Admissions Open

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Amit Trivedi composed the sprawling, unconventional 18 song Dev D soundtrack, widely acclaimed for its genre eclecticism – featuring tracks ranging from Punjabi ballads to brass bands to grungy techno-rock, including the standout hit ‘Emosanal Atyacha’r. His follow-up project couldn’t have been more different: he was responsible for the sensitive, subtle background score for Wake Up Sid, and wrote the soundtrack’s standout song, the achingly lovely ‘Iktara’.

With those two projects under his belt, Amit Trivedi established himself as one of the most creative and talented composers in the Hindi film industry. Feverish anticipation surrounding his upcoming projects is assured; as is the fact that whatever he releases is bound to be compared to his groundbreaking, opinion dividing soundtrack for Dev D.

His latest release is the soundtrack to the upcoming Admissions Open.

Admissions Open, from debutant director KD Satyam, is a film about a group of people who start a revolution against the education system in India. The film stars Anupam Kher as an IT professor who is disillusioned with the state of the education system in India, Ashish Vidyarthi as an alcoholic lecturer who is kicked out of Mumbai University for his unorthodox teaching methods and Ankhur Khanna and Arshi as students who rebel against the pressure to conform to the rules and standards of the traditional educational system.

The soundtrack is pretty laidback, that is full of ideal background music, which straddles a middle ground between Wake Up Sid and Dev D. It’s not as gentle and subtle as the WUS score; nor is it as in your face and all over the place as the Dev D soundtrack album.

The first track titled Aasman Ke Paar opens the album with a dose of dancey-pop music, with pumping beats and an infectious chorus. Vocalists Raman Mahadevan, Shilpa Rao, Joi Barua and Amitabh Bhattacharya lend the song an anthemic feel at times, almost shouting out the lyrics. This one is definitely a song to get things started on the dance floor, and one that has been stuck in my head for days.

Dariya Ubale brings the grunge-rock, reminiscent of some of the darker tracks from Dev D. Shon Pinto and Amitabh Bhattacharya share the vocal duties on this song and both have pleasantly gritty, husky voices that suit the angsty, guitar heavy rock. This track gets anthemic in an entirely different way to the first track, with a wailing “Whoaoaoaoa” refrain that brings to mind stadium rock and thousands of flickering lighters waving in the air. Yes, really.

Meri Rooh changes the tone up again, bringing a breezy sweetness that is reminiscent of Wake Up Sid’s ‘Iktara’. Naresh Iyer’s lovely even voice is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. This track is all acoustic guitars and subtle woodwind instruments, with tinkling bells and a vocal contribution from Aditi Singh Sharma adding an almost vintage, magical touch. So, so pretty and romantic – the track that really stands out for me.

Mother and son Kavita and Kavish Seth take on Music Hi Hai, which sounds like two sides of a conversation set to music. It’s a cute, pleasant guitar-driven little track that is largely unremarkable – I think maybe it’s the kind of song that has a lot more resonance with visuals to go alongside it.

Roshni is a jazz groove featuring Shruti Pathak’s yearning vocals and plenty of brass accents to add spice to the chilled out groove. Incorporating Indian instruments and fusing Eastern flavour with touches of electronica, the song suffers from Shruti’s vocals at times erring too close to shrill when the tone of the song calls for something a touch smoother. Overall though, this one is probably the most interesting and complex compostion on the soundtrack in terms of instrumentation.

The final track of the album is a trancey remix of the opening track Aasman Ke Paar. No value is added in this instance, beyond a few synthey sound effects – I actually prefer the original in terms of a dance track.

Overall, this album doesn’t represent a huge leap forward or pushing of any boundaries like Amit Trivedi’s previous work for the Dev D soundtrack, like many of his fans may have expected. What it IS, (aside from the pointless remix) is a good, solid soundtrack album, great for chilled out listening.

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