After being thoroughly disappointed by the music of Zindagi na milegi dobara, (You can read my thoughts on ZNMD music here  I was literally afraid to listen to this album but then how can you NOT listen to DON 2? The teasers were too tempting for me and I gave in. Let’s see if the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (Hereafter referred to as SEL) have tried something new or NOT?

Mere dushman samajh rahey thay – The Oh so Shahrukh khan piece with ‘Don’ warning us that the story remains to be told. The 35 second piece feels empty. SRK sounds as if he has been asked to speak in low volume because kids are sleeping in the studio. What is missing is a ‘splash’ sort of ending. Heavy bass in the background creates an ‘atmosphere’ but this is not a piece for an ‘earth shattering documentary’. It should have had a bit more character.

Theme – The King  is back – Sunitha Sarathay starts by melodiously asking us to see ‘look who is back?’. Build up is created by frantic keyboard pushes. Loved it. The pace drops in between to give way to soothing violins and piano and it suddenly picks up leading us to the familiar trajectory of the original Don theme (this time played by an electric guitar – keyboard combo). Ideally this music setting should have been a part of the ‘mere dushman samajh rahey thay’ as well.

Don Waltz –  A very symphony like music arrangement. Easy on ears. Violins create a theatrical impact and then comes a soulful Caralisa Monterio accompanied by bands. Slight twinkles in the background complement the setting very well. A very ‘Unlike SEL’ composition (May be because it’s based on Beethoven’s composition, if only i knew more about it).

Dushman Mera – Sunitha Sarathay starts the song and you cannot help but feel that she is trying too hard to emote. Shankar Mahadevan comes in, crooning on the same lines (with very very weak lyrics I must add). Shankar’s voice appears to be recorded earlier because Sunitha appears to be singing along with a pre-recorded track. May be it’s a trick by Farhan where SRK is hiding somewhere and singing? Let’s wait and see. The antaras of the song are based on the mid-notes of the original Don theme. SEL trying tooo hard to remind us that it is a sequel of Don? or just plain lazy? Either way, the song starts and ends without touching a chord.

Hai ye Maya – Bass kicks it up along with  brass band and in comes an echoing Usha Uthup. A not so cheerful song and sung superbly by Usha Ji. You cannot help but stop and listen to Usha ji’s echo of ‘Hai ye maaya’. Nicely done! This song easily has the best lyrics when compared to the other songs of the film. Listen to it closely and this feels like a ‘sound of a thriller movie’. Yes. This has to be one of the best songs by SEL in a long time. The music setting is just top class with heavy instruments (like bass, bands and at times electric guitar) playing one level below the vocal. Superb song!! I would be disappointed if this song is wasted in the movie. Yep.

Mujhko Pehchaan lo – Not a fan of K.K. by a long shot but all the glory to K.K. for this one! The natural elevation in the voice of K.K. is so theatrical and creates just the right atmosphere for this song. Yes, this has to be one of the most anticipated films of the year. Now you feel it. SRK does come in between to remind that ‘Don ko pakadna……’ Inevitable comparisons between the version sung by Shaan and this one will crop up. In my opinion, the version by Shaan has a ‘sweet’ mix to it whereas this one is full of ‘arrogance and grit’. Yes, I prefer this version more.

Zara dil ko thaam lo – Guitar and 1970s disco like music (like – aaj ki raat from don? well, yea may be!) Anusha Mani takes the lead and it gets horribly wrong from the time Vishal Dadlani comes crooning the same, the very same SEL style tune! This came across (tune-wise) a song that used to be composed by the amateurs in 1990s. The chorus is not up to the mark either (What’s with SEL and under whelmed ‘chorus’? Remember  the ‘studio’ chorus who was asked to give a ‘live concert’ effect?). Anyway the song lacks punch. This is a song that gets the crowd dancing when it’s turned insanely loud because it is then the crowd doesn’t give a damn on the words, singers etc.

Besides these there are 2 remixed tracks – Mujhko pehchaan lo & Hai ye maya. While ‘Hai ye maya’ is tolerable as a remixed version also, ‘Mujhko pehchaan lo’ appears to be an afterthought to fill the album with more tracks. The  continuous repitition of the same dialogue by SRK gets irritating to the say the least. The music arrangement strictly average. In fact it reminds you of those pre recorded tracks which come with cheap keyboards.

All and all a predictable disappointment from the assembly line  of SEL. After Zindagi na milegi dobara, the expectations weren’t sky high either. To be fair to the overall package, one can argue that barring ‘aaj ki raat’ one doesn’t hum any other song of DON (2006) today but that cannot be an excuse for the same sort of a sound from SEL.

Farhan Akhtar I am a hopeless follower of your work and would really love to see you trying out new composers for the forthcoming films. Tumko Don ki kasam!

My rating – 1.5/5.00

My picks – Hai ye maya, Mujhko pehchaan lo and Theme – the king is back.