'. A Himesh Reshammiya solo which is written by Shabbir Ahmed, it could well have been a part of his private album 'Aap Kaa Surroor' if one goes by its genre and placement. A melodic slow moving number, it has minimal instruments backing it. Though as a standalone number it could have done well as a music video, one waits to see how exactly does it get placed in the context of the film which is being pitched as a fast paced action-n-dhamaal entertainer.
The fun element returns soon after though with 'Hookah Bar' which, if one closely observes the lyrics, reminds one of 'Tandoori Nights' [Karzzzz]. Incidentally Himesh is the lyricist for this out and out dance number which has him coming together with Vineet Singh and Aman Trikha behind the mike. To be honest, for the first couple of hearing the song just passes muster and you end up wondering if this one can actually be taken seriously. However, just as is the case with quite a few dance numbers by Himesh, this one too sticks in your head after repeated hearing, especially after being heard in the 'remix version'.
Title track 'Khiladi Bhaiyya', the only quintessentially Bollywood number in the album, arrives rather belatedly and instantly makes one recollect 'Hud Hud Dabangg' [Dabangg] in the way it begins. However just when one thought that this too would be one of those 'masala' numbers that basically introduces the lead protagonist (as seen in Singham too), 'Khiladi Bhaiyya' turns out to be a family song. With everyone (Vineet Singh, Aman Trikha, Yashraj Kapil, Alam Gir Khan, Rajdeep Chatterjee) trying to find their 'bhaiyaa' the right bride, Shabbir Ahmed spins lyrics that lend the song a situational appeal.
Shabbir Ahmed, who gets to write for as many as four songs in the album, writes 'Tu Hoor Pari' which has a Punjabi beginning to it, courtesy Harshdeep Kaur. As one hears the roar of 'Sher-E-Punjab' at the very beginning, it is Javed Ali's turn to get into a rendition which makes one recollect quite a few songs from this genre that have a Punjabi folk base to it. While the situational song does make your feet tap after a couple of listening and has Shreya Ghoshal and Chandrakala Singh joining soon after, it is actually the only love duet in this album which is otherwise by and large made of dance numbers.
Khiladi 786 delivers as promised. Just like recently released Son Of Sardaar where Himesh Reshammiya's emphasis was on coming up with some instantly catchy tunes that went with the fast paced narrative of the film, even Khiladi 786 follows a similar pattern. Though one can't expect songs in the mode of 'Lonely', 'Balma', 'Long Drive' and 'Hookah Bar' to be classified as collectors' delight for one and all, for their play time in the film they should be doing the needful for the target audience.
'Balma', 'Lonely', 'Hookah Bar', 'Long Drive'