There are musicians and there are magicians and then there is A.R.Rahman. Music release of an A.R.Rahman soundtrack is an event now. Year 2008-09-10 saw some of his best works in Jodha Akbar, Ada..A way of Life, Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na, Ghajini, Delhi-6 and Raavan (not to forget the overhyped Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire) but his last OST Jhootha Hi Sahi (2010) was a 'thanda' affair and not even an inch close to what Rahman is known for. Now, he is back with the much awaited soundtrack of Rockstar and mark my words; with a bang. Expectations from the music are gargantuan to say the least and reasons are plenty...
a) It’s an Imtiaz Ali (Director and Writer) product whose movies releases at a span of 2 years, Socha Na Tha (2005), Jab We Met (2007) and Love Aaj Kal (2009) and his last 2 ventures were blockbusters both on the musical and movie front.
b) Combination of Irshad Kamil (Lyricist); who already has numerous hits to his name this year; and Imtiaz Ali, something that always works, add to this 'Musical Carnage' by the maestro A.R.Rahman , the product is bound to be a blast machine.
c) "Rockstar is a character driven film and as one can guess from the title, there will be lots of guitars" -A.R.Rahman
'Palang Todd'; that's what the soundtrack of Rockstar is all about with 14 pure musical pieces including a 'trademark Rahman' Shehnai-Instrumental. Mohit Chauhan who is known for his 'masakalli' renditions is the voice of Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) in the movie and notably has sung 9 out of 14 tracks and every single piece is worth checking out. However, if one doesn't have an ear for Rahman tunes, then it needs at least five to six hearings unless it settles down and grows. So, Sit back, Relax and travel through the Field Of Dreams of A.R.Rahman, Irshad Kamil and Imtiaz Ali!
It starts with a subtle, airy and breezy Phir Se Ud Chala, a perfect morning track, inclined more towards the unplugged side for the first 2.5 minutes (don't miss the Mandolin Strums), that brings forward some heavy, thought-provoking lyrics. A.R.Rahman usually opens the soundtrack with a track where lyrics overpower the music and the same is the case with Phir Se Ud Chala which will take some time to settle down but will sure be applauded if heard with all ears. Mohit Chauhan is at his usual best, especially when the song picks up some pace after 3 minutes and then ends on with the same Kashmiri-Chorus that it started with. Not an opening that one would have expected from the most anticipated rock-ribbed soundtrack of the year, but nevertheless a pure composition that certainly marks a good start.
Remember Harshdeep Kaur, the voice behind Ik Onkar from Rang De Basanti, who this time sings a Romantic-Punjabi cum Guajarati folk number, Kateyan Karun, supported well by Sapna Awasthi. 'Ting ling ling ling Ting ling ling' at the very start promises something different and Irshad Kamil almost does a Gulzaar with lyrics like 'Kateya Karun, Tera Roon, Main Saari Raat Kateya Kateya Karu' (suggesting that the girl would do anything for the boy, be it spinning the cotton whole night). It's a breath of fresh air in an era where love songs are getting stereotyped and more importantly male dominated. Decent hear!
A.R.Rahman, Javed Ali and Mohit Chauhan - when these three artists join for a song, expect nothing less than an epic classical and Kun FayaKun; which means Be and It is; is a divine composition which will go down in the history of devotional and spiritual qawwali's and can even challenge Rahman's very own Khwaja Mere Khwaja from Jodha Akbar. When Rahman sings, consider it the very best. Javed Ali with his satisfactory voice reminds Arziyan from Delhi-6 and as Mohit Chauhan joins at 3.20, it creates an aura that cannot be described in words, pure magic! The maestro intelligently uses Tabla, Harmonium with Human claps plus guitar strumming in between and the impact is more powerful when it is heard alongside the video (an official three minute video has been released) in which the beauty of Nizamuddin Dargah has been captured. Only A.R.Rahman can create such devotional tunes which leave the listeners in trance and has a touch of self-realisation. Don't miss this legendary work from a legendary artist! (Take special notice of the last 2 minutes of this 8 minute number-SPEECHLESS!).
Innovative and Impressive with a capital "I", that's what Sheher Mein, the fifth track is all about. It's about a studio recording with different Antonations for the same lines by Karthik (remember 'I am in love' from Once Upon A Time In Mumbai or 'Behka Main Behka' from Ghajini) and Mohit Chauhan. The voice of Karthik (as per the movie) portrays an animated, usual singer who is already established and Mohit Chauhan, the voice of Jordan, is carefree, stylish and casual, as a result considered a bit amateurish. It will be liked instantly and as per the percussions in the interludes- 'Lyrics to dhoom macha dega U.P., Bihar mein.’ Spot on!
