31st October

“31st October” movie poster.

Film: 31st October

Label: Zee Music

Music: Vijay Verma with additional song by Milind Gaba

Lyrics: Mehboob, Moazzm Azm and Jagmeet Bal

This is a film that revisits the India of 30 years ago and has music to match. The unfortunate part is that whenever we do have ‘retro’ music and lyrics they need the bright spark of timelessness. Yes, that’s easier said (by a critic) than done and is VERY tough but, with extra application, not impossible!

Take the lead track, “Yaqeen” (for the first time I am reading this Urdu word being spelled correctly in terms of phonetics in English, where even films are named “Yakeen”!) by Sonu Nigam. It is heartfelt in terms of rendition, lyrics and composition, but, while Mehboob’s words cannot be faulted, the tune, though melodious, falls short of being memorable.

The reprise version has Mohammed Salamat in place of Nigam — and, while both singers began as Rafi clones, Nigam evolved into his own and even spawned his own clones like Javed Ali! So we wonder why Salamat had to come in when Nigam could have done this one too.

Javed Ali, therefore, sings exactly like Nigam in his track “Umeed” that is passably penned by Mehboob again. There is nothing to write home about here. Nor is there anything to justify the reprise version of this song by Babbu Mann.

The same issue is true of Asha Bhosle’s “Andhere,” reprised by the composer himself, who has an odd voice for a film’s playback or background song. He places Bhosle in a very done-to-death mode, which worked till the ‘80s but is now so outdated it is not even acceptable.

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan and Vijay Verma sing “Maula,” and Khan-saab’s rendition is extraordinary considering his age and the restrictions it imposes on a vocalist.

Milind Gaba’s Jagmeet Bal-written number “Rabb De Bande” by Harshdeep Kaur is heard now and forgotten instantly as soon as the next track comes in.

To sum it up, the score is like an old Rajshri film in the 1980s — full of negative virtues and quite dull as a listen for contemporary listeners’ retro tastes.

Rating: 2/5

Listen to the audio jukebox of "31st October":

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