Memories of the blunt knock to the head that was Selfish have not faded one bit, and the makers of Race 3 have dropped a new musical gem called Party Chale On.
Selfish, a romantic ballad, was the second single from the Salman Khan-starrer to be released. The album has no less than eight music directors and 10 lyricists, including Khan. The novelty of Selfish stems entirely from its inane lyrics: “Apne khayalat ko share karo na / Ek baar baby selfish hoke apne liye jiyo na” (Share your feelings / Be selfish once, and live for yourself). That is just the hookline. The verses feature a thoughtless assortment of sentences that lead to nowhere.
Like Selfish, Party Chale On has been sung by Iulia Vantur. Some of the lyrics of Party Chale On by Hardik Acharya, described as “quirky” in the maker’s description on its video’s page on YouTube, are as follows: “Ek main aur tu, saath me hai / Aur haath me hai tattoo”. (We are together / And our hands are tattooed). The song has more inspired rhyming: “Li hai booze humne slight / Sab lag raha hai bright, Hona hai jo hojane do / Aaj pura hai apna right”. (We are slightly drunk / Everything is bright, Let anything happen / We have our rights today).
Party Chale On is the latest in a long line of songs from Salman Khan movies that featuring simple hooklines, basic tunes, and contempt for the art of lyrical writing.
A staple in a Salman Khan film soundtrack, be it a club number or a romantic song, is a mishmash of English words and phrases with Hindi verses. The chartbusters include Just Chill from Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005), Hangover from Kick (2014) and Selfie Le Le Re from Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015).
Some of the songs are mildly acceptable because of their cheekiness, such as 440 Volt from Sultan (2016). Others are difficult to come to terms with, such as Hangover, sung by Khan. The Hindi verses suddenly crash into “Hangover teri yaadon ka / Hangover teri baaton ka” (Hangover from your memories / Hangover from your stories) in the hookline. The lyrics are by Kumaar.
Previous instances of Salman Khan songs with nonsensical lyrics from the 1990s and 2000s include Oonchi Hai Building and Tan Tana Tan from Judwaa (1997), Ek Garam Chai Ki Pyali Ho from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), and Aa Meri Life Bana De from Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye (2000).
Blame it on the success of Judwaa and its memorable soundtrack composed by Anu Malik. “Oonchi hai building / Lift teri bandh hai” (The building is tall / Your elevator is closed) or “Tan tana tan tan tan tara / chalti hai kya nau se barah?” (Want to be out with me from nine to 12?) made way for similar Malik songs for Khan’s films. In the 2000s, under Khan’s patronage, composers like Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid started creating similar songs based on Malik’s template.
One of Reshammiya’s most bizarre songs for Khan is Carbon Copy, written by Sudhakar Sharma, from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002). In the film, Raju (Khan) travels to London to meet his long-lost father (Rishi Kapoor). On reaching London, a starry-eyed Raju begins singing a song that his father, eminent scriptwriter Salim Khan, would surely disapprove of: “Nahin fax nahin Xerox nahin telex ya computer ki floppy / Main to mere papa ki carbon copy.” (Not fax, not Xerox, not telex or a computer’s floppy disc / I am my father’s carbon copy).
The makers were enamoured enough by the song to feature it several times in the movie as a recurring motif in the background score. It also has a sad version.
The pattern of following up a sappy Hindi line or verse with something atypical in English in the songs of Salman Khan’s films intensified as his stardom grew.
In Love Me Love Me, composed by Sajid-Wajid and written by Jalees Sherwani for Wanted (2009), the lines “Tere sang zindagi bitaane ka iraada hai” (I want to spend my life with you) or “Thodi nahi puri nibhaane ka yeh waada hai” (I want to completely fulfill my promise of being with you) are followed by “Papa says you love me, your mama says you love me, so love me love me love me.”
Sometimes, talented lyricists such as Irshad Kamil work within the constraints of the Salman Khan song and manage to come up with something moderately sober. Recent examples include Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai from Sultan or Swag Se Swagat from Tiger Zinda Hai (2017).
Sometimes, Khan does not even have to be a part of a production to leave behind his mark on its soundtrack. A song dedicated to Khan’s charisma, such as Superman from Tevar (2015), automatically channels its inner Bhai with the lyrics “Main toh Superman, Salman ka fan / Jo leve panga, kar dun maa-bhan.” (I am Superman, Salman’s fan / I make mother-sister of whoever has a beef with me).
When Khan steps into the music video of a film he is not starring in, after applauding the heroine’s “cat jaisi walk” and “sweety sweety talk”, there is not much left to say beyond “Po po po po po”.