Music Review: Jodhaa Akbar

So Ashutosh Gowariker is back, with the same team of A.R.Rahman and Javed Akhtar who have tasted huge success before with Swades and of course Lagaan. And this being titled ” Jodhaa Akbar” expectations are obviously sky-high. The Hrithik-Ash Jodi, the budget from UTV breaking through the roof, and the stellar visuals shown in the trailer, of course , Gowariker promises all of that including good music. Only this time, it is not as good as it should sound. Jodhaa Akbar, the soundtrack, disappoints and can at best be termed as one of the most mediocre works of the creators- A.R.Rahman and Lyricist- Javed Akhtar. And no, no amount of good picturisation can save the utter drag of the OST. What you expect is of course, music that lives that period and yet has a contemporary appeal , something which Rahman isn’t new to. But forget the period part, it doesn’t appeal either.

Let’s deal with it one by one shall we? The soundtrack opens with a very predictable Opening theme of sorts. The kind you’d actually picturise to feature on a Mughal period movie. Azeem-o-shaan ShahenShah is heavy on percussions, is absolutely ambient and the grandeur comes across in the sound arrangements. The Chanan Chans and the sound of the courtesans at Akbar’s court, and the praise to the Emperor are all summed up in this song, but at almost 6 minutes, this is a never ending praise-tale, and all I can compare it to is an audio History lesson. The swords are clinging and the sounds of celebrations, I can see how Gowariker is going to put this down to celluloid.

Jashn-e-Bahaara begins with Arabic belly-dancing percussions and an unpolished Sonu Nigam’s voice…oops this one’s Javed Ali. This sounds too modern for the 16th century, and no, it is still not a great song. This is so not pleasing to the ears and it seems Rahman had to rush to the loo and hence finished it in a jiffy. The santoors, harps, and the extra effort on making the arrangement sound arabic doesn’t help it at all. This song is just complete waste.

Third track- The harmonium , the Qawwali Harmonium, it reminds me of Piya Haji Ali(Fiza) or perhaps Mann Ye Baanwra (Hazaaro Khwahishein Aisi): that signature vocal sound of A.R.Rahman and there he goes-Ya Ghareeb Nawaaz….oh the bass and the keyboards, the claps and the ambient chorus, and then..the Tablas happen. Khwaja Mere Khwaja rules the entire soundtrack. The bass continues to go strong and then, we have an unknown wind instrument going solo. Needless to say, the ease with which Rahman hits the high notes gives the song an exalted feel. The tabla tempo changes near the end, as the song crescendoes.

And as expected, Sonu Nigam features in at track 4:In Lamho ke Daaman main. The words are absolute magic here–In Lamho Ke Daaman main, Paakezah sa Rishta Hai . I guess Rahman saved Sonu for the best. There is an intoxicating echo element in this song. Madhushree started as the other Sadhna Sargam, but post Yuva (Kabhi Neem Neem), I wonder if Sadhna Sargam is the other Madhushree. I can totaly see Ash expressing “Prem Aag main Jalte Dono Hi….Tan Bhi Hai, Man Bhi…”, and the flute takes over. When it comes to Rahman, the structure of a song, more than often, defies definition. Same is the case here. This one is a bit of respect retainer for the soundtrack.

Rahman has given us O Paalanhaare and Pal Pal Hai Bhaari, both Bhajans written by Javed Akhtar. With “Mann Mohana“, the directors intention was to deal with Jodhaa’s Hindu roots. I don’t know what to say about this one. It is for sure not an ordinary song, but at the same time, I wouldn’t actually remember this one after listening to the whole soundtrack, or perhaps watching the movie (unless Ash does “something”). Further the portion: “tum bin paau kaise chain kanhaa”…sounds exactly like …Saawan Beeta Jaaye (Ajahun Na Aaye Baalma from Sanjh aur Savera). The lyrics though are very compelling, and Bela Shende sounds so close to Shreya Ghoshal.

