Music listeners craving for something different should look no further than the music score of 1920. The latest Bhatt movie promises a lot of things but as with any of his movies, the music is one of the focal points; can he produce a period based OST (the movie as you can probably guess is set in the year '1920') without lacking mainstream appeal that is accustomed with all Bhatt movies? The director himself answers this:
“How does one walk the tight rope between contemporary and classical? We thought of getting the ageless and timeless voices on amazing contemporary tracks to create that magical fusion…”
But who would create this music and who would sing the songs? Over the years Adnan Sami has slowly developed into an impressive music composer and teams up with Bhatt in a rare partnership. As for the singers, no expense or imagination has been spared to capture the best on offer. Kailash Kher and Asha Bhonsle don’t need any introduction whatsoever but Shubha Mudgal, Parveen Sultana and a rare debut appearance (in bollywood) from classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj, completes the singing party. The concept of these singers performing against a background of contemporary but traditional sounds should wet the appetite of all music fans…
And what a start we have with the opener, Vaada Tumse Hai Vaada (male), which is undoubtedly the piece de resistance! The combination of classical guitar riffs, dhol play and percussion are all weaved together magically to create a fine composition that will instantly connect with you, a trademark of past Bhatt productions. The magical fusion is complete with the vocals of one of the best ever classical singers in India. How Sami persuaded Pandit Jasraj to sing the song at the age of 78 is remarkable but the singer defies his age and makes a telling contribution….his vocals are exquisite against the backdrop of some fine poetry by Sameer. Put simply a great track worthy of repeated listening…
The track is reinvented for Vaada Tumse Hai Vaada (female) and whilst not on par with the original, still deserves attention. The guitar strings make a return but this time Adnan Sami tries to infuse a more modern orchestration so out goes the dhol play and in its place we have some funky percussion arrangements. Now put classical singer Parveen Sultana into the pot and you have a neat alternative. Highly Recommended!
Thankfully the soundtrack gets back on track with the beautifully composed Aise Jalta Hai Jiya. The percussion (mixed with with other traditional instruments) works wonders in terms of creating a lifting melody but it’s the tabla play that is the true USP of the composition. Asha Bhonsle sounds in her elements here and her vocals bounce off the tabla beats under the witchcraft of Adnan Sami…exemplifying the supernatural theme of the movie. Sameer continues his excellent contribution with the lyrics. Another winner for the OST and the movie!
A haunting piano piece commences Tujhe Main Pyar Karu, the penultimate track of 1920. What follows is another modern piece wrapped in traditional melody and the effect is satisfying. The piano plays intermittently in the background whilst the percussion is joined by a bow stringed instrument. Kailash Kher performs admirably as usual and is able to lift the song a notch or two with his heartfelt rendition. The lyrics are impressive yet again. Another recommended track although one feels the music could have been fresher.
The 1920 Theme track further showcases the composer’s talents with a fantastic little piano orchestration that is eventually dominated by some deft guitar strings. This is a fitting end to the OST.
Rahman aside, the year of music that is 2008 (thus far), will not be remembered fondly by music lovers apart from those composers that tried something different. Just as Monty and SEL presented us with a unique flavour in the recent Chamku and Rock On! respectively, Adnan Sami goes the extra mile for 1920 and delivers one of his most impressive soundtracks to date. It is one thing to have an idea or concept but another to deliver it and to Adnan’s credit, he is generally excellent in his execution. One must also credit Sameer who (along with his contribution to Chamku) has produced some of his best poetry in years.
To refer to 1920 OST as a ‘classic score’ as per the director’s comments is a little far fetched but his comments that it is a ‘milestone for others to follow’ maybe apt to some extent…in other words venturing into the realms of innovation and experimentation bears fruit!