Planet Bollywood
Producer: Kumar Taurani, Renu Taurani
Director: Kookie Gulati
Starring: Vivek Oberoi, Kookie V Gulati, Aruna Sheilds, Nandana Sen, Isiah
Music: Sachin Gupta
Lyrics: Sameer
Singers: Atif Aslam, Garima Jhingon, Shreya Ghoshal, Alisha Chinai, Monali Thakur, Hard Kaur, Sachin Gupta
Audio On: Tips    Number of Songs: 16
Album Released on: 20 February 2010
Reviewed by: Ankit Ojha  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.09 / 10 (rated by 412 listeners)
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Sachin Gupta and Atif Aslam – the combination that rocked the world in 2006 with their smash hit non-film album Doorie. While Sachin Gupta tried his luck to make a mark in Bollywood with his music in three completely different films in nature – Dil Kabaddi, Jugaad and the recently released Bolo Raam, the music of which is known for its excellent track Maa rendered with sensitivity by Roop Kumar Rathod. While none of the three soundtracks stood out in the sales and fame charts, Sachin was already established as a composer with an eclectic potential though some of his songs packing in enough punch for people to get impressed.

And now, Sachin is back in a film that has generated immense buzz around it – Prince (previously known as Prince – It’s Showtime, under which name the first official theatrical trailer was promoted), directed by Kookie Gulati, who had previously teamed up with team Doorie to compose the music videos of three singles (that are popular even today) takes the whole teamwork forward, and with Shiraz Ahmed’s seemingly interesting story, we are ensured to expect something pretty different out of the movie.

Leaving other specifics of the movie aside though let us now focus on the music. For a fact that we all know now that this could be Sachin’s biggest musical break ever, does it impress? Or does it distress? Does Tips as a music industry keep its track record by delivering another hit-in-the-making? Read on to know more!

Starting off with some grand piano, on wet mix with delay and some reverb, we have Garima Jhingon’s sensuously haunting vocals striking the nail right in the head. With the piano still playing in the background, the eclectic fusion of vocals, the lone keyboard instrument and the effects, we have some cool sound effects, some slow beats, some bass and a very mild percussion that completely sets the mood, and by the time the much hyped “motif” in the trailer featuring the electric guitar strums with the synthesizer loop enters the scene, you’ve already started liking O Mere Khuda so much you’re already either shaking your leg, or tapping it, or shaking your head vigorously, depending on the situation you’re in. Atif Aslam’s vocals have always been the sole USP of his own songs, but here, just like in his songs in Doorie, his vocals and the music form a very perfect blend. And considering this fast-paced track is not something Atif has done a lot in his career – we’d rather say the word rarely – this is certainly a kind of first for him as well as us.

We’ve not really heard him in a new avatar here, as his energetic vocals are noted for his soft-rock songs, but his voice is sure as hell addictive and the kind of music he sings doesn’t backfire on him; in fact, it merges well enough for us to lap it up! The beats, the pads, the guitar, the synth-instruments and the vocals, all blend to form an overall addictive song that clicks on the first listen itself! And with the kind of promotion going on for the song right now (a cutting-edge music video), there’s nothing to complain about. Sameer’s lyrics are an added plus point! A must listen, and surely a must repeat; this song will capture the imagination of Atif Aslam fans and dance-music enthusiasts. Crank it up and enjoy the beat!

The piano in the start is replaced by a synth-reed for an equally enjoyable of O Mere Khuda (Dance Mix) by DJ Suketu and AKS. The beats are fun and people are guaranteed to shake a leg at some point of time to this remix. Occasional loops of ‘O Mere Khuda’, ‘Tere Baahon Mein’ (by Garima Jhingon), and ‘Na Jaane Kab Hua’ give the song a subtle impact, thus making this one of the better club mixes of the year as of yet. Those who were missing the riffs of the electric guitar for the ‘motif’ of the movie will be overjoyed when it makes its ‘special appearance’ before the second stanza! An enjoyable hear, and a good alternate to the original, though I personally prefer the original for the sheer energy.

‘O Mere Khuda’ returns in an alternate romantic avatar with Aa Bhi Jaa Sanam, to which Atif soulfully croons his heart out. Garima Jhingon does nothing new apart from singing the same lines from ‘O Mere Khuda’, but her voice has the ‘it’ factor which hasn’t worn off completely. In a way similar to ‘O Mere Khuda’, this track also starts with the grand piano with a slight reverb, but this time a different; a more mellow tune is played, and once Atif’s killer alaaps accompany the piano tune, you know you’re floored already! The beats are slightly ‘pacey’, but the tempo and overall flow is slow and smooth, for the simple fact that the beats are subtly placed and don’t really get on-your-face or clichéd, which works highly in favor of the song.

