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Music Review :: Joker

We bring to you the exclusive music review of Shirish Kunder’s Joker.

Before I proceed to the actual review, let me familiarize you with the plot of Joker:

In 1947, when the maps of India & Pakistan were being drawn, an oversight ensured that the village of Paglapur didn’t find a place in either country. The village had the distinction of housing the largest mental asylum in the region and in the melee that ensued during partition, the asylum inmates broke loose, drove away the villagers and established their own republic in Paglapur. And that’s how it stayed for the next 60 years! While the world outside changed, Paglapur remained isolated, with no electricity, television or sanity! Now, decades after the world forgot this village, a NASA scientist of Indian origin, Raj/Agasthya and his beautiful wife, Diva find themselves on the road to Paglapur. Raj is working on a top secret project for creating a device to communicate with aliens. So why is he in a village whose colourful inhabitants include a man who speaks in gibberish, another who thinks he is a lamp post and everyone else who think Mahatma Gandhi is still around, fighting for independence?

Cutting a long story short, I do not know what to expect from the soundtrack of this movie. Shirish’s debut flick, Jaan-e-mann boasted of a highly melodious soundtrack by Anu Malik. In turn, this album has been composed by A.R. Rahman’s nephew, G.V. Prakash Kumar & Gaurav Dagaonkar. Is Joker’s music as good as that of Jaan-e-mann? Let us take a look.

The album opens with the controversial Kafirana a.k.a I Want Just You – composed by Gaurav Dagaonkar. Originally, the song was titled I Want Fakht You but was changed by the makers at the last moment to avoid controversy – which in itself, created a lot of controversy (owing to the prudish nature of us Indians). For those not in the know, fakht is a Marathi word which means ‘just you’. Anyway, the opening portion of this track reminded me of the opening portions of Dhoom Again from Dhoom 2. Sung by Sunidhi Chauhan & Adarsh Shinde, this much-awaited item song disappoints    big time. The song, which boasts of numerous Maharashtrian sounds and wordings, tries too hard to make the listener groove to it.

[youtube_video id=ExW4FisGlYk]

An item song NEEDS the right amount of chutzpah and sensuousness to titillate the audience. Unfortunately, this one falls flat – lackluster singing, stereotypical beats, and cringe worthy lyrics – every element works against the song. I would have given it bonus brownie points had the word ‘fakht’ been used since it would have stayed true to the essence of the song.

The amazing Udit Narayan is heard after eons in Jugnu. This one seems to be a motivational / inspirational yet situational song interspersed in the flow of the movie. Repeated hearings are needed to appreciate this track which works ONLY because of Udit Narayan. The man effortlessly breezes through it with his old-school voice which is as good as aging wine.

Moving on, we have the Bhangra king Daler Mehndi teaming up with Babuji Zara Dheere Chalo singer Sonu Kakkar for an electric track Sing Raja. Overlooking the retarded lyrics (which fit well with the theme of the movie), this old-school dance track compels you to put your dancing shoes on.  Sample these illogical lines:

Dance karle english mein, aur naach le tu hindi mein.

I must mention the stunning crescendo created by G.V. Prakash Kumar in both, Jugnu & Sing Raja. Obviously, he is following in the footsteps of his legendary uncle.

G.V. Prakash Kumar has gotten some the best singers in one album. Sonu Nigam sings Yeh Joker with Shweta Pandit. This one seems to be an introductory / theme-like song which will hopefully be depicted well on screen. Sonu Nigam needs to sing a challenging track sometime soon since this one seems to be tailor-made for him. Aside from being a decent hear, it doesn’t offer anything new to the listener nor does it demand that extra amount of effort from the singers.

Following this, we have two instrumentals – Tears Of Joker & Alien Arrival and this is where G.V. Prakash Kumar shines. The former is a beautiful cocktail of Indian sounds – the flute, the sitar, a scintillating sargam etc. The latter is dominated with the sound of the sax and lives upto its name – Alien Arrival. Creating the right amount of suspense, mystery and anticipation, this song made me want to watch the movie.

When the album ended, I realized I was smirking. You know something is wrong with an album when the instrumental tracks immensely outshine the vocal tracks. I must mention that each of the songs has a strong underlying melody but gross injustice is done to them by Shirish Kunder’s lyrics. To sum it up, the music of Joker is a disappointment.

SHRESHT’S PICKS: Sing Raja, Tears Of Joker, Alien Arrival

RATING: ** out of *****

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Hark ye, padawaans! Follow the musical force on Twitter @highonscore

Follow Shresht Poddar on Twitter @shreshtpoddar


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