Rating: 2.5 stars
Composer: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
A sports film, almost always, rests on its music. The score, if inspiring enough, can hoist scenes to a level of greatness and rouse emotions that stay with you. In Soorma, Shaad Ali’s upcoming biographical drama on the life of Indian national hockey team’s ex-captain Sandeep Singh and Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s outing after a successful, part-brilliant and part-ordinary score of Raazi, the music doesn’t draw you in very often. Shankar Ehsaan Loy have walked the sports film path before with Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which was a mixed bag but worked with its slow build-ups and heavy synth-based sound. But Soorma’s score delivers the energy and intensity only in a couple of tunes. The trio hasn’t used Punjabi folk music as well as they could have and the result is shortness in the anthemic quality that the score needed.
The film opens with Diljeet Dosanjh crooning Ishq di Baajiyaan. We appreciate that the word is pronounced as baajiyaan and not baaziyaan. It adds to the flavour of a film set in Punjab. The song comes with perfect Punjabi diction, thanks to Dosanjh in his full element. The piece has a tumbi and basic backbeat to which Dosanjh sings. Mahadevan sings the background chorus to perfection. It’s also one of the more melodically sound compositions in the film. We loved the tabla tukdas towards the end that are played intelligently in the background. This is followed by the Soorma anthem, a piece that may remind us of the title song of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, also a Shankar Ehsaan Loy composition. An acoustic guitar and Mahadevan present this really well. Mahadevan shifts gears into komal swaras (dissonant notes) and returns with much panache. Words like daadde and saade are pronounced as dadde and sadde, an extremely odd diction of these common Punjabi words. It’s a good composition but isn’t a winning one.
An alaap sung over minimal synth chords followed by a sarangi piece open a warm Pardesiya, which is followed by a sudden theka on tabla and a sargam — a technique AR Rahman used in Kehna hi kya in Bombay. Hemant Brijwasi, Sahil Akhtar and Shenaz Akhtar, all of whom have been reality show contestants, do a fine job of this one. It follows the gamut from soft and tender to spirited in about five minutes and ends on a warm note. It’s one of the better compositions in the album.
But it all goes down from here. Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan sing Goodman di Laaltain, which blends electronic sounds with traditional dhol in a tune, which, shouldn’t have made past the first test session. Both the artistes are completely wasted. A tumbi in the background opens Flicker Singh. It gets into the kirtan zone with manjeeras playing along, and also in the contemporary ones with a lot of synth pieces, even squelches. The composition is lacklustre and sounds like a last-minute thought.
Soorma’s soundtrack isn’t in the unendurable zone but what it does not have, perhaps, is the chant-like quality that Jaideep Sahni’s Chak De had, where Sandeep Sulaiman’s score for a hockey film is etched in our minds, where singers like Sukhwinder Singh hammered their way into our heart and soul with his singing. Soorma, although interesting and energetic in parts, just isn’t edgy enough.