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News |  30 Nov 2016 20:23 |  By Suhas Thobbi

Review: The soundtrack of 'Kaul' - poetically haunting and indulging

MUMBAI: Irresistible as it was, diving deep into the sound of ‘Kaul’ seemed like the only option left. The exploration for the recently released Aadish Keluskar-directed Marathi movie began with ‘Kaul Lavto’, a five-minute composition, and the only song with ‘vocals’ support. Every time, the Marathi industry raises the bar for its counterparts in terms of story-telling, its own music industry seems to take it up as a challenge to compliment the film-making front’s pre-eminence.

‘Kaul Lavto’, the first song released off the soundtrack, has a story worth talking about. And the name involved has a story of its own. Gaurang Soni, who helmed the sound for two tracks in the movie, comes from an advertisement jingle background and, as fortune usually favors the opportunist, Soni’s introduction to mainstream cinema was more than a mere ‘right place at the right time’ example. Before even stepping into the Marathi industry, Soni contributed for Apoorva Lakhia’s Bollywood flick ‘Zanjeer’. Chintu Singh, the editor & the second unit director of the film introduced Soni to Apoorva Lakhia and since the film was shot in two languages, Soni had limited time. The results prove Singh and Lakhai’s confidence in Soni eventually paid off. Singh, the producer for ‘Kaul’, now had a ready option available for his Marathi project. Singh’s trust in Soni can be judged with the fact that the young composer earned the opportunity to create the promotional track for ‘Kaul’. For its execution, Soni trusted no one else but his own clairvoyance.

Listen: Kaul Lavto

For a musician with no background in Marathi industry or elaborate exposure to the language, Soni quickly adapted to the necessities that would ensure the extension of the movie’s quintessence to its song. That factor also stays true to other seven songs featured in the movie. (Gaurang Soni composed two songs, while Mannan Munjal takes you on an emotional ride through six instrumental songs – majorly utilized as background score throughout the movie). Speaking about emotional rides; ‘Kaul Lavto’ receives an advantage over other compositions from the movie, thanks to the noted singer Ganesh Chandanshive’s typical rusty vocals that transforms the song into a poetically haunting derivation. ‘Kaul Lavto’ demanded age and texture in its vocals and upon auditioning four singers, the composer’s decision to lay responsibility on Chandanshive surely bore fruits. (Not to draw comparisons, but any Game of Thrones fan would be reminded of Ramin Djwadi’s ‘Lights of the Seven’ and ‘The Rains of Castamere’ through the first impression). Vocalist beautifully renders a mythical vibe to ‘Kaul Lavto’ in its entirety as the song progresses into a cry of borderline desperation for help towards humanity, lack of empathy and a calling for rescue. Towards the conclusion of the song, the soaring tempo returns to the tone noticed in the intro before it eventually fades out to absolute nothingness.

Mahesh Keluskar’s lyrics further steers the entire composition to a deeper stretch of human emotions accompanied with the support of backing vocals for the chorus. The music video for the song, uploaded with English translations, provide an idea of the genius that is Mahesh Keluskar’s indulging lyrics and the brilliant union with Soni’s spine-chilling sound. The composer explains, “I wanted to experiment with the track to aptly match the level of the project.” Soni put himself in charge of every approach, layer, sound and instrument for the production of ‘Kaul Lavto’, and the result justifies the music director’s method. For Soni’s second track ‘Myad Man’ (or Mad Man), the composer adapted to a different approach and ended up using a flute and potraj drum. With tracks like ‘Kaul Dhwani’, ‘Bell Wazav’, ‘Layabaddh’, ‘Howling Minds’, ‘Glissando’ and ‘Reflective Solemn’, the co-contributor to the soundtrack of the movie ‘Kaul’, Manan Munjal extends the task of creating a formidable product revolving around its message. Munjal’s songs, widely used as background score throughout the movie, stands as another example of how young composers have 

The creators of ‘Kaul’ released the soundtrack of the movie post the movie’s release, one song after another, and the music director assures that the movie would “play with your emotions”, similar to the title song. Mixed in the Yashraj Studio by Vijay Dayal (who later hailed Soni as "innovative" and credited the director's approval to the idea of experimenting with sounds as encouraging factor), the song has been mastered by Donal Whelan (Hafod Mastering, UK). Donal Whelan who has worked on the Indian movies like ‘Highway’, ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Dear Zindagi’, ‘Neerja’, and 2016’s Marathi sensation ‘Sairat’ summed up the soundtrack for Kaul in his own words as, “In eight years of working with Indian film projects in many languages, ‘Kaul’ is the most experimental soundtrack I’ve worked on by far.”

From L-R: Director - Aadish Keluskar, Producer - Chintu Singh, Music Director - Gaurang Soni, Mixing Engineer - Vijay Dayal

Working on Kaul reminded Soni of why he wanted to be a music director in the first place, and with upcoming projects like ‘Tathastu’ and another project ‘Dhwani’ mentored by Nagesh Kukunoor, Soni has enough reasons to look to the challenges that would arrive with mainstream cinema, and if he manages to replicate ‘Kaul Lavto’ in his following works, then his probable success in the near future would quickly turn into an inevitable reality.