How does one live up to sky high expectations after producing groundbreaking soundtracks like Aamir (2008) and Dev.D, the latter which finished top in our "High Note of 2009" feature? That’s the position that super talented composer Amit Trivedi finds himself in with his latest musical release for the small budget movie called Admissions Open, a story based on a revolutionary movement by a group of students. Well the answer is you simply can’t (live up to expectations) but you have to keep fans happy nevertheless! But just how happy will fans be with his latest soundtrack?
The delicious strings of a mandolin mandola (guitar type instrument) performed by Tapas Roy ignite the opening track called “Aasman Ke Paar” . What follows is a decent if uninspiring effort that sounds like it is paying homage to the dance floor of the 80s, particularly those repeated beats and classic disco loops! The singing (by Raman Mahadevan, Shilpa Rao, Joi Barua & Amitabh Bhattacharya) is enthusiastic and Shellee’s lyrics are apt for a group of students wanting to achieve big things in life! Give it a try and it might grow on you, worth a few listens for sure and it is one of the more catchier songs here…
Moving swiftly from disco to rock, the music is richer in instrumentation for the next track “Dariya Ubale” . The electric guitar performed well by Sanjoy Das plays a prominent role but the music is fairly chilled out with bass performed by Shon Pinto and this makes it rather more enjoyable than “Aasman Ke Paar”. Listen closely to the lyrics and the purpose is similar in that it is very much portraying the sense of free spirit and determination within the main protagonists of the movie. Singing is intense and explosive in places thanks to vocals by Shon Pinto and Amitabh Bhattacharya. Amazingly the latter is primarily a lyricist but Amit Trivedi has recognized a singer within the lyricist and has used him effectively here, if nothing else than to provide a fresh voice. Whilst an improvement over Track 1, this isn’t a memorable track by any means.
Thankfully the soundtrack becomes less situational and consequently more enjoyable with the third track “Meri Rooh” . Here Amit constructs a light and playful love song rich in melody and instrumentation thanks to a gorgeous acoustic guitar which provides a soothing thread from start until the end. Listen out also for the sprinkles of piano plucking, hand clapping and a lovely flute performed by Humtu! For some listeners this song might have hints of “Iktara” from Wake Up Sid! (2009) but regardless of this you can’t dispute its charm and the singing by Naresh Iyer and Aditi Singh Sharma is definitely fresh. Lyrics by Shellee are also nice. Overall, a lovely romantic number!
Ever wondered how you would describe the amazing effects of music on your daily life, behaviour and mood? The next track, “Music Hi Hai” , tries to do just that with a breezy uplifting tune that sounds very ‘real’ and true to life! ‘Real’ because the music is played in the background only with the singers’ vocals augmented to sound almost conversational and upon listening to it, you have to admit, it works well. Kavita Seth and kavish Seth ooze vibrancy and confidence in their singing supported by Shellee’s amusing but down to earth lyrics. Another charming effort from Amit but again nothing you will be listening to repeatedly.
One of Amit Trivedi’s biggest draws is his ability to mesh classical instruments with modern day fusion and he does that superbly in “Roshni” , which you will find at Track 5. Just listen to the core instruments such as the drums, percussion and the occasional saxophone playing in the background followed by some intermittent sounds of the santoor and harmonium. Notice how they gel delightfully with the rest of the instrumentation. Singing by Shruti Pathak is first class. Lyrics are fine. Whilst undoubtedly the most enjoyable song of the album, "Roshni" is also the most likely rehash of all Amit’s songs (in this soundtrack) and that is a bad habit for Amit to fall in. He must be careful not to make this a long-term habit!
The soundtrack ends with “Club Remix – Aasman Ke Paar” by Arun and Raja. But they needn’t have bothered as the original is better.
Overall, fans of Amit Trivedi maybe disappointed with his latest offering but you have to appreciate that he cannot keep churning out blockbuster soundtracks particularly for budget movies, let’s face it even the great A. R. Rahman hasn’t achieved that! But give the soundtrack a chance to grow on you and you may enjoy it for a short period of time, it's certainly his most chilled out soundtrack so far. Let’s just hope Amit’s next projects are more memorable, after all class is permanent and he is too talented a composer to be sidelined. The boy wonder will return with magic!