Amitabh Bachchan’s penchant for singing is not unknown to Bollywood followers, given the man has lent his baritone voice to many wildly popular songs over the last few decades. In 102 Not Out , the veteran actor also turns music director with ‘Badumbaaa’ that he composes and arranges, and Rohan Vinayak (the duo who debuted two years ago with a fine soundtrack for Nil Battey Sannata ) produce. The song is quite an entertaining debut, thanks to an earworm of a melody and an effervescent orchestration that sees the fabulous use of horns (Kishore Sodha). Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya, who is no stranger to quirky songs, renders some fun wordplay around the phrase ‘Badumbaa’ used by the Big B on social media on multiple occasions. The actor also heads the vocals, spiffing up Bhattacharya’s lines with some wacky ad-libbing of his own; his co-star Rishi Kapoor too joins him behind the mic briefly, but isn’t as effective. The rest of the soundtrack has been composed by Salim Sulaiman, and their first song is an equally boisterous track called ‘ Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya ’ written by Hiral Brahmbhatt. Carrying an addictive Latin dance vibe about it, this song is delivered by Arijit Singh and features an incredible horn interlude. Brahmbhatt herself takes up the vocals for the second piece she pens called ‘ Phir Laut Aayi Zindagi ’. This one is a rather ordinary track, both by way of its tune and the treatment (aside from some melodious flute solos), particularly when compared with the rest of the soundtrack.
The rising popularity of of jazz-influenced Bollywood numbers is reflected in Salim Sulaiman’s ‘Kuchh AnokheRules’ which is sung by Armaan Malik. It’s a great idea on both counts – the composers nail the retro jazz sound here, and Malik is in spectacular form. The film’s writer Saumya Joshi, who is the author of the song’s light-hearted verse, also writes the soulful ode to old memories titled ‘Kulfi’. The soft melody and a fittingly gentle orchestration (highlighted by the sitar and Ojas Adhiya’s tabla) help accentuate the longing in the impactful lyrics, as does the characteristic earnestness with which Sonu Nigam delivers them.
Salim Sulaiman have had a rather limited Bollywood presence for the last three-four years, but this ‘one soundtrack a year’ does appear to have bolstered their output – Poorna in 2017 and Jai Gangaajal in 2016 that were both classy soundtracks. And in 102 Not Out the duo deliver their best work in a long time.