Have you ever wondered what it would take to make a perfect soundtrack in the current age of Bollywood music? Well I’m the first to admit that I truly gave up the ghost until I saw Trivediâ€™s latest release Bombay Velvet unfold on the big screen. And how beautiful and magical it was. Having heard it many times later it feels a privilege each time I listen to the complete album, one that is beyond your wildest imagination and one that has the potential to blow your mind. Shame then that the film didnâ€™t otherwise live up to the â€śmagnum opusâ€ť hype. In fact the music carries the film at points when it is meandering along. Alas Trivedi delivered his promise in what must rank as one of his finest yet. Albeit it is off beat.
That the music director is (Amit) Trevedi is no surprise. Iâ€™ve banged his drums (no pun intended) ever since I heard his debut soundtrack way back in 2008. It also helps that the film has a director (Anurag Kashyap) that thinks outside the box but this is an era where producers are greedy and want a quick return on their investment, where â€śmusicâ€ť is produced for the massy, where item numbers are more important than the actual script of the film, where Youtube hits are more important than critical reviews. So given this I feel the music to Bombay Velvet is a rare treat that needs to be given a chance because soundtracks like this come once in a blue moon. The music has been produced solely with the intention of supporting the film. Which happens to be set in the 1950s and 1960s.
Of course the sheep among us will have the usual excuse about the limitations of the music genre being offered here. Yes the music of Bombay Velvet is mostly jazz based but it is made to suit the era of the film when Jazz happened to be popular. If you have never been a fan of jazz music then instead of pleading ignorance try and be positive because Bombay Velvet will make you fall in love with this genre given some time and patienceâ€¦Trivedi (and his co-composer Mikey McCLeary who also composes "Fifi - Jata Kahan Hai Deewane") have even produced different versions of the same song in recognising that the music may have limited appeal. So actually you have no excuse at all!
The opening trackâ€śAam Hindustaniâ€ť is just sensational. The first half is pure jazz heaven with no singing involved as Trivedi just eases you into the genre showcasing a full array of (jazz) instruments. Using a clarinet he starts proceedings softly but soon the trumpet and drums just bombard your senses with excitement. The piano is added later for a touch of melody but by then you are hooked regardless! As an instrumental this song would be rated highly but Trivedi's masterstroke is to use this long introduction as a backdrop to the song itself which begins around the 4 min mark. And what a song it is where Shefali Alvare oozes confidence and style in her fabulous rendition. Bhattacharya is the finest lyricist of today's era and while his comic lines sound odd at first, listen carefully and they make a powerful statement about the â€śAam Hindustaniâ€ť. Honestly, I could write a complete essay on this song alone, it is that good. No superlatives do justice.
It might only suit a niche audience but those listeners who give it a chance will be treated to a masterpiece. Bombay Velvet is my soundtrack of the decade so far!
(Due to the high number of songs on this album, this review is to be continued...)