The sensitivity in the rendering of lyrics by Atif’s vocals completely revolutionize the impact of the song, which should also be noted for its fantastic composition by Gupta, cutting-edge sound arrangements by Sandeep Shirodkar and apt mixing by Eric Pillai. Sameer’s lyrics are absolutely great to listen to, and it seems after quite a long gap of seemingly simplistic and sometimes-tacky lyrics he might have gone on to make in some of the movies over the years, this is one song he has written really well. Yet another winner in the kitty, this surely is, as this has the replay value it requires to make it an addictive listen!

The song returns in a ‘Dance Mix’ version that turns faster in beat with a haunting feel. The soul is fortunately retained in this version thus making the remix an enjoyable and hooking affair. It would be impossible to choose between the two versions, as both of the songs have a certain zing and charm that hooks you from the word ‘go’ thanks to Suketu and AKS’s world-class remixing. This one’s a must hear and yet another must have and repeat in your playlist!

Atif Aslam is to Tips music what Neeraj Sridhar is to Pritam, and that is exactly why he returns in yet another song; and this time it’s a duet with – this is pretty strange – Shreya Ghoshal! Atif Aslam has kept having strange collaborations for duets in his previous duets (Alisha Chinai, Alka Yagnik) and this time as well, he manages to surprise us with the credits of Shreya Ghoshal at the back of the CD cover with the song Tere Liye. And the surprise doesn’t end there – the singers are well chosen; their vocals sound perfectly compatible. In fact, the singers turn out to be the USP of the song. While it is a pleasant surprise to see (or rather hear) Shreya Ghoshal trying out genres that don’t require her voice to be the coy type, Atif Aslam is the perfect choice for the male vocals, as not only does the song require a certain energy, it also has a tangential romantic angle, which Atif Aslam blends yet again to produce a winner. Sachin Gupta’s music is real fun to hear – it, in fact, reminds us of the song ‘Dil Dil Dil’ from one of Sanjay Gupta’s old movies – Aatish, which had some romance, but also had a really up-tempo feel to it. This song adds a rock angle to the ‘dancey’ feel that it supports throughout. A very good that grows on you after a few listens, and you tend to put this in as one of your favorites.

The song marks its return in two remixes – one, a Dance Mix, and the other, a Hip-Hop Remix. The dance mix has a really catchy set of beats, an addictive background pad, some cool supporting percussions, a continuous Arabic styled accordion-loop and cutting edge mixing, Suketu and AKS will have your minds blown away by the way the track stands out.

The hip-hop mix is fun, and while there’s nothing much to say about the composition, except for the fact that the genre has been classily represented with a lot of obvious Indian influences that makes you groove to the song while it lasts, one will easily prefer the original version and the dance mix to this one.

And if you thought that this was the end of the different versions of ‘Tere Liye’, prepare to be surprised, as it returns in a completely new, Unplugged avatar towards the end of the track. Sachin the composer lends his own vocals to this one, and while one might have some doubts to his singing abilities when one reads the credits on the back of the CD cover, the doubts literally vanish away once the song starts with Monali Thakur’s auto-tuned, layered, and softly-crooned alaaps. Sachin’s vocals are obviously auto-tuned and modulated, but the overall effect his vocals create towards the whole song is phenomenal! Hear it to believe it, as the man has sung with all his heart! The music is fitting and extremely melodious, and the lyrics are slightly modified, but retain the overall meaning. This song clicks from the word go and stands out from all the four versions of the song, hands down!

The beats of the song lay base for what’s yet to come in Kaun Hoon Main, a soft-rock song in which Atif Aslam’s vocals usually feel ‘at home’, considering he’s been in countless successful soft-rock numbers. The strums of the guitar and Atif’s alaaps (killer again!) are worth mentioning. The subtle energy and the fact that the sensitivity the song portrays isn’t on-your-face makes this song a clear winner! The guitar strums range from acoustic guitars to heavy electric guitars, and the blend makes the song a grippingly captivating listen. Sameer’s poetic lyrics enhance the song and not only gives it meaning, but adds to the story of the character.

The slight reverb (and flanger in some parts) in Atif’s vocals make them sound so much more amazing. Sachin’s music captures the intensity and the emotion of the lyrics really well, thus making the song yet another winner! This one’s surely going on repeat mode in the playlists of many personal media players in days to come.

The energy goes two notches higher with DJ Suketu’s remix that doesn’t rip the intensity off the vocals or strip the soul off the original. It indeed makes it faster paced, but fortunately doesn’t turn music into noise like many remixes usually do without necessity. Worth a hear!

If the listeners ever wanted a mellower, romantic and chilled out alternative, then they are in for a pleasant surprise as Kaun Hoon Main later comes back in an excellently produced Lounge Mix, which has to be the most impressive mix in the album so far! All one would need to do to enhance the feel of the song would be to turn off the lights, sit back, and soak in the melody. Excellent and classy, this remix will capture the imaginations of people who love chilled out, slow music. This one is strongly recommended for the lovers of ambient/lounge music. Two thumbs up!

