Bollywood Music

Review: Amit Trivedi’s music for ‘Fitoor’ is not his worst but is far from his best

A comme ci comme ca soundtrack, like a gasp trapped between breaths.

Music composer Amit Trivedi has worked for director Abhishek Kapoor on the soundtrack of Kai Po Che (2013), and their second collaboration, Fitoor, carries forward some of the brevity of that soundtrack. Tunes are accompanied by evenly paced musical arrangements, giving the pauses between the music an atmospheric space, like a conductor’s performance, or rather a gasp between breaths. The movie opens on February 12.

Arijit Singh croons the staccato “Yeh Fitoor Mera” and though it is reminiscent of the sounds of Lootera (2013), the glissando effect of the violins gives the track a new expression (catching the rumble of a thunderstorm within the soundscape). The effect sets the song on a course of its own, but also unmistakably reinforces and distinguishes it as an example of the “Amit Trivedi sound.”

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Trivedi begins “Pashmina” in his usual low-note drawl backed by a symposium of stringed orchestral instruments, including violins, cello, saz, rabab and drums, and he slowly inches towards higher notes as the track gathers momentum. The saz and rabab are acknowledged in Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics, “Waadi mein goonje kahin naye saz aise kaise, yeh rabab aise kaise” (The valley echoes with the sound of the saz and the rabab) and rightly so, since the portions in which he isn’t singing are quite simply stunning.

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“Haminastu” takes its inspiration from Persian poet Amir Khusrau’s couplet, “Agar Firdaus bar rōy-e zamin ast, hamin ast-o hamin ast-o hamin ast” (If there is a heaven on earth, it is here, it is here). The words are also inscribed on a wall at Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar which forms the backdrop for Fitoor. Zeb Bangash (one half of the Pakistani pop group Zeb and Haniya) matches the song’s thrilling tempo with a rousing rendition befitting of a marching band.

Bangash returns with “Hone Do Batiyaan” with Nandini Srikar, the two singers in a guftagu (conversation) about all things that ail the heart. The hook line sticks, nothing else does.

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“Tere Liye” features singers Sunidhi Chauhan and Jubin Nautiyal and goes for the pedestrian in its lyrics: “Main girta hoon, sambhalta hoon, phir chalta hoon, tere liye” (I fall, I rise, I walk again, for you). It is like the Rebeccanisation of songwriting. The music magazine Rolling Stone had described American pop singer Rebecca Black’s single “Friday” as “a song that makes a point of explaining the sequence of days in the week”, just as Kirkire lists out the things a man does when he falls down. All this for his beloved in what is effectively an evocation of the film’s theme. Fitoor means unsoundness of mind.

“Rangaa Re” has two versions. Sunidhi Chauhan sings in Hindi and Caralisa Monteiro in English. Trivedi sings towards the end on both tracks in a bid to rescue them from the hodgepodge sound of mixed genres.

A comme ci comme ca soundtrack, like a gasp trapped between breaths.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.