Aiyyayyayaaa – My thoughts on the Aiyyaa OST

There is a buzz amongst music lovers that Amit trivedi has become a master of orchestral work and tune smithy and is the only music director , fit to be called AR Rahman’s heir apparent. The fact that he is growing strength to strength , album to album was what started the buzz and his superb coke studio work lent credibility to the same after a tepid 2011. The buzz in fact will increase in volume as one listens to the Aiyaa soundtrack and here is my thoughts on Amit T’s work for this movie.

Dreamum Wakeuppum opens with the loud sound of the south masala songs of the late 80s and what starts is a wacky journey with the orchestra. The keys , the percussion and the guitars along with the percussion are so wacky and the mix improves when the Nadaswaram  gets into the fray.The only thing which spoils the song is the meaningless , loaded with double entendre lyrics and the yucky video I am not able forgive. All in all a competent opening song for the album belonging to a genre I call Hindi Kuthu.

From the southern most part of the country we travel to Maharashtra , straight into a Lavani performance thanks to Amit T , only thing is this Lavani has its own twists. Talking about Hindi Films and the protagonists’s desire to get into films , Sunidhi sleep walks through the song competently. What sets this song aside is the orchestral work , esp when the guitars enter the fray in the second interlude. A competent effort again and while one does not have anything against the song ,one feels its not special.

Think of a Marathi rock star and think Aga Bai. That slow start with the percussion and classical singing blows up into a riot of voices and synth & electronic work. The song seems like a club/disco number and I was not able to shake the feel off even after a couple of listens. What’s commendable is again the orchestral work and singing – the singers have got a Marathi accent going with hindi and it sounds very very authentic.Shalmali and Monali render this number and though I was not able to distinguish which was which , both the ladies  are in super form and are very very good.

One can be forgiven for thinking that Mahek Bhi is an instrumental . The first minute and half of the song is dedicated to a dreamy piano accompanied by Shenai , joined by a violin ,cello and whistle later on. Amit adds layer upon layer on layer in those 90 seconds that you wish the track was an instrumental or had an instrumental version. Shreya Ghoshal joins the song somewhere around the second minute and carries the song along with her dreamy voice. This is a song you play on rainy evenings sipping  a cup of tea or dancing to the waltzy arrangement with a friend.Mahek Bhi is slow poison . It gets inside your system slowly , steadily and refuses to let go. The backing male vocals are also splendid ( Amit T himself maybe). If you loved the Shenai lines in Amit’s Navrai Majhi , you’ll go crazy over the Shenai work in this song – its bloody brilliant of Amit to use the Shenai with a Waltzy arrangement.

People always say its nice to return gifts and Amit must think so too for he’s given Sneha K , the best song of the album in ‘what to do’. A santoor ( I’m not sure) leads the song and Sneha jumps into the fray immediately. The grungy guitars , keys . that percussion and Sneha K mean musical addiction with Amitabh Bhattacharya adding to the headiness. One goes vavvavvaavvaa with the song and goes wow after it.This is a song which has to be heard and the lesser said about the better – the wacky mix has to be experienced to be understood. Way too addictive , this has been playing on a loop umpteen times and one word to the readers – watch out for that wacky second interlude with Mridangams and what not .

Any tamil Brahmin worth his/her salt will certainly smile as Wakda begins with the trade mark moresingh and mridangam that kick starts wakda. The Nadaswaram adds to the wackiness and as Amit starts with Pa Pa you realize you are in for a fun ride. The orchestral work is once again out of the world and wacky. Amit T even has the back up singers sing Wakda in a very southie style. The nattuvangam in that first interlude along with the Mridangam is a win too. I guess this is a wedding song and there is a slight Marathi wiff too. Watch out for the guitars and trumpet in the second interlude ye readers – kick ass stuff this. In fact wakda stands shoulder to shoulder with Ijjat Papad and I am quite confused as to which is the best song of the album.

Overall , Aiyyaa is a wacky and mixed ride with some competent and some out of the world work. Amit T take a bow , for making us go Wakda !

Barfi – Matter of fact and earthy!

It is an almost indisputable fact that films often  use life’s misfortunes to lure their audience to connect with their protagonist and their story. In most cases filmmakers use disabled leads , contrived misfortunes , jilted lovers and self-sacrificing heroines almost always leading to loads of melodrama and bags of soaked tissues. Barfi uses all of the above plot tools yet stays so matter of fact and so real that you can’t help falling in love with it.

Barfi is all about three characters who form a love triangle – Barfi , Jhilmil and Sruti played by Ranbir , Priyanka and Ileana respectively. That Barfi is deaf and mute, Jhilmil is differently abled and Sruthi is married , does not affect the story arc and does not manipulate the audience into rooting for/against a particular character. Strip away the handicaps and what you have is a standard done to death love triangle and this is where Barfi as a movie succeeds. Anurag uses a very common story template , adds the above mentioned plot devices and includes spectacular moments to create a heady mix which appeals to one and all.

Often , when one has characters with disabilities or emotional burden , one tends to highlight their angst and plight so heavily that one ends up creating saint like two-dimensional characters. Anurag tosses this out of the window and ends up creating real , believable characters who do what they do , yet regret / resent doing it. In one of the first moments in the film , where one is Introduced to Shruti , one sees her room filled with photos of her and Barfi –  capturing what you assume as their life together.Much Much later into the film , at the fag-end , you end up realizing that the photos were not of hers and Barfi’s alone – they also include jhimil , who has been folded into invisibility by Shruti  – this despite the fact that but for Sruti , Barfi and Jhilmil would not have had a happy ending.

It is moments like these , that make you root for Anurag Basu the film maker , be it the moment where Jhilmil tries to check out if she’d look good in a Saree like Sruti which indicates her subtle jealousy or the tears in Sruti’s eyes accompanying her bright smile as Barfi marries Jhilmil indicating her heartbreak and happiness. These moments when they occur , makes you forgive the occasional dragging that happens and gives you additional insight into the characters , layer by layer. Jhilmil’s possesiveness  towards her man and her fear of Ileana is so subtly indicated as she comes forward , and forms a barrier of sorts with her hands . Much later  chronologically , she consoles a broken Sruti patting her arms lightly , letting the audience know that Jhilmil has accepted what has to happen whereas Sruti has not.

Yet for all the spectacular moments , brilliant acting  , soul-stirring music – rerecording included and captivating cinematography , Barfi is not without flaws. The movie drags at times and could have very well avoided the kidnap , robbery and mystery angle to the story.The ending , so notebookish also seems a tad contrived. But one forgives the flaws when one comes out of the theatre as what stays is Ranbir’s brilliant acting , Priyanka’s lovely outing as Jhilmil ( which is at Par with Sridevi’s act in Moondram Pirai) , the  lovely lovely Darjeeling brought to life by Ravivarman and the music which is undoubtably Pritam’s best till date.

Watch Barfi atleast once – for it is good cinema which appeals to a very wide palate. Watch it because , it brings a smile to your face , a smile which is due to the fact that the experience of watching this movie takes one back to a place where life is beautiful and real , despite the occasional brutality and unhappiness.