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Producer: Nitin Manmohan & Sohail Maklai
Director: Mani Sharma
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty, Bipasha Basu, Ishaa Koppikar
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar, Shashi Pritam
Lyrics: Sameer, Arun Bhairav, Mast Ali
Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Mahalaxmi, Shweta, Krishna, Kunal, Chitra, Richa Sharma, Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, K.K., Sandeep Bhaurnik and Gayatri Iyer
Audio On: T-Series
Number of Songs: 9
Released on: December 12, 2003
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi
Reviewer's Rating: 8.5 out of 10


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Rudraksh is produced by Nitin Manmohan and Sohail Maklai and is directed by Mani Shankar. This is Mani Shankarís 2nd venture, the first being the surprise hit, 16 December. The music for this sci-fi thriller is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who are still enjoying the success of their latest release, Kal Ho Naa Ho. To really be able to appreciate the music of Rudraksh, you need to be familiar with the plot of the film. This thriller is quite different from the usual, as it focuses on voodoo magic and other celestial and metaphysical activities that will twist your mind inside-out. If I had to describe this soundtrack in one word, it would have to be dark. Iím sure youíll agree after you give this one a listenÖ

S-E-L waste no time in getting off to their trademark fast-paced techno beats (which never gives up) in Ishq Khudai. This one is a winner from the very beginning, as this number soars sky high whether it is in terms of the vocals, the lyrics, or the composition itself. All four singers, Shankar, Mahalaxmi, Shweta, and Krishna, do full justice to the song. Arun Bhairav writes the lyrics for this awesome number. Ishq Khudai is also featured on the flip side as a Remix. All I can say is that this version takes nothing away from the original, but it doesnít really add anything either. Final Verdict: Addictive!

Ishq Hai Nasha Nasha picks up right from where Ishq Khudai left off. Vishal-Shekhar compose a great animated piece, which showcases two of the finest, Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan. Note: Keep an ear on Shaanís vocal interludes. Sunidhi is back to her hot ní heavy self as she really puts a lot of energy into this one.

The next song featured is Kya Dard Hai. Whatís interesting in this piece is the introduction, it sounds as if someone is breathing heavily. Nonetheless, it makes for a brilliant effect, kudos to S-E-L. Itís great to hear Richa Sharma sing a nice romantic song, as she renders it magnificently. Without putting too much emphasis on Richa Sharma, Shankar accompanies her superbly in his supporting interims. To top it all off, Sameer writes some spellbinding lyrics that only adds to the freshness of this number. Encore! Actually, we do get one, in the form of an instrumental with the flute taking the place of Richa Sharmaís vocals. It looks like S-E-L really have an ear for good instrumental pieces as they have composed some mesmerizing ones, such as the Jugalbandi of Armaan and the Heartbeat of Kal Ho Naa Ho. An instrumental of this song ends off the soundtrack. 

Remember that dark feeling I was talking about earlier? Well this is where it starts to kick in. The next song is Dil Ki Aahein. This one has a sinister/gloomy feel wrapped all around it! Shashi Pritam composes this haunting number with the company of newcomer lyricist Mast Ali writing some horrific lyrics. By horrific I donít mean bad, but I mean it in the true essence of the word. The vocals, provided by K.K. and Chitra, are what really get to you. K.K. really adds some emphasis on certain words that just throw a chill down your spine. Although this is a semi-love song, it might not be one of those songs that you would want to dance to at a wedding reception, but it surely is one that will stick in your mind for a long time. 

The second of Shashi Pritamís contributions to this soundtrack is Bole Dole. This one is an interesting one to look at. Although it is a romantic piece, it is extremely different from anything you have probably ever heard! Somehow Shashi Pritam is able to add that dark twist to this romantic number with his Bole Dole interludes sung by Shashi Pritam himself. Chitra takes charge of the female arrangement once again with new vocalist Sandeep Bhaurnik holding the male reigns. As before, this romantic piece is penned by Mast Ali.

S-E-L take over once again with the title track Rudraksh. The highlight of this one would definitely have to be S-E-L themselves, as they have composed a very catchy number. Arun Bhairav again wows with his lyrical abilities. Using a variety of instruments, S-E-L are able to fuse western rock elements with eastern classical, creating a, you guessed it, haunting effect. Kunal renders this piece and suits the music perfectly. That haunting aspect was created by a mysterious female singer who rendered some Sanskrit shlokas in the background. I say mysterious because she was not credited in this song. The song ends on an awesome note, with a male chorus singing Sanskrit shlokas to S-E-Lís fusion beats, great effect!

Before I mention the final piece of this soundtrack, I must warn you, you might not want to play this one in the presence of any young children. With that being said, we have the very lively and bloodcurdling Rak Rak Rak. The film starts off on a creepy note with a female vocalist singing some eastern beats and then picks up again. The chanting of Rak Rak Rak is genius! I really wonder how S-E-L were able to come up with such a haunting rendition of that line, almost monster-like. Sung by Gayatri Iyer, Kunal, and Shankar, it has a very powerful impact, mainly due to the heavy vocals conveyed by all the singers. S-E-L once again ends this song, and this album, with another invincible liquefaction of eastern and classical beats. Verdict: Wow!

Usually Iím cautious of films with multi-composers, mainly due to the problem of inconsistency. This album is definitely an exception to that notion, as all three composers are able to work together and create a great group of songs. Tons of credit must be given to S-E-L, Shashi Pritam, and Vishal-Shekhar for experimenting with an extremely innovative and original soundtrack to accompany a new and different film. Rudraksh comprises of many chartbusting numbers and definitely has the potential to go a long way. Rudraksh only adds to this yearís mastery of music and is a great way to close out the year.