Shantanu Moitra made a classic when he wrote the music for Parineeta. The film was so dense that it flowed right through everyone’s cultural conciousness and let lesser musically weighty and more pretentious musical scores (paheli, om shanti OM) take center stage, so much so that Shantanu moitra languished in relative obscurity making few between cult classics like Khoya Khoya Chand and (the genuinely popular Gulzar collaboration) Yahaan.
Songs like the Showtune Khushboo sa , and the well structured classical Chale aao sayyan providing brief glimpses of the versitile genius of a composer who could if he wished , have taken over indian popular music with his original creative and literate scores.
Well, It’s four years since Parineeta and six since Hazaar Khwaishen Aisi, and the impatient critic asks Shantanu moitra the proof of the pudding. Where are the hits shantanu? Are you satisfied with being vanraj Bhatia of the 2000’s or is it in you to excersice some oldfashioned testosterone and become the leading voice of Hindi Cinema that A R Rahman , clearly has no interest in being ?
Perhaps some background is in order. Shantanu’s favorite Directors are Sudhir Mishra (who’s one of my favorites too) and the Vidhu vinod chopra Stable. Neither of whom have produced big hits (even despite the critical acclaim of Munnabhai 2 or Yahaan…or Khoya Khoya Chand). if youre doing two projects in a year max, one of them better be songs that sell from every paan shop in India’s ten biggest metros, or you count for nothing.
There are music directors with awesome talent in Indian films Adnan Sami , Shantanu moitra , M M Kreem(maragathamani) and vishal shekar have one’s respect as people that don’t misuse sound. yet it is an anu mallik or shankar eshan loy’s tune that gets blasted with distortion across the maidans. maybe some don’t WANT to blast their music across maidans…and we lose good music director talent because they sink to oblivion from wanting to be exclusive and artsy.(end rant)
Three Idiots the score.
Shantanu and AR share the Indian ad jingle heritage. The three Idiots score goes past this and comes across much more as a homage with distinct influences by AR Rahman on shantanu moitra;s music. While Parineeta was original and pure creativity, and Yahaan was an Indian television music quickie (and Khoya Khoya Chand was a cross genre romp in typical sudhir mishra style) , This Album tries to tap the audience for the classic AR Rahman, Aamir Khan film (Rangeela , Gazini) Of the seven tracks, two are remixes and the five original songs are each clear and well orchestrated musical gems. genre mixing and percussion is all done with a musically trained ear attuned to creating complex musical phrases.
All iz well is a soft street ballad which makes you want to stop and listen , rather than participate in the raucous singing, as if shantanu is studying the front bench and doing a dainty replication of their singing, to scale.The remix has a jat, rap and old humkissi se kum nahin feel to it ,and will no doubt play well in mumbai discos, where it will be indistinguishable from a hundred other similar tunes.
Behti Hawaa is a very saif ali Kahn song (reminds you of the Train song in Parineeta- Kasto Mazaa). The shades of SD Burman’s Bangla folk in the drum- base flute- voice makes the song a classic All India Radio Man chahe geet song.
Jaane Nahin demostrates how well shantanu understands the gaps in popular film music In india. It’s a classic broadway show tune with a vocal/piano interplay in the softer bits ..This is film music at its western popular best.there is no pretension or “wannabe-ness” about either the conception or delivery, but the song sounds like it would be well at home i a book written for a broadway musical.
Jeene do is a rang de basanti-esque ballad (Khoon Chala)that does many better than its inspiration, which feels like some of the best simon and garfunkel classics..this is a song straight out of the gentle music of the early seventies- gafunkel eagles,bread..love story and Sonny and cher without any adultration or influences from the future..of grunge or nirvana..of AR Rahman or the back street boys.
The question here is : where is moitra leading us? If the songs were cast in a musically conservative dye of replicating the success of classic AR rahman sound, we have been sold a bill of goods by the unprolific moitra. if on the other hand he sets ou to demonstate his mastery over genres and his completely melodic musical ear, as a composer, Moitra leaves us wanting for more in his too short too few compositions for the film.Popular music needs people to think deeply about how long each song is to be and how raucus. Foreplay may be arousing, but unless you can get your partner to orgasm, you have’nt really had good sex.
Zoobi doobi is a stupendous melody that does not do enough to make it a magnum opus, but is very hummable. You have to have a guitar and be able to belt out chords to genuinely enjoy shantanu moitra’s songs. As an experiment in blending the (pre 70’s) film duet with european folk music (think Andalusian folk tunes filtered through Palomo) , good fun is had by all, but one is reminded of Johnny Rotten’s quote that “jazz is music where those playing it have more fun than those listening to it”.
The reprise of zoobi doobi sounds like a riungtone…thus nailing in the impression that the album is really a homage to AR Rahman, who like shivam of the shakta philosophy, seems oblivious to all these popular influences in bollywood music, because he feels obliged to work with pussycat dolls and B movie comedies.
We hope to see more of shantanu moitra in the future, but for god sake , not as a Vinod Kambli to A R’ s Tendulkar.