Planet Bollywood
Producer: Shyam Bajaj and Narendra Bajaj
Director: Ananth Mahadevan
Starring: Tushar Kapoor, Shreyas Talpade, Udita Goswami and Sophie Chaudhary
Music: Mithoon
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri
Singers: Mithoon, Roop Kumar Rathod, Rum and Quram, Hamza Faruqui, Kshitij, Tulsi Kumar, Sharmishtha, Shilpa Rao
Audio On: T-Series    Number of Songs: 7
Album Released on: August 2007
Reviewed by: Atta Khan  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 listeners)
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The mere mention of the young and relatively new composer Mithoon, can send shockwaves through the minds of any Hindi music fan! Anyone who has heard his earlier works in Bas Ek Pal / Anwar and more recently The Train, which was his debut soundtrack, will come to appreciate the magnitude of the talent we are talking about here. And all that at the tender age of 22! Those who have tasted his music would have been counting the days for the release of his next album…pondering if it would ever reach the sky high levels of his previous work. More interestingly perhaps for the discerning listener, would he try something different from his favourite techno based music? And then BANG! His new soundtrack for Ananth Mahadevan’s (Aksar follow-up) Aggar is released to answer all these questions but is it time for his fans to rejoice again? For the director, can Aggar live up to the top notch soundtrack that was Aksar and for his fans can it live up to the amazing score that was The Train? Let’s find out!

As per his debut album The Train, Mithoon opens here with a peppy dance track Nachle, which is crying out for you to pick yourself up, dance and enjoy life for what it is! What dominates proceedings here is a funky beat carrying that addictive 'Mithoon quality’ to stir up your body and soul- once you take a listen you realise the music has been produced with one intention in mind, that is to lift your mood and no doubt it achieves that with aplomb! The hand clapping theme from Woh Ajnabee returns here to help get the pulse racing and is backed up with a soft tabla orchestration which supports the superb singing by newcomers Rum and Quram. These guys are undeniably the USP of this track and provide the required zest to send your mind into total freefall! The lyricist Sayeed Quadri is a firm favourite of Mithoon’s and listening to Nachle you can see why, the lyrics are simple but extremely distinct and meaningful.

With mass appeal this track has the potential to top the charts and will be a favourite in clubs and dance floors for weeks to come! Now to get onto the negative. The hand clapping which features throughout the song is instantly recognisable from the Train (Woh Ajnabee) so it’s a thumbs down from an originality perspective. Verdict: Criticism aside, this is easily one of the best songs of the album and a must listen for anyone in need of a lift!

If the original was too slow for you, you may prefer the Nachle remix and although it’s a good listen, it never quite matches the quality of the original.

The opening guitar strings to the next track, Ke Bin Tere, are Pritam-esque! Alas the music is still Mithoon's and don't you know it! It feels as if he has switched some arrangements directly from The Train but that would be digressing too early. . this techno track is a stark contrast to Nachle right from the start (akin to what Beetein Lamhe was for the Train) but your mind lingers on the singer whose soft vocals touch you, Beedh mein bhi hum, tanha rahe, tere gham ne yeh haalat kar dhi...definitely not K.K. so who can it be? Heavy beats sweetened by the sound of strings eventually bring this song into life as Mithoon utters the eternal words Ke Bin Tere...Jeena Nahin. Mindblowing yaar, this guy sounds like an accomplished singer! The composer continues to showcase his talents for subdued songs that reflect the feelings of a lonely being longing for their loved one but the quality is diluted as the music is definitely borrowed from his earlier work in The Train. What does impress however is the delivery of Mithoon's vocals which are definitely more assured than his efforts in The Train but let’s not forget the fantastic support by newcomers Hamza Faruqui and Kshitij (although he has sang before for Mithoon in Anwar) who echo Ke Bin Tere in the background. The lyrics are yet again up to the mark. Verdict: The music is definitely borrowed from his efforts in The Train but despite that this is a good track with ample replay value!

Ke Bin Tere remix is good but not on a par with the exquisite remixes in The Train. But it offers something different so give it a try especially if you enjoyed the original.