We move on to two numbers sans Atif’s vocals, the first one in line being Jiyara Jiyara, crooned by Alisha Chinai, who, it seems, has tried really hard to sound seductive enough, but fails miserably, not due to the fact that she doesn’t sound seductive enough for the number, but for the mere fact that the lyrics are tacky (the main testament to my statement being – Ki Mera Jiyara Jiyara That’s it That’s it For you Baby now!).

The constant chanting of ‘Ah Aaah’ at some places is completely random. What apparently saves the song from its almost-inevitable doom is the rock-solid sound design and arrangements, and superb mixing. The beats are, needless to say, addictive at best. Other arrangements like percussions and background pads are also really well-suited for the number to qualify as something you can really listen to. Sachin Gupta, Eric Pillai and the sound arrangers have completely changed the way the song would be perceived.

After a few listens, the listeners will surely feel that the bad, and sometimes cliché lyrics can be forgiven; because if Imran Khan can get away with the crowd in ‘Bounce Billo’, ‘Hey Girl’ and ‘Amplifier’ because of the way he presents the songs, it’s obvious that this song should also find its way to the crowds who love dance music. Oh, and did I forget Hard Kaur? Let’s just not talk about her here. Sans her, the music might have caught on anyway. Hard Kaur, in fact slightly dampens the song. Period. Overall, worth a few listens. It has a chance of growing on you after a few listens.

DJ Suketu has proved his worth, yet again, in this album, by completely changing the look and feel of the song. By raising the tempo a bit higher, and adding a lot of the electro-dhol beat, the Jiyara Jiyara (Bhangra Mix) scores big time. Alisha Chinai’s auto-tuned vocals make a huge impact over here. And the bass – oh, the bass! The common audio engineer would surely qualify the song, in his/her own words, as ‘hot’ and with a ‘sick beat and bass’. The pad is not really heard, but one can obviously figure it out with a few listens. Another excellent remix in the kitty of Tips and in the compilation of Prince.

Remember ‘Zara Zara Touch Me’? Remember how apparently “hot” it sounded? Though Monali’s first appearance as a singer was in Jaan-E-Mann’s ‘Kubool Kar Le’ four years ago, Race’s ‘Zara Zara Touch Me’ rose her to unprecedented heights. Her seductive voice, Sameer’s lyrics and Pritam’s rock-solid composition hit it off like never before. That was a Tips movie. Two years later, she comes back in a hot avatar yet again, though in here, the song is much more upbeat and her voice is a little more flexible and her cooing during the stanzas are much more profound, adding that little extra touch of glamour to the song. Sachin Gupta’s music blows your mind yet again.

Sameer’s lyrics are apt for the situation of the song, thus generating no qualms toward the quality. Eric Pillai’s mixing adds the huge boost and slickness to it. The best part about the song is that this one doesn’t have a remix like all the others do. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to hear how Suketu and AKS would change the tune, since all the remixes in the album so far have been excellent enough to be foot tapping and very, very groovy.

And though Ishq Mein is the official last song of the album, the soundtrack ends with two other songs – the first one of them being an extended Megamix of almost all the Prince songs, sans ‘Ishq Mein’. Suketu strikes back yet again – and it seems like he’s in complete in this whole album. Almost all the songs make a small appearance and this is when you notice that all the songs that have been made for the album have the same key and the same pitch (which is why ‘Ishq Mein’ might not have been included because of this ‘difference’). This one’s a sure recommendation for all the dance enthusiasts and club goers who like ‘the beat’ and ‘the thump’. AKS should be credited here for some really amazing arrangements and mixing.

The other two songs is a short theme of the movie, which turns out to be a very catchy and energetic piece, though the only qualm would be that it’s too short for its own good. This reminds me of the theme of Race which was nothing but the motif of ‘Race Saanson Ki’. A similar thing happens here when the electric guitar riffs are combined with synth-strings (an extension of the motif of ‘O Mere Khuda’ and ‘Aa Bhi Jaa Sanam’) to make the motif even more impact and intense. The beats are – at the risk of repeating myself – addictive, yet again! The bass and the percussion loops fit the song to the T. This one’s worth a listen (and many more to come), and for all it’s worth, it could double up as a really snazzy ring tone to your mobile too!

Prince, as a soundtrack, speaks for itself. There is first of all, enough fodder for Atif Aslam’s fans. Secondly, the album never – and I mean never – has a dull moment, being a dark, edgy and intense, albeit really catchy soundtrack all through. Thirdly, the compositions and the lyrics are a testimony to the fact that this album has some ‘attitude’, though I do mean it in the most positive sense. And lastly – Sachin Gupta has finally managed to score; to make his mark in Bollywood – bigtime! With almost all the songs managing to impress listeners and fans alike, this album is destined to remain on the charts for a very long time, just like Tips’ last musical hit Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani did. This one’s a surefire keeper! Go grab your copy right away!

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