Aug 24, 2010

The music of Udaan

The soundtrack of Udaan should be properly introduced as being created by Amitabh Bhattacharya (lyrics) and Amit Trivedi (music). The duo, in their first full-length album since Dev.D, are clearly masters at exploring themes of angst. This collection of songs has a cohesion rare in most film soundtracks, with the tracks complementing each other in mood and thought. Restlessness and the optimistic desire to escape current orbits suffuse the songs.

Kahaani establishes the mood of Udaan with its whispered beginning slowly developing into a electric guitar-fuelled rock piece. The title song is more conventional, with a catchy riff and words of quiet rebellion. It is a little weak though, in comparison to the songs that follow. Geet... is wonderful - somehow the Amits manage to perfectly capture a sunbeam of naive optimism. The mood is upbeat and there's some very nice use of harmony and guitars. The two also have an interesting singing partnership - this is as far removed from Bandmasters Rangila and Rasila as you can get.

For me, Naav is the standout song from the album. I'm assuming Mohan (I don't know who he is!) is the lead singer. Though the diction is a little odd, the delivery is wonderful. The thought is age-old: a call to overcoming impediments, but the metaphor (of a boat struggling for breath) was new to me. You will scarcely find a more rousing song to listen to when you are sinking to the dumps. Compositions like these put the 'rock' in rock. (Here's a link to the lyrics for this song.)

Aazaadiyaan reminds me a lot of a previous Amit Trivedi song - "Ik Lau" (Aamir) - it has the same lingering start and perhaps the openings of are similar too, though the tempo is different. The sitar riff is very pleasing, and serves as a springboard for the rest of the song to take off (almost literally).

In contrast, Motumaster is quite out of place. To be fair, it has been designed as an 'arbit' ad-hoc kind of song (Anurag Kashyap's official debut as lyricist?) and is quite hilarious in parts ('kamar to naapte hai magar hum kamraa kaise naape?"). But it might have been better off being just in the film and not on the album. The concluding instrumental piece is reflective and appropriate.

One reason why Udaan's soundtrack works is because the story and treatment seem to be tailormade for the Amits. Amit Trivedi is very good at the rock-folk milieu and is able to bring his own bag of tricks to it. I wonder how he will deal with more commercial ventures. One of the pleasures of listening to his albums is to hear very new voices. Who are these Neuman Pinto/Joi Barua/Mohan/Nikhil D'Souza? Now we've heard them and of them. But if he goes more mainstream, how will this work out for them? But I do wish Amit Trivedi didn't feature on every other song s- he's got a raspy voice suited only for certain types, and he might be overdoing it a tad.

In short, listen to Udaan.

Image created using Wordle


Vedang said...

I thought the start of udaan was very similar to walk of life :)

yes, the songs are absolutely wonderful though!

Gagan said...

Talking about Amit Trivedi's more commercial ventures, I think the 'Aisha' OST can fall in that category. Though 'Shaam' is pretty good, the title song does give out a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy vibe.

Ajay said...

Any thoughts on Aisha?

Re: The singers (and even the two Amits), I'm quite struck by the thought that so much talent exists outside the mainstream bubble. I wonder how many such people go unnoticed because they can't be bothered to enter TV reality shows or follow more conventional paths into the industry. There's nothing like NSD or FTII for music, is there?

Ajay said...

Oh, and some Internet crawling found me this:

Mohan is the vocalist of the band Agnee. FWIW, their debut album has some nice tracks.

Unknown said...

Vedang: Oh - I'll go listen to w of l again and see.

Gagan: Yeah. I did find Aisha a little wishy-washy - nothing much in the story to be inspired from, perhaps.

Ajay: will check out the link. One can argue that NSD & FTII are still obscure - good training grounds only. IMO, the mass of reality TV shows - however ugly and kitschy it gets - have thrown up so many voices, that once in a while, some real gems emerge. It also helps that people such as ARR & Amit T keep trying out new voices.

Unknown said...

Aisha however has the same singers...and it's music is the only thing worth talking about...Udaan however, everything matched

vishal said...

I didn't like this album in the first listen - will give it another try after reading your thoughts. Still haven't watched the movie though, that might help in understanding some situational songs - especially since the lyrics seem to be carefully written to suit the story/characters...

And yes, I agree that Amit Trivedi shouldn't try to sing every other song.

Unknown said...

VishalL: I forgot to write that yes, the album is a little distant on first hearing, but I think given Amit Trivedi's work so far, he (like ARR & Vishal B for me) merited some more listening. Hence I went ahead, and found it grow on me soon. See if you have the same experience :-)