The soundtrack for Azhar — director Tony Dsouza’s biopic on former Indian cricket captain Md Azharuddin — qualifies the concept of theatrical highs and lows, glory followed by a nosedive into oblivion, with some sort of tension meeting the delicate in the dark alleys. But instead of a haunting score, one that could have caught us in a whirlwind, in a good way, the film’s soundtrack is diametrically opposite. It sticks to soppy ballads most of the time. And mostly, not in a good way. This album, barring two songs, is marred by clunky compositions and execution and lacks any musical imagination. The composers seem to need the basic concept of understanding the theme of the film and then creating the music to suit it. Even if they worked vice-versa, the results are mostly below average. The lyrics have been written in a hurry and at times are extremely dull.
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The album opens with Bol do in Armaan Malik’s voice, a syrupy love ballad that finds existence beside the similar kind of songs that Bollywood delivers on a daily basis — monotonous, cheesy and the kind that lacks any kind of imagination musically and lyrically. Itni si baat is an Arijit Singh number and he attempts it with much gusto. The song is stylishly packaged with an interesting mix of guitar riffs, synth pieces, drums and tabla beats. The problem is the composition, which is populist in every aspect. Antara Mitra attempts this song along with Singh in husky tones. Despite Pritam’s presence as composer, it all sticks around in the average category. There is also a slightly reworked version of Kalyanji-Anandji’s Oye oye and Gajar ne kiya hai ishara from Tridev that rewinds to a time when these songs were superhits. Aditi Singh Sharma attempts it well with a pace and tone suiting the club numbers of today.
Sonu Nigam’s Tu hi na jaane is punctuated with liberal sprinkles of electric guitar riffs, flute pieces and sarangi interludes. The singer’s voice stands out and he attempts to embellish it with a mix of straight notes and murkis to turn a simple composition into an interesting session. The arrangements are compelling and oddly reminiscent of Patta patta, boota boota (a phrase that also exists in this piece). Then comes KK’s Jeetne ke liye amid washes of some synth. The song attempts to soar but is never able to match the imagination needed for this piece. KK works hard at his lungs, puffs out much air along the track but all of it just sounds flat.
A biopic on Azharuddin can’t sound like this. The pitching isn’t right, and it never quite makes it off the page.