By Abid, Glamsham Editorial
It's time to celebrate, rejoice and look forward to a memorable musical experience for all the music aficionados as such great names, living legends Yash Chopra, Gulzar and maestro A.R. Rahman collaborate for the very first time for an epic romance, JAB TAK HAI JAAN, starring the King of romance, Shah Rukh Khan and Queen bee of Bollywood Katrina Kaif, Naturally it goes without saying that expectations are bound to be of gargantuan proportions and nothing short of extraordinary is expected, especially because JAB TAK HAI JAAN is Yash Chopra's (director of such classic films with great music - WAQT, DAAG, KABHI KABHI, DEEWAR, CHANDNI , DARR, DIL TOH PAGAL HAI and VEER ZAARA) last film.
Infectious, addictive and superlative, three words to describe the first song of the album. 'Challa', just the perfect start to the album, ever since the first promo of 'Challa' (meaning mad/wandering lover) was aired on various web portals and music channels, the song has lingered on the mind and consciously or sub consciously one hums it. Yes, this is what some of the maestro's great compositions can do, and to top it all, it features SRK, whose presence adds 'chaar chaand' to the number. Coming to the composition itself, what is exemplary is the choice of artist, Rabbi, the legendary Punjabi sufi singer whose 'Bulla Ki Jaana' will always remain a fav for countless fans. And so he is the perfect choice for 'Challa' as it is slightly in the same corridor in terms of spirit. The song commences with strong addictive guitar riffs (courtesy Keba Jeremiah), and is something to savour. Additionally, the super soft, highly addictive, very easy to hum and heartwarming melody is a listener's delight, and the musical arrangements (drums- Ranjit Barot, Bass-Keith Peters and percussions by Faizan Hussain and Nishad Chandra) that adorn the song are just class apart, as expected from a Rahman composition. As always Gulzar Sahab's lyrics are just too classy, though the Punjabi lyrics are simple in parts but at times they are not very comprehensible for those who are not conversant with the language. However, overall the song is simply excellent and provides a great start.
Superb musical orchestrations comprising of high Cello notes and lovely percussions, the kind of western classical symphony last heard in YUVRAAJ, commence 'Saans'. And it's the new nightingale herself, Shreya Ghoshal, the voice behind a number of award winning romantic songs who gets to croon the composition along with Mohit Chauhan. And she is simply brilliant, although it appears that the song was tailor made for the original nightingale Lata Mageshkar herself. Mohit does well but one misses Sonu here, and even Udit Narayan would have done more justice to the track. An intense, passionate, love song that may at first hearing appear to be inspired from Rahman's previous love ditties, but given a hear or two one does capture a hint from 'Do Pal' from Yash Chopra's last outing VEER ZAARA. The brilliant flute piece by Rahman's favourite Naveen Kumar is a testimony to the fact. But overall it's a typical Yash Chopra love song, the use of Hindustani instruments that finds fusion with Rahman's excellent western musical orchestrations and strings (Chennai Strings Orchestra), and this is what makes it brilliant and a treat for all those die hard romantics were pining for something more than 'sufi' pops/rock. Those who thought that Gulzar Sahab can only write abstract lyrics, 'Saans' is indeed an eye opener and can provide a tutorial for all those lyricists who cannot rise above the routine, mundane where it comes to romantic situations, as 'saans' is romance personified , the height of romanticism and passion conveyed through some outstanding but simple lyrics- 'Saans mein teri saans mili to, Mujhe saans aayi, Mujhe saans aayi, Rooh ne chhooli jism ki khushboo, Tu jo paas aayi, Tu jo paas aayi'. Simple, yet elegant and intense as well as so very effective.
The 'Saans Reprise' by Shreya Ghoshal is brief , sans any heavy musical instruments, just some lovely percussions by Sanket Naik, Darshan Doshi and Arun Solanki and hinges solely on Shreya's honey sweet vocals, and she is just brilliant here.