Hands down the best that this album has to offer is the bewitching title track Aggar. This is the first piece of music that makes you sit up and pay attention to the talent on show here as Mithoon pulls one out of the hat! The listener does not realise the treat in store for them as the composer’s soft techno based intro kicks off with echoing cries of Aggar…embraced occasionally by the chilling sound of a techno plate...however Mithoon returns to one of the most famous instruments of all for his coup de grace; the inimitable tabla, which when it kicks in, leaves you in a trance that lasts for the duration of the entire song! There are so many distinct tabla fusions here it’s uncanny yet the composer blesses the arrangements with such beauty and rhythm that it feels like heaven in your ears! Don’t take my word for it, just don a pair of sound isolating headphones and let Mithoon take you on an unforgettable tabla frenzy… Incidentally one must not forget the singing by Hamza Faruqui which is nothing short of brilliant! He is well supported by the soft vocals of Tulsi Kumar. The lyrics by Quadri saab are breathtaking!

Verdict: One of the most treasured instruments on the Hindi music scene is showcased to amazing effect here! Suffice to say the Aggar title track is an engrossing number that has the potential to put the WOW factor on your lips!

Trying to catch your breath after the last track, you hear Mithoon switching back to his soft techno music for what turns out to be the addictive and touching Paas Aaya Kyon. Ok let's get one thing clear, this track has reminisces of Beete Lamhein as well! So why is this still an addictive track you ask? Well you see, Mithoon has this amazing knack of getting you hooked on his music and when 5mins pass by in absolute joy you have to give credit where it's due! The hand clapping theme returns again in a much slower context but this time wrapped in a one-two melody with delicious, yet subdued techno beats. The USP of this number are the singers again- Mithoon and debutant Sharmishtha do full justice to the brilliant lyrics, in particular listen out for Mithoon’s high pitched vocals! Verdict: This is ventured territory for sure but when it sounds this good you can't resist but fall for its beauty!

By the time you reach the final track Sehra, you have mixed emotions, on the one hand you feel joyous and hooked with Mithoon's efforts in Aggar but on the other you feel disappointed at the alarming frequency of 'deja vu'. Well Sehra surprises you as it does neither of these! There is absolutely nothing wrong with the lyrics nor the singing by Roop Kumar Rathod (assisted by Shilpa Rao), its just that the music lacks impact which is unusual for a Mithoon track. Maybe he wanted to create something different to round things off, the music just sounds a little bland and out of place here. Verdict: Definitely worth a listen, if nothing else then for being different but in all honesty it lacks Mithoon’s killer touch…

Fresh from his early success, Mithoon’s undeniable talents have been picked up by everyone most importantly directors and production houses and he is now in demand. His next few projects will be telling however as Aggar is a disappointment (especially to the discerned listener) given the credentials of the composer on display. Let’s not beat about the bush, we are talking about a potential genius in the making here! The music is not as fresh or noteworthy as his previous work and although arguably better than Aksar, it’s unlikely to have as big an impact because of the absence of the HR factor. It is also not too difficult for listeners to spot that he has rehashed some of his previous work here which brings the album down a notch or two especially considering it’s only his second full album…yikes he even did this in the sole composition Eq Shaqs from Abhijeet Sawant’s new album Junoon… the question now is can he compose anything other than techno music? Well in Anwar he proved that he can to incredible effect with Maula and Javeda Zindagi…so why is he suddenly diluting his music? Whatever the reason, let's not forget he is human after all! Here is one fan hoping he doesn't overburden himself. Mithoon your fans will have all the patience for your music, give it time and all your attention and last but not least try something different next time round!

All criticisms aside Aggar is still highly recommended to every music fan for several reasons; the distinct yet brilliant singing from a selection of newcomers and by Mithoon himself, the delightful lyrics by the ever impressive Sayeed Quadri and some truly irresistible music as in the title track which have that ‘Mithoon magic’ sprinkled on them, is ke har ek pal mein hai ek ghaayeban nasa nasha to take a fitting line from one of the songs here! The flack he takes for this music, whilst valid, should not ultimately put you off what is and will be one of the finest soundtracks you will hear in 2007. Buy without hesitation!

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