This review first appeared in the Mumbai edition of The Hindu.
Songs at the end.
Atif Aslam is a better singer than Arko Pravo Mukherjee, and Aslam’s ‘Tere Sang Yaara’ is more appealing than Mukerjee’s reprise version, ‘Tere Bin Yaara’. Mukherjee’s composition, however, is familiar, but nice and easy on the ear.
Raghav Sachar’s ‘Rustom Vahi ’ is the only track that conforms to the period the movie is set in. This, unfortunately, does not ensure a top quality song. The boisterous brass section, percussion et al. , makes for an energetic setting, but the song still comes off as a pale imitation of songs from the era. It appears in three more forms in the soundtrack, including two male-rendered variants, one with Marathi lyrics, but otherwise not particularly different from the original version. Finally, there’s a short instrumental theme song that features the same instruments as the other versions. The vocal variants feature some quality singing though with Sukriti Kakar handling the original version and Marathi singer-composer Jasraj Joshi singing the two male tracks.
Familiar sounds abound in the two songs Ankit Tiwari composed: ‘Tay Hai’ and ‘Jab Tum Hote Ho’. Ankit sings the first one, which while good, adds to the déjà vu around the song. The pensive piece builds up predictably towards its orchestral crescendo. The song gets slightly better in the second verse once the percussion kicks in, but otherwise doesn’t make much of an impact. ‘Jab Tum Hote Ho’ fares better, largely thanks to a haunting tune that Shreya Ghoshal delivers. The arrangement traverses the tried and tested route adopted by the Mahesh Bhatt house of movies.
The fourth composer on the soundtrack, Jeet Gannguli, too produces two tunes, which qualify as best of the album, comparatively speaking. ‘Dekha Hazaron Dafaa’ sounds refreshing, a sweet melody that the composer has set to a waltz-based rhythm. The song scores high especially on the interludes, with some exceptional use of strings and the chorus. Arijit Singh and Palak Muchchal deliver the lead vocals, and both do a fine job. The final song, ‘Dhal Jaun Main’, belongs to singer Jubin Nautiyal, who seriously needs to be singing more. He does a brilliant, soulful rendition of the track, briefly supported by Aakanksha Sharma. The song is again plagued by the déjà vu elements that have been the bane of this album, but the tune is engaging enough to mitigate that to an extent.
At 10 songs, Rustom has the longest soundtrack to be featured in a Neeraj Pandey-Akshay Kumar collaboration, but only a few of them warrant repeated listening.
Music Aloud Rating: 6.5/10
Top Recos: ‘Dekha Hazaron Dafaa’, ‘Dhal Jaun Main’, ‘Jab Tum Hote Ho’