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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