Zanjeer was an understated music score, whose chartbusting 'Yaari Hai Imaan Mera' is still considered one of the (lyrically, musically and vocally) finest songs on friendship. That 1973 matinee milestone is now being remade with changes to suit the times. So we expect at least decent music.
Rather than beginning with the lead track, we would prefer to start with the finest song on this album, 'Kaatilana', which reinvents Shweta Pandit. Here is a singer who has a huge musical lineage behind her, but was lacking that one great song in her oeuvre, though she had a few popular songs. Also, she did not have a really distinct identity.
The deficit is largely covered by this high-energy song in which the opening trumpets too are very well-done. Meet Bros. Anjjan recycle (intentionally) the mukhda of the original Zanjeer's 'Diljalon Ka Dil Jalaake' into a completely fresh composition. Shweta's expressive vocals are a cross between Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal but distinct all the same. The lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed) are routine, but like Ahmed's better work, have a remarkably smooth flow. Here's hoping that this song grows with time – and in time!
The 'Kaatilana M.B.A. Club Mix' (Shweta-Meet Bros Anjjan) unnecessarily clutters this fluid number with a needless orchestral jamboree but is mercifully shorter by about 90 seconds. Shweta is made to dumb down the expressive quotient, with Meet Bros Anjjan coming in for some add-on Rap-like vocals.
The other impressive song is 'Khochey Pathan Ki Zubaan' (rendered well by Sukhwinder Singh-Shabab Sabri-Meet Bros. Anjjan) despite its similarity to several recent qawwalis and Sufiyana songs. The lyrics (Shabbir Ahmed) once again have a smooth if conventional flow and the use of the rabab is again in the Zanjeer mould. Qawwalis seem to be on a welcome upswing again in Hindi cinema (Fukrey, D-Day) and this is one song that is likely to make it big if the film succeeds, especially for Sanjay Dutt fans.
The third of the Meet Bros Anjjan songs is the gimmicky item number 'Pinky' (Mamta Sharma-Meet Bros. Anjjan). Pulsating beats, fiery and punchy vocals by Mamta and a Marathi folk-base theoretically can make for a chartbuster, but unless the film boosts this number, it is likely to be yet another of the numerous item songs heard in every third movie that come and go without making an impact on the charts.
Mamta, we must remark, is outstanding in this number, giving it her two hundred percent – this is her best rendition since 'Munni Badnaam Hui' from Dabangg. But despite the smart words (Shabbir Ahmed-Ashraf Ali), we do feel that the line 'Pinky Hai Paisewalon Ki' is objectionable as it can be taken out of context.
The opening track 'Mumbai Ke Hero' (Mika-Talia Bentson) is too flippant for the Zanjeer brand. The franchise (if one may call the two films that) is a dedicated ode to the police apart from being a vendetta drama, and here the lyrics are too tapori (Akkhi Mumbai humko salaam thokti dekho / Humse achche achcho ki ****d (this is naturally blank in the song too!) phat-ti dekho / Hati apni to bhaai logon ki lagti dekho / Dekho hum hain Mumbai ke hero) and crass.
Also, the ideal song in this situation would have been a background song extolling the cops rather than them beating their own trumpet in this fashion! And even as a standalone song, the words are at odds with the upmarket orchestration in tenor.
Chirantan Bhatt composes the above song and also scores 'Lamhaa Tera Mera' (Wajhi Farukhi-Palak Muchhal). Though Palak shines as she did in so many recent films led by Aashiqui 2 and Policegiri, Wajhi sings with the aggression of someone belting out a hard rock song in a club, reducing the impact of a simple love ditty. The melody is foot-tapping in a lowbrow 'contemporary' way, the lyrics (Manoj Yadav) trite, and so the song may at best have a transient appeal with GenY.
This is an average score, created by different music makers. There is a definite hark-back to the older film, but with little of the sheer magic that has stayed the course for forty years.
Kaatilana, Khochey Pathan Ki Zubaan
Music: Anand Raj Anand, Chirantan Bhatt & Meet Bros. Anjjan
Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed, Ashraf Ali, Manoj Yadav
Music label: T-Series