In the soundtrack for Vikas Bahl’s Super 30, Ajay-Atul almost live up to the promise they showed in Sairat after the flop show that was Thugs of Hindostan. This is their first full-fledged solo soundtrack since that November 2018 release. Despite clocking in at just 20 minutes, the album offers goodies that can be savoured long after the film’s release on July 12.
Super 30 follows the story of mathematician and educationalist Anand Kumar (Hrithik Roshan) from Bihar, who coached underprivileged children for free for the IIT-JEE entrance examinations. Kumar’s story is that of grit and determination to battle insurmountable odds as he set about disrupting the coaching culture business that only favoured the privileged.
This rebellious sentiment is best evoked in the album’s most interesting track, Basanti No Dance. It starts off with a martial beat that evolves into more complex percussion. Written by Hindi cinema’s busiest lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya in Hinglish, the song’s mukhda (“Basanti no dance in front of these dogs”) is a cry of uprising against the English-speaking class in India. Featuring multiple singers and stanzas, Basanti No Dance could have easily sounded disjointed and unfocused, but this Ajay-Atul track is far from that.
Just when you fear that Ajay-Atul may have run out of new ways to do the sweeping romantic ballad, they come up with Jugraafiya. It shares the same DNA as their previous love songs, but still sounds fresh. The melody is extremely strong, and is carried by the powerhouse voices of Shreya Ghoshal and Udit Narayan.
The composition is a winner from start to finish, though the mission of Hindi lyricists to find unique words for their hooklines can make it hard for listeners to croon. For every Locha-e-Ulfat and Pungi that hits the charts, there’s a Suraiyya and Jhumritalaiyya.
Question everything and do not rest till you have squeezed out an answer, Bhattacharya writes and Roshan sings in Question Mark. It’s one of those songs where the unconventional teacher opens up a new world for the students, a la Bum Bum Bole. The song is short but stays interesting. It starts off being jazzy before moving into funk territory midway.
Niyam Ho is sung by a chorus of 26 singers. What could have been filler material or a bore to slog through also becomes immensely listenable. The orchestral arrangement is minimal, and the voices are allowed to shine. It’s an inspirational track, where Bhattacharya writes that we need rules to usher in a world based on merit.
The issue with the album’s weakest song Paisa is that within its four-minute length, there is no variation in the arrangement or singing by Vishal Dadlani, even though he is, as always, effective. The spunkiness of the disco-flavoured track is in line with the message of the lyrics: money cures everything. This small hiccup aside, the Super 30 album is a tight listening experience.