With a film called Soundtrack and a story so focused on music, the expectations from its own soundtrack multiply by leaps and bounds. Director Neerav Ghosh's film - a remake of the 2004 award-winning film It's All Gone Pete Tong - follows the life of a popular DJ who begins to go deaf. Starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Soha Ali Khan, the film definitely has a curiosity factor working in its favor with the cast and a fascinating concept. Soundtrack also boasts the first full-fledged Hindi film album by the the Midival Punditz in partnership with Karsh Kale, collectively known as MPKK. After trying their hand at the background score of Rohan Sippy's Dum Maaro Dum, MPKK really go to town with the album of Soundtrack. What we get is an edgy album with some trademark MPKK sounds and a highly refreshing vibe for a Hindi film album.
The album starts with an electronica bang. Atomizer is an explosive track by Gaurav Raina (one half of Midival Punditz) and Karsh Kale from the last Midivial Punditz album, Hello Hello. With everything from electric guitar, drums to synthesizer, this one is a club song through and through and an incredibly addictive one at that.
The next track, Banao, is an odd one for Hindi film music. It's a devotional song of sorts but done in the most unconventional of ways. The best thing about this number is Papon's raspy crooning paired with the guitar strumming. It's a simple yet graceful track, which uses an intriguing take on devotional lyrics to deliver something you can sing along or sway to.
The third track, Ek Manzil, opens with an exquisite cello solo which then builds dramatically with a drum accompaniment. Sung by Vishal Vaid, this song has a passionate feel and the periodic cello interlude adds a unique stamp to it. The cello and drums combination proves to be a real winner here and joined by Vaid's heartfelt vocals, this is by far one of the best tracks in the album.
Vishal Vaid makes another appearance with Fakira. It's hard to follow a song like 'Ek Manzil' and 'Fakira' is a completely different sound and style. MPKK go for a hypnotic feel here, with their electronica sound combined with sufi-esque singing. Interesting experiment, but unfortunately, it doesn't have much impact.
Main Chala has a heavy electronica-trance sound, a very Midival Punditz-type composition. Thrown into this tune is Kailash Kher who brings his very powerful vocals to the mix, making for a solid track. It may not catch on immediately with the average listener, but fans of MPKK will cherish it. The song's intensity and style makes it a niche track, and while it is well done, it will probably have limited appeal.
MPKK favorite Papon makes a second appearance with Naina Laagey. It's a mellow ballad crooned aptly by Papon and put to atmospheric electronica music accompanied fluidly by a flute. It's a contemplative track but the lyrics remain quite limited. However, the sheer pleasure of the song lies in Papon's sufi-inspired singing - he takes his time with it, making for an incredibly laid back listen.
MPKK pay homage to one of Kishore Kumar's timeless classics with Ruk Jaana Nahin (Remix). While it is usually very difficult to get cover songs right, singer Suraj Jagan puts in his best to a rather standard remix track. Unfortunately, this one doesn't offer much of a refreshing angle on the original, which makes deciding between Kishoreda's original and this remix a bit too easy.
The first of two instrumental tracks in this album is Symphony Of The Streets. Composed by MPKK, it is quite simply one of the finest pieces of music produced in India this year. MPKK take mundane sounds from streets - trains, buses, car horns, etc - and weave it beautifully with their own tune to truly create a symphony. More than anything, it shows how musical inspiration can arise from day-to-day sounds we all encounter.
That alluring cello tune makes a comeback in The Soundtrack Theme, another purely instrumental track by MPKK. This time, the entire track is centered around the cello track and becomes a suitable indulgence for those who wanted to hear more of that after 'Ek Manzil.'
If the promo is anything to go by, What the F pretty much sums up the lifestyle of the lead character. Sung beautifully by Anushka Manchanda, it has the potential to become a hit dance number. The music here is catchy to say the least and, combined with Manchanda's energetic and zesty vocals, this number is sure to evoke foot tapping if not a full on head banging. After her performance in 'Mit Jaaye Gham' (Dum Maaro Dum) and now 'What the F', Manchanda is definitely a singer to watch out for.
The last song in the album is another tribute to Kishore Kumar. Yeh Jeevan Hai (Remix) is much different take on a classic song than the rendition of 'Ruk Jaana Nahin' earlier in the album. For one, MPKK bring in the sultry voice of Malini Awasthi to feminize Kishoreda's original. Awasthi has powerful vocals that add perhaps a bit more of sadness to the song than the original had, but her voice has an arresting quality to it. The music itself isn't too spectacular in this one. The flute works best but the synthesized percussion and the faint whistling sound could have been replaced with a much more punchy composition. However, this track is saved primarily by Awasthi's immense contribution.
Soundtrack is not a conventional Hindi film album by any means, and this is what makes it so appealing. MPKK have brought their unique sounds to make it an eclectic album that offers everything from addictive club tunes to intoxicating ballads to remixes of classics. While we wait to see how the film turns out, definitely check one of the best Hindi film albums of the year. Soundtrack lives up to its name!
Listen to the full album here.