Jab Tak Hai Jaan [Music Review]

Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Shahrukh Khan

As previously discussed in my post on Challa, a YRF soundtrack by A.R.Rahman, and lyrics penned by Gulzar – that in itself brings a weight of expectations and anticipation from listeners. Having listened to the entire soundtrack a few times now, I can safely conclude that this is no where close to any of Rahman’s finest, or even better works. The soundtrack of Jab Tak Hai Jaan seems to just flirt with different themes like a confused movie with no plot, trying to please every demographic. We’ll get to that when we discuss the songs, so hit the jump.

Challa: There is not much more to say here, than the first time around. Rabbi overshadows the filmi identity of this song, and as a stand-alone song, it does sound like a Rabbi single. It has grown on me in the likability section, but I still cannot associate it with SRK, or Yashraj. The Punjabi lyrics also make me feel left out to pick up on the metaphors and deeper meaning, even after reading the translation. Too many complaints.

Saans: Starting with some prominent contribution from the strings section, this almost sounds deceptively close to something out of the Yuvraaj soundtrack. Or may I say even, that the intro sounds like Hans Zimmer at work (minus that flute..yes I almost saw Gotham). Shreya sounds shrill, and Mohit sounds nasal. But my biggest problem with this track is the inclusion of the daphlee which attempts at doing a jugalbandi with the other electronic percussion beat. The result is a whole messy sound, rather than a smooth blend. I even checked if I had two instances of my music player open playing two separate tracks. The picturisation is yet another generic YRF sweeping shot, but we’ll not get into that for now. The lyrics are conventional romantic stuff ; have a sample.

Kab tak hosh sambhale koi
Hosh ude toh
Ud jaane do

DID.NOT.WORK.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Saans

Ishq Shava: There are heavy Persian sound influences here, and by now, it has started to sound overused. There is nothing new to this arrangement anymore, but Rahman still gives it a go. Raghav’s voice sounds like KK, but it is Shilpa Rao who impresses. Only outstanding thing about this track is the face-melting flamenco/arabic-sounding acoustic guitar solo. It is foot tapping no doubt, but as easily forgettable. Be warned, you might have an unusual Mashallah déjá vu.

 Heer: Now we’re talking. Harshdeep Kaur’s slow intro (which reminded me of Tu Hi Meri Mandir) gives way to some heart-wrenching ambient Sufi sound. Gulzar’s Punjabi lyrics, this time around, are easier to interpret. The reference to Mirza-Sahiban spells out “Gulzar genius”. And just the right amount of orchestration aided by the violins and subtle percussion help elevate this track from being just another romantic Sufi number. This is easily my favourite of the soundtrack.

Jiya Re: Another guitar heavy track, this one sounds straight out of a Salim-Sulaiman YRF soundtrack, and is going to be picturised on Anushka Sharma (who is named Akira in the movie, whoa!! anime influences). Yes, given that this is a YRF production, one of those girl-power intro songs to banta hai. With a very catchy groove to it, this is a very likeable track. Sung by Neeti Mohan ( remember her from the Channel V second postars band Aasmaa – y’know Chandu ke Chacha), we are offered the usual rock-chick vocals, with rock-chick lyrics about making way for Akira, and even how she loves herself (?).

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: This is the most YashRaj filmy track of the album. It has filmy written all over the arrangement – from the usage of dholaks, to sitars. It is exactly the kind of track, which would guarantee an SRK arms-wide-open moment, and a Katrina/Anushka hair-fluttering moment.  It is hard not to like Javed Ali’s sweet serenading vocals, and he doesn’t disappoint. Shaktishree Gopalan makes her entry in the second verse on a higher key than the original, which helps elevate the overall feel of the song. Did I like it though? Can’t say.

Saans Reprise: Oh they did a reprise of an already terrible track – SKIP SKIP SKIP. For those still curious, this is a slow, solitude se bhara, udaas version of Saans.

Ishq Dance: This is nothing compared to any of Rahman’s other instrumentals. There is something chaotic and haphazard  about this piece, and seems too rushed and unpolished.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan Poem : This is the poem narration by SRK which was the track for the first teaser of JTHJ. Strictly for SRK fans.

So, overall the album disappoints. The only tracks I liked were Heer and Jiya Re. Challa and the Title track get an OK stamp at best. It is sad because this was supposed to be a monster soundtrack which would sweep away all the awards next year. But more than that, this is the old man Yash Chopra’s last movie as a director. And to see other YRF movies such as Band Baaja Baraat, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, or even Ishaqzaade having much better soundtrack than this one, speaks of how much of a let-down this soundtrack has turned out to be. It isn’t terrible at all, but it certainly does not fit the tin it comes in.

Rating: 2 Challas Out of 5

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