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Sounds like indie spirit

Road trip music: Still from Karwaan

Road trip music: Still from Karwaan  

After having composed what was arguably the best song — ‘Prabhu Ji’ — for Akarsh Khurana’s High Jack earlier this year, composer Anurag Saikia’s services have been employed by the director once again for three tracks in Karwaan. In ‘Chhota Sa Fasana’, with the help of the director’s own pensive lyrics, Saikia produces a perfect theme for the road trip movie. While the tune or the treatment are not fresh (Arijit Singh at the mic adds to the déjà vu), in totality the song has a very likeable breeziness. Where Saikia delivers a proper winner is in the song — ‘Heartquake’ (in its original version) is a beautifully crafted ditty that Papon delivers in style. While the tune itself is incredibly likeable, the light-heartedness is accentuated by Khurana’s light poetry replete with quirky rhymes. I particularly love the way the guitar-dominated backdrop makes way for a folksy instrumental segment led by harmonium/accordion, tabla and sarangi/esraj (all of which keep appearing in the backdrop through the song) in the interlude. The composer gives the lyrics a new, and very electronic, treatment in the alternate version of the song ‘Aftershocks’, that also features another of the movie’s composers Slowcheeta on rap. Though I would rate the original version higher, this is still a highly imaginative repackaging of the song by Saikia (possibly just me, but I enjoyed the way quake is split to ku-ek).

Slowcheeta teams up with Shwetang Shankar (as he did in High Jack) to produce ‘Dhai Kilo Bakwaas’. Lot of wacky elements – including the failed attempt at the Malayalam accented English rapping — in between in the song, but nothing really stays with you at the end of it. Two more of the album’s songs go to the man who always manages to evoke a sense of nostalgia with his voice, melodies and words (though in an increasingly repetitive fashion) — Prateek Kuhad. ‘Kadam’ is everything you associate with Kuhad’s trademark style — gentle guitarwork, a soothing voice all putting you into a pleasant lull. ‘Saansein’ on the other hand has a relatively richer arrangement — piano being the mainstay of the arrangement — and is more road trip-y in its disposition. I prefer the former among the two tracks — I find the melodic progression more interesting there. ‘Bhar De Hamaara Glass’ comes from Imaad Shah, with Saba Azad behind the mic — which is surprisingly not under the label of their collective act Madboy/Mink. A bit laidback and immersive in comparison with the duo’s usual songs, the packaging is a similar mix of retro jazziness with contemporary electronic elements — and the end result is immensely engaging (the melody reminded me of ‘Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh’ at times).

There is a case to be made that multi-composer soundtracks turn out best when the musicians involved are from the indie scene. To cite some examples, we’ve had Detective Byomkesh Bakshy in 2015, Solo and Humans of Someone in Tamil and Malayalam last year. Khurana too, provided an earlier instance with the underrated High Jack earlier this year, and he’s back again with a significantly better collection in Karwaan.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 12:26:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/sounds-like-indie-spirit/article24504975.ece

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