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Producer & Director: Ramgopal Varma
Music: Vishal

Reviewed by Sunder

Even as the sounds of "Maachis" are still familiar, its creators - Vishal and Gulzar, come back with an ensemble that strikingly resembles that immensely popular first effort. Though their efforts for Ramgopal Varma's "SATYA" is indeed similar to Maachis, I wouldn't complain as it is almost as good too.

On a different note, looking at the musical journey in Ramgopal Varma's films, it began with Ilayaraja's youthful "Shiva" (remember the uniquely popular "Jagad Jagad Jaa"), followed the music-less "RAAT" and R D Burman's criminally less-heard but brilliant score "Drohi" (a Suresh Wadkar gem "Tum Jo Mile" by Javed Akhtar among many other novel numbers). This was followed by the famous, well-heard and discussed scores "Rangeela" and "Daud" by A R Rahman. "SATYA" is marked departure from his previous, and a notable one too.

With eight months to go in 1998, I would still bet on atleast two music nominations for this score. With Gulzar penning the lines, one nomination for lyrics is but obvious; and the other comes in the form of singer Bhupender, heard after what seems an age - in a song reminiscent of Pancham-Gulzar-Bhupinder numbers from the 70s and 80s (Parichay, Kinara, etc). The song "Badalon Se" is easily the best in this album, and I would go to the extent of saying that the album is worth a buy, just for this one gem.

Lata reigns with serene vocal expressions in "Geela Geela Pani", and those three words rightly suggest guess how closely this song resembles "Pani Pani Re" from Maachis.

Suresh Wadkar and Asha Bhosle team up to recreate the "Chappa Chappa" spirit in a similar simple peppy song "Sapne Mein" that has a generous dose of Punjabi spirit. Both songs stand on their own merit, but pale in the context of their comparable scores from Maachis. This is not to discount the striking vocals, the lyrics, or the music. Maybe originality and familiarity could explain the difference of feeling.

Another duet "Tu Mere Paas Bhi Hai" has Lata and Hariharan singing a very Gulzar romantic song. Both singers compliment each other, in this easy melody that explores the mystery of togetherness with its lyrics.

Mano (heard in A R Rahman's Humse Hai Muqabla and Chor Chor) comes up with a street-smart song "Goli Maar". While being different as a song, with some comparables in the Chachi 420 fun songs, the song comes across in the spirit of "Duniya Bura Maane to Goli Maaro" (Arjun, R D Burman, Javed Akhtar, Shailendra Singh).

Rounding off the album is "The Mood of Satya", an upbeat theme score by Sandeep Chowta. However, this is not the "Spirit of Rangeela" or the "Thump of Daud", and here is a place where A R Rahman is clearly missed.

Apart from "Goli Maar" and to an extent "Sapne Mein", the lyrics by Gulzar are loaded with similes and metaphors, for which there are few comparables. At the same time, he is as frivolous as he always is with the light songs and to a keen ear, even uniquely abstract too. With the best singers, and distinctive lyrics, Vishal's musical compositions help create some very notable numbers, despite their similarity to songs in the past. So what, if SATYA sounds and feels like Maachis at times, it feels almost as good too.

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