At the very outset, I owe Ludwig van Beethoven an apology. While enjoying his works like The Eroica, Opus 31, and The Storm umpteen times, never did I wonder how he could have composed them despite being hearing impaired. Did he feel the vibrations of the beats with his hands or did he compose them by memory of each note he learned from his father? It’s such indifferent of me of not ever bothering to ponder over such questions. The film, Soundtrack compels you to do so. This movie review is dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven (peppered by his quotes) and musician Frankie Wilde, whom the film ‘Soundtrack’ is based upon.
“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”
The film begins on a breezy note of a small town guy Raunak Kaul (Rajeev Khandelwal) observing the mundane sounds of Mumbai streets and discovering music in them. He joins a pub called Tango Charlie as DJ, gets drunk 24×7, snorts marijuana, composes songs using voice of a roadside singer, performs at club and touches the pulse of audience, sleeps while making out with girlfriend, and hangs around with mentor and buddy, Charlie (Mohan Kapoor), owner of Tango Charlie. Things are hunky-dory until Raunak’s dark side surfaces in the illusion of Johny Joker (based on a pop song rendered by Shweta Shetty in the nineties).
“Know that my noblest faculty, my hearing, has greatly deteriorated.”
The alter ego of Raunak prevents him from mending his way and mess up his life with each passing day, heralding a downfall in his career due to loss of hearing, more so, at a point of time when he gets to play for the Sunburn Festival and compose for Anurag Kashyap (the auteur plays himself). His ego prevents him from divulging on his handicap to people around him, except his friend Charlie. His girlfriend leaves him, his fans desert him, the film producers give up on him and he shuts himself in a room for days together.
“I beg of you to keep the matter of my deafness a profound secret to be confided to nobody, no matter whom.”
Things start looking up when Raunak meets Gauri (Soha Ali Khan), who is hearing impaired and works as a lip reader. Raunak stumbles upon the art of observing vibrations and ascertaining the rhythm of a particular composition. He dusts off his father’s tapes, which have songs he knows by heart, mixes them up, adds his touch to them and performs live – regaining his lost paradise. The narration of the story is in the form of mockumentary, which, in the end is reminiscent of 3 Idiots.
“How sad is my lot, I must avoid all things that are dear to me…”
Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale as composers and Ali Merchant as Sound Designer hit the right notes and give the film a soundtrack it deserves. The performance by actors Rajeev Khandelwal, Mohan Kapoor, Soha Ali Khan is first rate. Director Neerav Ghosh demonstrates confidence and style in capturing life of Raunak Kaul. In a nation of copycats, it is indeed commendable of the makers of ‘Soundtrack’ to buy the official rights and remake a Canadian film, ‘It’s all gone Peter Tong’ released in 2004. ‘It’s all gone Pete Tong’ had a tight screenplay, whereas ‘Soundtrack’ takes a tad more time to reveal the protagonist’s handicap.
The only bad part about ‘Soundtrack’ is its promotion, which fails in communicating what the film is all about. If the viewer has no clue about the storyline, he or she might write off the film as just another Dev D or Shaitan wannabe. Now that you know the plotline, how about booking your tickets right now, before the multiplexes stop screening it and increase number of shows for Rascals?
“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” – Ludwig van Beethoven