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Producer: Pritish Nandy Productions
Director: Sudhir Mishra
Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Rahul Bose
Music: Sandesh Sandilya
Lyrics: Irshad Kalim, Prof. R.N. Dubey
Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan, Udit Narayan, Javed Ali
Audio On: T-Series
Number of Songs: 8
Released on: December 01, 2003
Reviewed by: Ron Ahluwalia
Reviewer's Rating: 8.5 out of 10


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Where does one begin when talking about a movie like Chameli? Is it an art movie because it stars Rahul Bose? Or is it a commercial venture because Kareena Kapoor is the leading lady? Sudhir Mishra recently gave us Calcutta Mail, which met with mixed reviews, so what will Chameli offer? The answers to the first two questions can only be given when the movie releases, but as for now, Chameli definitely offers an outstanding soundtrack! Sandesh Sandiliya has finally made a soundtrack that is thoroughly enjoyable (much better than his previous best Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula) and truly hatke! Congratulations are also in order for debut lyricist Irshad Kalim! So what makes Chameli´s music so great? Keep reading...

Chameli´s soundtrack begins on a high note! Bhaage Re Mann is beautiful at all levels! The music is majestic and the initial interludes of music induce the feeling of entering the most wonderful fantasy world! Sunidhi Chauhan sings one of the best songs of her career! Usually, she has a hard time singing the higher octaves, but she takes to Bhaage Re Mann like a fish to water! Her voice has an innocent tone to it, which helps the music in creating the surreal atmosphere. Throughout the song, Sandilya´s use of the flute is extremely effective and glides smoothly with Sunidhi´s rendition. Irshad Kalim´s lyrics work wonders; the words go above and beyond the purpose of the song. Such a marvellous song can only leave the listener breathless or frantically searching for the repeat button!

Sandesh Sandilya falls flat on his face once in Chameli, and that is in the song Sajna Ve Sajna. For some reason, he has opted for a super saturation of sound effects making the composition of the song to be simply odd. There are so many instruments used, that song becomes too busy and hard to listen to. Honestly speaking, Sajna Ve Sajna sounds like Viju Shah going nuts with his techno tunes, rather than a Sandesh Sandilya composition. Sunidhi Chauhan´s rendition is effective, but has a lazy quality to it. Irshad Kalim´s lyrics are interesting and derserve better music.

Whoever said repetition was a bad thing can take a seat! Sandesh Sandilya has presented three different renditions of the song Jaane, and each one soars to perfection--with one actually reaching it! The music is so perfect that it leaves you searching for the exact superlative to describe it! The tempo is absolutely right, and the overall composition is soft on the ears, with an excellent use of instruments. Special mention is due for the use of the saxophone, which creates magic! The lyrics are spellbinding, showing the best use of the Hindi and Urdu languages after a very long time. Irshad Kalim should be up for some awards this year for sure!

Without a doubt, the Udit Narayan rendition of Jaane is one only the best of the three versions, but is also the best song in the album. The smoothness of his voice leaves the listener thirsting for more. Sunidhi Chauhan makes a brief appearance at the end of the song, but is more prominent in her duet with Javed Ali. Sunidhi sings brilliantly, but it is Javed who is the best part of this version, suiting this song to a T. Finally, Sunidhi gets a solo version of Jaane. In this final part of the Jaane trilogy, Sunidhi struggles with the high notes and is unable to recreate the magic of Bhaage Re Mann. It´s still a nice version, but it could have been better. It is very interesting to hear Sunidhi singing lines that are written for a male. A successful experiment by Sandilya!

The greatness of the album is reduced again by Yeh Lamha. Guest lyricist Prof. R.N. Dubey comes up with some rather poetic lines, but the music fails again; it ought to have been slower, and the composition is once again hammered by too many instruments. Sunidhi is OK for the most part, but she should try to not to become the Indianized Whitney Houston.

Chameli ends with the instrumental Soul of Chameli, which may as well be called the instrumental version of Jaane! This version is just as beautiful as the others! What more can be said?

Aside from Sanja Ve Sanja and Yeh Lamha, the only other criticism one could have for Chameli is the overdose of Sunidhi Chauhan. Her presence in every song is not as bad as Chitra in Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, but not nearly as pleasant as Alka Yagik in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The consistency is nice (as Kareena´s speaking voice isn´t going to change throughout the movie, so why should her singing voice?), but a better variety of female playback singers would have been nice.

Nonetheless, Chameli continues Pritish Nandy Communications´ excellent track record for excellent soundtracks (Kaante, Sur, Jhankar Beats). Any audio collection is incomplete without a CD of Chameli. The wonderful Bhaage Re Mann and the refulgence of all three versions of Jaane are sure to keep this soundtrack in your audio player for a long time to come!