out of

Producer: Bharat Shah
Director: Ramgopal Varma
Music: Sandeep Chowta
Lyrics: Sameer

Reviewed by: Anish Khanna

Sandeep Chowta + Ram Gopal Verma = Asha Bhonsle, right? Wrong. Don't let "Mast" fool you, folks! This is a vehicle for Sunidhi Chauhan, who Mr. Chowtha discovered and whose talent he fell in love with during "Mast". Although Sunidhi is a competent singer, it is very apparent through this album that her musical range is limited. Give her an upbeat song - and she rocks her way through it. Give her something slow and sensuous - and the young singer seems all but lost.

In the fast lot is "Pehli Baar". The only problem is that it's dejavu city. This is a not-so-cleverly rehash of "Ruki Ruki" and although it's pleasant on the ears - the sense of familiarity makes it a bit of a yawn after repeat listens... Not that "Ruki Ruki" was a bad number, but still - the novelty value is definitely lacking here. Still - Sunidhi shines in this duet with Sonu Nigham.

Sonu, however, easily steals Sunidhi's thunder in the very pleasant jungle-flavored "Do Pyar". This is a beautiful number with orchestrations that create just the right ambience. Sonu does his best and succeeds and sounding sensuous. In fact - this album can convince anyone with doubts that Sonu is not only a competent singer but a very expressive one. Sunidhi doesn't really do sensuality well, though. After all - though her voice is mature, Ms. Chauhan is still rather young.

Her youth sticks out like less of a sore thumb in the Enigma-ish duet "Jaan", where Mr. Chowtha abandons Sonu (he's already done the "Jaan" bit I figure) in favor of Sanu. Some clever vocal mixing helps Sunidhi Chauhan's voice , but in the end one can't help but think that she sounds like a poor man's Hema Sardesai here (who is a Mariah Carey wanna-be as it is...). She lacks a maturity that will most likely come with age. The song itself, though, is one of the better ones on the album - and I must mention that Sanu is quite good in it.

The other song with Sunidhi - "Aiyo Aiyo Rama" is drab through no fault of the singers (also including Sonu, Soumya, and Makrand Deshpande). Maybe this is a situational number, but it is plain wierd and doesn't really stand up on it's own. Let's check out the film and maybe we'll like it more (though I highly doubt this...)

"Sorry Baba Sorry" is an average duet made slightly above average by Sonu Nigam who puts the right inflections into each phrase. He is joined by Sadhna Sargam here who, though not as expressive as Sonu, does a sufficient job. This again is probably somewhat of a situational song that might look better on screen.

But who says that situational numbers can't be catchy? Ok - "Patli Kamar" has the worst lyrics I've heard in quite some time (thank you, Sameer) - but some catchy percussion and ridiculously humorous voices - Sandeep Chowtha himself, Jolly Mukherjee (remember him?), Sapna Awasthi - and the only "normal" voice - Sukhwinder Singh almost give the song some repeat value. I do say "almost", however, since the lyrics are just plain stupid. In fact - that's a problem with this whole album - the lyrics are uninspiring all around. Sameer - cut down on your load before you burn out, buddy.

Sandeep Chowtha follows up "Mast" with a somewhat less-than-"mast" album. The composer's greatest strength lies in instrumentals (making him the best background score composer in Bollywood). Listen to the two instrumental tracks on the album - "The Soul of Jungle" and "Racing the Jungle" and it is apparent that Mr. Chowtha had the time of his life composing these. THIS is brilliance. The album overall, however, is a bit of a disappointment.

In his second album, Sandeep Chowtha seems to lack versatility. Or maybe the problem is that his first major score was for a modern day adventure drama and the film that his second score is for happens to fall into the same genre (and with the same director). Maybe he just needs to compose for a completely different kind of film. Will that help? Time will tell..