Joined: 05 October 2010
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It's the sound of 'ya ya ya', something that again has a 'pahaadi' feel to it, which is heard at the very beginning of 'Jo Bhi Main'. With a concert feel to it, this soft rock number pretty much takes forward the mood that has been created at the beginning of the album with 'Phir Se Ud Chala'. It is Mohit's voice that continues to haunt a listener with 'Jo Bhi Main' turning out to be yet another 'made for the movie' number that isn't instantly catchy but is arresting enough to grab your attention as it plays for those near five minutes.
While one does like the sound created inRockstarso far, the hunt is on for those commercial tracks that would work across the length and breadth of the country. An attempt is made in this direction with 'Katiya Karun' which has a Punjabi setting to it and has a female singer at the helm of affairs for the first time in the album. Harshdeep Kaur is the voice behind the song and she does quite well in rendering this track that has a folk flavour to it with a distinct fun element to it that reminds one of 'Thoda Thoda Pyar' fromLove Aaj Kal. With additional vocals by Sapna Awasthi, 'Katiya Karun' does well though it still isn't extraordinary by any means.
Next to arrive is a devotional number with A.R. Rahman, Javed Ali and Mohit Chauhan coming together for a Sufi outing. Titled 'Kun Faaya Kun', the song is also the longest of the lot with a running duration of eight minutes. Reminding one of 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' [Jodhaa Akbar], the track would basically find a following amongst those who appreciate this genre of music and are die hard Rahman fans. Also, one wonders whether this track would actually make its presence felt for the entire eight minutes duration in the film's narrative.
The album changes track with 'Sheher Mein' which is basically set as a song recording in motion. Appearing to be a setting where a composer is trying to get two different singers sing to a tune, 'Sheher Mein' has a funny feel to it and is expected to invoke good laughter when it plays on screen. With cheesy lyrics filling the song and reminding one of many such parodies that Ram Gopal Varma has included in his past films, the song has Mohit Chauhan and Karthik singing in different styles with former in an experimentation mode and latter going the conventional way.
'Haawa Haawa' starts off unconventionally and stays on like that right through its near six minutes duration. Reminding one of the Western classical numbers from the era gone by, this Mohit Chauhan song belongs to the genre that Sanjay Leela Bhansali had attempted with 'Udi' [Guzaarish] last year. A situational track where dance is expected to form an integral part of the affairs, the song also includes additional vocals of Viviane Chaix, Tanvi Shah, Suvi Suresh and Shalini. An okay number, it makes one not just a tad impatient and also wonder ifRockstarwould indeed showcase any songs that would justify the immense hype that had been created all along.
Alma Ferovic is the backup vocalist for 'Aur Ho' where she is heard right at the beginning before Mohit Chauhan takes over. As it turns out, the song is in fact the saddest of the album so far and makes one hope that the rest of the album would have something far better to offer. 'Aur Ho' may do well in the film's narrative but there too it would have to be used judiciously as it threatens to slow down the film's pace. Moreover, as a standalone number it is a strict no-no.
However what follows next is a musical piece titled 'Tango For Taj - Music' which is presumably composed with Taj Mahal in the background. With a Western treatment to it, this piece reminds one of the kind that was created by Rahman forYuuvraaj. A situational interlude, it is followed by 'The Dichotomy Of Fame' after a short while. This one has a predominant Indian feel to it and is a fusion of 'Shehnai' and 'Guitar' with Balesh and Kabuli doing the honours. Arrival of these tracks only make one wonder if the middle portion ofRockstaris fast losing it's way because though they may help the film, as a part of the album they end up appealing to only a very niche set of audience.
Kavita Subamaniam (earlier Krishnamurthy) is heard after a hiatus in 'Tum Ko' and it is always welcome to listen to someone who has not yet lost touch despite her heydays being way back in late 80s and then a good part of the 90s. A song with an Indian classical base to it, 'Tum Ko' is quite easy on ears and yet again reminds one of the sound ofYuuvraaj, especially the number 'Aaja Main Hawaon'. One of the better numbers to arrive in this part of the album, it makes one look forward to what does the reminder of the album has to offer.
What follows next is an interesting track that goes by the title 'Nadaan Parindey'. A song which is basically a cry of 'homecoming' for a youngster (in this case the central protagonist) who has lost his way, 'Nadaan Parindey' sees coming together of some good lyrics by Irshad Kamil with Rahman doing well behind the mike as well. With Mohit Chauhan joining the show, this situational number should form a part of the film's pre-climax and make for some good narrative, courtesy the kind of story telling that one expects from Imtiaz Ali. Expect a high voltage outing here.
