Planet Bollywood
Producer: Gaurang Doshi
Director: Milan Luthria
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, and Amrita Rao
Music: Aadesh Shrivastav
Lyrics: Nusrat Badr
Singers: Alka Yagnik, Krishna, Udit Narayan, Mukul Agarwal, Sonu Nigam, Xena Ali, Kailash Kher, and Roop Kumar Rathod
Audio On: T-Series    Number of Songs: 8
Album Released on: 25 April 2004
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi  - Rating: 5.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 listeners)
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The title itself, Deewaar, carries with it so many expectations that this is definitely going to be one of the biggest releases of 2004. These expectations arise from the 1970s classic, Deewaar, which also starred Amitabh Bachchan and assured him the status of B.O Master for many years to come. Produced by Gaurang Doshi and directed by Milan Luthria, Deewaar has been in the Bollywood grapevine ever since it hit floors last year. For one, the film consists of a mega star-cast; comprising of the Master Bachchan himself,

Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, and Amrita Rao. Amitabh ji is still basking in the glory that Khakee has given him. Sanjay Dutt is still soaking in the appraisals for his last performance in Munnabhai M.B.B.S. Akshaye Khanna is trying to get over his Khakee controversy, in which he dropped his role, deeming it to be too miniscule. Finally, Amrita Rao is literally at the peak of her very young career, as she is in the midst of two hit films right now, Masti and Main Hoon Naa. The second reason that this film has been in the news is because this multi-crore film was shot in record breaking time, which is tough to do with such a cast. But probably the most intriguing aspect to its newsworthy status is its theme, which gives us a glimpse of a war that is fought beyond the boundaries of the battlefield and behind enemy lines. Deewaar - Let’s Bring our Heroes Home is a story about 54 POWs and their extraordinary battle for freedom.

When expectations are high, they are high for all aspects of the film. The aspect in focus here is the musical arrangements brought forth by Mr. Aadesh Shrivastav. Aadesh Shrivastav is living it up right now, as he has had two major hit albums in the forms of Baghban and Chalte Chalte (shared credits with Jatin-Lalit). From the looks of it, or should I say sounds of it, Shrivastav is going for the hat-trick with Deewaar. The lyricist is the one-album wonder, Nustrat Badr, who created lyrical magic in the 2002 musical gem, Devdas. With Deewaar - LBOHH creating so much hype, hopefully the music will live up to its expectations and give Deewaar a well deserved head start…

Shrivastav makes a decent attempt at getting this soundtrack started with a bang. The first song featured is the extremely vibrant Marhaba Marhaba. Rendered by Sonu Nigam and Xena Ali, this track makes a decent attempt at recreating an Arabic feel but finds itself back in the disco mode again. Sonu Nigam puts in a good effort as always and does justice to his part in the song. Xena Ali doesn’t really have a chance to shine at all as this one is mainly dominated by Sonu. The best part of the song is Sonu’s rendition of the line Marhaba Marhaba, which will have you on a move in no time. Unfortunately that’s not enough to bring this song to a chartbuster level, as Shrivastav settles for an average ranking here. When listening to this song, I couldn’t believe that Nusrat Badr penned this song. After listening to his words in Devdas I always saw him as the soft romantic poetic type who really has a way with bringing words to life. After hearing Marhaba, Nusrat Badr settles into a conventional niche. Final Verdict: Nothing bad here, but at the same time, nothing that good.

It’s almost certain that this soundtrack would have a patriotic tune in it, and that tune comes now. Chaliye Ve Chaliye is Shrivastav’s Vande Mataram in this album. Sadly, this song fails miserably. The music arrangements carry nothing with it. Shrivastav uses the drums throughout the song, except for a few minor instrumental interims he never strays from the monotonous percussion harmony that really grinds on your nerves. The vocals are supplied by Udit Narayan and Roop Kumar Rathod. Udit Narayan does a mediocre job in rendering, but Rathod sounds as if he is forced to sing this song. Out of all genres in music, patriotic would require the most emotion you would think. Nusrat Badr’s lyrics are just below average as he is unable to arouse any type of feel for the POWs. Final Verdict: A very poorly composed, rendered, and penned patriotic track!

