Zero music review: Zeroing in on film music

Updated - December 20, 2018 07:40 am IST

Published - December 19, 2018 07:28 pm IST

Shah Rukh Khan fever: A still from Zero

Shah Rukh Khan fever: A still from Zero

The year is ending with another round of Shah Rukh Khan fever. The star ratings and earnings in crores of his latest film Zero will come in soon, but musically, one is surprised that the soundtrack only has three songs.

The first one, 'Mera Naam Tu , is quite a beauty, reminiscent of early SRK movies. Sung by Abhay Jodhpurkar, composed by Ajay-Atul and written by Irshad Kaamil, it has a catchy hook, brilliant arrangements and some classy flute work by Varad Kathapurkar.

The other two, 'Husn Parcham' (singers Bhoomi Trivedi, Raja Kumari) and 'Issaqbaazi' (Sukhwinder Singh, Divya Kumar), are routine, though the star presence and hype may attract the masses. Basically, like many other later SRK films like Ra.One , Jab Tak Hai Jaan , Chennai Express and Dilwale , the music is a mix of occasional brilliance and well-picturised mediocrity.

There was a time, specially during the first decade of his career, when one really looked forward to the music of a Khan movie. The songs were catchy on their own, sometimes irrespective of their use in the film. And these are hummed even today, and often make it to the radio.

The melodious hits were far too many. For instance, we had 'Jaadu Teri Nazar' ( Darr);'Ae Kash Ke Hum' ( Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa) , 'Badi Mushkil Hai' ( Anjaam), 'Ae Ajnabi' ( Dil Se) , 'Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaaoon' (Yes Boss), 'Roshni Se' (Asoka), 'Yeh Taara Woh Taara' (Swades) or the Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani , Kal Ho Naa Ho and Main Hoon Na title tracks.

Overall, the quality of music in Hindi films has declined. The trend is not restricted to SRK alone. Even the public’s interest in a soundtrack before a film's release has declined considerably. Till the mid-2000s, audio CDs of a film's music were released a couple of months in advance. There were lavish music launch parties, and a sizeable budget was earmarked to the promotion of music, which also had an impact on the film's marketing. Television and radio were used heavily as tools, and songs were played in cars. Today, the CD market is down and music is sold (and in many cases accessed free) online. The returns a filmmaker gets on music are lower and hence his focus on musical quality has reduced too. And people go to multiplexes whether they have heard the songs or not.

As such, who bothers whether the songs of Zero will work post-release? If they do, the euphoria will last till the next big blockbuster. If they don't, the money would have come in anyway. Or so one hopes.

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