Slipping further and further into a vortex of drugs, alcohol and meaningless sex, the protagonist of Soundtrack, genius DJ Raunak Kaul (Rajeev Khandelwal), suddenly goes deaf one day. It’s an intriguing premise, borrowed legitimately from the Canadian film It’s All Gone Pete Tong, that itself claimed to be based on a true story.
Treated without the requisite pinch of humor or irony, director Neerav Ghosh delivers a boring film that’s as indulgent as the character whose life-story it portrays. Khandelwal, usually a terrific actor, appears grossly miscast as the hedonist hero, and plays him with a misguided sense of seriousness. You’re meant to feel for Raunak and root for him to overcome his impediment, but there are two problems here. First, he’s been such a shallow figure that mustering up any real sympathy for him is a near impossible task. Second, Khandelwal’s appearance and physicality in no way reflects Raunak’s supposed inner breakdown. The actor is on stronger ground in the film’s later portions, when his character takes up with a deaf girl (Soha Ali Khan) and commits himself towards finding fulfillment.
The film’s second half in fact has a bunch of endearing moments, and the director seems more capable handling these conventional scenes. Soha has a warm vibe to her, but it’s Mohan Kapur as Raunak’s opportunistic manager who seems to get the tone that is required here.
Soundtrack doesn’t work consistently because it’s amateurishly directed, and because even those scenes of Raunak’s debauchery are so tackily filmed. Even if you survive this film’s every other flaw, chances are you’ll be exhausted by those long, hallucinatory interactions between Raunak and his alter-ego that manifests itself as a clown.
I’m going with two out of five for Soundtrack. Somewhere in this tiring film is a promising idea that hasn’t been fully exploited.