Planet Bollywood
Agni Varsha
Producer: I-Dreams Productions
Director: Arjun Sajnani
Starring: Jackie Shroff, Raveena Tandon, Milind Soman, Sonali Kulkarni, Nagarjuna, Prabhudeva, Mohan Agashe & Amitabh Bachchan (Special Appearance)
Music: Sandesh Shandilya
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Alka Yagnik, Chitra, Pamela Jain, Jaspinder Narula, K.K., Ustaad Sultan Khan
Audio On: Universal    Number of Songs: 6
Album Released on: 14 June 2002
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 7.5 / 10
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Evidently, the ambitious makers of I-Dreams Agni Varsha hope that the music for their adaptation of some portions of The Mahabarat has packed the punch that such a film would need. Hence they┬┤ve roped in the talented Sandesh Shandilya to compose the right mixture and the superb lyricist Javed Akhtar to pen the lyrics. Javed Akhtar is just wonderful in this soundtrack showing once again that for period films he is one of the best in delivering perfect lyrics, while Shandilya scores only in parts.

The "tak din tak" reminiscent of "San Sanana" (Asoka) opens up with Chitra in the love song "Dole Re". The slow mellifluous tune has Kay Kay trying a different field of singing and succeeding. His voice can easily be mistaken for Hari Haran┬┤s and his rendition is endearing. Javed Akhtar lyrics are beautiful and for that matter, are beautifully rendered. Chitra sounds excellent as usual. The obstacle would be the recurring drum beats in the background, with out that the song would have definitely had classic written over it. The drums take away the age old feel to it making it feel a little too modern. The song is repeated on the soundtrack.

Placing emphasis on the flute once again comes the slow "Prem Ki Varsha", Alka Yagnik┬┤s solo contribution to the soundtrack. The song is situational and made for in film purposes. While it is slow and well composed, it fails to hold the listener┬┤s attention despite its sweet lyrics. The song teeters between being a lullaby and a slow love song in terms of composition. Never the less, Alka Yagnik sounds excellent and for all practical purposes, Sandesh has composed a good song here, but it is, situational.

Ustad Sultaan Khan joins in after wowing us in Paanch, in the ghazal "Din Andiyaare" which is a classic with classical instrumentalism. Lovers of

ghazals would purchase the soundtrack for this one alone. The sitar adds the period feel to it and Khan sings perfectly to compliment Akhtar┬┤s lyrics.

Picking up the pace is "Chal Re Saajan" which starts off intriguingly leading us to the tabla backdrop. Jaspinder Narula sings beautifully in classical tone, and the chorus which add to the folk feel of the song, also support well. Nevertheless the song amounts to mere situational listening as the fast paced beats are spaced out throughout the song. The lyrics are your usual

"shaadi" stuff.

Pamela Jain gets her first film opportunity away from mentor composer Rajesh Roshan and succeeds to a great extent. The bhajan styled tune "Anchal Ki Chhaya" is another slow beautiful song. Akhtar┬┤s lyrics are just wonderful and Shandilya has complimented the vocals and lyrics with a beautiful backdrop. Appearing slow may be a deterrent but this one is worth many more listens.

Shandilya transverses through many style of compositions in Agni Varsha showing a great command over the medium. That is quite commendable for a music director whose music we hear so rarely. But even still, Agni Varsha lacks the perfect stamp and the appeal that a regular listener would have hoped for. Forget about topping the charts, Agni Varsha will, and definitely has the right contents to, appeal to those who really like period film soundtracks. Furthermore, the soundtrack splits its perfect-ness with two situational songs, a song repeated and three really excellent tunes, making it a half for half deal. We also feel cheated since the promo┬┤s instrumental tracks (of which there are many different ones) are not included in the soundtrack. Agni Varsha┬┤s soundtrack is classy, and the excellent effort is very evident, but falls short of classic status.

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