Top 10 Bollywood Music Albums of 2016 – #3

Amit Trivedi has been one of the best gifts Bollywood (music) has got in the last decade, and 2016 proved to be another good year for the 37-year-old. It seems ridiculous to compare Trivedi with AR Rahman, but that’s one comparison that has been made since the former came into the limelight with 2009’s Dev D, and I am sure the man himself wouldn’t mind being put in the same league as the Indian Mozart, Mr Rahman. Amit Trivedi got us an extremely pleasant start to a pretty unpleasant 2016 with Fitoor which has no business sitting anywhere lower than the top 3 albums in our Top 10 Bollywood soundtracks of 2016. He teams up with Swananda Kirkire who has penned the lyrics for the Abhishek Kapoor film.

The album starts with Yeh Fitoor Mera, a song which has a slow build up which goes towards a rousing chorus. This formula has been used countless times, but the music director manages to make it work despite its familiarity. Arijit Singh’s vocals are dazzling, and we expect no less from him now. The composition has a haunting melody and is an earworm of supreme quality. Pashmina is extremely Amit Trivedi and carries that vibe through and through. The composer has also stood behind the mic here, and his raspy voice works perfectly. As a fan of a lower octave (a highly weird thing to say, I’ll admit), I love it when Trivedi gets behind the mic because he sings in a rich baritone which makes it easy for him to deliver this. The flute in the background and the rather well-crafted violin interlude are both splendid. This song is beautiful, and Kirkire’s gorgeous lyrics have been packaged even more beautifully by Trivedi’s warm melody. If you close your eyes and remove the Thinking Out Loud style video of the film from your head, you’ll be able to weave your own story here. From the lyrics to Trivedi’s voice to the meticulous arrangement, it is brilliant. Rangaa Re follows up from Pashmina, only its more electronic and punchier. It has two versions; the English version has been sung by Caralisa Monteiro, and I preferred it much more to Sunidhi Chauhan’s Hindi version. To be honest, I didn’t see why there had to be a Hindi one in the first place. Amit Trivedi comes in later in both the songs. I saw some people not liking this tune and despite trying to rack my brain hard, haven’t figured out the reason behind it. I understand the reasoning behind not taking favourably to Chauhan’s version (even though I don’t personally mind it) because the appeal of Rangaa Re is that it starts in English and Monteiro renders it like any other English number you would hear on the radio. In fact, it doesn’t sound like it’s for a Hindi film at all. It’s only when Trivedi starts crooning that you realise that it’s on this album. Also, as far as Chauhan’s version is concerned, the lyrics themselves feel slightly forced just like OK Jaanu” from Ok Jaanu sounds forced if you’ve heard Mental Manadhil from the original, OK Kanmani.

Thankfully Amit Trivedi gives Sunidhi Chauhan and a great one at that. She teams up with Jubin Nautiyal for Tere Liye. The music here is a mix of guitars and violins and some brilliant bass guitar at the back as well. “Main khoya saa ik lamha hoon, Bas is pal hoon tere liye”. Simple words but something to ponder over. I have said it repeatedly in the past; Sunidhi Chauhan has one of the best voices in the business. She should be used for more such numbers where she is required to hold back a little. Jubin Nautiyal has sung a few tracks but got his big break with Pritam in Bajrangi Bhaijaan where he sang the reprised version of Zindagi. He has a very sweet voice, and we hope to hear more of him in other quality melodies in the coming year. The next track on the album is my favourite one from the album, as well as from 2016 in general. When one of the finest composers in the business teams up with not one but two of the finest female vocalists, what ensues is magic. Pakistani singer Zeb along with Nandini Srikar sing Hone Do Batiyan. The two ladies discernibly boss the conversation-like-song which has an earthy, ethnic and lullaby style which made even more endearing due to Tapas Roy’s magic with the plucked instruments (rabab for sure, and a few others whose name I am not well-versed with). It sounds like a jam session, albeit a prepared one, between Zeb and Srikar. Kirkire has written some beautiful poetry here: “Main bhi hoon maati, tu bhi maati, tera mera kya hai”. 

Haminastu is a beautiful folk rendition made even more attractive with the use of string instruments from Kashmir and who better to deliver Urdu poetry than Zeb Bangash? The percussion in the background playing at a frenzied, marching style pace is layered, intriguing, unconventional, beautiful; it makes you want to describe its beauty and simultaneously renders you speechless and incompetent. That’s the magic of Amit Trivedi.   

In my opinion, the best part about Fitoor and something that perhaps didn’t appeal to others as much was that the album didn’t sound particularly fresh or different, something Trivedi does with each album. Yes, some songs don’t offer something game changing, but to do a more conventional album and do it so well is something only great musicians can achieve like ARR did with Tamasha last year. It’s a pity it came about so early in the year, and the film itself was average at best. Hence the music too was quickly forgotten. I have a great affinity for the soul in music, and that’s often my complain with Amit Trivedi. I had no reason to do the same here. Thank you, Amit Trivedi, for giving us this holistically beautiful musical album.

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