While making sequels to blockbuster films is a long-standing Hollywood tradition, the practice has only become more common fairly recently in Bollywood--and that's the only reason I can come up with for the mixed initial reactions to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's Don 2 soundtrack. One common complaint is the recurring use of the recognizable theme melody of Farhan Akhtar's 2006 Don, which some have taken to be laziness on the part of the celebrated composing trio. I say it's anything but lazy and downright difficult to incorporate that melody line into different tunes in seamless, organic manner, making for an uncommon musical unity across an Indian film's entire song score, which more often than not runs the gamut from club-ready bangers to traditional dress dance numbers to romantic ballads. But there's another, more inspired unifying element to the songs here; early footage from the film suggests that Shahrukh Khan's title character has abandoned the cheeky-cool pimpdaddy costuming this time out, but Akhtar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy keep the retro spirit alive in the music, for every non-remix track here bears strong elements of 1970s funk and R&B--a sound that perhaps comes off a bit (for lack of a better term) alien to longtime Hindi film soundtrack listeners and reviewers. But this is no mere throwback pastiche; Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy marry the rich, soulful instrumentation with the modern electro elements they brought to the first film, making for a music masala as unique as it is utterly irresistible. Here's hoping the film proper can accordingly fall in line come December 23.
Order the Don 2 soundtrack here.
Read my review of 2006's Don here.