Planet Bollywood
Ahista Ahista
Producer: Tejpal Shah and Anjum Rizvi
Director: Shivam Nair
Starring: Abhay Deol, Soha Ali Khan and Shayan Munshi
Music: Himesh Reshammiya (remixes by Akbar Sami)
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil and Sameer
Singers: Himesh Reshammiya, K.K., Jayesh Gandhi, Sunidhi Chauhan, Hashim, Aftab, Tulsi Kumar and Kunal Ganjawala
Audio On: T-Series    Number of Songs: 15
Album Released on: June 2006
Reviewed by: Narbir Gosal  - Rating: 6.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 411 listeners)
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Now here's a film that might be interesting. Ahista Ahista looks like a realistic youth romance, much like Abhay Deol's debut film Socha Na Tha. Deol returns, this time with Soha Ali Khan, a newcomer who seems more suited to art house rather than commercial potboilers. Together it's an interesting combination, and the trailers portray a serious romance, with realistic treatment. Unlike the shallow, bubblegum college romances that Bollywood makes more often. Himesh Reshammiya has been signed to score the music for the film, that can be both a good and bad idea. Good because usually his music does very well, and the producers love that. Bad because that means we need to hear him sing at least one song in that nasal, overproduced voice that has become so familiar to pop charts these days. Himesh offers eight songs (most are also remixed by Akbar Sami) and lends vocals to five of them.

The album opens with the title track, a slow love song about love blossoming slowly. Reshammiya's music is pleasant and subtle. He uses guitars and drums fusing them with the flute and sarang for an east meets west feel. Irshad Kamil's lyrics are refreshing and poetic. Reshammiya's vocals are tolerable for the most part, but on higher notes and some of the more demanding ones at a lower register he falters, as usual. He would have been better off using a more experienced voice like Udit Narayan or K.K. who are masters at these types of songs. As the trend dictates these days, there is also a remix to accompany this song. It's totally unnecessary for this song, but as far as remixes go, it's fair. At least it drowns out Himesh's voice to some extent.

Allah Kare is more up Himesh Reshammiya's alley. He lends his vocals again for this sufi styled song. Like Aashiq Banaya Apne (a soundtrack that is to be blamed for Reshammiya's newfound singing confidence) this song is totally suited to Reshammiya's voice, and he does a good job. He adds life both with his voice and the composition of the song. A simple tabla beat is looped over and tweaked with a quiet electric guitar and peppered with the Sarang. Kamil's lyrics are nicely penned here as well. This song is remixed, which is a total waste because this song is not suited for a remix. However it is also featured in an unplugged version which is simple yet very effective. Reshammiya does away with the tabla and it highlights everything else that was supporting it. Bonus is that Himesh still doesn't sound bad.

If you like Himesh's latest chartbuster Love You O Sayonee, you may enjoy Love You Unconditionally Soniye which is the third song on this soundtrack. This songs appeal isn't as great as the previous two numbers. The reason is that everything is so predictable this time. Himesh's vocals are annoying, and his composition is equally lame. Mixing mostly synthesized drums with the occasional violin, there is no passion to this song. Irshad Kamil's lyrics are pretty routine, adding nothing to the mix. The god awful remix is no improvement either. Just having to hear Reshammiya croon 'love you unconditionally soniye' over and over makes it worse.

After three Reshammiya voiced songs, we get break, in the form of the more upbeat Ishq Ne Tere. I'm not sure if it's the absence of Reshammiya from behind the microphone or his obvious effort into the composition, but this song grabs hold of your ears. The rollicking tabla beat is nicely highlighted with a soft guitar and the Sarang (again) K.K. and Jayesh Gandhi lend vocals to the song, it's not easy to differentiate their voices but listen hard. They do a great job, their voices are smooth and easy on the ears. Irshad Kamil's lyrics are conventional, and suit the song well. The song is remixed in a reggae style (for lack of a better word), that works nicely for the song. Although the original is preferable, the remix is easy to listen to.

K.K. is joined by Sunidhi Chauhan for Tanha Tere Bagair another upbeat number. Himesh's lively composition is further uplifted by K.K. and Sunidhi's almost hypnotic rendering of the line 'Dil Lagaya Na Lagaya'. Sunidhi sings at her lower register in this song, which makes her sound seductive, a nice foil for K.K.'s higher register. Irshad Kamil lends nice romantic lyrics once again. Reshammiya's score is a winner here, using synthesized drum beats (the right way this time), he ensures that the song is footapping. His use of horns and strings in the verses gives the song an extra zing. For whatever reason a remix is included, and it's really bad. The original is peppy enough, there was no need to speed it up, the end result is a disaster.

Aawan Akhiyan Jawan Akhiyan is a qawwali in which Himesh is joined by Jayesh Gandhi, Hashim and Aftab on the vocals. The four singer support each other in a rustic rendition. The composition isn't as strong as some of the recent qawwali's in Bollywood films, but it is nice none the less. Still something is missing, and it gives the song a situational feel. Irshad Kamil's lyrics are wonderful and his repeating of the line 'Aa Mil' is mesmerizing. Thankfully there is no remix provided.

Kunal Ganjawala has been really low-key since he burst onto the scene with Murder. I for one like his singing, he has an international quality to his voice, his voice sometimes transcends music. Tum Jo Mile is another example of that. Reshammiya's composition is ordinary, yet Kunal's voice is as powerful as ever. While it does get almost too melodramatic when he repeats 'Ahista Ahista' he still has good control over his voice. Himesh uses a sparse synth drum beat and throws various instruments in (including the Sarang), augmenting the song. Irshad Kamil's lyrics are also ordinary. This song grows on you with repeated listen, and thankfully it escapes a remix as well.

The last of the original songs on the CD (before the remix onslaught) is Dil Naiyyo Maane Re. This song is as boring and predictable as it gets. Himesh's music is terrible, and his singing is redundant. Speaking of redundant, Sameer makes an appearance for the lyrics and is as repetitive as ever. When I say repetitive I mean that several of the lines are repeated over and over. When Irshad Kamil did it (in Tanha Tere Bagair and Aawan Akhiyan Jawan Akhiyan), it cast a spell. When Sameer does it, it's annoying. Female singer, Tulsi Kumar accompanies him on the song (I have a feeling she may be one of his protegees), but she barely makes an impact. This song sounds like a filler for the album. Thankfully it's remixed (funny how this time the remix is a blessing), and although the remix is nothing great, it makes the song listenable. Why do I feel this song will be made into a promotional music video?

Ahista Ahista may not have a timeless quality to it's music but it does offer easy listening, as long as you skip the remixes. Akbar Sami has just sped up the vocals and layered a dance beat over each song. In most cases it's terrible, but he saves Dil Naiyyo Maane Re. On the flipside Himesh offers some catchy songs in the form of Ishq Ne Tere and Tanha Tere Bagair, meanwhile the title song and Allah Kare definitely grow on you. It's a nice switch from Himesh's pop sound that dominates almost all his soundtracks.

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