“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule,” wrote Charles Dickens in his 13th novella Great Expectations. In Fitoor, director Abhishek Kapoor’s film based on the Dickens’ classic, composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Swanand Kirkire have produced enough evidence pertaining to the brilliant on one side and somewhat plain ordinary and boring on the other. As for the looks of the things, the music seems to go well with the snowcapped peaks and the darkness and coldness of the popular story for now. The brilliance of its interaction with the script remains to be seen. (Read: Ajay Devgn has ‘intense’ role in ‘Fitoor’)
Trivedi, in the last decade, has found some unfailing adulation among music enthusiasts. Not only because he knows how to hit the brief given to him like an tusker on a mission, but also because these pieces easily shift gears between dreamy pop, intelligent alt rock, intricate Hindustani classical with equal ease and turn in some unforgettable hooks and brilliant orchestration. In Fitoor, that is the case in two out six songs, which will be on loop for a while.
The title song is a haunting, intense composition with heaving strings for interludes and a lot of soul at the heart of it despite this being from Trivedi’s familiar territory, where he goes back to his Pareshaan times. An unhurried beginning leads to an amped hook that plays out in various forms. It has also been sung well by Arijit Singh, every twist in the composition attempted like a consummate craftsman. The only problem with this song is Arijit Singh’s voice itself. With every other song being his these days, it’s just a jaded listening session despite him attempting it brilliantly. (Also read: Fitoor and Sanam Re, two love stories to clash at box-office today)
Trivedi gets behind the microphone for Pashmina and delivers this in a dazzling but massively corrected baritone. A guitar and flute prelude open the piece and the well-crafted violin interlude is likely to work its way in the background score. It’s a lovely melody which soars because of its meticulous arrangements. We only wish that Trivedi had avoided the auto-tuner here for his voice and let the sounds of his breaths and cracks be heard.
Haminastu opens in Zeb Bangash’s voice with brilliant diction and a rabab prelude. The arrangement is king again as Trivedi layers Zeb’s voice with rabab, drumbeats that sound like a military cavalcade going past and a string section. It’s a fantastic composition that takes Kashmiri folk and delivers a fine, haunting and modern composition. Suddenly the rabab runs amock, layering itself brightly all over the song. Hone do batiyaan, one of the best compositions on the album, also opens with a rabab and soon aquires the shape of one of Trivedi’s Coke Studio @ MTV sessions. It sounds like a slightly prepared but a jam session nonetheless between Bangash and Nandini Srikar. Bangash is extremely weak in bass notes, sometimes not even audible, but Srikar’s beautiful rendition covers up well. A carefully crafted earworm. Main bhi hoon maati, tu bhi maati, tera mera kya hai has Kirkire shine. (Read: ‘Fitoor’ character will be loved for intensity: Aditya Roy Kapur)
Tere liye and Rangaa re are the weakest links on the album. They are better than a lot of cacophony in the market (it’s still a Trivedi album). The former is a weak composition paired with spot on arrangements. Ranga re (English) is better than Ranga Re (Hindi). The prelude, with techno dance music featuring here, initially seems as if it will lead into a Honey Singh number. It doesn’t. It just turns the two compositions into mechanical, motorised and somewhat heartless pieces. Nothing rule-breaking here. Buy it for the two pieces featuring rabab and Trivedi’s brain-sticking arrangements.
Composer: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Rating: Three stars