MUSIC REVIEW: Lootera – A Breath Of Fresh Air?

Lootera's music harkens to an era of where songs chewed up the scenery. Does the film's music do justice to its period look...
Lootera's music harkens to an era of where songs chewed up the scenery. Does the film's music do justice to its period look...

They are calling it a breath of fresh air. Music is filled with so much noise (and dubstep) that anything that harkens to an older clime, is instantly reckoned as classic. But is Lootera rare, or just one off?

Amit Trivedi’s recent music borders on pantomime if you look at the cartoonish songs of Ghanchakkar (Jholu Ram, Lazy Lad) due to release before Lootera in June this year, or even Aiyaa (Dreamum, Wakda, Aga Bai) from last year.

The other common gripe with his music is, nothing stays. While the songs of English Vinglish and Kai Po Che enhance these films, they don’t have a recall value. In the way say the soundtrack of a Rahman album has. Now that’s the other thing – Amit is the poor man’s Rahman. His arrangement is perfect, then why isn’t it like Aashiqui 2‘s music? What else was in the film, if it wasn’t for the music? Melody?

Alright, enough intro – let’s listen to the soundtrack. Sawaar Loon, the first track, sung by a Shreya Ghoshal sounding new playback singer, Monali Thakur is syrupy sweet. Melodious? Right up there. Very S D Burman – Salil Chowdhury genre. It has a sweeping lilt, bare use of instruments – violin, flute, dhol, maracas and a surprise feathery finish – almost like the last bit of creamy icing on a drool worthy dessert.

The lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya sings Ankahee – and it is beautifully orchestrated. Amitabh’s pitch wavers from mid to high range followed by a gorgeous violin against marching band end. In effect, it has the quality of Kaminey title track, good and yet, not entirely satisfying.

Mohan Kanan lends his vocal musculature to Shikayatein. One small shikayat – he sings, ‘Ujale ne gar basaya hai.’ Sir, its ‘ghar’ – thoda epiglottis se. Ah violins, to distract again. That segment which Amit Trivedi has been accused of ripping from One Day is here. Though its drowned, unlike what we first heard in the trailer, and which after that controversy, could have been re-arranged. Shikayatein, shikayatein.

Swanand Kirkire sings Monn Ta Re and its every bit the cutesy, playful Bengali bhadralok music. Baul hai bhai, Burman Da – Salil Da territory phir se. Rosogullas jumping in cloudy sugar syrup.

Amit Trivedi’s Zinda is rock the opera house. The use of back vocals, in echo, an Amit Trivedi trope, takes us into a familiar groove we have come to expect of him. Guitar riff ends too.

Manmarziyan where Shilpa Rao is accompanied by Amit and Amitabh, the trio compliment the use of violin, santoor, guitar and each one sound is clear, and distinct from the other. To bring it all together as one piece – there’s some magic working its way into this ambience. At its apex, it is reduced to smithereens. It could have been the electrifying qawalli that it is not.

The soundtrack leaves us a little unfinished. Good when we expect great from Amit Trivedi. He’s set the bar so high up there, this meal cooks slow. Robbed, but not loot gaye.