Film: "Madras Cafe"; Music Director: Shantanu Moitra ; Singers: Papon, Zebunissa Bangash, Monali Thakur; Rating ***1/2
Eight tracks come together to form the album of director Shoojit Sircars's political thriller "Madras Cafe". Composer Shantanu Moitra presents every emotion through the music. Out of eight tracks, four have singers crooning to the lyrics, while the rest are pure instrumental pieces.
Moitra has given each song to only one voice, unlike the usual trend of bringing multiple singers to one track.
The first track is "Sun Le Re" that gives a clear idea of what the album is going to be all about. Singer Papon begins the song at a slow pace, in which a man pleads to god to listen to what he has to say. The feeling of loneliness and pain in the song is expressed even more beautifully with the light strumming of the guitar and the drumbeats. Definitely a good number.
There is also a reprised version of the song. It shows there is more music in this one than the previous version and the singer has more freedom to bring out emotions.
Next one is "Ajnabi" that introduces the soothing voice of Zebunissa Bangash. The lyrics are romantic, beautiful and have a story to tell. It maintains the slow pace throughout the song and the musical gaps in between are a delight. Gradually the other instruments also make their presence felt even though the song is not too long.
Papon's voice in the next track "Khud se" can be described in just one word - 'wow'. The piano music begins the score. It's a sad song and the variations in singer's voice are commendable. The beauty of the track lies in the perfect tuning between the singer and the composition. It seems the music has its own voice.
"Madras Cafe Theme" track is pure music - different instruments like the sitar and the drums come together and build an undefinable kind of anticipation in the listener's mind. It has a grand approach as the story builds around the music.
The next track, titled "Conspiracy", is by Monali Thakur. Interestingly, it has no lyrics -- only Monali crooning in the background.
"Entry to Jaffna", is the shortest track in the album with just a one-minute life. It begins with the playing of violin and the variations are beautiful.
The last composition is "Title theme". Its music has a flavour of south Indian music in the beginning, but takes up the grim, dark twist before long.
How many times have you come across a soundtrack that can hold your interest without any singer? "Madras Cafe" is one of those rare ones. Moitra shows his talent in an humble yet proud manner.
All the songs are appealing. Even though there is no item number, or a sugar-coated track, the music is just as perfect as it can be. It might not find a place in your play list forever, but surely it cannot go unnoticed.