If there’s an album to whet your appetite then it has to be the follow up to arguably one of the finest soundtracks of the previous decade…Jannat (2008). That was an outstanding soundtrack on so many counts and looking back on it now you can’t help but rank it as one of Pritam's best ever. So the pressure is well and truly on to deliver for Jannat 2 but we all know Pritam saves his best music for the Bhatt camp so expectations are rightly sky high. To give himself a good chance Pritam ropes in a winning team from the original including K.K. (playback singer) and Sayeed Quadri (lyricist). But Jannat 2 goes way beyond expectations by adding the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Pritam’s current stalwarts; Mohit Chauhan, Javed Ali and new singing sensation Nikhil D Souza, along with lyricists Sanjay Masoomm and Mayur Puri…a mind-blowing team on paper but can it deliver? Can Pritam bring some freshness to his tried and tested music formula for Mahesh Bhatt like he did with the original Jannat with the addition of mind-blowing songs like "Lambi Judai" (from Kamran Ahmed) and "Door Na Ja"? Let's find out!
Musically“Tu Hi Mera” is a pretty typical start to the album but it’s elevated thanks to the splendid vocals of Shafqat Amanat Ali who is the true USP of this song. Annoyingly Pritam just re-hashes a well known 'Pritam-Bhatt' melody based on the guitar/tabla to make the music instantly catchy and the use of a repetitive mukdha is a dead giveaway although very infectious! Sayeed Quadri’s lines are also average. It might look decent on the video so Mahesh Bhatt will be pleased from the film's perspective but otherwise this can’t be recommended to anyone other than Shafqat Amanat Ali fans. Disappointing start perhaps but that won't stop the masses lapping this up!
Pritam has made some fine hits with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (RFAK) in the past so it’s no surprise to see them get together again for the next song “Tera Deedar Hua” . Sadly the music lacks freshness again and sounds like a lot of RFAK songs; lots of qawwali arrangements with some neat chants and clapping from a backing chorus. Whilst Pritam tries to invigorate proceedings with his rock flavour it’s a case of too little too late. Lyrics by Sanjay Masoomm are surprisingly drab as well;“Yun Tere Muskurana Aur Akay Chale Jaana, Kismat Ka Hai Khul Jaana…Tera Deedar Hua Pehla Sa Pyar Hua, Pheli Hi Baar Hua Iss Dil Ko.” RFAK's vocals are a little overpowering here but try telling that to his fans! Not a bad song by any means but it’s not a match for the likes of “Tum Jo Aaye” (Once Upon a Time in Mumbai). Javed Ali’s softer vocals provide for a much better setting in the alternative version (especially the antara portions) of the song found later “Tera Deedar Hua (From the Heart)” . It’s the recommended version of the two but from a music perspective, one expected more experimentation from Pritam. Ironically one still expect this to be a huge hit with the audience due to its infectious nature...this is precisely why the term "Pritam knows the pulse of the audience" was coined.
So far the album is very typical for a Pritam - Bhatt soundtrack. It comes as no surprise then that the soundtrack returns to the magic of Jannat with the introduction of an old face. Someone who ranks as a legend in the Pritam hall of fame…it’s no secret that most of K.K.’s best songs were made with Pritam and his singing was undoubtedly the highlight from the original Jannat soundtrack - 4 years down the line he carries that stunning form into “Tujhe Sochta Hoon” . Here Pritam’s piano kisses a haunting soft rock ballad that soothes your senses and brings your emotions to a blissful state of equilibrium until midway through, guitar strums take over but by then it’s too late... you are already hypnotised by K.K’s mastery! Of course he does full justice to his reselection exuding emotions that very few singers are capable of. In particular his constant alaaps that precede the line “Sang Hoon Tere” contain a pathos that fulfil his talents. Even if he is singing a lot less these days, this is the kind of performance to confirm his brilliance! Thankfully Sayeed Quadri’s lines improve as well. This is easily one of the best songs from Jannat 2 and a must hear for all music lovers although once again most of you will recognise that melody a mile away, it just isn't anything new. Incidentally there is a superb reprise later in the album called “Sang Hoon Tere” . Here Pritam gives the song an ultra cool lounge feel with an English chorus and ropes in his favourite upcoming rock singer Nikhil D’Souza, who does a good job behind the mic. Just be kind and don’t expect a repeat of K.K’s masterful rendition!
K.K. returns in an outrageously cool “Zara Sa” rendezvous titled “Jannatein Kahan” . Expect plenty of boom in the bass drums remixed here and to give it that extra zing there are some lovely rap portions added to Mayur Puri's lyrics. This is clearly a homage to the classic “Zara Sa” but when it sounds this good who cares about originality? Prepare to be knocked out in “Jannatein Kahan (Power Ballad)” which blows the original out of the water! Nikhil D’Souza might still be a second choice singer in a soundtrack like Jannat 2 but as long as he continues to make an impression he will eventually break through. Well here he is a match for the the master himself (K.K.) with some fine playback singing. Notice the ease in which Pritam switches to hardcore rock instruments as the song progresses (the highlight being the 12 string electric guitar introduced at 2:22!). This is quite an awesome rendevous of "Zara Sa". LOVE IT!
Jannat 2 is undoubtedly a good soundtrack but it doesn’t come with a special aura that the original carried - this is precisely why it was such a big ask to follow up. Put simply the original Jannat is a Pritam classic that had everything from stellar tunes to stellar lyrics to stellar singing along with more variety such as Pritam's take on Kamran Ahmed's stupendous "Lambi Judai". Jannat 2 is more of the same old stuff we have been hearing from a Pritam - Bhatt soundtrack in recent years so whilst it is brimming with melody it also lacks originality in most of the songs. Maybe that's why Pritam chose such a strong team of playback singers because arguably they enhance the attraction of the songs? Whatever the reason was that strategy has worked wonders because the singing is fantastic all round. Admittedly the reprises (remixes) are also great but we all know Pritam is a supreme remixer so we expect those from him. Lyrically the soundtrack is a bit of a let down as well. Nonetheless if you can overlook the originality aspect and are craving for melody then there's no denying that Pritam delivers another winner for Mahesh Bhatt - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!