Planet Bollywood
Producer: Gauri Khan
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Shahana Goswami
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Atahar Panchi, Vishal Dadlani and Kumaar
Singers: Akon, Hamsika Iyer, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani, Clinton Cerejo, Shruti Pathak, Nandini Shrikar, Siddharath Coutto, Sukhwinder Singh
Audio On: T Series    Number of Songs: 15
Album Released on: 12 September 2011
Reviewed by: Mitesh Saraf  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 listeners)
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Opinion Poll: Does Ra.One live up to all the mega hype?

Expectations. Expectations and more expectations. This is how one looks forward to the music of Ra.One and why not, after all, this is the biggest Shahrukh Khan film ever in terms of the buzz created along with immense hype since it was launched. The last time music directors Vishal-Shekhar and 'BaadShah' Shahrukh Khan joined hands, the result was Om Shanti Om (2007) which is still considered the best work by the duo who also erupted a volcano last year in the name of 'Sheila Ki Jawaani' (Tees Maar Khan). So are these expectations met? Well, very much so as each of the seven unique tracks along with a few instrumental themes and remixes bring on a variety that makes Ra.One a winner all the way!

The soundtrack opens with “Chammak Challo” , which has already gained popularity for two reasons. First, due to its leaked International Version on the net three months ago, second, a renowned International artist- Akon, has been roped in for this Indo-Western unique composition. If that is not enough, hear the lyrics 'Tu Meri Chammak Challo, Teri picture ka main Hero', written by Vishal Dadlani and Niranjan Iyengar. The brilliance with which Akon renders the Hindi vocals can even give Ash King (“Te Amo” and “I love You” fame) a complex for his Hindi dictions. Hamsika Iyer, who is a regular voice with ad jingles, lends good support to him and makes the composition highly addictive and one that will be remembered for some time to come.

Vishal-Shekhar are also on the verge of breaking Pritam's record for most number of versions of a particular song by providing four alternative versions of Chammak Challo. First on the line is “Chammak Challo Punjabi Mix” which has 'plug-it-on-and-dance' flavour that is designed for dance floors as well as parties. “Chammak Challo Club Mix and Remix” makes the experience even better with “Chammak Challo International Version” (leaked version) being a solo outing for Akon with no Hamsika Iyer. But where’s the variety? Maybe one version too many then.

Shafqat Amanat Ali, Vishal Dadlani, Clinton Cerejo, Shekhar Ravjiani…yes that’s the list of singers for the next romantic composition “Dildaara-Stand By Me” (based on Ben.E.King's classic 'Stand By Me'). It's melodious, breezy and a sure shot chartbuster from the word 'Go'. Shafqat Amanat Ali comes out of his sufiana-comfort zone and once again his voice reminds you of Shankar Mahadevan, but nevertheless he has been used beautifully with good support from others for the English rendition. Check out some innovative vivacious classical notes with rock beats from 2:10 to 2:30. The lyricist Kumaar, a hot favourite for Vishal-Shekhar, does a commendable job once again with his pen. However, one more antara could have been included but nevertheless it's a song which could be played in loop for hours at a stretch.

“Criminal” a 'qaatil' composition for which Vishal Dadlani and Shruti Pathak join Akon, has all in it to be a havoc at the discotheques. An immensely innovative track which will certainly gain appreciation at an international level. It's high on Vishal-Shekhar trademark orchestra and drum beats and is filled with English and Hindi vocals with some apt lyrics written by Vishal Dadlani and Kumaar. Akon impresses again with his Hindi dictions and Vishal Dadlani stands tall with him. Shruti Pathak after 'Aas Paas Hai Khuda' and 'Tujhe Bhula Diya' from Anjaana Anjaani is used well by the composers in a male dominated song where the protagonist is describing the 'latka-jhatkas' of his lady love as 'qaatilana'. Undoubtedly the song needs to be promoted aggressively (SRK is all guns blazing for this number) and will be a rage once the video is out. “Criminal Club Mix” provides nothing extraordinary with some usual bass and increased tempo. The original is far better.

Ever heard a fusion of Tabla beats and English renditions? Try this next six minute composition “Bhare Naina” which falls in the same corridor as Piya Kesariyo from Hum Tum Shabana. Crooned by Nandini Shrikar, it starts with a haunting prelude which seems the basic theme of Ra.One as it is heard again in the interludes and in other tracks as well, including an instrumental. Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani join in and their English vocals and Sanskrit enchants in this classical cum western outing, which shows an altogether different facet of the composer-duo. Panchhi Jalonvi’s lyrics are fresh and at the same time painful. While one waits to see it rise in popularity in days to come, one feels it has potential to enjoy a long shelf life.

After four awesome compositions we get an average number called “Right By Your Side” , an animated, techno-peppy song by Siddharath Coutto and written by Anvita Dutt. Though Vishal Dadlani renders full support to 'Life Sahi Hai' (Pyar Ka Punchnama) fame Sid Coutto, the music is well below the standard set previously. Passable.

Moving further, “Raftaarein” executed by vociferous Vishal Dadlani (who is also the lyricist for this one) and Shekhar Ravjiani is a blusterous composition which could leave you stunned by the power packed vocals and hommage to R.D. Burman’s style from the 70s and 80s ('Duniya Mein Logo Ko'). It defines the overall theme of Ra.One and will find its place at various junctures in the movie post interval. The surprise element comes in the form of Shekhar Ravjiani who after crooning “Bin Tere Unplugged” from I Hate Luv Story's (2010), proves his menace as he overpowers Vishal's audacious voice. An electrifying composition, it will certainly be an interesting watch in the big screen with SRK's superhero avatar.

For “Jiya Mora Ghabraye (The Chase)” , director Anubhav Sinha's makes his presence felt as it is quite similar to the themes of his previous ventures Dus (2005) and Cash (2007). It’s more of an instrumental where a talent like Sukhwinder Singh is wasted by making him render some classical notes and alaap which seems a bit unnecessary in a total rock feel environment. As a rock-theme instrumental it might work but expect nothing much from the lyrics and vocals.

What continues after these seven tracks is a series of instrumentals, three in number, each about one and a half minutes duration and almost the same theme that is heard in the previous songs. First in line is “Comes The Light (Theme)” which gives a mild feeling of Don-The Chase Begins Theme. “I Am On (Theme)” is a fast instrumental of the song “Raftaarein”. “Song Of The End (Theme)” as the name suggests is sad one and may be used in the climax sequence.

Ra.One is an unconventional album for sure, especially when one looks at it from the Bollywood perspective. Change is good and it is slowly but steadily happening. While Vishal-Shekhar can take pride on coming up with something that justifies a certain quality, SRK and Anubhav Sinha can be rest assured that this is one of their best works till date. With the kind of hype that has surrounded the movie; the music should find instant attention and will grow from strength to strength with over a month before the movie releases. Highly Recommended!!

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