MIDIval PunditZ :: Let's Enjoy (ost)
Bollywood has always had it's own aesthetic, one comprised of sprawling Swiss mountainscapes, aggressive group dancing, sexual innuendo and slapstick comedy. All in one flick. But many in the West will recognise several, if not just one, American movie plot line(s) adapted for Eastern audiences in this package. One such 'genre' of movies is the teen coming-of-age romp, with several character arcs woven into one story. Maybe it's just that we have a certain lock down on teen sex in the USA, but the Indian version of teen exploits seldom makes any sense (see Boom - a bad Charlie's Angels rip with good music). Remedy: lather briskly with a generous helping fast, young beats and you've got a vehicle for moderate success.
Exploring the 'where's the party yaar' theme, Let's Enjoy follows a group of teens and their exploits. The Punditz, comprised of Tapan Raj and Gaurav Raina, embark on a musical adventure of their own. Their previous self-titled MIDIval Punditz release on Six Degrees (Times Music in India) had set the mood on what defines their sound. This original soundtrack (ost) exposes their music to a whole new audience. But is Bollywood ready?
We think it is, but some issues surface here: "Dhol Dhamaka" starts with a sick dhol beat and layers an intense bass rhythm, but an unnecessary battle between the vocals and the background instrumentation ensues. "Sajana" is another of these tracks where the smooth lyrics are competing with the music at times. "Pahadee" and its reprise are prime examples of the duo's potential when they are not incorporating vocals. They let the instruments speak, masterfully weaving flutes with their usual complex rhythms to produce a beautiful conversation between the drums and melodic instruments.
It's quite evident that the director was tourniquetting the PundtiZ' natural talents, they had to bow in many areas to satisfy the creative vision of the movie. A couple of songs not featuring a taste of the Punditz' electronic flavour are the two versions of "Sabse Peeche Hum Khade." They provide a relaxing getaway from the intensity of the rest of the album, even if they seem out of place. Throughout the majority of the cd, the Punditz explain the movie using their trademark synthesizers, arpeggiators and drum loops complementing the vocals inherent to a Bollywood soundtrack.
The distorted vocals and background drums in "Dhol Wajeda" provide a good foundation for what is heard on the soundtrack. In one of the more exciting songs on the album, "Challa" begins slowly but transitions into a full-fledged Punditz track with intense beats and hard synths making the track perfect for the background music to a car chase. The best cut off this album, "Kesariya Baalam," is like that perfect blend of coffee/cream/sugar... a combo of danceable beats, haunting vocals, and a well-placed sarangi. This track was bound for the PunditZ upcoming sophomore effort due out in summer '05, but found a home here, a perfect intro for a wider audience to the PundtiZ sound.
It should be said that this album can't be compared to their last album because this was created for a different audience. Even so, it seems as though the Punditz were forced to find a balance in some of the tracks on this album. The inclusion of vocals and lyrics pulled the emphasis away from their usual melodic masterpieces towards a more commercialised sound suited for Bollywood. The Punditz proved to be a great way for the music to be released to a greater audience because their songs have a wonderful mélange of South Asian instruments and amazing programming of beats and melodies. A true Indian outfit.