I didn’t care to listen to the instrumental versions of Khwaja Mere Khwaja and Jashn-e-Bahaara. I’ll just leave it to the movie for now. I’d rather go back to Khwaja Mere Khwaja. My verdict: Buy the single of Khwaja Mere Khwaja if possible. Rest of the soundtrack is just a complete waste, and is going to get drowned in the lavish sets glorifying Mughal Architecture through the lens of Ashutosh Gowariker and the moola of Ronnie Screwvala. Peace.

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26 thoughts to “Music Review: Jodhaa Akbar”

  1. I am very sorry to say only one thing… You seem to miss a good sense of music. It appears like you are jealous of Rahman’s popularity. If you are unable to recognise and realise the greatness of His Music in this film, there is something wrong individually wrong with you and you need phsycological treatment

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  2. What a great way to attract the audience. Write completely negative on something thats good. Honestly it doesn’t look like you have heard this album twice and that may be you haven’t heard at all or that either your ear or your audio system is just the most eligible to be in the garbage bin

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  3. @ Vithur,
    My music sense, well I guess that’s a personal thing. As far as me being jealous of Rahman, c’mon, what do I get out of it? I worship him and I have been a huge fan of his work since Roja, Bombay, Kadalan you say it. Considering his earlier work, and his commitment towards providing a complete soundtrack with no compromises whatsoever, Jodhaa Akbar’s OST stands at absolute mediocre levels. Take even Guru for consideration, or Saathiya, Yuva, ( forget his best works Roja and Bombay), and you’ll see the quality of each and every track, and also of the soundtrack as a whole. I highly appreciated KHwaja Mere Khwaja, and you need to read it again I guess. Well, my friends do find me weird, but I guess its 30 years too early for me to visit the psychiatrist.

    @Suresh:
    I don’t seek attention by speaking negative, and umm..I guess, you just read the first para and rushed to write the comment. I didn’t write completely negative. I worship Rahman more than any other guy would, but that wouldn’t mean I’d go ahead with false praise. Admit it, Jashn-e-Bahaara is completely forgetable. I wake up and sing Jaage Hai Der tak still( which is not one of the popular songs of Guru), which reflects the genius of Rahman in giving a complete soundtrack. But he fails this time, like it or not, with the exception of Khwaja Mere Khwaja, which is still playing on my Creative 5.1 Inspire ( not a crap audio system I’d say).

    But then, after all Music is all about personal taste. No hard feelings!!

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  4. “Admit it, Jashn-e-Bahaara is completely forgetable”

    Uh, no, I won’t admit because I don’t agree with it. It’s a very melodious, beautiful track, simply composed and heartwarming. I respect Rahman for using musical restraint for a lot of his songs and the melody is easy to hum and very appealing.

    “But he fails this time, like it or not”

    Maybe to you, but not to most others who I have spoken with. This is a soundtrack that needs to grow, like a ot of other Rahman soundtracks. The sound quality and instrumentation in this soundtrack is top notch. The melody is beautiful. The arrangements are first class. The diversity of music is so colorful. Yes, your opinion is your opinion, but what’s not to like? Maybe too soulful and classical for your tastes. Rahman has created music suited for the film….nothing more, nothing less. As it should be. You can’t expect foot tapping, catchy numbers in this soundtrack, except for the first song which is a celebration song. Rahman scores big time with this soundtrack.

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  5. This is no wonder the worst music review I ever read. The reviewer not only lacks music understanding but also lacks in English writing sense. I would really like to see the educational background of this person. Rather than listening to songs, the reviewer seems to be more interested in Aishwarya doing ‘something’. It’s a pity and shameful that such rotten minds write music review here.

    ps. Thank u so much that you did not listen to those instrumental pieces. They are simply not meant for someone like you.

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  6. I dont understand the people behind this reviews, they sound more involved with the people then with the music. who is giving the verdict here, and is aking for the way the songs have been picturised. I think these people dont even have a clue of that era to say the music does no jusitice to it. you have an opinion, give one, but in the sanity of an individual and not the public and the era and history. And for that first one AZEEMO, really hold your breath, because in this life you cant imagine how the song looks like.

