AndhaDhun music review: Amit Trivedi's intimate album shows the piano is an instrument of all seasons
In AndhaDhun, Amit Trivedi banks on the versatility of the piano to put together a soundtrack that is sweet, edgy, peppy and meditative in equal parts.
Sriram Raghavan's upcoming thriller AndhaDhun revolves around a blind piano player who is an
eyewitness in a murder case. Naturally, the music by Amit Trivedi is dominated by piano pieces but the seasoned composer does not let that come into the way of the album's range. He puts together a soundtrack that is sweet, edgy, peppy and meditative in equal parts.
The first song, 'Naina Da Kya Kusoor', starts with a cathartic piano sequence, but soon graduates into a foot-tapping number with the guitar and percussion paying a surprise visit. There is also an electronic version that is charged with addictive EDM beats, which updates the song to a track perfect for a Zumba session. Jaideep Sahni, who has written almost all the songs of the album, strategically weaves the film's plot into this romantic song. He adds two layers to the phrase 'naina da kya kusoor' (why blame the eyes?) — one associated with the innocence of love and the other with a tinge of crime and suspicion. Amit Trivedi never lets this double-edged sword dangle as he, as a vocalist, strikes every note just about right with his clinical brilliance.
The second song, 'Aap Se Milkar', is also a romantic song but a typical meet cute number. While Trivedi's choice of instruments is apt here as they make the music playful but the rhythm, particularly of the chorus, sounds dated. Aakanksha Sharma's emotive vocals fare better than the relatively flat voice of Abhijeet Srivastava. But the reprise version proves the charmer Ayushmann Khurrana is. His dewy voice makes the same song sound much fresher and he lands the ending far better as well. Sahni's lyrics are commendable, especially the cricket analogy where he compares the loveless life to runs and encounter with love to a six.
In 'Woh Ladki', Trivedi packs in a lot of operatic tension in this song. There are a lot of glissandos in this song where the piano takes the forefront, and other musical instruments merely react to the conductor. Sahni's lyrics provide an evocative imagery by painting the portrait of a girl who is both vulnerable and assertive. The lyrics also suggest that there is a great amount of history to the story they tell. Arijit Singh slips into the shoes of the narrator with ease and sings like he has lived all of the character's past lives.
Trivedi uses the same instruments as 'Naina Da Kya Kusoor' in 'Laila Laila', which can also be alternatively called the film's title song. But both the phrases, 'Laila Laila' and 'andhadhun', arrive way before the underwhelming chorus. The way Trivedi renders the cliched chorus makes it come across as cute. He is ably assisted by casual strumming of guitar, a cheerful rhythm and piano sequences that bring more sunshine to this feel-good song.
'Oh Bhai Re' sounds like it does not belong to the world of AndhaDhun but to say an edgier album like Manmarziyaan. Trivedi starts the song with the signature music of a spooky detective thriller but soon surprises us with a peppy anti-love song. Shadab and Altamash Faridi's raw vocals spell out a pain that is laced with a quirky sense of humour. The words echo the same mood as Sahni hits where it hurts the most with the chorus that says, "Oh bhai re, dil hai ki gehri khai re" (is this my heart or a deep pit). Trivedi brings out the inherent humour of the lyrics with additional sound effects that constitute the wacky rhythm of the track.
The title track is the only song from the album that is not composed by Trivedi and written by Sahni. Raftaar, along with Girish Nakod, takes charge of a gritty song that is a deviation from the film's intimate tone. Raftaar brings the typical rap elements to the song through an aggressive streak and social commentary (on how the law and order is being eclipsed by crime), through both music and lyrics. He uses a lot of folk percussion instruments, giving the song a macro appeal. Raftaar, as he sings the song, seems hypnotiosed by the intense rhythm and brings the same degree of energy to his vocals.
Trivedi has also composed two piano themes that have their own stories to tell. Jarvis Menezes, who has taken to the piano stool for majority of the album, gets the spotlight in these two songs. And he proves to be an exceptional talent. 'AndhaDhun Theme 01', though pleasant to the ears, is full of deceptive turns. Somewhere in the middle of this theme, a razor-sharp piano rhythm brushes hard against a gentler one so that even the latter one develops edges and turns sharper. But the gentle rhythm slides in again, poking the sharper one. No brownie points for guessing that the theme has a deceptive cadence as well.
'AndhaDhun Theme 02' starts on a dramatic note but soon, a few deliberate slips of the keys derail the drama. Just like the first theme, this one also tussles with convention. It soon starts shaping up like the tune of 'Woh Ladki' only to deviate at irregular intervals. The whole sequence sounds like someone struggling to find their voice despite all the obstacles thrown at them.
Overall, the music of AndhaDhun is an example of what the piano is capable of in depicting varied seasons and moods. Trivedi's nuanced compositions, Menezes' exceptional skills and Sahni's well-crafted lyrics reiterate that the piano is arguably the most underrated of all musical instruments.
Listen to the entire album here.
AndhaDhun stars Ayushmann, Radhika Apte, Tabu and Anil Dhawan. It is co-produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Matchbox Films. It is slated to release this Friday on 5 October.
All images from YouTube.
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