In 2016, music composer Ram Sampath churned out electrifying tunes for Raman Raghav 2.0 that reflected the film’s unconventional characters. In the January 25 release Raees, Sampath has done the opposite: he has kept the score as far removed from the characters as possible and composed an album of strictly serviceable songs.
Rahul Dholakia’s film stars Shah Rukh Khan in the titular role of a Gujarati bootlegger who locks horns with a police officer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Mahira Khan plays Khan’s wife.
Going by the trailers, Raees appears to be the kind of bombastic dialogue-driven film that has minimal scope for songs. It’s hardly surprising that the movie’s producers, Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment, have released portions of the dialogue along with the songs.
The Raees soundtrack has three ornamental tunes designed to distract from the goings-on, including the item number Laila Main Laila, which is a remix of the 1980 hit Laila O Laila from Qurbani. Laila Main Laila is a jazzed-up item number in which a smouldering Sunny Leone romances the simmering bootlegger.
The sweet garba rhythm of Udi Udi Jaaye, written by Javed Akhtar and sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Bhoomi Trivedi and Karsan Sagathia, is designed to sound folksy and familiar. If there is a point in the movie where you want to dash out for a toilet break, this is it.
Zaalima, in which Harshdeep Kaur and Arijit Singh sing about undying love, sticks to the template. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are as clichéd as the premise: “Tu shama hai toh yaad rakhna, main bhi hoon parwana” (If you are a flame don’t forget that I am a moth too).
Raees is not a soundtrack that demands rewinding because the film’s focus is elsewhere. The man who proclaims that he has a “baniye ka dimaag aur miyanbhai ki daring” (the intelligence of a Baniya and the daring of a Muslim) has little patience for song and dance.