In praise of Amit Trivedi

Bollywood tunes: A still from Manmarziyan  

And the award for the Best Hindi Film Musician 2018 goes to... Amit Trivedi. Before anyone asks why I haven’t named Arijit Singh, Ajay-Atul or the now low-key A.R. Rahman, or even Shreya Ghoshal or Sunidhi Chauhan, here are my reasons. In 2018, Trivedi has produced above-average work in Manmarziyan, Andhadhun and Kedarnath.

To begin with, Trivedi has been prolific — nine Hindi films, besides some in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. Compare that to four by Ajay-Atul. So obviously, he was in demand. Secondly, being regular isn’t enough — quality matters too. Finally, Trivedi has displayed variety. With Punjabi songs, Manmarziyan had a fantastic blend of western arrangements and Indian folk melodies, and a smooth mix of peppy numbers and love songs. Andhadhun was situational in the storyline’s context, and the piano passages were super. Kedarnath had a laidback feel, and was dominated by ballads, with one religious piece ‘Namo Namo’. And even though, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, did not a great soundtrack, it matched the film’s plot.

Great expectations

Overall, it’s one of Trivedi’s most productive years. As music buffs know, expectations from him were huge ever since his second film Dev D became a super success in 2009, thanks mainly to its trendy, multiple-genre approach. Ever since, the composer has delivered gems like Udaan, Kai Po Che, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Lootera, English Vinglish, Queen and Udta Punjab.

Songs like ‘Iktara’ in Wake Up Sid, ‘Meethi Boliyan’ in Kai Po Che and ‘Sawaar Loon’ in Lootera have been hits. Though he’s worked with others, Trivdei’s partnership with lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya has been largely consistent (despite the disastrous Bhavesh Joshi Superhero song ‘Chavanprash’). Trivedi is a decent singer too. And barring a section of the Lootera background score — where it was felt Trivedi had lifted a Rachel Portman tune from the film One Day — the composer has steered clear of plagiarism accusations.

Not quite mass appeal

Many fans have even dubbed Trivedi as a successor to Rahman. One doesn’t know how accurate that is, since both have different styles and have blossomed in different circumstances.

One thing clear though is that Trivedi hasn’t yet scored the blockbuster films Rahman has been associated with. Most of the films Trivedi has scored for have been moderate successes and his music hasn’t quite reached the mass appeal status similar to Rahman.

Listening patterns have changed too. In Rahman’s first decade, film music was huge and the overall quality was high. Today, it’s quite the opposite. Not much has been revealed about Trivedi's plans for 2019 and it will be interesting to wait and watch. On the one hand, he mustn’t let go of his current form and on the other, selectiveness is important. There’s one area where Trivedi is brilliant at but needs to do more. His live shows are amazing, packed with energy and great orchestration. He was a dream at the 2018 Paddy Fields festival in Mumbai in October.

PS: My award for the Best Hindi Film Soundtrack 2018 goes to... Manmarziyan.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:58:21 AM |

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