Planet Bollywood
Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
Director: Rajat Mukherjee
Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Vivek Oberoi, Antra Mali, Makhrand Deshpande, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Raj Zutshi and Ganesh Yadav. Special Appearances by Ganesh Acharya and Koena Mitra
Music: Sandesh Shandilya, Nitin Raikwar
Lyrics: Khilesh Sharma, Jaideep Sahni, Nitin Raikwar, Makr
Singers: Sonu Nigam, Sanjeevani, Vinod Rathod, Sunidhi Chauhan, Mohit Chouhan, Amar Mohile, Tannishtha, Gary Lawyer
Audio On: Universal    Number of Songs: 8
Album Released on: August 2002
Reviewed by: Vijay Ramanan  - Rating: 4.0 / 10
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Road is no doubt one of 2002’s most anticipated movies. For starters, it is a Ramgopal Varma production, and that ensures a certain amount of originality. Director Rajat Mukherjee who made an impressive debut with “Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya” wields the megaphone. After terrific performances in “Company”,

Vivek Oberoi and Antra Mali are back together for the second time. And, Manoj Bajpai plays a psycho yet again (can anyone do it better than this guy?). The only name missing from the regular RGV team is Sandeep Chowta, who this time around is replaced by Sandesh Shandilya. Shandilya rose to fame with his composition “Suraj Hua Maddham” from “K3G” - arguably the best song of that album. If “Suraj Hua Maddham” and the beautiful tunes of “Agnivarsha” are anything to go by, one would expect volumes from the music of “Road.” Unfortunately, the album is a major disappointment.

The album opener “Makhmali Ye Badan” is one of the few decent tracks in this bag. Featured twice on the CD, a soft hummable tune and moderate tempo work in its favor. Sonu Nigam breezes through this song with ease. The female vocals are by Sanjivani who compliments Nigam wonderfully. This is the first time that a tone like that of Sanjivani’s voice has been put together with Nigam’s. For those who may not remember, Sanjivani made her debut with songs like “Churao Na Dil Mera Sanam” from Vinod Chopra’s “Kareeb”.

Khilesh Sharma’s lyrics are at best, run-of-the-mill.

The next track “Raste Raste” has been used in many of Road’s trailers. On screen, the song seems and sounds quite strange. It isn’t much better on CD either. The first minute of the track grips you with stunning arrangements. As the song progresses, the tune simply turns stale. Vinod Rathod and Sunidhi Chauhan’s singing becomes repulsive. Jaideep Sahni, who had written the script for Varma’s “Company” is absolutely clueless as far as song writing is concerned. Each line seems to have no connection with the next - “Sab bakwaas hai…Kya ye pyaar hai”. What’s that about??

Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan return for “Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen”, once again written by Khilesh Sharma. Nigam and Chauhan are simply unbearable here, with the latter’s futile efforts to hit notes beyond the farthest of octaves. Lyricist Sharma seems completely unsure of whether he wants to write a tapori song or a love song. SKIP!

Shandilya is given a break as Nitin Raikwar takes hold of the baton for the next track “Toofan Sa”. The tempo and arrangements of the song bear a bit of similarity with “Ruki Ruki Thi Zindagi” from “Mast”.

K.K’s voice is a welcome break. Here’s a guy who doesn’t need to strain his voice to hit high notes. And before you can heave a sigh of relief, Sunidhi Chauhan is back screaming over the top of her voice again. This is a song that could have worked. Nitin Raikwar impresses with his musical skills. His lyrics too are fairly decent. If only he had put a little more thought into keeping Sunidhi Chauhan in check.

Actor Makrand Deshpande tries his hand at lyric writing with “Pehli Nazar Mein”. Yes, Sunidhi Chauhan is here again and more annoying than ever. Singing with her is Mohit Chauhan. The less said about this track the better. You feel like skipping it within the first 30 seconds. SKIP!

Phew. This is really cumbersome. But wait! Just when you begin to lose hope, Amar Mohile saves the day with the BEST track of the album - “Road Rage”. WOW! What a track. Like all RGV productions, here is yet another theme track that will make waves. Mohile fuses synthesized ostinatos, chants and orchestral arrangements with Doppler effect samples of cars on a road. Why is the best track on the CD only 3 minutes long? Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

The final track is “Road Ke Har Mod Pe” sung by Gary Lawyer and

Tannishta, with lyrics by Taabish Romani. The song is very unconventional and experimental. This is one of those songs that will work fairly well if placed in the background of the film. As a track on its own without any images to compliment it, the song fails. I don’t know if I really want to listen to a song about the dangers of the road while driving in my car. Gary Lawyer sounds drunk, but lyricist Romani succeeds in writing an intentionally disturbing song.

The music of “Road” is very different. But different does not always mean good. Shandilya has shown some guts here trying new sounds and trying to get his singers to play around with their voices. However, he seems to let them too loose and really should have kept them in check. Road misses Sandeep Chowta desperately.

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