Directed by Neerav Ghosh. Starring Rajeev Khandelwal, Soha Ali Khan, Yatin Karyekar, Mohan Kapoor, Mrinalini Sharma.
Soundtrack fails to deliver on expectations, with just a few moments that shine through the cacophony of pseudo docudrama pretensions.
Soundtrack has all the devices at its disposal that can make for an impressive, engaging film – a poignant storyline (of a musician gradually going deaf), the potential of the entire audio aspect of the film that can be exploited given the theme, a competent lead actor and a powerful, albeit internal conflict at its core. Moreover, this film claims to be inspired by true events. It is also a legit remake of a Canadian film It’s All Gone Pete Tong and even incorporates the faux talking heads intercuts (as in the original) for exposition. And yet, the one thing that the film lacks is inspiration.
It does employ all the available devices. But the impact is theatrical and loud, rather than cinematic and lyrical. The first half of Soundtrack opts to float on the gloss of sex, drugs and music instead of exploring the grimy depths of its characters. And it is this superficiality that runs through the film. By the time its central character, Rajeev Khandelwal’s musician/DJ starts going deaf, he has been established as an arrogant, exploitative, alcoholic coke-head who’s struck the gold of overnight success. So when he does go deaf at the intermission point, there is little reason to sympathise with him or root for him. The intermission scene is one of the best executed scenes in the film though.
The second half is repetitive and stretched with the deafness of the central character mentioned verbally in almost every single scene. While Rajeev Khandelwal is sincere as ever, the lackluster characterisation and banal writing bogs him down. Soha Ali Khan, as the deaf lip-reading instructor is convincing in her diction, but her screen presence leaves a lot to be desired. That said, there is an easy charm around certain scenes between Rajeev and Soha. And these are the moments that shine through.
Apart from that, elements like the masked character that Rajeev Khandelwal hallucinates about or Mohan Kapoor’s over-the-top personality traits are plain amateurish. The use of the talking heads format also comes across as forced, mainly because the character that these personalities talk about and the one you see unravelling in front of your eyes seems to be two different people. The script is a huge let down in the dialogue department. The interactions between characters seem scripted and transliterated into Hindi rather than flowing naturally. Soundtrack also disappoints when it comes to music. It is not a bad mix but does little to elevate the film.
The overall ambiguity of voice and lack of cohesiveness of the film give an impression that director Neerav Ghosh was caught in the trap of trying too hard to please both, the producers and his peers. The scenes are there, the characters are there, the music is there, but the soul is somehow missing.
<Tushar A Amin is the author of Bollywood Themes and former editor of FHM India. Follow Tushar on twitter: @tusharaamin>