Planet Bollywood
Producer: Big Pictures
Director: Vikram K Kumar
Starring: R Madhavan, Neetu Chandra, Sachin Khedekar, Murli Sharma, Poonam Dhillon
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Lyrics: Neelesh Misra
Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Kartik, Chitra, Baba Sehgal, Anushka Manchanda and Loy Mendonsa
Number of Songs: 8
Album Released on: 08 February 2009
Reviewed by: Atta Khan  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 listeners)
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Let’s be absolutely frank, HINDI songs are generally REMIXED poorly by music producers and even so called specialists (DJs) disappoint more often than not. Of course there are exceptions to this but the overall consensus is that remixes are a waste of space and act as ‘fillers’ rather than add any real value to the OST from a purely auditory perspective. So what we need then is an album that demonstrates to us the impact of effective remixing. But we are jumping the gun a little since before that we need an OST with original songs!

The trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy (SEL) have a busy 2009 ahead of them after a successful 2008 (Rock On!! sticking in the mind as the undoubted highlight). As with most busy schedules you wonder how expectations will be met and where corners will be cut. Low budget movies can either be overlooked from a musical perspective or turn out to be real gems. Vikram Kumar’s 13B is one such movie whose fate is unlikely to be affected by the music. That is because it is a suspense flick where the songs will play a very small part in the proceedings (background music is a different ball game altogether). So it’s a little surprise that the short OST is produced by SEL….what can we expect? How about something to liven up the soundtrack by way of experimentation? As per their trademark, they don’t waste the opportunity with some interesting tracks and some absolutely delicious REMIXES courtesy of some of the best DJs in the biz!

First off we have a short track for the pivotal TV programme in the movie called “Sab Khairiyat Hai” which sounds uninspiring it has to be said and before you want to give it a chance to grow on you it’s all over! But don’t worry because the full feature length version appears later in the “Remix” (by DJ Gulraj Singh) and what a remix it is as drums, bass and percussion superimpose the original with splendid panache! Lyrics by Neelesh Misra and singing by Shankar take a back seat. The (rock) style of delivery implies that SEL have had some input over this, either way it’s one of the best remixes composed in a long while.

“Bade Se Shehar Mein” is even warmer to the ears than the opener and whilst it lacks freshness as well, there is an alluring charm to it that grips you after repeated listening. Maybe it’s the heart-warming melody or perhaps the fantastic vocals of Kartik who sounds ever so like K.K. in his subdued rendition here. The background echoes from Shankar are another highlight for sure, his sprightly vocals are a true gift from God! Neelesh Misra’s lyrics do the job. DJ Shane sprinkles a touch of gold onto the “Remix” without altering too much from the original. But it is missing Shankar’s echoes which worked so well in the original. Nevertheless, the song is still a good listen.

Shankar takes centre stage again in the fairly attractive “Aasma Odh Kar” but this time in a duet (with Chitra). This is another lively song dominated by keyboard / synth arrangements with Chitra’s unique vocals providing ample support to Shankar. Neelesh pens some nice poetry. However the “Remix” takes the song to another level as DJ Gulraj Singh performs wonders with the drums, keyboard and percussion. WICKED!

SEL finish on a high with a potential chartbusting track, the classy “Oh Sexy Mama”. The urban sounds are extremely cool but it’s the wicked bass rhythm that delivers the true knock out blow! The emotionally charged singing is equally brilliant (by the trio Baba Sehgal, Anushka Manchanda and Loy Mendonsa). Special mention for Anushka’s sizzling vocals! Lyrics are simple but seductive. DJ Shane goes berserk with the rock infused “Remix”, a great addition to a fabulous club track!

The soundtrack ends with the “Theme” of 13B (instrumental).

It would have been easy for SEL to stop at mediocrity since the music is not expected to feature in a big way for the movie. But SEL are better than this, they think bigger and wider than most music producers and recognise this is not good enough for music fans. So they go one step further adding their own touch and flavour to the soundtrack with some unorthodox but enjoyable tunes. Furthermore they supervise some amazing remixes. In fact such is the impact of these, one has to say that at times, the originals pale in comparison. How many times have we said that about soundtracks?

Bottom line is if you’re an SEL fan and appreciate their style or fresh approach to music, this is a good listen; expect more treats for the rest of 2009!

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