November 14, 2002 
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Will Saathiya fine-tune the industry?
The catchy music and talented star cast look to boost the industry

Som Chivukula

While the Hindi film industry tries to get its act together hoping to salvage the crucial December month, at least one producer has decided to find solutions from the South.

Yash Chopra's Saathiya is a remake of Tamil film Alai Payuthey, made by ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam, and starring R Madhavan and Shalini.

Chopra's earlier films this year --- Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai and Mujhse Dosti Karoge --- did not exactly set the box-office on fire.

Alai Payuthey scored big with audiences last year, due to its simple storyline and pulsating music by A R Rahman. The Hindi version will be in theatres mid-December, featuring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee in the lead roles. Shaad Ali (filmmaker Muzaffar Ali's son) makes his debut as director, with Ratnam joining Chopra and Bobby Bedi as producer.

SaReGaMa recently released the Saathiya soundtrack, which features the same music from the Tamil film. Clearly, those who enjoyed the Tamil music will also find the Hindi version catchy.

It may take time to adjust to the Hindi lyrics (by Gulzar) after hearing the Tamil songs. But quite simply, it is worth the effort. Rahman is once again on top of his game with deft use of percussion instruments.

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The Hindi soundtrack has nine songs utilising top talent such as Sonu Nigam, Adnan Sami and Sadhana Sargam. Even Rahman takes the mike for Mera yaar mila de. Asha Bhosle, who sang the fast-paced September madham in Tamil, sings Chori pe chori, a sultry number that may battle the popular Ishq kamina (Shakti) for bragging rights by the end of the year.

Perhaps the best song is the title track by Nigam, who handles the music quite smoothly, with an equally impressive chorus. The Tamil version is Pachchai nirame, the popular number by Hariharan.

Sargam, who also sang in Tamil (Snehidhane), comes back for Naina milake, its Hindi equivalent.

With catchy yet pleasant music, those who have not heard Alai Payuthey should be the first ones to lineup for Saathiya.

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