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As Dhoom 2 turns 15, recalling the unabashed coolness of the film's soundtrack

You have to agree with me on this, Dhoom 2 has a tracklist of sick bangers. 

Devki Nehra
Nov 25, 2021
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A poster for Dhoom 2 | Twitter

The Dhoom franchise will forever remain the pinnacle of coolth in Hindi cinema. The first Dhoom, a superhit among the masses, upped the general expectation of what an actioner is. The villain (John Abraham) was handsomely devilish, the good guys (Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra) not too shabby either, and the women (Rimi Sen and Esha Deol) though objectified had some space in the story as well. Then there was the music. Pritam created hits after hits that have comfortably embedded themselves in the psyche of multiple generations of moviegoers, even the ones who were born far after the film's initial hype.

Dhoom 2 soon followed. This time Yash Raj Films went hard, adding even bigger actors in the mix (Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu) to bring their sexiest foot forward, gorgeous locations, an edgy sartorial aesthetic, and even riskier stunts. We now had our very own version of the Fast and Furious franchise. Pritam was roped in once again to match the tonality of the story, while Salim-Suleiman composed the background score.

Besides the fast cars, messy heists, incredibly attractive men and women, and gun violence, what does Dhoom 2 have in common with any Western action film? A tracklist of sick bangers. I remember well that all of us who were recovering from the Dhoom fever were not ready to 'Dhoom Again,' but now the soundtrack makes for an indulgent listen, a nostalgic ride back to better days.

What makes it even better is that it's not really thematically or musically aged for the worse. The beats still pop; you have to resist real hard to not clumsily attempt Aishwarya Rai’s twist dance move in ‘Crazy Kiya Re’ while mouthing all the words to the song. Sunidhi Chauhan, whose career was at its peak at that point, brings such effervescence to this song. ‘Dhoom Again’ tried to replace the Tata Young version from the first film, and I can confidently say that it still hasn’t. 

However, ‘Dil Laga Na’, starring the voices of a medley of singers stole radio hours — I’m trying to get this fact right to the best of my ability. Alisha Chinai’s silky sensual voice offsets the bright, breezy strings of a Spanish guitar that sparks an instant desire to get a little groovy in 'Touch Me'. 'My Name is Ali' ranks low in the order, yet is unforgettable for its silly wordplay (courtesy: Sameer) and Sonu Nigam's buttery verses. 

The year 2006 was when we were fresh into the new millennium, the MTV generation that was increasingly being exposed to culture outside of the country. Tropes from foreign films and foreign music were readily assimilated into our own to create something unique in its own right. We were in modern Bollywood: the best of both worlds, but better. You can hear it right there in the punchy beats melding with the English and Hindi lyricism.  

Music in a film is integral, and even more so in Indian films, where this medium fills in narrative gaps, elevates or lowers an emotion, or simply gives the audience a reason to jive in their seats. As important as the cast and story is to the identity and success of a film, so is the music. For a dud film, even if the songs were earworms that would make for a decent enough achievement. And if a hit film also manages to create a timeless soundtrack, it's a winning combination. 

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