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  7. wow…wow..I am so overwhelmed by the emotional uproar in the comments section. May be I could call it the outcry of the Rahman Hardcore Fan Club. One thing though, I am the dean in that club. But it doesn’t at all mean,(yet again) that I’ll suck up to him even for his mediocre and not so good compos. Sorry!! It’s good though, everyone’s exercising their Freedom of Expression.

    @ Vishal: No, I ain’t any Anu Malik.

    @ Doell: Really, WORST?? Music Understanding…umm..no, I won’t say I lack that. English, well I’m writing my TOEFL in two weeks, and that comment ma’am isn’t at all encouraging. Lady Doell, what has my educational background got to do with writing a music review. But if you should know, I am a Software Engineer, from NIT. I don’t fantasise Ash doing something, I just hope the song is elevated than its current level, that the soundtrack offers. Wow Wow…u are really into identifying my mind’s chemical state.
    Let’s just hope that the movie is better than the soundtrack.

    @Meera: No clue about the music of that era..ahem ahem. I have been literally bred on Razia Sultan, Akbar the Great, Sword of Tipu Sultan et al. So, well, I don’t take myself to be totaly ignorant here. As far as picturisation is concerned, that’s only going to elevate the entire audio experience, right. I really would like to believe that Ashutosh does excel my imagination with the way AZEEMO looks.

    @ ALL: I know you all are really pissed at me for writing a “not positive” review. I am as huge a Rahman fan as anyone here. May be more( which I’m tired of defending). But please understand the thing, that even he can screw up, and come out with unpolished, unfinished and mediocre results like Jashn-e-Bahara. Rahman also has a lot of forgettable soundtracks under his belt, like Tehzeeb, Love You Hamesha, Priyanka. While Jodhaa Akbra might not be forgettable due to “Khwaja Mere Khwaja”, no one will be humming or even remembering “Jashn-e-Bahaara” three months from now. I still hum ” Dekho Naa” from Swades at times, and that is the power of melody. Hail Rahman!

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  8. @ Amit:
    Sorry Amit to disappoint you, I have been listening to the soundtrack for the last 5 days now, and I just can’t get the feel and the fire, that Rahman’s music promises. Except for Khwaja. Azeemo works for me at certain levels and In Lamho Ke Daaman main is good, probably because Sonu and Rahman combined can’t go wrong. Good though, that so many people are happy with the soundtrack, and its only me who’s whining. Is it just me?? May be.

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  9. sujoy ,
    i think the songs wont be chart busters, but there is no doubt that the music and the songs are awesome. except for man mohana, I think rest of the tracks are just awesome.
    Each of the songs having a distinct flavour.

    And i think jash ne bahara is not a complete waste. All my friends love this song. “This is so not pleasing to the ears” Ohh please I think you should clean your ears .

    IMO you should try reviewing the music again… have fun

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  10. aight yaw..this is what me say..isten up lil kid…
    i bet this was your comment on lagaan and swadesh..heck almost all of rahman’s albums when it just got released…so here’s what u do dongg…go take that audio disc of yours..or
    the illegally downloaded version u have(if u have em)…and listen to it.. like again..and again till u don’t forget it…yaw…amnesia should not be a reason to hate songs…aight duck-brainz..peace out..hope ya listen to it more so u familiarize urself with rahmans new tunes…then come here and read others comment..stop reviewing aight..no offence mate..

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  11. @ALL: Peace Guys. First of all, I ve never heard of this site before and why would i consider reading the review given by our Music expert MR.SUJO. Well he may or may not be an expert but he is entitled to his opinion. So lets all forget this and keep listening to JA.

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  12. @ Cherian:
    I seriously am feeling like the victim of the official Rahman fan club backlash. Please,…chill out. If Jashn-e-Bahaara doesnt appeal to me, it just doesn’t. When was the last time when you allowed a Rahman song to grow on you. It catches your attention right away and makes you shiver (like in the case of Yu hi chala chal, Kabhi Neem Neem, Sun Ri Sakhi, Tu hi re…u know the list), or it just fails to do so…tk for example the Bappi da song..Ek Lo ek Muft from Guru. That doesn’t in any way undermine Rahman’s talent.
    I bet, Khwaja is going to be a chartbuster. But the soundtrack as a whole, isn’t.

