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Eklavya - The Royal Guard - Music Review

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
It is rare to see the release of a film's soundtrack coinciding with the movie's release itself, especially when a film is a biggie. The last time something like this happened was in the case of Black when the soundtrack arrived a few days after the release of the film.

Now the music of Eklavya-The Royal Guard releases on the same day as the film and if one has watched the film, it only becomes a much more endearing experience while the music is played on since the situations are fresh in mind.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra's current favorites Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire take care of compositions and lyrics for this 30 minutes album that has 8 tracks in total.

The album is arranged in chapter format, though not necessarily in chronological order, starting with 'The Revelation'. Truly a haunting piece that befits the song's theme, the effect created by Pranab Biswas&Ravindra Sathe as the male voiceovers reciting 'shlokas' is superb. The pace is just perfect, especially during the middle of the proceedings when there is a sudden elevation. A good theme piece that shows the greatness of Indian classical music.

On the same classical note continues 'Chanda Re' that is mesmerizing to the core. Hear it once and be assured that the voice of Hamsika Iyer would continue to play on in your mind for hours to come. It is difficult to forget such a sweet and simple lullaby which has been labeled 'The Moon Song'. Lyrics are as simple as they get while the arrangements are orchestra light with tabla and ghunghroo being the major musical instruments which are audible. Hamsika's voice has a fresh appeal to it which pretty much suits Vidya Balan, on whom the song is picturised.

After a relief in the form of 'Chanda Re', proceedings turn haunting again with Ravindra Sathe and chorus getting together for 'The Gayatri Mantra Theme'. One can almost sense a wide canvas feel when the track plays as maximum effect is created even when the orchestra is made of minimal musical instruments.

Inspired by the film, the track 'Jaanu Na' [The Quest] follows next which narrates the tale of the central protagonist Eklavya. The song's theme revolves around the dilemma of Eklavya who has to set his priorities right when it comes to dharma. Lyricist Swanand Kirkire opens the number by coming behind the mike while Sonu Nigam joins him soon too.

A kind of track that seems to have its roots in Bengali music and folk, 'Jaanu Na' just about passes muster since it doesn't quite make you go 'wow' in the audio. Moreover it doesn't find a place in the film too. Later the same song is also heard as a part of 'Suno Kahani' [The Legend Of Eklavya] , which is much faster but again doesn't add on much to the album.

Sound of piano gives an indication that the track to follow next would come with a welcome relief. Surprisingly, on checking the credits, one realizes that the musical piece is called 'The Killing'. 90 seconds into the track with voiceovers by Sunidhi Chauhan and Pranab Biswas and you realize that what one has been hearing is the best part of both the film and the soundtrack enterprise.

'The Killing' turns out to be the background piece of the sequence when a killing happens in the desert with camels, train and the 4 major characters - Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Jackie Shroff and Jimmy Shergill - sharing the screen space. Truly a brilliant piece that becomes fast and furious once the action begins, it just revives the entire drama unfolding once again.

'The Theme of Eklavya follows next that again has a classical base to it with Pranab Biswas giving the voiceover. It is surprising though that the female voice which forms a major part of the proceedings is not credited in the album. Though the track does have a grandeur feel to it, is doesn't turn haunting or dramatic and rather works on establishing the overall feel and mood of the film.

Hamsika Iyer returns towards the end of the album to do a melodious 'aalap' for the short-n-sweet 'Love Theme'. Easy on ears and guaranteed to put you on a sound sleep if played in a repeat mode, it makes for quite a beautiful hearing. There is a definite International feel to as the sound of flute makes its presence felt in the latter stages of the song. In fact it comes close to the background score of Oriental films and hence acts as good platform to take the East to West.

The music album for Eklavya is not for those who want the film soundtrack to be prominently made of songs and dances. Instead what the musical team gives is an unconventional score for an unconventional film. The album will appeal mainly to that miniscule segment of audience who love to relive the moments of a film by giving its background score a repeat hear. And on those grounds, Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire pretty much succeed.

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