'Chitthi Daali Thi Aaunga Main Tere Ghar, Mail Bhi Kiya Tha Maine Teri Id Par.' Talking of Vocals, if it wasn't for the credentials, never in my dream I could have thought the other voice to be of Karthik, he sounds so different, but Mohit's voice is sparkling and intentionally overpowers Karthik voice. Addictive is the word for this number.
Drums, Violins, Guitars, Mandolins, Mohit Chauhan. That is Haawa Haawa for you, a Spanish-Salsa number in Rahman Style with some foreign singers Viviane, Tanvi, Suvi Suresh and Shalini for the additional vocals. It's a 'drink and dance' number with some conversational lyrics which will make it an interesting watch once the video is out with a sizzling chemistry between the lead pair, Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri. Although few may call it a mere sequel to Rahman earlier tune 'Mayya Mayya' from Guru (2007), it's full of surprises with Mohit Chauhan experimenting more and more with his voice. Dance to the tune of Haawa Haawa this season folks.."chikichiki chikichak chaara"!
Up next, Aur Ho is a trademark A.R.Rahman composition and to be more specific, it knocks at the doors of 'Mera Yaar Mila De' from Saathiya. Mohit Chauhan steps in the shoes of Rahman and it was a surprise to hear his voice sounding quite similar to Rahman at places. Take special attention to Alma Fervovic who makes her presence felt with some beautiful renditions at the start and then later in the interludes, with the flute being used beautifully along with some high and low (read Octave) notes. A situational number which could have been better but nevertheless will fit in well along the narration of the movie.
Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium renders the next composition, Tum Ko, which reminds you the old days of A.R.Rahman (early 90's) with her. It will win hearts with some profound Tabla taals (beats) and Sarangi dhuns. It could have very well fallen under the roof of Madhushree (voice behind 'Tu Bin Bataye ' from Rang De Basanti), a Rahman regular. On the flip side though, one can easily relate the song to the female portions in 'Tu Meri Dost Hai' from Yuvraaj. A good soothing track which adds variety and versatility to an album which has rock written all over it.
I hear music when I close my eyes. When I open my eyes the music does not go away. I often can't follow the words that people speak but I get the music of their soul. It's good that way, because words can lie but music cannot. Pleasant or disturbing, music is always the truth. -Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar)
It’s mad, it’s wild, and it’s strangely catchy, Saadda Haqq, Aithe Rakh portrays the anguish and audacious Jordan in the movie and is no short of being an anthem in the coming days, especially in case of protests. It takes a bit (1.30 minutes) of time to set the mood and the high point comes in the form of some bold lyrics thrown at society with Mohit Chauhan in a never-heard before high pitched voice which leaves the listeners stunned. The highly energetic Electric Guitar (Kudos to Rahman for selecting Orianthi) and Drum Beats (Oscar Seaton) provides an adrenalin rush and sweeps you off your feet. It's already a rage and will grow more and more with time. Words fall short for a composition like this, so plug in your earphones, crank up the volume and sing the theme song- 'Saadda Haqq, Aithe Rakh’!
There was Tum Ko and now come Tum Ho by Mohit Chauhan and Suzzane D'Mello, a track almost similar in tune and arrangements minus the Tabla. After such a powerful tune in Saadda Haqq, it will be difficult for the listeners to digest a slow-sad number like this as it again requires multiple hearings to get into your head but once it gets into you, it will be difficult to keep away. Although it looks like a leftover from A.R.Rahman previous work in Yuvraaj (2008) but still both the versions should certainly enjoy a shelf life, considering how they are used in the movie.
After 11 full on compositions, comes instrumentals followed by a monologue. First in line is Tango For Taj, which is on the same lines as the previous track Haawa Haawa. Keyboard, Harmonica, Claps makes up for a pleasant outing. Go for it if you love instrumentals. Now there is a special gift from A.R.Rahman, The Dichotomy of Fame which features Balesh on Shehnai and Kabuli on Guitars. The use of various instruments along with intellectual use of Shehnai provides a 'WoW' factor, which is a treat for the music listeners and especially for those who understands what good and pure music is.
The Meeting Place is a monologue which lasts about 70 seconds with a short monologue in the voice of Ranbir Kapoor which would raise questions about the climax of the movie. Nothing much to say about this one.
To conclude, Rockstar is one of the biggest and finest soundtrack to come out in 2011, both on musical and lyrical aspects. The music will find acceptance among the masses as well as the class audience. Tracks like 'Saadda Haqq' has attracted instant attention while 'Phir Se Ud Chala', 'Tum Ho’; 'Haawa Haawa' alongside 'Naadaan Parindey' will grow with repeated hearings. It's been twelve years when Rahman churned out the music of 'Taal' where the basic, theme, subject and storyline revolved around music and now with Rockstar, he marks his comeback when people have written him off. After grabbing the CDs, feel yourself blessed to be born in an era of A.R.Rahman. Mr.Rahman, you just made the Hindi Music Industry proud!