The album shows further escalation with Mohit Chauhan coming to his own in 'Tum Ho'. A love song that was always expected from Rahman right from the beginning of the album, 'Tum Ho' has melody at the core of it and is as haunting as it gets. With Suzanne D'Mello as the backup vocalist, 'Tum Ho' stays with you right through it's five minutes duration and makes you play it all over again to be savoured.
The wait is finally over with Orianthi's guitar lending a grand opening to 'Saadda Haq', the hallmark track ofRockstar. Mohit Chauhan starts the number rather slow as he debates the virtue of right versus wrong, only to pick on pace a while later hence resulting in a number that has chartbuster written all over it. 100 seconds into the song and you know that the hype surrounding this 'Sufi-rock' number was well justified. A superb number that can well be expected to take the film's narrative to an all time high, it also pretty much makes one forget the rather lukewarm middle portion of the album.
The album ends with a track called 'Meeting Place' that basically has Ranbir Kapoor mouthing a single line which is based on a poem by Rumi. One wonders what purpose does it really solve in the album since it lasts a mere 70 odd seconds and could possibly convey a point after it has been heard and seen in the film.
Let the fact be stated -Rockstaris certainly not the kind of album that one expected it to be. While it isn't quite a musical that one thought Rahman would come up with for Ranbir Kapoor here, even Imtiaz Ali would be well aware that it doesn't have those countless commercial ingredients that gave an extra zing and spice to his earlier films. Having said that, there are some interesting songs in this crowded album that indeed stand out. The album starts off well, has an un-engaging middle portion but ends with a bang, hence ensuring that a listener isn't disappointed.
Since there is immense curiosity and excitement to check out whatRockstarhas to offer, the album can be expected to fly off the shelves/get downloaded in quick time. While initial sales would be impressive enough, long run of the album would be dependent upon the impact that the film manages to make in theatres.
Saadda Haq, Katiya Karun, Tum Ho, Nadaan Parindey, Phir Se Ud Chala[Play Songs]
Joined: 05 October 2010
|How Has The Music Of Ra.One And Rockstar Fared?|
Monday 3rd October 2011 09.00 IST
Boxofficeindia.Com Trade Network
Q. How has the music of Ra.One and Rockstar fared.
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Imtiaz Ali took the risk to go with Rahman after consecutive blockbuster soundtracks with Pritam. Even Rahman himself rejected the project at first due to international commitments but in the end Imtiaz Ali managed to persuade him. After several attempts and reworks, Imtiaz Ali finally accepted the final product from Rahman and the end result is a bumper 14-song album that is a mixture of songs for the protagonist (Jordan) with the rest acting as background songs for the film.
How much can you take of one singer though? One of the key challenges for the meastro is the ability to push Mohit Chauhan's vocals who is the main playback singer for most of the songs here. Secondly, Rahman has admitted himself that the guitar features heavily in the film as it's the main instrument used by Jordan. Again, the question is can this factor stifle innovation and variety? So does the album manage to overcome these factors and vindicate the director's decision to go with Rahman?
The first half of the soundtrack is very promising indeed with the very enjoyable"Jo Bhi Main"and"Katiya Karun"managing to hit the bulls-eye from a purely auditory perspective."Phir Se Ud Chala"and"Sheher Mein"also work but more for the film. This part of the soundtrack also contains the two outstanding tracks from the entire album in the soulful sufi / qawalli track titled"Kun Faya Kun"and the quite delightful gypsy song"Hawaa Hawaa". These are the only two songs from the album that even come close to the best of Rahman.
Unfortunately the quality of the songs take a nose dive from tracks 7-11 except for the awesome anthem song"Saadda Haq". It is clear that Rahman's busy schedule got the better of him again because songs like"Tum Ho", "Tum Ko"and to a lesser extent,"Aur Ho", are either reminiscent of his past work or just plain average musically. Instead they rely on the singer to lift them out of mediocrity. The album finishes with a couple of neat instrumentals. Therefore the review needs to take consideration of the album as a complete package and not just based on a few songs!
