A film coming out of Aamir Khan Productions is special. In the last sixteen years since its inception, the company has not produced too many films but most (one uses the term ‘most’ as ‘Dhobi Ghat’ had not done well commercially) of these films have managed to earn a special place in the audience’s heart. After producing films as diverse as ‘Lagaan’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Peepli Live’ and ‘Talaash’, the production house is all set to release ‘Secret Superstar’, directed by Aamir Khan’s former manager Advait Chandan. As the film is about a teenage girl, hailing from an orthodox family, aspiring to become a singer/musician, one has good expectations from the music of the film.
“Main Kaun Hoon”, the opening track of the album, serves two purposes – (a) it gives one a sense of it being performed in a concert-like setting and (b) it gives a glimpse in to the predicament the protagonist has found herself in. Amit Trivedi’s tune is simple and likeable. The orchestral arrangements are minimal giving Meghna Mishra, who makes her debut through this film and has all the songs for Zaira Wasim, a good platform to showcase her vocal abilities. Meghna’s voice is just right for a fifteen year-old teenager and she hits the right notes as a singer too.
In the last song, the protagonist talked about herself. In “Meri Pyaari Ammi”, she talks about her mother and the relationship she shares with her. Meghna Mishra continues to sound sweet as Kausar Munir gives her verses that, suitably, resemble an innocent and heart-warming poem written by a very young child. Amit Trivedi relies on a bunch of instruments along with piano/keyboards to give a soothing background to his tune.
The way Meghna sings the phrase “Chori se, chori se/dori se, dori se” from the song “Sapne Re”, one’s mind harps back to the songs Hindi film heroines would lip-sync to in the 50s and the 60s. Those heroines portrayed the characters of simple girls nurturing big dreams. In this song, Insia (Zaira Wasim) gets into a conversation with her dreams and Meghna, backed by Amit’s melody and Kausar’s words, conveys to the listener how important her dreams are for her. “Sapne Re” has a catchy tune and a sing-along quality to it which makes you warm up to it pretty soon.
A new voice is heard as newcomer Kushal Chokshi is given the onus to sing “I Will Miss You”, a song through which a teenage boy professes his feelings for a girl. Though it is not Insia talking about her feelings, dreams or aspirations here, the song treads the same path taken by the other tracks in the album – a simple tune and easily comprehensible lyrics put together to create a song that would reflect the thoughts of a teenager. The track is sweet, nice and simple like all the songs one has heard so far.
By the time “Main Nachdi Phira” arrives, you are sure about the fact that the makers and the team which has created the music for the film wanted the soundtrack to have consistent, uniform sound to it. “Main Nachdi Phira” elicits a sense of euphoria and should serve up the purpose for which it is composed but one wishes Amit and team had experimented a bit within the range of the storyline and the theme of the film. By the way it sounds, one expects “Main Nachdi Phira” to be played in a crucial juncture in the film. It does sound different from the other tracks sung by Meghna but not different enough.
Aamir Khan, in a cameo, plays a quirky music director named Shakti Kumaarr in the film. He decides to make a YouTube video and dedicates to Secret Superstar. “Sexy Baliye”, sung boisterously by Mika Singh, reflects Shakti’s taste in music and the kind of sound he is associated with as a composer. Amit creates a concoction of EDM and the 90s Hindi film sound and peppers it with the requisite quirkiness that would serve as a rumination of Shakti Kumar’s personality. A fun and quirky track, this one should sound better with the visuals.
A large part of the album has a homogenous feel to it. Amit Trivedi adheres to a particular sound and Kausar Munir writes lyrics that are as light as a feather, so that they would befit the age and maturity of a teenaged girl. ‘Secret Superstar’ is a consistently engaging album but how one wishes there was some variety in store for the listener.