The wait is finally over! The highly anticipated and hyped soundtrack has released of what could be the last directorial work of one of the greatest film makers in the history of Hindi Cinema. 80 year old Yash Chopra is back one last time to show that one can take a man out of the cinema, but not cinema out of a man! The creator of some of the most iconic romantic Bollywood films gets behind the camera for Jab Tak Hai Jaan۪ after a gap of 8 years post Veer Zaara۪ (2004) to once again bring love back in fashion with his leading man Shah Rukh Khan and leading ladies Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. Although Kaif is still basking in the success of her recent Ek Tha Tiger۪ (2012), Khan and Sharma have had a year off after Don 2۪ (2011) and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl۪ (2011) respectively and thus have a lot to prove in Jab Tak Hai Jaan۪ to make 2012 count.
Chopra could not have picked a better location to shoot most of his film thanLondon. To make this last project count for Chopra, the musical brilliance of AR Rahman and lyrics of Gulzar have been put behind this soundtrack that has been doing the rounds on the web and TV channels. Rahman hasn۪t done much in Hindi Cinema in the last year since ‘Rockstar’ (2011) so it is high time his fans get a treat from him. His musical talent will surely meet his high skill level with the likes of Chopra and Gulzar behind him and efforts spanning over a year to create the music of this film. The romantic setup of a Yash Chopra saga and London۪s vibrant locations should give him enough room to create what could be the most memorable music of the year.
Challa in the voice of Rabbi Shergill has been doing the rounds on TV and digitally and is a beautiful rock ballad with some exquisite guitar work and composition. It has a different sound and texture than what you typically hear from Rahman. What makes it stand out from everything else you hear is the engineering part of the song. The recording and mixing of the song is a delicate balance and is very well done. Shergill’s great vocals give this rock song a sufi touch while Gulzar sums up the life of immigrants in pure and endearing Punjabi lyrics. This is one song that takes time to grow and needs repeated listens. But once it grows, it is one to be loved. The song is shot with Khan basking in London at some of the most scenic locations which helps the likeability of the song.
The best two romantic voices in Bollywood today of Shreya Ghoshal and Mohit Chauhan get together for Saans. This is a big sound romantic number with a huge orchestra and detailed instrumentation something like what was heard in ‘Veer Zaara’. The music of this song is designed to create a magnificent visual effect for it. Vocals are crisp with lot of depth that blend in very well with the highs and lows of the music. The lyrics are an intrinsic combination of words creating scenes of love and belonging that are so strong that they can make a dead-at-heart fall in love. The song is a little too slow but will pick up commercial success right away because of its unique sound.
Canadian pop star Raghav Mathur accompanies Shilpa Rao on Ishq Shava next. Other than his skilful in-depth knowledge of Hindustani and Karnatic classical music that helps Rahman experiment with them, he has a particular passion for Arabic beats. Rahman goes modern with this song keeping focus on Arabic instrumentation and arrangements mixed with Spanish guitar. Although this song is decently done and registers an average mark, it fails to create an impact because of its vocals and typical composition. Mathur۪s vocals are great to match any pro Bollywood singer but the song is beat on a number of fronts.
Heer is yet another Punjabi song that is contemporary folk with the authenticity of the old to it. It is impossible to ignore this song for any music lover with exceptional vocals by Harshdeep Kaur. This Jhak Maar Ke and Katiyan Karoon singer has grown so much that it is easy to feel her voice full of emotions even if one does not pay attention to the lyrics. Gulzar has captured a girl’s aspiration for love very well in traditional Punjabi words that make their way quite easily to any listener’s heart. Rahman keeps the melody soft and soothing to let Kaur and the lyrics stay in the lead but in an absolute genius fashion. One needs to listen carefully to hear all the little notes of music flowing in the background that are the work of a perfectionist.
Rahman introduces yet another voice to the big Bollywood world in Jiya Re. Neeti Mohan has sung with pop band ‘Aasma’ and in the movie Bittoo Boss۪ (2012) earlier this year but working with Rahman will push a career to another level all together as she does a great job in delivering the fun and frolic in this young girl’s anthem of freedom and independence. The lyrics are very vibrant and the overall feel of the song is peppy and happy. The instrumentation is very upbeat with some great guitar and violins orchestration. Jiya Re is not very commercial but is nonetheless an awesome song.
Title song Jab Tak Hai Jaan in the voice of Javed Ali and Shakthisaree Gopalan does not create an impact that one would expect from a title song of a Yash Chopra film. The composition is something for a background number rather than a leading song. The lyrics and vocal performances are simply average with nothing worth noticing in this song.
Saans (Reprise) is yet another reminder of Ghoshal۪s vocal brilliance. With a different set of lyrics and musical orchestration to a dafli beat makes this two-minute song have a different appeal compared to the original.
Ishq Dance (Instrumental) is a sensational musical fusion piece packed with percussions on the lines of what one would hear at Southbank in London on a sunny day. The deliverance on drums and percussions are the meticulous work of Ranjit Barot and Faizan Hussain respectively who simply create magic with their hands and drumsticks. This musical piece is something that can easily be featured at the next World Percussion Festival and it will easily beat all and any competition.
Shah Rukh Khan۪s Jab Tak Hai Jaan – The Poem has been doing the rounds for some time now on social media and has gathered a lot of followers and fans. The poem has a lot of soul and romance to it thatKhan further magnifies with his husky voice and style. All credit for the beauty of this piece should lay purely with Gulzar for packing the legacy of romantic Chopra infour paragraphs.
The soundtrack for Jab Tak Hai Jaan۪ is modern and contemporary with a mix of the old to it which is as expected in a Yash Chopra legacy of making romantic films. His last project is his first encounter of working together with the maestro of music, AR Rahman and the master of words, Gulzar. This combination and their collective and dedicated work for a year has led tothe magic that is createdin many of the songs in the soundtrack. The album is inventive and does not reflect a typical sound heard in Rahman۪s music but has clear signs of ownership of Chopra, clearly indicating he had a major influence on it. The album keeps away for popular commercial music but creates a unique niche for itself with genuine hard work and talent reflecting in the songs. Some of the songs are disappointing but the others, like any Rahman or Gulzar work,will take time to grow on their listeners.It will take just afew repeated plays and it is easy to fall in love with the melody of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.
Challa, Saans, Heer and The Poem are recommended listens while Ishq Dance is a must listen for percussion lovers. The overall soundtrack is a good album to buy and has a long shelf life but it could have been better as it leaves one feeling as if something is missing.
BizAsia Showbiz Overall Rating 8/10