Vishal-Shekhar Aladin Review

Soundtrack. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

The great Amitabh Bachchan provides this disc's highlights.

Jaspreet Pandohar 2009

Composer duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani have been responsible for some of the biggest Bollywood film soundtracks in the past decade. From Salaam Namaste and Dus to Om Shanti Om and Dostana, the maestros have delighted Indian music lovers all over the globe with their modern mix of desi disco tunes. But if it’s some more of their trademark floor-fillers you’re expecting, then Aladin will come as a surprise.

Giving a Bollywood twist to the well known tale of Aladdin and the magic lamp, the soundtrack opens with the exuberant Genie Rap. The great Amitabh Bachchan raps and sings his way through the lyrically complex tune, proving he’s a match for any young MC when it comes to verbal dexterity and wit.

Ore Saawariya provides him with another opportunity to show off his talent, this time joining forces with Sudesh Bhonsle, Shreya Ghosal and Shaan. Full of fun and fizz, this effervescent number is evidence of Bachchan’s growing confidence in his own singing skills. Gone is the monotone level and inconsistency that often plagued his earlier choral attempts. He sounds more relaxed behind the mic than he’s ever been.

But the Big B isn’t the only star singer on show here. Taking on the role of the mischievous Ringmaster, Sanjay Dutt lends his vocals to Giri Giri, a dark number that’s unfortunately too slow and bland to be of any interest. While also a baritone, Sanjay’s rendition lacks the energy, pace and sense of fun the Bachchan numbers exude.

The flops outweigh the hits when it comes to the rest of the soundtrack. The title song, Tak Dhina Dhin, and Bachke O Bachke come across as schizophrenic mixes of silly lyrics and annoying melodies, while DJ Sekhetu’s remixes of Genie Rap and Ore Saawariya fail to add colour or spice to the original versions. Simply upping the tempo isn’t enough.

Despite the number of catchy songs on offer here, Bollywood’s Aladin isn’t a patch on the Disney predecessor in terms of memorable musical moments. Perhaps younger viewers, at whom this CGI-laden film is presumably aimed, may find the songs entertaining once seen on the big screen. If the film fails to capture audiences, Vishal and Shekhar may wish they had sprinkled a bit more magic onto this release.

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