Music Review: Billu Barber

billu-barberMusic: Pritam
Lyrics: Gulzar, Sayeed Qadri, Ashish Pandit
Label: T-Series
Rating: ** 1/2
Review by: Gaurav Malani (TOI)

Priyadarshan continues his legacy of remaking Malayalam cinema with Billu Barber that is derived from Katha Parayumpol. His films were never superlative on musical front but Pritam did enhance that element with Garam Masala and Bhool Bhullaiyya. With Shah Rukh Khan adding up as the producer and actor, the musical taste is more fine-tuned.

KK revamps his Ooooo brand of singing to Ae Aa O that happens to be Shah Rukh Khan’s introduction number in the film. Heavy guitaring at the very start defines the rock genre of the track. Rana Mazumder and Suraj join as co-singers and surprisingly singer Neeraj Shridhar shows up as lyricist though without much imaginative writing. The rock effect is diluted in the remix number with accelerated arrangements. Overall not a very impressive introduction number especially if compared to Rajnikanth’s Cinema Cinema track in the Tamil version Kuselan.

Irrfan Khan’s introduction song Billoo Bhayankar is more exciting for its country flavour. Two elements that remarkably work in favour of the song are Gulzar’s choice of words with context to a barber backdrop and Ajay Jhingran’s rustic textured singing. Primarily a lyricist, Jhingran was last heard in Welcome to Sajjanpur as the eunuch’s voice in Munni Ki Baari. He sings to similar rural effect here and is supported by smart lyrics that make this a funny situational number.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is reliable as always in Jaoon Kahan but the regular permutation of words by Sayeed Qadri and the archaic tune doesn’t take the song to another level.

Khudaya Khair is Mujh Pe To Jadoo (Race) meets Teri Ore (Singh is Kinng), both being Pritam’s compositions. Perhaps his tunes carry a distinct identity or his range is restricted, but it’s become easy to recognize a Pritam composition. Gulzar’s poetry is intermittently innovative for this love duet which appears in as many as 5 versions without much audible difference. The reprise falls in the familiar territory with Abhijeet’s syrupy singing.

The same song comes with a new title You Get Me Rockin & Reeling and gets peppy in Neeraj Shridhar’s singing. The remix version is the item number with Priyanka Chopra and the best of all variants. The Video Edit is just an add-on.

The album switches from Gulzar’s levelheaded lyrics to mindless lines like Love Mera Hit Hit, Kaisi Khit Pit, Baby Badi Fit Fit. But with musical arrangements that never go wrong, the song instantly clicks with the listener. This is the Deepika Padukone item number and while clearly not having eternal shelf life potential, will survive as long as the film does. The House Mix has rejuvenated energy.

Marjaani by Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan reminds of Saaki Saaki by the same duo. Kareena Kapoor completes the item number hattrick on the album with this track. Again not a timeless track, this one is of the instantly appealing variety and comes with two remix versions – The Electro House and the Balkan Remix.

Shah Rukh seems to have added lot more of himself and his starry appeal in the film, seemingly after the failure of Rajnikanth’s Tamil version of the same film (Kuselan). But like the supplementary special appearances in the film, there are too many complimentary tracks on the album. Out of 15 numbers, merely 6 are original compositions. Billu Barber needed some trimming for reduced repetition.

Song of the album: You Get Me Rockin & Reeling (Remix) and Billoo Bhayankar