Thursday, December 15, 2011


Album : Rockstar
Year : 2011

Music : A.R.Rahman
Lyrics : Irshad Kamil

Obviously it’s too late to review the music of Imtiaz Ali’s fourth foray in alt. cinema, but now that we all have heard, loved, and not-so-loved the music of Rockstar, we are better equipped to weigh the odds of it becoming a milestone in A R Rahman’s luminous career.
The album begins with the aspiring small-town boy anthem ‘Phir Se Ud Chala’ sung by former Silk Route vocalist Mohit Chauhan, who also, has sung Ranbir’s all other songs in the album. The most striking feature of this song is that it has no definite tune, or rather parts, verse, interlude etc. The tune changes with, and reflects the mood of the song, but still magically collates to the beat. Towards the end, the song beautifully delves into the techno, electro-house domain.
‘Jo Bhi Main’ has a rock ballad-ish feel, with all the organ and slow lead guitar solos contributing to this effect. The bass line is awesome. The song most probably reveals the internal strife going on in the protagonist’s mind. A nice, laid back track.
Next up is the earthy ‘Kateya Karun’, a hardcore Punjabi track with powerful beats, crooned by Harshdeep Kaur and Sapna Awasthi. Kaur’s north Indian lineage is more than evident. When she goes ‘ting-a-ling’, you can feel the tickle crawling up your neck ! Towards the end, with the chimes coming in, the song turns into a sweet, melodic yearning of a woman for her beloved.
‘Kun Faaya Kun’ is what can be described as a spiritual qawwali. If not an improvement, Kun Faaya is easily comparable to Rahman’s previous ibaadat songs, which have lately become a regular in his albums. Be it ‘Haji Ali’ in Fiza, ‘Khwaja’ in Jodhaa Akbar, or ‘Arziyan’ in Delhi 6. Rahman has proved his mettle in singing ibaadats earlier with ‘Khwaja’, and so has Javed Ali with ‘Arziyan’, but the surprise addition is Mohit Chauhan, whose rustic voice contributes generously to the spiritual quotient of the song. Plus, the bass line is great.
‘Sheher Mein’ is a fun track which depicts Ranbir’s struggle as an aspiring singer. He auditions for the song with another guy (sung by Karthik), while the composer and the producer can be heard giving their cheap ‘inputs’. While Karthik sings what he is told to, Ranbir (Mohit) improvises beautifully on a silly track, for which he is reprimanded by the composer, who hardly seems to understand music. The lyrics are light-hearted and have a feel-good factor. Not bad.
In recent times, we’ve had the likes of ‘Udi’ (Guzaarish), ‘Darling’ (7 Khoon Maaf), and ‘Senorita’ (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) from the salsa-latin-flamenco genre. Adding itself to this bandwagon is ‘Hawaa Hawaa’, an upbeat song with Czech musical influences. Contrary to expectations, the song sounds nothing new. The most disappointing track of the album.
The theme changes to tragedy with ‘Aur Ho’, again by Mohit Chauhan. An aggressive, self-exploratory monologue, with nice lyrics, by Imtiaz Ali’s associate poet, Irshad Kamil. I personally have taken a liking to Irshad’s lines a lot, especially ‘Aaoge Jab Tum O Sajna’ from Jab We Met. With ‘Aur Ho’, he reinforces my belief in him as a thoughtful lyricist.
Next up is ‘Nadaan Parindey’, vocals by Mohit Chauhan and A R Rahman. The song has classic rock influences with heavy drumming, and guitar tapping. One of the few tracks which conform to the title of the album. Earlier I didn’t like the song much, but a friend of mine did, and so I listened to it again peacefully, and it did feel really good, especially when Mohit sings lines from ‘Kun Faaya’ in the later half.
‘Tum Ho’ and ‘Tum Ko’ are sister tracks, with the same scale and arrangement, with the latter being the female version of the former. ‘Tum Ho’ is a beautiful love song with touching lyrics. The beat reminds of Rahman’s ‘Tu Hi Meri Dost Hai’ from the movie Yuvvraj. In spite of that, the song is fresh, soulful, and appealing. Suzanne D’Mello’s mellow humming in the song is extremely soothing.
Kavita Krishnamurthy makes a comeback (I was so waiting for that) with ‘Tum Ko’. She too, sings it beautifully, and the best part about this song, which also prevents it from being a mere copy of ‘Tum Ho’ is the tabla, which, again, is awesome.
The current youth anthem of the country, ‘Saadda Haq’ is up next. With rebellious lyrics, and heavy distortion, the song has a grunge-ish feel. The track features Australian female guitarist Orianthi, whose last collaboration with Steve Vai gained worldwide appreciation.
‘Tango For Taj’ and ‘The Dichotomy Of Fame’ are nice instrumental tracks. While the former is on piano and accordion, the latter is done beautifully on shehnai and classical guitar. Ranbir Kapoor orates a hindi rendition of ‘The Meeting Place’, by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi.
Overall, the album sounds nice. A welcome relief from the less-worked upon, made-for-money music of recent Bollywood films. Rahman once again demonstrates his excellence. If not the best, this is one of his better works.