Super 30 – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs and partial musician credits at the end.

This review first appeared in the Mumbai edition of The Hindu.

There has been a curious case of anachronism with Hindi film soundtracks this year. While so far it was period films featuring contemporary sounds (Kalank, Bharat etc), in Super 30 the opposite is the case – there are multiple songs from the album that hark back to times earlier than the movie’s subject Anand Kumar’s timeline would indicate. One song where the sound and the time go hand in hand though is the beautiful, albeit formulaic, romantic piece Jugraafiya. A lot of the song’s elements are trademark Ajay Atul – a grand backdrop marked by sweeping violins, the waltz-y rhythm etc. But when the percussion hits, it morphs into a 90s number (except happier), also helped by the fact that behind the mic is Udit Narayan, sounding a lot better than he has in his occasional recent appearances. Giving Udit company is the brilliant-as-always Shreya Ghoshal. Quite liked the regionalisation that lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya done to the word “geography” with the title – am I the only one who has difficulty processing the phrase “safedi ki chamkaar” in a romantic context?! Moving on to Paisa – lyrically an ode to the Mammon, but musically an obvious throwback to the 70s. The thrill, the fervour is recreated successfully by the composers, though it also comes with its share of repetitiveness. Vishal Dadlani on vocal duty is a great choice here though.

Continuing on the same retro, suspenseful note, but with a lighter, jazzy base (and therefore featuring some delightful use of horns and bass) is Question Mark. Interesting trivia – Amitabh Bhattacharya was involved in another song with the same title not so long back, in the OST of Jagga Jasoos. Like the latter, this one too is conversational and investigative in nature, after a fashion, and has the movie’s main man Hrithik Roshan leading the vocals. I cannot authoritatively comment on his accent here, but the delivery works for the kind of song it is, and he receives good support from the chorus. The surprise switch in tempo in the second half tips the scale a bit towards 70s mode a la Paisa, but I found this a more engaging affair. Basanti No Dance, as you can guess, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the classic Dharmendra quote from Sholay. The song is evidently a Holi song, but the focus is not so much on the festival as it is on celebrating Hindi (interestingly at times the percussion seems to reference another cult Holi song – Jai Jai Shiv Shankar). The mock English lines get daunting after a point though. Good show of exuberance by the singers Prem Areni, Janardan Dhatrak, Divya Kumar & Chaitally Parmar, nevertheless. With the anthemic Niyam Ho Ajay Atul are back in their home turf – grand orchestral sound, harmonies et al, and the composers ace it like they always do. And Bhattacharya’s lines that rant against social inequalities and the like, indicate that this is the movie’s theme song, and the chorus delivers them fabulously.

In Super 30 composers Ajay Atul do not touch the stupendous high they did the last time they composed for a Hrithik Roshan movie, but it is a pretty engaging soundtrack nevertheless.

Music Aloud Rating: 3.5/5

Top Recos: Jugraafiya, Niyam Ho, Question Mark

Musician Credits

Song: Jugraafiya

Singers: Udit Narayan & Shreya Ghoshal

Song: Paisa

Singer: Vishal Dadlani

Song: Basanti No Dance

Singers: Prem Areni, Janardan Dhatrak, Divya Kumar & Chaitally Parmar

Song: Question Mark

Singer: Hrithik Roshan

Backing Vocals – Suzanne D’Mello & Group

Song: Niyam Ho

Singers: Arohi Mhatre, Aditi Prabhudesai, Pragati Joshi, Maithili Panse, Sonal Naik, Rucha Soman, Deepti Rege, Deepanshi Nagar, Ann Fernandes, Dr.Pallavi Shyam Sundar, Shivika Rajesh, Riddhi Sampat, Kinjal Shah, Umesh Joshi, Vijay Dhuri, Mandar Pilvalkar, Vivek Naik, Rahul Chitnis, Saurabh Wakhare, Janardan Dhatrak, Gaurav Medatwal, Chaitanya Shinde, Abhishek Jhawar, Nimish Shah, Yash Kapoor, Mayukh Pareek

All Songs Composed, Arranged & Produced by Ajay Atul

Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya

Recorded & Mixed by Vijay Dayal At YRF Studios

Assisted by Chinmay Mestry

Music & Rhythm Conducted by Ajay Atul

Mastered by Donal Whelan At Hafod Mastering, Whales

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