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Veerappan, the notorious sandalwood smuggler and poacher hiding in the thick forests of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has struck terror for two decades. Ramgopal Varma sets his new film in this gangster territory, and Sandeep Chowta steps in with trendy music

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After Mast, Ramgopal Varma is directing Jungle, whose storyline owes a thing or two to Veerappan. This sandalwood smuggler and elephant poacher has eluded the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police for over a decade, and not even a special task force camping in the Male Mahadeshwara Hills has been able to bring him to book. He is known to kill animals and humans without qualms, but many villagers in the Kollegal area talk about how helpful he has been. Is he a psychopath or a Robin Hood? Is he a greedy brigand or a violent rebel fighting a callous state?

An eponymous Kannada film made Veerappan out to be a hero. Several Tamil and Telugu films have glorified him. Ramgopal Varma, known for entertainers like Rangeela, gets his favourite heroine Urmila kidnapped by a gang that's just like Veerappan's; the film proceeds to show how Fardeen Khan gets her out of the brigand's clutches with the help of task force chief Sunil Shetty. Never mind if the real-life task force has no clue about how to get to Veerappan!

Pehli baar makes you go 'Oh I have heard this before', because it reminds you so much of Sandeep's own number from Mast -- Ruki ruki.

Why was this song chosen for the promos on TV, particularly when they had a better song in Do pyaar, which is the pick of the album? Sonu and Sunidhi are in top form but the song does remind you of Der se aana, the Laxmikanth Pyarelal number in Khalnayak. Great orchestration.

Sandeep also does twice what he does best -- compose intrumentals! Jungle has two instrumental pieces, Soul of Jungle and Racing the jungle!. Both will hopefully be included in the movie! Next on line is Patli kamar. An assortment of voices -- Sukhwinder Singh, Sapna Awasthi, Sandeep Chauhan and Jolly Mukherjee. The song reminds you of the oldie Jahan teri yeh nazar hai.

Kumar Sanu and Sunidhi sing the next number Jaan. Again the rhythm reminds you of Rahman's Enai kanavillaye netrodu from Kaadhal Desam (the movie was dubbed in Hindi as Duniya Dilwalon Ki), which in turn was originally from Enigma! You'll start humming the old classic Jaane jaan...' from Jawani Diwani when you listen to this one! The A R Rahman feel is more than apparent in this song.

Aiyo aiyo Rama is fast and sounds like a western number with fast guitars and rhythms. Sonu and Sunidhi team up with Sowmya and Makarand Deshpande (last heard he's turned actor!) in this pacy number that could do with a little promo on the telly. The last time somebody tried a western in a Hindi film, was Rajesh Roshan, who just lifted Cotton eye Joe and made Koi nahi tere jaisa in Kismat. This one's at least original!

The apolegetic number Sorry baba sorry does not have Sandeep regular Sunidhi (who is featured in as many as four numbers) and has Sadhna Sargam instead. Looks like Sandeep sleepwalked through this number. Sadhna also sounds a bit out of place in this song.

Karthik S

Quick links

The Music Magazine's update on the Rajkumar kidnap

An analysis of Rajkumar's songs, and review of the Legends collection

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