Overall as expected, producing an all out winning 14-song album is a very tough ask for sure and there's no denying that Rahman fans will be happy with the outcome but overall, Rockstar will not be remembered as one of his best works. Not by a long shot. As for Imtiaz Ali, he might revert back to Pritam (or better still a newcomer) after this short but interesting experiment with a genius who has a bit too much on his plate at the moment.
If there's one music director that perks up your anticipation then it's the king himself...A.R.Rahman! But as good as he is, the legend is a wanted man and his busy international schedule proves exactly that. So going into partnership with the maestro in the current climate can be seen as very risky business particularly in Bollywood. Let's face it his last effort was the quite forgettableJhootha Hi Sahi. But Imtiaz Ali is no ordinary filmmaker. We are talking about a director who dropped Pritam afterJab We MetandLove Aaj Kalwhich were consecutive blockbuster soundtracks! So why take the risk? Why drop somebody who gave us arguably the best rock soundtrack of this era withLife in a Metro? Or alternatively why not select other music directors with a proven track record like SEL (Rock On!!anyone)? Says the director"When I envisioned a rock music score, I didn't want a copy of western rock instead I wanted music that adhered to the principles of rock but originated from our land and from our realities. I wanted music that was organic to the character and yet had an appeal beyond conventional Bollywood music."So naturally he felt that in order to deliver this kind of soundtrack, he required the services of a maestro like Rahman:"Just as you cast actors, you look for the best guy to compose that style of music. Most often, the best guy is Rahman sir. In this case, he very specifically was."So there you have the reason for Imtiaz Ali's selection of Rahman for his forthcoming musical film,Rockstar.
Notwithstanding the various delays and redrafts of certain songs (there's no denying Imtiaz Ali did ask Rahman to rework on some songs) the end product certainly shows promise on paper. Firstly, the choice of Irshad Kamil as lyricist is compelling but one that is entirely deserved and it should serve the music well. With a bumper 14-track album you really begin to appreciate how important the music is (for the film) and given the scope on offer, one would expect plenty of variety and experimentation? Firstly there is a split of songs between background tunes and songs created specifically for the protagonist of the film, Jordan akaRockstar. It is critical to understand this distinction. Remember Jordan's songs are meant to suit the character in the film (a struggling musician) so don't expect them to be groundbreaking. He's on a steep learning curve so Rahman has created apt songs that feel 'real' and show Jordan's potential. Where he (Rahman) should shine is in the background songs.
But there are also two potential limitations to this approach. It means half the songs are performed by Mohit Chauhan who has been chosen as the voice of Jordan. That is understandable given he is a current favourite of Rahman, but does his vocals really suit rock music? One sincerely hopes the usual reliance by music directors on his 'soothing' vocals is avoided. Secondly Rahman has already confronted our expectations somewhat by confirming that"Rockstar is a character driven film and as one can guess from the title, there will be lots of guitar". This can also be a hindrance to innovation. So the big question is can these potential limitations be overcome to make this a winning soundtrack? Was it a risk or a blessing for Imtiaz Ali to replace Pritam? And more importantly, has Rahman managed to juggle all his workload to produce a well balanced soundtrack? Let's find out'
The expected combination of the guitar and Mohit Chauhan are utilised for Track 1 making"Phir Se Ud Chala", an uplifting dreamy opener for the album and whilst you may get the instant rush of happiness and jubilation, the reality is there's nothing here that we haven't heard before. The music is bright and breezy to begin with thanks to a gorgeous mandolin (George Doering) alongside guitar strumming (by Randy Bersen) and Mohit sounds soothing for sure...but don't we know that already? Also the music begins to dither around the 3 min mark with Mohit's annoyingtutudu tutuduchants, what happened there and why? Irshad's lines are probably the highlight of the song but on a music front, this is essentially just a background tune so enjoy it while you can but please keep your feet firmly on the ground, there's certainly much bigger and better things to come from the album.
Our protagonist Jordan feels 'I have beautiful thoughts in my mind. But when I try to express them in words, it gets clerical and the beauty of the thought gets destroyed with the first word I speak'. Irshad came up with the lines"Jo Bhi Main, Kehna Chahoon, Barbaad Karey, Alphaaz Mere'"- Rahman took these lines and the outcome is Track 2:"Jo Bhi Main". A song created specifically for theRockstar, this is a completely unplugged outing with a chilled out guitar (Kabuli & Shon Pinto) and drums (Ranjit Barot) reverbing in the background. Admittedly it relies on some ubber cool vocals from Mohit Chauhan but they definitely suit the song and his constantalaapsand high-pitched singing during the build up to the chorus is a most pleasant variation. Indeed hisyehhh yehh yehhhchants give pathos to the song! Just a quick reminder that the song is meant to suit the character in the film so don't expect it to blow you away, it is not meant to. Irshad Kamil's superb lines portray the frustrations of the would-be musician. Yes we will have more of the same please, double quick!
