About 12 months ago, under the auspices of the previous backers, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (referred to as Jaane Tu from here on) was faltering as a project but an effort to resurrect its fortunes was attempted by a certain Aamir Khan. The thing was, the family name was at stake, what with the debut of his nephew Imraan Khan.
So the question is what changes were introduced by the new co-producer, a perfectionist by nature? Well a number of things actually and for us lucky music fans the re-selection of the music director from Himesh Reshammiya (no disrespect to him or his fans) to….any guesses who that might be? Yes listeners, he chose the best of the best, A R Rahman! Well let’s admit it, he probably felt he had enough on his plate without needing to worry about the music so it was best left in the legendary hands of our very own Mozart!
But before we move onto the soundtrack, can I but try to curtail your expectations a little? You see for many of us, the amazing sounds of Jodhaa-Akbar still linger in our ears and for good reason. However comparisons with that may as well stop right here, that was a magnificent effort that matched the grandeur of the movie and touched upon the true genius of Rahman’s abilities. It would have to be a truly special soundtrack to match that. We now also have his latest musical release in Ada which is another soulful piece that oozes quality but remember that it has been 6 years in the making…Jaane Tu on the other hand appears to be a light hearted romantic centering on a bunch of college friends. Interestingly if you exclude Rahman and Sukhwinder, the remaining singers (14 or so!) are either completely new or relatively new. What does that tell you about Rahman’s own vision and expectations? Right with that reality check out of the way, let’s move onto the soundtrack; a fun, refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable effort in its own right…
First up Rahman adds style and substance with the short but ultra soothing Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Zindagi. But on a music front don’t expect too much experimentation here as the maestro focuses on getting your attention from the start with the aid of a catchy rhythm; a funky beat underpinned by the subtle strings of an acoustic guitar that hold the backbone to the song. This is used to create a relaxing mood and a backdrop to an uplifting number about life, friendship and human relationships. Listen out for the seamless changes in tempo as well.
More style follows but this time in support of the newcomer Imraan Khan who gets a personal introduction with the peppy Pappu can’t dance! and confirms the composer’s attention to detail. From the outset this sounds like a typical dance / masti type jingle with Abbas’ silly lyrics about ‘Pappu’ but listen closely and you will hear the intricacy with layer upon layer of variety to hold your attention right until the end….from the mix of current (acoustic guitar is back to provide killer riffs!) and traditional arrangements to the use of multiple young singers (Anupama, Benny Dayal, Blazee, Tanvi, Darshana, Satish Subramanium and Aslam) sharing lines harmoniously and some brilliant little chorus effects, they all add to the enjoyment of this fun packed song which will undoubtedly sound even better on screen!
Note the Pappu can’t Dance! Remix is disappointing in all honesty as it’s unnecessarily loud without adding any serious value to the original which you should stick to.
Rahman, back in his comfort zone, effortlessly produces the title song Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na which probably plays in the background to the movie. This one is fairly sombre in truth but that reason alone does not mean it is any less enjoyable. However there is no USP as in the previous tracks which may put off certain listeners as will the typical lyrics by Abbas. There are two versions to provide variety; newcomer Runa Rizvi sings the more upbeat version of the two which is orchestrated with modern sounds and a favourite of Rahman, Sukhwinder Singh performs the reprise. This version is slower and backed with more traditional instruments such as the dhol. Both perform admirably but you have to say the composition overall is average by Rahman’s standards for lacking a killer USP.
Anyone after a more unique song altogether should listen out for the jazz influenced Tu Bole Main Boloon! This playful little tune is exquisitely enacted with the use of classical (jazz based) instruments including drums, orchestra percussion, clarinet and of course the trumpet. A synthesized keyboard provides the bedrock for the underlying melody. This one is crooned by Rahman himself and even after all these years, the composer sounds as fresh as a pea from a pod! Abbas’ lyrics are simple and allow Rahman to ease into the singing. Undoubtedly the most unique offering of Jaane Tu, the track demands attention so one should delve into a genre that is rarely heard and see how the master uses it to create a thoroughly enjoyable and light hearted Hindi piece. Take a bow Rahman!
We have reached the finale listeners. Some of you may have enjoyed the soundtrack thus far but some of you may still be left disappointed. Either way, Rahman rewards your loyalty with a treat you will not easily forget….Oh my, I can barely contain my excitement!
You see at the mere push of a button the sounds of heaven can descend on you with the selection of the final track Kahin To Hogi Ho! Put simply Rahman closes the album with a signature piece, a song that is so beautiful, so enchanting you are lost for words to describe it, a song so touching, so meaningful (thanks to some great lyrics by Abbas), so personable…and a song for all occasions. Melodically soft throughout with a solid base of guitar riffs (and full on guitar strumming) underneath a layer of catchy acoustic beats, the composer weaves his magic throughout via subtle changes.
But one must not forget the part played by the singer, Rashid Ali who is a complete revelation here with a PERFECT rendition, on a bollywood singing front he has to be the find of the year! Vasundara Das provides brief support in the middle. Expect this one to be hogging your playlist for a while and whatever you do don’t miss one of the top songs of 2008!
So that’s it then, Jaane Tu soundtrack has been dissected and low and behold, a fine selection has been put together once again by Rahman especially given that the project was partly a rescue job. The music is successful on a number of fronts; it reaches out to its target audience (the younger population who will be interested in the movie and of course Rahmaniacs), it provides a timely relief to the bollywood music scene which is currently starved of quality, and ultimately gives the producers a good base for the movie launch. Last but not least the composer introduces a host of newcomers into the singing field (have you come across so many debuts in a soundtrack?) and he should be congratulated for doing so as the evidence shows that talent is plentiful! Rashid Ali in particular shines like a beacon and has already been selected by Rahman for a song in Ada….
So putting things into context then, whilst rarely touching the composer’s best, Jaane Tu comfortably ranks as one of the best soundtracks of the year so far and is a must buy for all (as is his other soundtrack Ada!).