Planet Bollywood
Producer: Nitin Patil
Director: Hansal Mehta
Starring: Kay Kay, Prashant Narayanan, Jaya Seal, Sri Vallabh Vyas, Naved Aslam
Music: Viju Sha
Lyrics: Amitabh Verma
Singers: K.K., Asha Bhosle, Shaan, Alka Yagnik, Sadhana Sargam
Audio On: Zee Music    Number of Songs: 8
Album Released on: May 2002
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Defying all the subsidizing efforts Bollywood has been facing, Viju Sha has composed the music for Chhal. The very techno friendly composer for once continuously proves that an equal balance between projects and time is required for producing great soundtracks. For, as we are not often treated with Sha’s compositions, when they do release, they are predominantly worth the wait. He further takes his talents to new heights as for this dark underworld drama there isn’t a word better to describe the scintillating tunes than- dark.

K.K.’s colossal vocales have been either mis-used or used perfectly. After listening to ‘Main Khuda’ from Paanch it is clear no one goes to higher heights without shrieking and the title track for Chhal proves this as well. Opening up with an inspired tune, what follows is almost a miniature narration to the film itself, at the very least Sha is successful in giving this theme track that perfect narration feel. That which, where a scene drops, the music can pick up at any portion and continue to narrate the story. Swift, the tune is laced with a synthesization and tabla all in one. While the first version is short, the “Extended Remix” that follows on the soundtrack is long, almost ten minutes, and even more of hit caliber than the original. More along the lines of some of the great chartbusters we’ve seen, like ‘Khallas’ or ‘Jaan Leva’, the piano is softly interwoven with the swift beats and haunting chorus that we love so much. Dramatic interludes and Latin beats also accompany.

Not a single composer has failed to make Asha Bhosle’s vocals sound soft and swift this year. The singer adds special life into the feet tapping “Dil Jhanjhale Jaane-Jaana”, which at one point has her facing off with a deep husky scary un-credited voice. The voice is also excellently used to match every turn of the song while Asha Bhosle’s rebuttal is perfectly timed as well. Here, her vocal exercises are drawn throughout the song to stench the steamy feeling of the song delivering the mood to the tee. The orchestration is far from typical as Sha implements something new in every way he can.

Chup Chap” is the mandatory love song, played twice. One version is sung by Shaan with soft background contributions by Sadhna Sargam, and the other is a solo by her herself. Sadhna has previously worked with Viju Sha and the outcomes have been good. As a backdrop to Shaan who sings emotively her voice is perfect and in the solo it is slightly less. The song itself is a refreshing touch to romance.

Gum Sum” has a little of the beat from “Apni Yaadon Ki” from Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat and touches a sadder note with Alka’s soft yet touching refrains of ‘meri zindagi…’ Where the familiarity ends, flute contributions take over.

There are many times when musical instrumental compositions are included in a film but secluded on a soundtrack. Often there are many that peeve to hear the tune just once more. Viju Sha and Zee Music were aware of this, as three instrumental compositions conclude the soundtracks. Arguably, they are the best parts of it as well.

Padmini’s Theme”, (Padmini being the name of the female lead), is a piano composition of the theme from the title track. The music is at times daunting and depressing. “Deceit” starts off with freaky music akin to science fiction then joins off where Padmini’s Theme left off but dropping the piano. Short tune has a mystical feel to it. With more orchestration than anything else, Sha shows off his talent for composing Hollywood like background scores.

Finally, the intriguingly titled ‘Omerta-The Silence’ is ironically the most loud of the instrumentals. A peppy underworld theme has been brought to life here along with the theme track.

It seems almost sure that the music for Chhal will go unnoticed as it has been released on a non-popular label and in selected areas only. However, the recommendation is to get ones hand on it if at all possible. Viju Sha covers moods of thrills predominantly while composing electrifying dark tunes which certainly shine amidst Bollywood’s poor tunes today. Lyricist Amitabh Verma is also excellent in providing lyrics which match the mood and theme of the film quite well.

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