Considering lead actor Ayushmann Khurana’s character is a blind pianist in Andhadhun, we expected composer Amit Trivedi to craft the album in that direction. There’s also Anil Dhawan who plays a version of himself — a successful (?) yesteryear actor. This is important to note because there seems to be a bit of the 70s and 80s sound in some of the songs which perhaps is intentional.
Naturally, pianist Jarvis Menezes is the main hero of this album illustrated through the two themes. ‘Theme 01’ a beautiful melody and the tempo and stylistic variations in it can be explained best through the film, with the blind pianist witnessing a cover-up (present in the trailer). The piece creates an animated quality, which is delivered fantastically through this.
Amit Trivedi gets behind the mic for ‘Naino Da Kya Kasoor’. While the track has a heard-before chorus, the overall pleasantness of it ensures that familiarity doesn’t become a hindrance. ‘Aap Se Milkar’, sung by Abhijeet Srivastava and Aakanksha Sharma also prominently has a retro feel. Both the songs have alternative versions, and the electronic remix for ‘Naino Da Kya Kasoor’ is definitely not required. Ayushmann sings the other ‘reprise’ version of ‘Aap Se Milkar’. His singing is just about adequate and the track is not particularly memorable.
The other theme where Menezes shines, ‘Theme 02’ has portions from Arijit Singh sung track, ‘Wo Ladki’. This track too has a heard-before feel about it (slight tinges of ‘Dastaan-E-Om Shanti Om’ from Vishal-Shekhar’s Om Shanti Om) but the piano and Sameer Chiplunkar’s accordion elevate the song considerably. The arrangement is really fine here.
‘Laila Laila’ begin with Menezes’ piano and then sits on top of an electronic beat which Trivedi sings. Trivedi’s voice and the electronic beat paint a familiar soundscape, and Menezes piano is wonderful once again.
Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi sing the mega-entertaining ‘Oh Bhai Re’. The song makes sense in the film’s narrative and will be unquestionably enjoyed more with it, but even independently, Jaideep Sahni’s imaginative lyrics make the song pretty fantastic. For a change in this album. Menezes’ piano is not the hero. Its replaced with its eastern counterpart and Akhlak Hussain Varsi does a stellar job with the harmonium.
Strangely, the filmmakers decided to opt for different composers for the title track. Raftaar and Girish Nakod have composed the title and produced arguably the best song from it. It is not out of place with the rest of the album. Raftaar’s flow is brilliant as always, but the energetic and crescendo beats at the end make it an absolute winner.
The one jarring thing that could have been avoided was to not give Ayushmann’s character Akash, three different singing voices. Arijit Singh, Amit Trivedi and Ayushmann himself sing for the character (who is a musician and often sings while playing) that seems a little backdated in 2018.
It has been said multiple times before but it is a real crime that Indian films treat the background score with such disdain and don’t release a broad OST that also comprises the background score. Having worked with Sriram Raghavan on the background score of Johnny Gaddar, Daniel B George has composed the score for Andhadhun. It merges seamlessly with the music album in the film to beautifully underscore and execute Raghavan’s vision.
Andhadhun is a refreshing album which despite carrying a heard-before feeling from different eras, still manages to sound energetic and fun in most places. The piano is the hero and the two instrumental themes, especially ‘Theme 01’, are fantastic. Raftaar and Nakod’s title track too is really charming and effective.