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Shantanu Moitra 3 Idiots Review

Soundtrack. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

You’d be an idiot to miss Bollywood’s most playful soundtrack of 2009.

Jaspreet Pandohar 2009

He may not be as well known as A. R. Rahman (or possess as many awards), but in recent years Shantanu Moitra has cultivated a reputation as one of India’s most creative music directors. Having composed memorable scores for films such as Parineeta, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Eklavya, his gentle fusion of Hindustani and Western harmonies have stood out amongst the plethora of brash, tub-thumping soundtracks that seem to accompany Bollywood films of late.

Like Rahman, Moitra began his career creating jingles for Indian TV commercials, which could explain the catchy, almost addictive, hooks possessed by many of the songs in his latest album, 3 Idiots. Teaming up with gifted lyricist Swanand Kirkire, Moitra produces what is almost certainly Bollywood’s most playful soundtrack of 2009.

Opening with Aal Izz Well, it’s difficult not to get carried away with the zany lyrics, shouts and whistles that pepper this humorous song. Sonu Nigam’s cheeky rendition makes this a vibrant anthem that’s bound to go down well with India’s college campus crowds and anyone young at heart.

Equally light-hearted and likeable is Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal’s romantic duet, Zoobi Doobi. Like Moitra’s Kaisi Paheli Zindagani from Parineeta, this charming number offers a retro jazz feel reminiscent of musical numbers from Bollywood’s golden era of the 50s and 60s. 

Suraj Jagan and actor Sharman Joshi lend their voices to the bittersweet Give Me Some Sunshine, the highlight of which is the chorus. With English lyrics such as “Give me some sunshine / Give me some rain / Give me another chance / I wanna grow up once again,” this narrowly escapes being cheesy thanks to a great acoustic guitar arrangement.

Fun and games give way to a more sombre mood when Shaan and Moitra present Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh, a hauntingly soulful ballad about the search for a lost friend. Like Jaane Nahin Denge, these situational numbers grows more appealing after a few listens, or watching the film.

With Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and acclaimed filmmakers Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra behind 3 Idiots, the pressure to turn out a chartbusting score for this A-list comedy must have been immense. Fortunately the talented songwriter-composer partnership of Kirkire and Moitra (who also pop up as vocalists) delivers a commercial CD that should appeal to the youth market it’s aimed at.

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