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Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, (introducing) Vidya Balan, Raima Sen
Music: Shantanu Moitra
Lyrics: Swanand Kirkire
Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, Chitra, Swanand Kirkire, Sunidhi Chauhan, Rita Ganguly
Audio On: Tips
Number of Songs: 7
Released on: April, 2005
Reviewed by: Ron Ahluwalia
Reviewer's Rating: 10 out of 10
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Vidhu Vinod Chopra seems to have taken the Ram Gopal Verma and Karan Johar route of abandoning directing for producing; his latest, Parineeta, is Pradeep Sarkar’s film rendition of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhaya’s acclaimed novel by the same name. Much has been said about Saif Ali Khan’s and newcomer Vidya Balan’s performances, and Sanjay Dutt’s Bengali dance, but the music is the real hero. Soundtracks that are perfect 10s are hard to come by and are not expected from lesser-known music directors and lyricists like Shantanu Moitra and Swandand Kirkire. But they have pulled off one of the best soundtracks in a long time. Parineeta is...Wow!

Can you have a movie version of a Chattopadhaya novel without Shreya Ghoshal? Piyu Bole is a fabulous duet between Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam. When you have two of the most talented singers in Bollywood together, singing Swanand Kirkire’s soulful potrey put to Moitra’s melodious tunes, you get pure magic. Piyu Bole tells you the entire soundtrack to Parineeta will be a treat. The English at the beginning is awkward and unnecessary, but can easily be overlooked. Nonetheless, this song is spectacular.

Sonu Nigam is in his trademark element in Kasto Maza. The song is definitely sung on a train, and the sound of a train on its tracks in maintained throughout the whole song-good for you Mr. Moitra. The chorus of children is actually entertaining and almost appropriate for a train song. You’ll hear Shreya Ghoshal make a one-line appearance close to the end of the song. This tactic usually gives Hindi songs a quality of randomness, thus adding realism to the song’s situation.

Chitra is easily the most underrated singer in Bollywood history. After songs like Kehna Hi Kya (Bombay), Raat Ka Nasha (Asoka), Mere Dil Ka Tumse Hai Kehna (Armaan) and Koi Mil Gaya (Koi Mil Gaya), she has yet to get her due. In Raat Humari To, she lets you know that another singer has not sung better this year. Please give her all awards now. Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics are just amazing and he even sings a few lines at the beginning of the song. Shantanu Moitra is obviously inspired by AR Rehman, but that’s ok (you can never have enough AR Rehman). Raat Humari To is one of the best songs in Parineeta.

Kaise Paheli Zindagani is a hit! Moitra’s composition takes you back to the black and white Hollywood movie days, with the arrangement of the piano, trumpets, and drums being a sign of a versatile composer. Sunidhi Chauhan surprises with her light and restrained vocals with the right amount of masti. Usually known for more racy numbers, Chauhan shows that she is right at home with songs of any tempo and any genre. The background singers only enhance the authentic aura of the song. The repeat button on stereos was made for songs like this!

Wedding songs have always been situational in Indian cinema, but few are like Dhinak Dhinak Dha. Rita Ganguly’s raspy voice is a welcome change from regulars like Sapna Awasthi. The lyrics are slightly reminiscent of Rukmini Rukmini from Roja, but Ganguly’s character of mausi and Kirkire’s conversational, Punjabi gidda lyrics are fun and fresh. Moitra’s composition sounds like Vishal Bhardwaj’s Jhinmin Jhinni from Maqbool. But who cares what the inspirations for this song might be-this song rocks so get up and dance.

Soona Mann Ka Aangan is more of the magic from Piyu Bole. The song is soft in composition, using many traditional Indian and Western string instruments, which blend exquisitely. Sonu Nigam brings forth raw emotion in his performance. The resonance in Shreya Ghoshal’s voice is beautiful. Lyrics, again, are top notch. To elaborate on Soona Mann Ka Aangan would mean the addition of more superlatives.

Another doseage of Nigam and Ghoshal is just what the doctor ordered. Hui Main Parineeta is a slow, intimate song of the same tune as Piyu Bole. The background sitar is tranquillising. Sonu Nigam uses his deep voice and succeeds to no end. Shreya Ghoshal is Shreya Ghoshal: prefect. What a great way to end an almost flawless soundtrack.

After a while, praising the soundtrack of Parineeta leaves you at a loss for superlatives. In each song, the trend was great singing, great composition, and great lyrics. To pick the best of the best is hard, but Kaisi Paheli Zindagani stays with you the longest because it is so hatke from the rest of the soundtrack-and Bollywood in general. In a nutshell, buy two original copies of Parineeta, just in case the first one gets ruined because you listened to it so much...