Jab Tak Hai Rahman? Ho hum I say…[Jab Tak Hai Jaan music review]


Music: AR Rahman

Lyrics: Gulzar

Singers: Rabbi Shergill, Shreya Ghoshal, Mohit Chauhan, Raghav Mathur, Shilpa Rao, Harshdeep Kaur, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, Shakthisree Gopalan, Shahrukh Khan

Yash Chopra is back! And so are the music-lovers’ expectations. How can one forget the heart-warming Madan Mohan-composed, Sanjeev Kohli-decorated numbers of Veer Zaara (2004) that gave parched melody lovers something to cheer about in 2004!  Apparently, Chopra searched and searched for tunesmiths until he had enough and asked his CEO (of Yash Raj films), Sanjeev Kohli, to get his late father’s (Madan Mohan) respository of unused tunes and got Kohli to re-engineer them to suit audience tastes. Jab Tak…has Chopra choosing the obvious choice of all big filmmakers – AR Rahman to compose and Gulzar to decorate his tunes.

Challa is an unexpected start to a supposedly romantic score…and has an equally unexpected crooner in Rabbi Shergill. On top of that, a clear resemblance (mukhda) to Rabbi’s Bulla ki jaana main kaun (Rabbi, 2005) does not make you feel you are listening to a Yash Chopra film score! The dancing and lip-syncing Shahrukh Khan in the video isn’t a great sight either, the only saving grace being the touristy locales. And one does expect something better and typically tricky-to-understand words from Gulzar. Challa is hummable though and has nice use of chorus singers. Methinks the composition is sourced from the Rabbi repository vs. ARR’s late night composing escapades but there is nothing on the credits to suggest that.

Saans’ opening strikingly resembles Do pal (Veer Zaara, 2004) and ARR remoulds the mukhda similar to the antara of Pyaar yeh jaane kaisa hai (Rangeela, 1995). The number is tailor-made for Shreya Ghoshal though who effectively ‘replaces’ the evergreen Chopra nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar. Although Mangeshkar is a regular feature in Chopra’s directorial ventures, she is conspicuously missing from this album …and understandably so. Ghoshal’s rendition starts beautifully like a breath and is impeccable all through taking this hummable number to greater heights; Mohit Chauhan is a letdown though.

Ishq Shava is a typical racy Rahman number that has the same feel as many old Rahman numbers …so unfortunately has nothing much to write home about. It is catchy number and with Rahman’s work you are never sure only after a few listens, are you?

Heer has nothing new but still sounds refreshing …and is beautifully sung by Harshdeep Kaur! Boy, this reality show diva does have loads of talent, doesn’t she? Instrumentation is kept to a minimum to get the melody and the feel intact.  Harshdeep touches and feels it to make it divine and very listener-friendly.

Jiya Re is quite peppy and catchy and is laced with rap interludes that ex-‘Aasma’ crooner Neeti Mohan does complete justice to. I found myself searching for the re-play button after a few hears…so will you, I reckon.

In Jab Tak Hai Jaan, ARR takes a leaf out of his O ri chhori (Lagaan, 2001) with two parts of the number running in parallel. Javed Ali seamlessly breezes through qawwali section though a ‘taking-it-to-pieces’ listener can notice a faint similarity of the final jab tak hai jaan with Anu Malik’s title track for Beqabu (the forgettable Sanjay Kapoor/Mamta Kulkarni starrer, 1996). In all honesty, I expected a better title track given the emphasis placed in Aditya Chopra-written and Shahrukh-rendered poem later in the score. May be, the senior Chopra wants to continue the tradition of having a qawwali-based number in the climax a la Aaya tere dar par deewaana (Veer Zaara, 2004). If that is true, it’s a pity that a composer like ARR needs to be in some bounds!

By this point in the album, you would like to listen again to the soothing vocals of Shreya Ghoshal and Saans (Reprise) does exactly that.

Ishq Dance (Instrumental) will take you back to Rangeela (1995) dance theme featuring Urmila Matondkar…this onethough lacks the energy and punch sans any breathtaking vocals that Rangeela theme amply had!

Jab Tak Hai Jaan – The poem is soulfully rendered by Shahrukh and seems to sum up the theme pretty well – the key question is how this one gels with the storyline.

Final verdict: If you compare JTHJ with Veer Zaara, you will be in for a disappointment. There is no melodious Tere Liye, the breezy Main yahaan hoon or Madan Mohan-adorned and Lata Mangeshkar-blessed Do pal. But ARR is no MM and hence JTHJ is different …the issue is that it isn’t completely fresh. Apart from other similarities, the discerning listeners will be able to smell a little bit of ARR’s Raavan (2010) too. For me, Gulzar could have written much better and ARR could have explored more. The crooners though play their role well and have lifted some compositions higher than where they deserve to be. Hate to label a YRF score so low….but ‘Ho hum’ I say…or (may be) a tad above that!

Songs to look out for: Challa, Saans, Heer and Jiya Re

My favourite number: Heer

My rating: 6.5/10

[Please mark your ratings on the stars below the poll. As always, you can also vote via the poll as well. Thanks!]

About Shailendra Singh

A music lover, critic and self-proclaimed aficionado!
This entry was posted in Music reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Jab Tak Hai Rahman? Ho hum I say…[Jab Tak Hai Jaan music review]

  1. Gaurav Sawhney says:

    Jiya re, saans and challa ( i thought its jhalla ) are on repeat on my phone, thought this could ( and should) be a much better album


    • Shailendra says:

      Good choice Sawhney saab, agree that it could be a much better album. Challa (or jhalla as you call it) is just a punjabi spelling for jhalla! 🙂


  2. Rishabha Nayyar says:

    Very ordinary are the numbers. Nothing that will haunt you for a while!


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