Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

My Experiments with Trivedi

(Disclaimer: I have not performed any experiments with Amit Trivedi literally. Yet. Also this is an article for my college magazine so expect it to be gentle.)

Back when I had just crossed the humongous hurdle of tenth standard board exams, what then seemed like the end of a known world, and marked the advent of a new, rebellious universe where I could do whatever pleased me, I was into buying pirated MP3 CDs. The internet wasn’t as big and easy, however charming and enticing. On one of those CDs, with AR Rahman on it, with the score of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, I chanced upon a certain album called ‘Aamir’. Now kids, piracy isn’t a good thing and I strongly disapprove of it, but greatness has to be experienced some way or the other.  I did not know of the composer or any of the new-sounding voices on the album except that of Shilpa Rao’s in the Ek Lau number.

Rahman’s album sounded incredibly fresh too, it was just too popular, given the amount of promotion it received on TV. The exclusivity of Aamir to just me in my immediate circle made me cherish it more. Also the film looked intriguing in its promos, the OST just added to the feel. Ha Raham, Chakkar Ghumyo, and Haara are constantly repeated in the umpteen ‘youth centric’ TV shows as a background number. I was constantly moving into the “Yeah, rock music is completely superior to anything” mode, but my senses firmly in touch with Hindi sounds just to be aware of the scene. Turn the pages of the calendar to December 2008 and what did we get here? Dev (emphasizing cussword) D!

Why was Dev D such a big deal to me at that time? Because: a) Anurag Kashyap was by then the ostracized prodigy who was trying to be as audacious as he could he be within the boundaries of Indian censorship. That stimulated all my senses. Still does. I try to find my suppressed voice being resonated with the punch of a fifty World Trade Center climbing Godzilla sized monsters. That reference is kinda dated after 9/11, but it’s almost biblical for me. b) The first song-promo that aired on TV had Emotional Atyaachaar in it. It was fun, wacky, and extremely new. I even remember the first time I saw it; it was a wintery dawn of December. The entire soundtrack of Dev D was so refreshingly innovative, just like that of Aamir’s. c) If you listen closely, in sequence of the tracks as they are featured in the film, all 18 of them, they tell stories. Stories that drench you inside the mind of the modern Devdas. d) THE COMPOSER WAS AMIT TRIVEDI!

Honestly, I can go beyond infinity while listing the reasons why I loved all eighteen of Dev D’s compositions. The Shilpa Rao poetically eerie numbers, then dopey ones sung by Trivedi himself, melancholic songs with a neo-postmodern arrangement. Of course, back then I wasn’t reviewing films like I do now ( is where I write. Hey, a man’s got to sell what he’s making! Right!?) But I knew this; there was a difference between Rahman and Trivedi. I couldn’t put it into words then.

Dev D did win a lot of technical awards that year at the galas; Amit Trivedi found recognition with the Best Background Score ‘Black Lady’ and the RD Burman Award for New Musical Talent. But the cherry on top was the National Award for Best Music Direction. It feels strange when I type these achievements of a person who doesn’t even know of a certain lad (me) acknowledging his greatness for his college magazine. A lot of you connect with it when your favorite football team clinches the league honors after a gap of enter-the-number-of-years-here, or obsessing over the apparent coolness of that particular movie star and waiting for him to get his due. Don’t deny it, even you smug condescending cool ones. We all know you are pulling for that certain someone without any hopes of getting something in return.

Trivedi had now, as they say in the MTV Roadies dialect, “proved himself”. Earned his dues. Now it was time for mainstream ascendancy, and the next year he nailed all the accolades with just one composition, ‘Ik Taara’, in a packed Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy album. With his single song, he did more than the famous triplet could do with an entire compilation of 5 tracks. I was understanding the difference between Rahman and Trivedi but I didn’t bother much about it, because it was the latter churning out excellent melodies one after the other.

With Udaan, he delivered simplistically beautiful symphonies, and embellished varying tastes with Aisha. In India, one of the elementary forms for a family-man to know of the ‘latest hit songs’ is through the music played at wedding parties or by the bandwallahs. And now, Amit Trivedi was breaking into that playlist as well. With the original Emotional Atyachaar, Gal Mithi Mithi Bol from Aisha, then Aa Rela Hai Apun from Chillar Party he was just about to break the glass ceiling of being a ‘classy’ music director to a ‘massy’ composer. He crossed into the Yashraj and Dharma camps by landing up with Ishaqzaade and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu respectively.

In late 2012, he didn’t stop evolving. His eccentric score for Aiyyaa, surprisingly subdued Punjabi beats in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and barely there songs yet completely skeletal to English Vinglish went on to diversify his repertoire. He brought dubstep and psychedelic flavors and yet didn’t overhaul the tnire scene forcibly. More than a year into reviewing films by this point, around 2013, I started to condense my feelings about the difference between Rahman and Trivedi into words. Only those words weren’t in ink, yet.

He’s the guy who gave you that rock-solid sound to Kai Po Che! with merely three songs. It’s the same person who fleshed out 18 in Dev D. Forward to Ghanchakkar and Lootera last year, the former was a film about a combination of madcaps and the latter was an ageless period love-drama. The films separated by one week in their release, united by their music composer. Ghanchakkar had Altaf Raja and Lootera brought back beauteous and soulful, soothing melodies. His most recent endeavor, Queen, was as good as he’s ever been. The compositions went hand in hand with the protagonist’s crests and troughs and blared at her jubilation.

Now, in 2014, I know the difference between Rahman and Trivedi. Rahman, a master in his own right, can make his score a tad overpowering for a film at times. He can prove to be bigger than a film itself. Trivedi, on the other hand has always seamlessly merged into the narratives and layers of the films that he’s composed for. This piece was just meant for me guiltlessly praising Amit Trivedi and my bond with his entire musical journey. I hope it can merge well with his no-frills music as seamlessly.

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