"Tinga linga linga linga linga'"is Rahman's trademark style of introducing a song and this little hook line frankly ignites Track 3:"Katiya Karun", a folksy song that plays blissfully in the background to the film thus allowing Rahman to experiment a little more. But in the music department he keeps things very simple and uncomplicated with a very soft unerring tune performed by Gujrati folk musicians and helped along by a lovely guitar strummed by Keba Jeremiah. Harshdeep Kaur gives us a further glimpse of her talents as her stunning sufi vocals just add more depth and value to the song. Get ready to hit the repeat button for this groovy little tune that has a canny knack of putting a smile on your face.
If you have any interest in sufi / qawalli music then you will not be able to contain your emotions listening to track 4:"Kun Faya Kun"(meaning "Be" and "It is" i.e. the creation of God) which is by far the most soulful song of the album. As a sufi himself, Rahman has a knack of producing these magical portals that spellbound you and allow you to connect with the Almighty. As well as the usual combination ofharmoniumandtabla(by Neelakantan and Prasad), Rahman goes one step further here and adds another layer of beauty when he introduces the guitar (by Keba) to essay the role of the protagonist along with a brilliant little cameo by Mohit Chauhan. Of course, as is the tradition for these songs, Rahman himself sings with a lot of earnest with Javed Ali providing superb support in the background. The lyrics by Irshad are touching to say the least. "Kun Faya Kun" is just superb throughout although whether it surpasses the bewitching qualities of"Khwaja Mere Khwaja"fromJodhaa Akbaris debatable. Still it's a privilege to listen to. Outstanding stuff!
Getting back to the film we have a very filmi song titled"Sheher Mein"(Track 5) further portraying the trials and tribulations of the protagonist Jordan who is trying to record a song in the studio with interrupting director vocals such as "cut" etc. The concept is fresh and the music uplifting with funky beats and some cool guitars by Keba Jeremiah and bass guitar by Keith Peters. The highlight of the song are the cool interacting vocals between Mohit Chauhan and Karthik. One for the film but otherwise don't expect much longevity from this song as a stand alone product.
Says Imtiaz Ali"I told him (Rahman) how Jordan, the protagonist, is inarticulate, how he can express himself only through music, how his music is influenced by not only his situation but also by the music of the place he visits. So when Jordan is in Prague hanging about with gypsies, he imbibes their spirit and makes gypsy music. This is what Hawaa Hawaa is'"Technically"Hawaa Hawaa"is the most impressive song of the entire album and also according to Rahman himself "the most challenging to compose". On a single listen you know exactly why'multiple layers of instrumentation (including drums, violin, mandolin, guitar and dulcimer) and colourful styles, all magically interwoven together splashing a fusion of salsa sounds onto the ear that in turn, signal a wonderful message to the brain and cue: delirious smile and a happy feeling followed by feet tapping! At long last Mohit Chauhan's vocals are utilized in a fresh avatar here and low and behold they are an absolute treat to listen to but his supporting singers are equally fantastic (Viviane Chaix, Tanvi Shah, Suvi Suresh, Shalini). Lyrics by Irshad Kamil are a mixture of wit, humour and storytelling at its brilliant best. "Hawaa Hawaa" is pure magic from start to finish!
We reach the half way point of the album and it's looking very good indeed. Can that quality be maintained for the rest of the songs? The eerie but powerful orchestra present in"Aur Ho"(Track 7) has been used quite often by Rahman and the style is reminiscent (last used in"Behene De"fromRaavan), particularly the use of additional backing vocals which on this occasion are provided by Alma Ferovic. The haunting flute (Naveen Iyer) and guitar (Keba) are the highlight but in order to contextualise the music for aRockstar, Rahman adds drums in the chorus however you feel more was needed to make it unique and stand out. Mohit Chauhan provides plenty of emotion to portray his feelings for heer but he is very comfortable here. Irshad's lyrics are touching but lack impact. Overall,"Aur Ho"lacks the wow factor for a seasoned Rahman fan but give it time to grow on you and it's still a decent song especially for the film. Just don't expect to be returning to it much in the future.