Luckily, Shrivastav is able to somewhat redeem himself in his next patriotic track, Todenge Deewaar Hum. This one is the second patriotic track and has had much more effort put into it by everyone. Shrivastav’s change in the harmony from the conventional drums to the more appropriate marching drums creates a better listening environment and his additions such as the whisteling and the trumpet to close out the song were much more appropriate. The melody of the song though doesn’t carry much with it, and is nothing that will be remembered in the near future. The vocal lead is handed to Udit Narayan once again as well as Mukul Agarwal, who are supported by a male chorus. The renditions are of average quality here. Lyrically, Nusrat Badr writes on the POWs anger towards the enemy and does a much better job in bringing some emotion to the song, although there is nothing to rave about. Final Verdict: Much better compared to the previous track, but still manages to fall in the “Average” category.

The next number, Kara Kaga, hits you right in the face. What I mean is the song comes out of nowhere! This is a purely situational romantic song rendered by Alka Yangik. This is probably the best song so far but still not worth too much appraisals. The musical arrangements by Shrivastav are above par and are pleasant on the ears. He succeeds in creating a fast paced romantic piece here. Alka Yagnik opens the song off with her extremely soft and sweet vocal texture. Here, Nusrat Badr writes on a girl who is waiting for her knight in shining armor to come and take her away. His lyrics are of some class here. The song is good, but will the audiences be able to sit through such a song when the theme of the film is quite aloof from this number. Hopefully the filmmakers determined whether this piece would fit in their war narrative before they asked Aadesh Shrivastav to compose such a piece. We’ll just have to see for ourselves.

Aadesh Shrivastav keeps the soundtrack going uphill after the last track with Piya Bawri. This is great number as Shrivastav composes a very soothing eastern influence song here. Shrivastav is in fine form and gives a nice semi-classical number in terms of composition, not renditions. His use of the tabla adds to the flavor of this piece. Alka Yagnik’s vocals are a great compliment to Shrivastav’s composition here. Listener’s are in for a surprise…in the beginning of the track, you can hear Kailash Kher, the very talented singer who sung the magnificent Allah Ke Bande (Vishal-Shekhar’s Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II), who shows us his vocal prowess by rendering some swaras very nicely. In addition, Nusrat Badr, writes some nice lines here and keeps up with the classical composition. But once again, this song runs the same risk as the previous song, the risk of breaking the narrative of the film. Knowing that he had a sure winner, Shrivastav adds in an instrumental version, where the flute takes over Alka’s voice. The flute is the perfect instrument for this instrumental since its texture is very similar to Alka’s vocal tone and texture. It’s a beautiful song. Verdict: A nice song to relax to.

Shrivastav reaches the peak of his uphill climb with the qawwali Ali Ali. This is undoubtedly the best piece of the album. Krishna’s hardcore rendition suits the song perfectly. Shrivastav shows us that his previous two albums (Baghban and Chalte Chalte) weren’t just flukes. They come together to give a qawwali number that will most probably appeal to the hardcore qawwali lovers and maybe the masses in general. This piece does deserve to be on the charts somewhere if not at the top. Nusrat Badr accepts the challenge of writing a qawwali and succeeds. Final Verdict: A great way to end this otherwise stale soundtrack.

Unfortunately, the music of Deewaar is unable to live up to its expectations and falls short of creating even more hype for this already highly awaited film. The album has only a couple of songs (Piya Bawri and Ali Ali) that are of class. I wouldn’t buy the CD until you actually hear these two songs, and then decide whether it’s worth giving your money away to T-Series. It’s doubtful that the music is going to affect the expectations of the film as it has everything going its way; from the mega star-cast to the production values, from a unique theme to its pre-release hype. Upon the release of a somewhat average music album, one would think that this film would be much better off if it were song-less; but there is no point in crying over spilt milk right? It’s up to the makers of the film to suitably incorporate these otherwise situational tracks into their fast moving war drama.

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