Gulzar and Rahman have done it before with 'Maiya Maiya' (GURU), and 'Ishq Shava' is another such highly groovy dance track that has Middle Eastern (read Arabic) flavor to it in parts. And the artists chosen to render this rhythmic dance number are Raghav Mathur and the versatile Shilpa Rao, who have contrasting vocals, which suit and complement each other. The use of plenty of string instruments like Mandolin and Saz (Tapas Roy) and scintillating guitar strumming (Joel Shearer) and not to forget, the excellent Oud piece (Tapas Roy) that adds the Arabic flavors to the song makes this a nice composition. The song does have the zing and pep to charm and some good and adept choreography should go a long way in making this number a chartbuster.
Next up is 'Heer', sung by Harshdeep Kaur in her all soulful, emotive vocals, and one does expect the song to play in the background during the sorrowful and painful times of separation. The entirely situational song is all traditional, and the old school charm of Punjabi folk song has been heard after a long hiatus, which is nice, although some nice guitaring in the background by Keba Jeremiah does lends it that contemporary touch as well. The superb lyrics by Gulzar convey the feelings well, though the all Punjabi lyrics are a bit difficult for all to comprehend.
After the traditionally somber 'Heer', Rahman passes the mike over to the highly talented artist, Neeti Mohan, who is surely making a mark on the Bollywood map to render 'Jiya Re', easily one of the best songs of the album. Winner of quite a few reality shows related to singing and a part of many Rahman live shows, Neeti Mohon has been chosen for her carefree, confident, fresh and full of life and attitude singing, and she does match the vocals of the lead protagonist, essayed by Anushka Sharma. Her diction is flawed in parts though. Quite naturally the song is quite up her ally and befitting the strong, ambitious and 'full on attitude' character of the lead here. The song is a superb blend of Hindustani and western with rap (Sofia Ashraf) thrown in as well. The melody is all Indians, the raga very catchy, the arrangements brilliantly western with some lovely guitar (Chandresh Kudwa), bass, drums and organ sounds and also the eclectic flute piece makes for some scintillating stuff. Innovative and interesting lyrics aptly describe and introduce the second female lead to the audience.
Last to arrive is the 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' poem, recited by none other than the'baadshah' of romance, Shah Rukh Khan, in his highly emotive, passionate, powerful vocals, as he conveys the intense feeling of love and passion and at the same time dejection, hurt, sorrow, hate and anger. Though Aditya Chopra has shown his writing prowess before, but here he simply excels, and he is so very good that one can be mistaken into thinking that the poem is indeed written by the lyricist-genius, Gulzar Sahab, as the poetry is of such high standard. Good use of simple Urdu and Hindi and heartfelt words that can be identifiable by all- 'Teri aankhon ki namkeen mastiyaan, Teri hansi ki beperwah gustakhiyaan, Teri zulfon ki lehraati angdaaiyaan, Nahin bhoolunga main, Jab tak hai jaan, Jab tak hai jaan'. Superb! The musical orchestration that surrounds the poem is class apart. The guitaring may appear inspired from the background score of- THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES but it does not matter as Rahman's own touches and SRK's rendition makes for an outing that is memorable and is quite nostalgic, taking us back in time to Amitabh's SILSILA (directed by the legend Yash Chopra) poem recited in between the evergreen song, 'Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum'.
Summing up, the audio album of JAB TAK HAI JAAN is indeed a gratifying experience and would be savored by the lovers of classy and quality music (the only hitch, will they appeal to the masses fed on mediocre stuffs like item numbers and too much 'sufi' pop etc?). The compositions maintain the class and ingenuity of the maestro Rahman and at the same time reflect the old world traditional charm of the Chopras, incas ed in some truly superb lyrics by master craftsman, Gulzar. Easily the pick of the lot is 'Challa' followed by 'Saans' and ' Jiya Re'. A album worth a buy and one with a long shelf life.