out of

Producer: Jhamu Sughand
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Music: Rahul Ranade, Sukhwinder Singh
Lyrics: Shrirang Godbole, Sukhwinder Singh
Audio on : T-Series

Reviewed by: Narbir Gosal

Astitva is one of those soundtracks which India needs once in a while to remind the audiences that good music still exists in films. Although the music for this film is not earth shattering, the songs are easy on the ears and extremely relaxing, something that hasn't been heard for a long time. In this day and age of techno and house infused songs, we applaud Rahul Ranade and Sukhwinder Singh for their inspiring music. Although a lot of the tracks may be situational, the soundtrack still comes out as a winner, but not a chart buster.

Side A starts off with the intoxicating Chal Chal Mere Sang sung with gusto by Sukhwinder Singh. Sukhwinder is best known for giving strong vocals in most his tracks which require him to almost scream into the microphone while singing. Here he gets to let his silken voice smother the track at lower octaves. The effect is amazing, Sukhwinder should look for more songs that will display his vocal abilities at a lower range, because he can do a lot more with his voice with the subtlety displayed in this song. The lyrics for this track are another pleasant surprise, easy to understand and very poetic, this song basically sets the mood for the rest of the album. Sukhwinder Singh who does the lyrics and music as well as the vocals scores in all three aspects and comes out with flying colours. His music is soft, and serene the tabla rifts are great. Overall this track should be a favourite of good music lovers out there.

Main Thi Main Hoon is a women's liberation style track. Kavita Krishnamurthy provides ample support as her voice is strong and listenable. She does a great job with the song hitting every note with ease and flowing through the track without difficulty. The music is suited to the topic of the song, it has a strong undertone which drives it forward. The lyrics are very interesting to hear, along with the music and Kavita's voice the effect of the song is very overwhelming in the sense that it may be too strong for some sectors of the audience.

Gaana Mere Bas Ki Baat Nahin comes next. At first listen I thought this track would be a classical tune which would really offer nothing, but after hearing it a few times I realized that this track is one of the best on the album. Firstly the music is completely mind-blowing, different tempos and different paces come together but don't hamper the quality of the track. The lyrics fit the track very well, they are not extremely poetic but more playful. Shankar Mahadevan is his usual self, he gives the track a different flavour with his smooth vocals, and does a good job. However the real surprise here is Sadhna Sargam! Wow I never knew she could sing so well, usually she does a good job but she has never done a rendition as memorable as this. Her vocal range and capacity are remarkable she goes through many transitions in the song and does not even show any sign of difficulty. This same track is repeated on side B but in a Jazz version which is even better to listen to. For one it's interesting to hear how Rahul blends this classical tune with jazz, and it's not just 'jazz' that a typical hindi film may play. This is real jazz and the effect of the jazz version is three fold compared to the original. Overall this track is a definite winner, hands down.

Spirit of Astitva ends off Side A. The instrumental track is a relief from the fast paced instrumentals that seem to be a must on every album these days. The music again is not suffocated with a techno whiplash of beats, but stays soft and simple, and that's what makes it listenable.

Side B starts off magnificently with Kitne Kisse Hain Bas Tere Mere, sung with verve by Hema Sardesai. With this song Hema displays that same brilliance that she displayed with Awara Bhawre from Sapnay. The song is a bit more slow-paced than what she would usually sing but she fits in perfectly well. Her scintillating vocals give the song the added oomph to make it surprisingly likeable. Musically and lyrically the track is sound. Rahul and Shrirang do a good job with their respective compositions, but Hema outshines them both.

Zindagi Kya Baat mourns life as it is. Sukhwinder Singh lends his vocal abilities a second time but under the direction of Rahul Ranade and Shrirang Godbole this time. His vocals are fitting for the theme of the song, and he gives it that serious tone without overdoing it. Lyrics are impressive, the song is about hard times in life but it is not overdone with overly depressing lyrics (although they do get sad and serious). Musically as well the song is subtle again giving it a different appeal as compared to your run of the mill sad/serious tracks.

Sukhwinder Singh takes over Lyrics, Music and vocals in the next song Sabse Pehle Sangeet Bana. Kavita Krishnamurthy lends him some support but she seems to get lost under the power of his voice. While she does lend great support this is another powerhouse for Sukhwinder who does another great job. His vocals compliment everything in the song, especially the music which is amazing. He uses simple instruments that breathe life into the song, something that many other music composers should learn to do. His lyrics are again not filled with indecipherable words, just simple and understandable poetry, making this track another one of the best on the album. The album ends off with the jazz version of Gaana Mere Bas Ki Baat Nahin. It is definitely the better version.

The beauty of Astitva is in it's simplicity. The songs do not appeal to the masses but to the classes. The album lends a very contemporary sound to the film, something along the lines of Mrityudand or Aasthaa which are the most recent examples of this style. The soundtrack is the coming together of many different talents, but in the end while Rahul Ranade and Shrirang Godbole have done a great job in their fields, we remember Sukhwinder Singh, Sadhna Sargam and Hema Sardesai for their overpowering vocals. The only one problem with this soundtrack is that it has no repeat listen value. It may or may not hit the charts depending on it's popularity, but it is not immediately gratifying. Although almost every song on the album is pleasant and endearing, the album may not be widely appreciated because it is not the type of album that just anybody would buy to listen to in the car. It takes time to grow on the listener and you need the patience. Rather it's a soothing soundtrack which is perfect for those relaxing times. And that is exactly what this album is, meaningful and worthwhile.