It’s been a strange year (so far) for Pritam. After delivering some average soundtracks (My Name is Anthony Gonsalves and the overrated Race) things have gone from bad to worse for the musician of 2007 with further allegations of plagiarism, in particular for his contribution to the newly released Bhram (the track “Jaane Kyun” originates from the musician Gautam Chaterjee but apparently the work was not credited on the launch CD).
In fact this has all been a little too much for Pritam forcing him to come out to explain himself and his actions. Innocence has been his plea as he vows to credit the original composer where his music is borrowed (apparently the retail CD now has “Jaane Kyun” credited to the source composer)….in fact he has even commented on his latest venture, Mukesh Bhatt’s Jannat…
“let me tell you my songs in Mukesh Bhatt's forthcoming film, Jannat, which I had claimed were completely original are no longer so. Some parts of the soundtrack now have borrowed sounds”…(Pritam)
Well hopefully these borrowed sounds will be credited so we all know where they are from. Controversy aside, Pritam aims to prove his doubters wrong and make it four consecutive hits for a Bhatt production (after Gangster, Who Lamhe and Awarapan)…and given the high expectations of the Bhatt’s, one wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out a winner...with this in mind, let’s roll on the soundtrack…
In a bid to blow you away from the start, Pritam dusts off some of his favourite instruments (guitar, drums and violin in the main) and comes together with his favourite playback singer for the soft rock opener titled Zara Sa…and the result is a fabulous love ballad that will instantly put a smile on your face…it’s the enticing melody that does it! Also it has to be said that Pritam’s efforts are helped immensely by the stunning vocals of Krishna Kumar Menon (KK). Few can draw parallel when the exemplary singer is in this kind of mood, just listen to his electric vocals during certain high pitched verses and you will agree that this sterling rendition raises the song to new heights, kudos KK! Saeed Quadri is a masterful lyricist and his lines for Zara Sa hold the intended impact. All in all, this is the perfect selection to get the soundtrack off to a flyer, Jannat is already in the skies!
Zara Sa (Power Ballad) is no run of the mill remix (by DJ K&G) and provides a superb alternative to the original. The music has been toned down a touch here; it’s slower and softer especially during KK’s rendition which is equally subdued but just as electric as the original. Pritam has put the icing on the cake to Zara Sa with the addition of this remix.
If Zara Sa lifted the soundtrack to the sky, the next track, Judai, powers it to the realms of the stratosphere, let there be no doubt this track is insanely attractive and easily the best offering of Jannat! Alas this is NOT a Pritam production and to prevent further controversy, he does give full credits to the original composer who is from across the border in Pakistan. That composer/singer in question is Kamran Ahmed (aka “82rocker”) and on the evidence of this track, the guy is ridiculously talented. Not only is his rock music heavenly but his vocals are equally mesmeric! The track is dominated by the exquisite strumming of multiple guitars (synth, electronic, acoustic, they all sound alive against the backdrop of a delicious rock tune) running parallel to each other and the effect is an absolutely killer melody that will have you reaching for the repeat button of your respective music player! All kudos to Pritam for including it within Jannat and it confirms his keen ear for quality music across borders. Enough said, just sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy this fabulous rock anthem, one of the best in recent years!
And as if the music gods were looking over our shoulders, we are treated to another version entitled Lambi Judai. This is essentially the same song as the original with the exception that it’s a female version sung by the ever impressive Richa Sharma. Her vocals are particularly suited as the lyrics are partly in the Punjabi tongue which she has mastered over the years. It is slightly disappointing however that Pritam has not credited this to the original composer as well since all he seems to have done is replace the singer. But otherwise no complaints here, it’s brilliant from start to finish and particularly welcome in an otherwise male singer dominated soundtrack.
Pritam re-invigorates the amazing track in the remix ‘Judai Kilogram Mix’ and whilst never on par with the original, it is still infectious in its own right and worthy of a place on your playlist.
We then have a timely breather with Haan Tu Hain, which descends the soundtrack from its previously ridiculous heights. Another peppy love track, it’s by no means poor but after Zara Sa and Judai, it just doesn’t keep up the phenomenal quality. The arrangements in particular appear somewhat rehashed from tracks gone by and whilst I applaud Pritam’s attempts to create a nice one-two melody between the guitar and tabla (which admittedly sounds delightful), it doesn’t hide the fact that he is showing over reliance on the former instrument (it is one thing selecting your favorite instrument but this appears overkill!). Having said that, where the music is lacking, KK more than makes up for this and infuses a certain flavor to the song that makes it that bit more enjoyable, his efforts are thus praiseworthy again. Unfortunately the lyrics from Sayeed Quadri for once sound a little mundane and overall whilst recommended, Jannat has better sounds elsewhere.
At this point you feel the soundtrack, which has generally been heavy on rock / guitar influences thus far, could do with some variety but that doesn’t transpire with Door Na Ja. Instead expect more rock inspired arrangements from Pritam’s favorite string instrument (guitar variants) but criticism aside, the track is still irresistible thanks to its somber tone and some brilliant vocals by little known Rana Mazumder who is performing again after Hattrick (I am coming home). The lyrics are back to the high standard we expect from Quadri saab. Give this one a few listens and it will almost definitely grow on you.
Whilst maintaining the status quo as far the rock theme is concerned, the soundtrack still manages to end on a high note with the short but incredibly lively title song Jannat Jahan inspired by the carefree/money/greed/gambling theme of the movie. The rock fusion created here is extremely tasty; the electric guitar is particularly showcased to superb effect throughout (in association with some delicious striking of piano keys that enacts a beautiful melody!). To top it off Rupam Islam (lead singer of the group Fossils) provides some unique and happy-go-lucky vocals, kudos to Pritam for selecting him. The lyrics by Neelesh Misra create the perfect mood for a situational track. Another sure fine winner to bring Jannat to an end!
Whilst arguably not as varied or polished as the underrated Woh Lamhe (overall it achieves better sounds than Gangster and Awarapan for this reviewer), Jannat still manages to live up to most expectations and should comfortably end up to be a fourth consecutive ‘Bhatt / Pritam” hit. Say what you like about him, Pritam has this canny knack of delivering the goods when it matters most and even the most ardent critic (including myself) cannot help but admire some of his work here; yes a good part of it is borrowed but in his defense Pritam has credited it (Judai) to the original artist.
Let’s not forget that he is arguably less of a music composer these days and with all his workload, arranging music and having a keen ear for quality sounds appears a better strategy for delivering soundtracks. Ultimately as listeners we should be more appreciative that it’s this strategy that brings all these sounds to many of our otherwise ignorant ears. As long as he credits the relevant sounds, we should applaud this approach (one does worry however that more should be acknowledged than already is the case, even in Jannat only one song is credited, so is the rest Pritam’s own work? Highly unlikely).
So on the back of this, who is having the last laugh then? Well it’s our composer come music arranger / selector! In short Jannat has the hallmarks of Pritam at his very best; it is a vibrant, classy, and extremely enjoyable soundtrack that reaches out to the masses and therefore sells itself, just go and soak up its glorious rock infused sounds and then reflect on why we all love Pritam…talent is a word too easily used in this day and age but he clearly has it in abundance (controversy aside!).
(Note the overall score reflects certain sounds that are borrowed by Pritam (namely Judai), however there remains a risk that further sounds have been borrowed without acknowledgement. On a side note, one must also credit the Bhatt’s for continuing their legacy of nurturing fine music from their composers, it’s not something everyone achieves successfully, but they appear to do this better than most, they virtually guarantee quality music from their movies).