Tejaswani Kolhapure (sister of eighties actress Padmini Kolhapure) makes her debut in "Paanch", which is produced by brother-in-law,
Tutu Sharma. One assumes that the title, "Paanch" refers to the five members of a rock band, judging by the drums and electric guitars that adorn most of the tracks. This is real rock music, not a ‘Bollywood’ impression of it! Consequently, music director, Vishal has abandoned his trademark synthetic sampled rhythms for a more acoustic sound. A couple of the tracks even sound like they have been recorded live!
K.K.’s mammoth vocals belt out the first track, "Main Khuda". The ‘live’ sound is very apparent here, complete with a roaring crowd. The pace is fast and the electric guitar takes the lead in most of the musical interludes. Abbas Tyrewala’s lyrics convey a youthful recklessness which is apparent in most of the songs. This is probably deliberate since the film has the tag line, "Avoid life. It kills you in the end." Sunidhi Chauhan sings a more synthesised version of the song, but her vocal power matches K.K. note for note.
Dominique gets a rare chance to sing lead vocals rather than provide backing accompaniment (her usual gig). "Ye Kaisa Hai Shaher" is not as wild as "Main Khuda" but still employs rock music elements. The song is enjoyable, although, Dominique sounds too shrill when hitting the high notes.
Hariharan and K.K. team up for "Paka Mat" which is far too situational to enjoy on the soundtrack alone. The arrangements, however, are worth listening to.
Vishal’s blend of heavy electric guitar and traditional Indian folk sounds is definitely a selling point for "Akhiyan Chipki". Adding the classically inclined vocals of Ustad Sultan Khan just makes the mix more interesting! Encore!
Deva Sen Gupta (?) provides sinister vocals (for want of a better term) for "Tamas". The rhythm is once again fast-paced and the recurring guitar piece sounds like it belongs in a Spaghetti Western! Deva’s voice is very reminiscent of Sandeep Chowta’s in "Ganda Hai" from Company. Overall, the song has definite appeal.
The "Paanch Theme" is also very interesting. It starts with Dominique giving an operatic performance which then leads into a heavy rock piece, until the music tames into a Spanish/Latin finale. Excellent!
Amongst this essentially youthful crowd (K.K., Sunidhi, Dominique, etc.), veteran singer, Asha Bhosle manages to blend in perfectly and belt out a rock number of her own! "Jism Hai, Jaan Hai" has great arrangements, once again with electric guitars and drums at the forefront. Asha succeeds in making the rock genre her home away from home for a few minutes as she zips through the number comfortably. Rewind!
Paanch will probably not appeal to fans of conventional film music: a Yash Chopra musical this aint!! However, Paanch provides us with an alternative which is worthy of merit and this reviewer is certainly going to give it it’s due. Hats off to Vishal and the gang for trying something new!