When it comes to filmi banners, it is undeniable that Dharma Productions & Yash Raj Films rule the lot. Despite all odds, their movies always make it big and I eagerly look forward to every one of them. Karan Johar’s upcoming campus flick, Student Of The Year is no less. For the first time, Johar has opted for the dazzling musical duo of Vishal-Shekhar to reign the helm of the film’s music. SOTY comes across as a paradigm shift from the kind of cinema Johar generally sticks to. In his own words, he thinks of it as his ‘holiday film’. Ideally, since holidays are meant to be fun, carefree and stress-busting, the music of SOTY would be the best medium to reflect these sentiments. Moreover, EVERY Dharma movie in the past has boasted of a great soundtrack. Does the combo of KJo & V-S work? Let us take a look.
One thing synonymous with an average Indian student’s academic life is the fashion of ‘imbibing knowledge’ by rote i.e. learning ratta maar ke. Students all over will identify with the opening track Ratta Maar since it addresses pertinent issues like aggressive competition amongst students, pressures to succeed and to be the best amongst their peers – albeit with a musical twist. I am an engineer by education and I am well versed with the pressure of excelling at academics and the most feasible path of achieving this is by ratta maaroing. Sad, but true. Vishal Dadlani’s raw baritone is well complement by Shefali Alvarez’s voice. Thumbs up to lyricist Anvita Dutt Guptan for penning youth-friendly words without trying too hard. Sample this:
“Bhool ja Everest, chadh ja tu kitaabon ke pahaadh, Sau baar ratta maar.”
Shreya Ghoshal kickstarts the next track Radha on an unconventional & deceptive Indian note when in reality it is a dhinchak dance number. From what I can deduce, this track will probably be used as a backdrop for an on-stage dance performance during a college festival or as an introduction track for the female protagonist. Along with Shreya, the voices of Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani & Udit Narayan (who makes an appearance towards the end) are heard. A special mention is in order for interweaving hardcore Indian words with an array of western instruments.
The funkily-titled Ishq Wala Love plays out next. In simple words, it refers to love of the highest order involving heavy-duty passion & commitment. Along with Neeti Mohan & Salim Merchant, Shekhar Ravjiani takes this song to a new level with his swoon-worthy dreamy voice. Right from Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’s Woh Pehli Baar to SOTY’s Ishq Wala Love, Vishal-Shekhar have consistently composed astoundingly heartwarming yet original melodies. This track just sets the bar higher for their next album.
The pitch that Vishal-Shekhar seem to have received for this album is to surprise their audience with every progressing track. When the promo of The Disco Song came out a couple of days ago, it took me some time to digest the fact that Nazia Hassan’s superhit song Disco Deewane had been recreated, yet once again! Sung by Benny Dayal & Sunidhi Chauhan, V-S have composed a high-octane number befitting a dance floor – seems right doesn’t it since it is an amalgamation of an evergreen track with their modern-day music sensibilities. Other than the chorus (using Nazia Hassan’s voice), the other portions are absolutely original. Listen to this one on the highest volume with full bass to understand what I mean. For a complete song preview of this track, click HERE.
Kukkad opens up with the sound of a rooster. Sung by Shahid Mallya, this one seems to be a situational song introducing one of the male protagonists. According to me, it is the weakest song of the lot. Funnily, it vaguely reminds me of Cuckoo from Home Delivery (once again, music by Vishal-Shekhar).
My favorite track of the lot is the Punjabi hip-hop Vele which is also heard in the theatrical trailer. Sung by Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani, this is exactly the kind of song I was expecting from this album – addictive, fun, carefree and stress-busting along with a generous dose of quirky lyrics. I will dedicate this song to my friends. For those not in the know, ‘vela’ means jobless or idle. In my opinion, the only damper is the bit where Vishal Dadlani raps. Too much, I say.
Despite being a decent album, the music of Student Of The Year lacks the opulence of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, the simplicity of My Name Is Khan or the passion of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. It seems to be exactly what Karan Johar wants us to believe it is – his holiday film with a holiday-worthy score. Fantastic orchestration, hummable melodies & quirky lyrics (for the most part) dominate this album – yet something seems to be amiss.
SHRESHT’S PICKS: Vele, The Disco Song, Ishq Wala Love
RATING: ***1/2 out of *****
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