The August 12 release Rustom is based on the sensational 1959 trial of Indian Navy officer KM Nanavati for the murder of his wife’s paramour. Nanavati’s story has inspired the movies Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke (1963) and Achanak (1973).

RK Nayyar’s Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke was made during the golden age of Hindi film music. The movie had seven songs composed by Ravi. The title track “Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke” was a cautionary tale sung by Asha Bhosle. Achanak, despite its director Gulzar’s accomplishments as a lyricist, featured no songs. The SD Burman sung track “Sun Mere Bandhu Re”, from Sujata (1959), was sampled in the film to lend authenticity to the story.

Rustom, starring Akshay Kumar, Ileana D’Cruz and Arjan Bajwa, packs in more numbers than the previous two films combined. Ten songs appear to be a tall order for a film that is being promoted as a courtroom drama.

The album begins with “Tere Sang Yaara”, written by Manoj Muntashir and sung by Atif Aslam. The tune has the unerring quality of having been heard before, while the lyrics contain metaphors in which lovers turn into a crazy night and a pale star: “Tu raat deewani, main zard sitara.” Apart from Aslam, who has been typecast as a singer of romantic ballads, even the instruments seem familiar. The velvety mezzo piano and lush use of violins are a staple in songs sung by Aslam. Composer Arko reprises the song, tweaking the lyrics and opting for fewer instruments the second time round.

‘Tere Sang Yaara’.

“Rustom Vahi”, which eulogises bravery, has four versions, all composed by Raghav Sachar. Sukriti Kakar sings a solo in Hindi written by Muntashir while Jasraj Joshi sings twice in Hindi and in Marathi (lyrics by Mandar Cholkar). The instrumental version is the soundtrack’s strongest tune, with its horns and pipes evoking a sense of the 1950s jazz age in which the story is set.

Composer Ankit Tiwari gets two tracks on the multi-composer album. “Tay Hai” is backed by soaring string instruments that nearly drown Tiwari’s voice. In “Jab Tum Hote Ho”, singer Shreya Ghoshal floats in and out of the ambient sounds.

Arijit Singh and Palak Muchhal sing “Dekha Hazaro Dafaa” for composer Jeet Gannguli while “Dhal Jaun Main” features Jubin Nautiyal. Both waltzes are strictly for ballroom dancing.

The songs offer an all-too-familiar yet pleasant distraction. Hopefully, the crisp-looking film will be more memorable.

The ‘Rustom’ jukebox.