One expects the unexpected from the music of English Vinglish. There are too many unusual factors attached to the film. The subject is unusual. The maker (R. Balki) makes unusual films (though Gauri Shinde is the writer-director here). The comeback (of Sridevi) is in an unusual set up. The composer (Amti Trivedi) is known for his unusual compositions. The lyricist (Swanand Kirkire) carries unusual traits in his words too. No wonder, the outcome is expected to be unusual too. Which way does it eventually go? Let's read on.
Expectedly, it's an unusual start for the album. Though one expected an upbeat start to English Vinglish, what one gets to hear is a situational track about the protagonist making a shift from her comfort zone to 'paraaya desh', in this case the US of A. However once you get over the fact that it is a slow start to the album, it is tough not to get seeped into the melodious outing that Amit Trivedi spins around for 'Dhak Dhuk'. An out and out Indian composition that reminds one of such settings in cinema of the early 70s, it also has Amit doing very well behind the mike while coming up with a soothing rendition.
Well, an upbeat outing is just round the corner, as Sridevi is heard wondering about the tall buildings awaiting her. Though one would have loved to hear more of her behind the mike, you don't really mind Clinton Cerejo and Bianca Gomes taking over the proceedings. Even as the opening rhythm of 'Manhattan' reminds one of Trivedi's title song of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the song comes on its own soon after. With a Western base to it, the song also introduces Manhattan to the character played by Sridevi even as she continues to be amazed about the new found setting.
Just one would have thought that the album was made entirely of situational tracks comes 'Gustakh Dil' which has the kind of sound that one expects from films coming out of Balki's house. With a fusion of Indian and Western classical sound, 'Gustakh Dil' is elevated to higher levels by Shilpa Rao who is just superb all over again. Her voice carries a certain depth and edge to it that always makes one wonder why she isn't brought behind the mike far more often. Well, she does get a huge reward in the form of singing for none less than Sridevi and she makes good of the opportunity provided. A very good song.
The variations continue in the album with 'Navrai Majhi' coming next which has a folk base to it. A celebration track about a bride stepping towards her 'piya ka ghar', this one reminds of 'Naina Milaike' [Saathiya] and 'Mehndi Hai Rachne Wali' [Zubeidaa]. However Amit Trivedi gives it a further contemporary feel and makes it all the more boisterous while maintaining the essence of the event intact. While Sunidhi Chauhan leads from the front, Swanand Kirkire and Neelambari Kirkire are heard as well with Natali Di Luccio chipping in her bit.
The album concludes on a high with 'Badla Nazara' which has its opening sound straight out of Rahman School of Music. Despite the fact that the song is situational and is mainly about this protagonist who is finding a new meaning in her life after discovering English language, it is hugely entertaining with Shilpa Rao getting it perfectly right. Moreover, the chorus does make a huge contribution too with the sound of English Vinglish making it stand out as a title number. A special mention for Swanand Kirkire's lyrics which are almost like a nursery rhyme and still make a huge impression. Arriving later in an Amit Trivedi version too, this one should lend a feel of euphoria in the film's narrative.
The music of English Vinglish does well in creating added perception about the film and only lends further weight to this Sridevi starrer. In fact it won't be wrong to say that the soundtrack does its job in exciting a listener to check out what the film is about. Though most of the songs are situational, which means their shelf life would be restricted till the film's run in theatres, none associated with English Vinglish can be expected to mind that as this Amit Trivedi and Swanand Kirkire soundtrack ensures that there are many forward steps taken here.
Badla Nazara, Gustakh Dil, Manhattan