Monday, October 31, 2011

#229: Soundtrack

I happened to meet Neerav Ghosh recently and I asked him how much of a music lover he really was because Soundtrack is very clearly a movie made from a musician's point of view. It takes us through the journey of a musician named Ronak Kaul (Rajeev Khandelwal) who comes to Bombay in the hope of proving to himself that he has got the gift to become a top class music composer. Neerav modestly said he had some formal grounding in music but that only allows him to understand what works and doesn't work from a music point of view in a film. I suspected that was only half the story because if anything Soundtrack is a musician's delight. And what's more, it is such a well made film, it will touch you even if you aren't one.

The movie begins when Ronak comes to Bombay to stay with his uncle who runs a resto-lounge. Impressed with Ronak's passion to join the music industry, his uncle (Yatin Karyekar) gives him an opportunity to become a DJ at his pub. Ronak grabs the chance with both hands and goes from strength to strength until things become too good to be true. He gets a chance to compose for an Anurag Kashyap film, lands himself a hot girlfriend and also gets a rich promoter Charlie (Mohan Kapoor) who gives him a free hand to run his own studio. But then there had to be a hitch and Ronak encounters a big one - he turns deaf. Soundtrack based on the Canadian movie called It's All Gone Pete Tong, is a riveting journey with Ronak the musician over the course of a 130 odd minutes.

What works for Soundtrack simply is the inspirational story about its protagonist. Told with conviction by Neerav Ghosh, it is helped with a very strong performance by Rajeev Khandelwal who is an eager beaver one moment, a maverick musician the next and a repentant soul all in course of the movie. For some odd reason, Neerav uses a graphic equaliser bang in the middle of scenes to convey the mood of the protagonist from time to time in the first half. Thankfully, he lets go of it in the second half and that's where some of the best scenes of the movie lie even as some memorable songs keeps the intensity alive and kicking. The scene preceding the interval, perhaps is the acme in a movie that had a frenzied pace about itself. Ably supported by Soha Ali Khan and Mohan Kapoor, the film works because of their sharp characterizations and because they gel seamlessly with the storyline. Consequently, nearly every frame takes the story forward. An interesting device employed during the narrative is that of a character named 'Johnny Joker' who is Ronak's alter ego. It is the sort of thing, if done even slightly differently, could've fallen flat but the filmmakers employ it well enough to make it stand out. The only lacunae I found was a loud character of Ronak's girlfriend Shonali (Mrinalini Sharma) who appears as easily as she disappears in the film.

2011 has more or less year of drought for Hindi cinema and the pity is that even a good movie like Soundtrack didn't earn enough money at the box office to break-even while a sub-standard flick like Rascals opened to a 20-cr weekend. I don't know how as audiences we can even begin to correct this wrong but I would seriously urge you to make a start. Buy the DVD today ! And I give you my word, it will be worth it.

Rating: 7/10

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