I am not a fan of the kind of music Pritam created for 'New York' (2009) and 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan'(2015). But, the soundtrack of 'Phantom' (2015) which had just about three original tracks (and four alternate versions) packed a solid punch. Despite featuring one of the biggest stars of our times, 'Tubelight' does not have a romantic track or a heroine in it. In a film like this, the songs are expected to be heard primarily in the background and are used to serve as cues to different emotions that the director would like us to experience at different junctures in the film.
'Radio' is the quintessential 'chartbuster' song of this Salman Khan starrer. This is that one song in the album which should keep the actor's fan base, which expects his films to have a couple of dance numbers, happy. The one thing that has struck me when I saw/heard the song for the first time was Kamaal Khan being credited as one of the singers. The "O O Jaane Jaana" singer who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the last couple of years stages a comeback with this song. However, it is Amit Mishra who gets to sing most of the lines in this lively and energetic track.
Kamaal Khan is heard again, this time with Nakash Aziz who leads the way in "Naach Meri Jaan", a song that showcases the bond shared between the two brothers Laxman (Salman Khan) and Bharat (Sohail Khan). The arrangements manage to convey the fact that the song (and the film) is set in the mountains. The fun and frolic in the song is further accentuated by Amitabh Bhattacharya's playful lyrics. There is also an inherent innocence in the song which comes out very well.
Amitabh Bhattacharya's absence is sorely felt in "Tinka Tinka Dil Mera", a simple but heartfelt tune composed by Pritam and slightly bogged down by Kausar Munir's ordinary lines. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sings the song with utmost sincerity and makes you empathize with the pain of a man who is waiting for his brother to come back from war. While one get to hear a bit of Jubin Nautiyal's voice in the background, the singer gets a solo version for him as well where we hear him gracing the song with his icy chilled voice.
The sombre feel and the dreamy vibe of "Main Agar" compliments Atif Aslam's husky voice approprtiately. In the film, the song is played at a time when Laxman (Salman Khan) bids goodbye to Bharat (Sohail Khan) as he leaves for war. The song encapsulates an underlying sadness which the characters are feeling very well. This is probably the most intricately composed track on the album. The film version, rendered by KK, has a rock base to it. KK, undoubtedly, is a more skilled vocalist than Atif but his version does extreme disservice to the mood and lyrics of the song as it ends up sounding like an upbeat dance number. "Kuch Nahin" sounds like an extended or alternate version of "Tu Jo Mila" (Bajrangi Bhaijaan). Sure, it is not an identical replica of the song but the tune and the orchestral arrangements force one to compare the two tracks. Leavign the comparisons aside, "Kuch Nahin" is a very meodious number that one can hear in three different and distinct voices in the album. Javed Ali, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Papon bring their own style to their respective versions and each of the three versions is worth several listenings.
Barring "Radio", most of the songs from 'Tubelight' might take a while to grow on the average listener. Most of the songs, besides serving as good situational, background music pieces in the film, sound good as standalone tracks.