You know there's something going for Track 8:"Naadan Parinde"that is worth listening to purely for the fact that Rahman himself sings to it! And yes it's an instantly enjoyable sufi-pop song as long as you don't expect anything mind-blowing from the music department. The song relies instead on a simple but catchy tune and the vocals of Rahman supported by none other than Mohit Chauhan (of course). Both have a blast and it shows! The expected guitar makes its presence felt with the acoustic (Keba) played alongside the electric (Sanjeev Thomas) notwithstanding the peppy drums (Sivamani). The whole package is easy to groove and pretty infectious but you will be disappointed if you were looking for a classic here. In fact, you begin to feel Rahman's busy schedule is getting the better of him after such a good start. Sadly that feeling is about to be further cemented'
"Tum Ko"(Track 9) is one of the few female rendered songs and Kavita Krishnamurthy sounds fantastic as usual, definitely a welcome break from apna Mohit. In supporting a romantic theme for the film, there's a strongshehnaipresence here along with thesarangiandtablabut what on earth is going on with the lame drum beats in the background? How do they add to the quality of the composition? Let's just cut to the chase and be frank; this is just a lazy effort from Rahman and probably the worst song on the album. Even the lyrics are plain boring. I'm sure Imtiaz Ali has forgiven Rahman so get over it quickly people because if you select SKIP on your music player, a jackass song is about to explode into your ears!
As Jordan's popularity grows, there is a need for a jackass anthem song and for that Imtiaz Ali and Irshad Kamil eventually arrive at the lines"Sadda Haq, Aithay Rakh"(Track 10) and pass them over...As if to make up ground for the dip in quality (tracks 7-9), Rahman ropes in Orianthi Panagaris, one of the zaniest contemporary guitarists (who also performed with the late Michael Jackson) and the electric guitar goes into free-fall berserker mode! The hook line"Saadda Haq, Aitthe Rakh"works a charm for the protagonist who is clearly trying to portray a message with an attitude. Mind you the rest of the lines are no less bold and enthralling, kudos Irshad Kamil. Mohit nails it here with some punchy hardcore vocals. This one should be a rage on and off the big screen'and Orianthi's guitar strums are simply mind-blowing, just turn UP that volume please and enjoy the blast!
Track 11:"Tum Ho"is a very typical romantic song but we expect more than just 'typical' from Rahman! The music is a major let down with those annoying beats marking a return of laziness and the song is left on the shoulders of Mohit Chauhan who renders emotively but again, this is well within his capabilities and no effort is made to push his vocals. As a result, the sound of his voice irritates. Irshad's lyrics are intentionally simple but alittle drab. Very average indeed.
Track 12:"Tango for Taj"is a striking instrumental with a delightful accordion played alongside a piano. Well worth a listen. Same for"The Dichotomy of Fame"(Track 13) which is a pleasant instrumental with a lovelyshehnaiperformance by Balesh and some haunting guitar strums by Kabuli. Worth a listen just to hear the way the two instruments dovetail each other.
"The Meeting Place"(Track 14) is the final track containing the voice of Ranbir Kapoor. It's a haunting piece but far too short to leave any lasting impression.
To produce an out and out high quality 14-song album takes a lot of time and effort and it is evident Rahman didn't have this privilege. What you do get is a lot of variety and some experimentation. Unfortunately the downside is that the quality is very uneven particularly in the second half of the album (songs 7-11). However, it's important to point out that the music is integral to the film and vice versa so it might sound better on screen than it does as a stand-alone album. Regardless what is obvious is that as a complete package, Imtiaz Ali's first collaboration with Rahman is not as successful if you compare it to his previous efforts with Sandesh Shandilya (Socha Na Tha) and Pritam. As for a Rahman soundtrack,Rockstarfits in the above average to good category. Only"Kun Faya Kun"and"Hawaa Hawaa"can be classed as songs that have the wow factor that we come to associate with his best music. So as expected, producing a winning 14-song album is a very tough ask for sure and there's no denying that his fans will be happy with the outcome but overall, it will not be remembered as one of his best. Not by a long shot. As for Imtiaz Ali, he might revert back to Pritam (or a newcomer) after this short but interesting experiment with a genius who has a bit too much on his plate at the moment.
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