Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ishaqzaade: The Music Review

It takes a super skillful magician to pull a rabbit out of his hat every time. With Ishaqzaade, there’s no doubt that Amit Trivedi’s just yanked out the Energizer bunny. A chockfull of spunk and attitude, and it just keeps going.

After serving out hot and diverse dishes like Dev D, Udaan, Wake Up Sid and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, its blatantly obvious that Amit Trivedi loves to experiment across barriers of melody, genre and instruments, while yet bringing something widely palatable to the table. His soundtracks have traditionally featured an indescribable element that makes listeners react with the following order of thoughts: “WTF?”, “hmm”, “nice”, “I think I like it”, “No, I love it”, “THIS is the new theme song of my life”.

Ishaqzaade is no exception to that tradition. Let’s start with the title track, where you hear Javed Ali  in a more aggressive avatar than his usual Guzaarish (Ghajini) tone, ably accompanied by Shreya who can do little wrong with her near-flawless renditions. The song has an anthem-like quality in the lead chorus, coupled with rustic beats and a brass interlude that is reminiscent of a Tarantino soundtrack.

Let’s face it. Chokra Jawaan almost seems out of place at first, because it’s probably the most ‘typical’ of the tracks in IZ. Sunidhi and Vishal serve their cause well, and the track will probably make more sense once it’s put into the context of the movie. The same goes for Jhalla Wallah, which brings Shreya out of her light classical comfort zone. Shreya really seems to be doing more such boundary crossing lately (a la Chikni Chameli), and while her sincerity in rendering Jhalla credibly is noteworthy, one can’t help but miss a singer with more “nakhra” and twist in her voice who would be able to do just the right amount of effortless justice that Jhalla deserves (are you listening, Richa Sharma?).

The album is then flipped on its side by a track that takes the listener by storm – Pareshaan. I mean – rock rhythms, timely harmonium work, a brilliantly paced arrangement, and a chorus that just won’t quit. This track’s a winner, and Shalmali Kholgade is quite the find. Watch out for the bass riffs, especially when the rhythm stops and starts.

For those who never thought dubstep would make its presence felt in Bollywood, Monsieur Trivedi gives it wings with Aafaton Ke Parindey. And in his unique style, he doesn’t let it be a cheesy debut. Aafaton is enhanced further by the vocal prowess of Suraj Jagan. Apart from hits like Give Me Some Sunshine (3 Idiots) and Sadka Kiya (I Hate Love Stories), you may also remember Suraj from the track Zehreelay (Rock On). By bringing it into his own, he owns Aafaton Ke. Brilliant!

Both remixes on the album (Jhalla Wallah and Pareshaan) by the talented Abhijit Vaghani are striking and veer far from the expectations of how one would expect these tracks to be remixed. In fact, these remixes have an independent heartbeat and identity of their own.

All in all – if I had to sum up Ishaqzaade in one word, I’d call it ‘ballsy’. Amit Trivedi continues to raise the bar, and once again effortlessly instructs his competitors …. to grow a pair.

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