After the extraordinary musical score for Dev.D (2009), it’s no surprise Anurag Kashyap has stood by the relatively new composer Amit Trivedi (he debuted in 2008 with the amazing soundtrack to Aamir) for his latest acclaimed project called Udaan. The film itself marks a prestigious moment in the history of Indian cinema after it debuted at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival this year and is surely a dream start for director Motwane- Bollywood films showcased at Cannes are a rare event! Back to the music, how does it feature in such a film and can it stand out in such a project? Can Amit repeat his splendid efforts from Dev.D? Well he gives himself a fighting chance by joining up with his favourite lyricist, the hugely underrated Amitabh Bhattacharya. The just released soundtrack will answer all of these questions and more…
Track 1: “Kahaani (Aankhon Ke Pardon Pe)” is a short but sublime piece that will be played in the background at some point in the film. The acoustic guitar (one of Amit’s favourite instruments by far!) is strummed softly to convey the required emotions of a new beginning…a new hope. The drums and percussion then take over during the chorus lines but it’s all done softly so as not to disturb your relaxed state of mind. Singing is less prominent here but Joi Barua and Nueman Pinto sound mesmerising for the part they do get. Hats off to Amitabh for his fresh but apt lines, he’s a godsend for Amit’s music! Overall, whilst a fine effort, you get the feeling already that the soundtrack is made for the film…
Track 2: “Geet (Kuchh Naya To Zaroor Hai)” is a happy-go soft rock ballad meshed with a delightful blast of fresh and innovative twists, a strategy that Amit seems to have perfected over his short career thus far! Starting off with a lovely piano he moves onto a short guitar variant (mandolin?) before exploding the song into life with the drums and percussion and of course the guitar (electric). But listen carefully and you will pick up plenty of variety along the way. The composer sings this himself alongside the lyricist Amitabh and both do a decent job. Not a bad song but again you are less likely to hum to this one which leaves it strictly for the film.
Track 3: “Udaan” is a more energetic track albeit with fundamentally the same instrumentation as Track 2. So you have the guitar, drums and beats but they sound more lively and peppy here. On this occasion Amit experiments more in the singing department. Both Joi and Nueman join Amit for a singing trilogy here although one gets the feeling that Amit is overdoing it with his singing. Just stick to what you are good at right? That’s what Amitabh does on this occasion by focusing on his lyrics and the results are a good effort. Another offbeat track for the film? You betcha…but it’s quality from start to finish.
Track 4: “Naav” is a masterstroke in its execution! What is inherently a traditional folksy song is slowly (listen carefully around the 1 min mark as the rock beats and percussion are instantly infused into the traditional melody) turned on its head by Amit and the end result is an invigorating twist akin to someone blindfolding you on a rollercoaster and consequently making the ride that bit more unpredictable and exciting! Alas, like many rollercoaster rides they end far too quickly and this one is no different. Mohan’s powerful rendition is another splendid highlight. Lyrics by AB are awe-inspiring. “Naav” is best summarised by three letters....W….O…W!
Track 5: “Motumaster” further showcases Amit’s experimental attitude for this soundtrack but this time on the qawwali genre. The music is minimal with an acoustic guitar playing in the background but it’s cheerful nevertheless, allowing the singers (a huge group consisting of Raman Mahadevan, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Bonnie Chakraborty, Kshitij, Shriram Iyer, Tochi Raina and even Amit) to create an impression and what an impression they create either as main singers, supporting vocalists including dialogue delivery or simply creating background sound effects (“boom che” chants are fabulous), they all work effortlessly as a team! But arguably the biggest ovation goes to Anurag Kashyap for his satirical lyrics that flip between amusement, hilarity and thought provoking lines. Yes this is experimentation gone mad but you can’t fault the originality and attraction of the final product. Superb!
Go free yourself of the shackles of conventional music with the aptly titled Track 6: “Aazaadiyan”, which is easily one of the outstanding compositions on the entire CD. It follows the soft and laid back style of tracks 1-3 but has an extra oomph to the occasional traditional melody, beats and rock fusion to put it at the top of the pile. Amit is joined by Amitabh, Nueman Pinto and Nikhil D’Souza for the singing which is restricted to begin with but explodes into life during the closing stages. Lyrics are once again thought provoking and a testament to the talents of Mr Bhattacharya. It’s a song to rejoice a memorable time and is bound to sound stunning in the film. But even as a stand-alone song, this one has class written all over it.
Track 7: “Theme” is exactly what is says on the CD cover! A gorgeous piano piece (by Felix Hug) that will heal your soul. Backing vocals are by Joi and Neuman. Go on, give it a try.
The music for Udaan is everything a score should be for such an offbeat film. It is sincere, classy, themed and tactful but in fact it’s much more than that. Amit has gone the extra mile (Tracks 4 and 5) to deliver a multi-faceted score that is also fresh and invigorating, fully in tune with the vision of the composer and the producer (Anurag Kashyap). Having said that it’s no Dev.D if comparisons are ever allowed with that soundtrack. That’s mainly down to the concept of the film which is not musically driven like Dev.D was (did you know the Dev.D script was actually re-written so that it fitted around the music by Amit?). Special mention to Amitabh Bhattacharya for his inspiring lyrics.
But make no mistakes, Amit Trivedi is going places and must rank as one of the hottest artists / music directors in the industry. His vision is currently unrivalled and that’s what makes him unique. No wonder he is releasing at least another 4-5 soundtracks this year alone, the man is in huge demand! It will be interesting to see if he can continue producing such interesting music on a consistent level. His fresh and innovative approach sells itself and now it’s opening up to the rest of the world via the Cannes Film Festival. Isn’t it time you opened up your ears to his vision? Go on, surprise yourself...in Amitabh's own lines, Kuchh Naya To Zaroor Hai...