    @shio
    Ok, I don’t happen to comprehend such a language apparently.
    Aight = Alright?
    isten= …umm..listen?
    duck brainz..hmm..my prof used to call me tht, now I earn more than him,
    familiarize with Rahman, ahem ahem, someone need a lecture on the making of the soundtrack of Dil Se, or Boys, or Thiruda Thiruda. No just kidding!! Rahman’s music isn’t small in any possible way, he and his music are as Big as INDIA, or even the world. And why the fish should I stop reviewing. Get a life!!No offence mate. Go fly a kite, and yeah play Pukar’s Audio CD if you have it.The track I recommend is “Kismat se tum”. Now that;s a Rahman track. Aight!!

    @Maddy:
    First things first, The names SUJOY. Never heard of this site, coz its sparkling new. Glad that you cam here. Am not any music expert, just a disappointed fan of Rahman expressing his feelings over Jashn-e-Bahaara, and probably Man Mohanaa as well. Hello, don’t forget me. Shall be back with the movie review when it releases. Thanks btw for being the only one supporting my entitlement to my opinion. Peace!!!

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  13. I accept that except 3 songs all the others are mediocre…..bt i dont agree that the album is a complete waste.you have to consider the fact that its a period film happenin some time in the 15th century,u cant have a ‘wher’s the party tonight’ or ‘its the time to disco’ here.we should not comment anything unless we see the visuals.I think rahman sir has done enough justice for the movie and it’s theme.we should also see that its the director who finalises the tunes,a composer cant force the director to have his tunes jss bcos it would click with the audience.so ashutosh would have thought that these tunes suits his situations perfectly……..bt i think no one else would have done justice to this alsbum,as rahman sir did…….

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  14. @g:
    With much much respect to Rahman Sir, I’d like to say it all over again, Jashn-e-Bahara is pretty mediocre compared to the music of his calibre. And duh! I am no fool to expect Mughals grooving to DJ Suketu. Good that you still belive that he has done justice to this album, and well, I think, it could have been way better. Thanks for the visit mate! Enjoy the site.

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  15. @shio iohh….please please for the sake of all that is true ,beautiful and holy…please write your comments in decipherable english. Your writing makes u look like a misplaced Texan cowboy discussing A R Rehman.

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  16. Mr Sujoy,

    Surely you being in so called “NIT” reflects your music and English skills n sense….but a request dont use your freedom of expression as an excuse ……its a feeling of depression reading such amateurish and naive reviews…Grow up kid…you are better off writing for loops…leave the reviews for the learned

    Nirvaan
    Sony BMG

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  17. I agree with you only with the point that Kwhaja Mere Kwhaja is the best song of the film. The music is better than that of Guru though not up to the mark of Rang De Basanti. It is the best music that can be given to a Mughal film. Azeem O shaan Shehenshah is the second best of the album. The music with the sword fighting and the instrumental music at the end of the song are exquisite.
    It is the best song in terms of technicality. He gives a touch of Tagore’s music in Inn Lamhon Ke Daaman me. You could have wrote better about it.

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  18. @ Nirvaan,

    Feels great that my small blog post has been able to create such an unexpected uproar that the business itself,( by that I mean the signing off with Sony BMG) is replying. Feels really honored. As far as NIT goes, there’s hardly anything called “so called” when it comes to NIT. It is either NIT or it just isn’t. How it reflects my music and English skills is well pretty irrelevant. I believe that you are taking for granted that Engineers can only talk bull shit and are creatively just umm…well mechanical? Ok take this, Shankar Mahadevan is an Engg from REC Calicut.
    As far as freedom of expression goes, I have never used it as an excuse. If I feel that the music is mediocre in every sense, not only considering the standards of AR Rahman, but also by a period-genre movie made my Mr.Detail Gowariker himself, I’d simply put it so, no matter how much worship Mr.Rahman.
    Me better off writing loops. Okay, how ’bout this little detail.
    My fav track on the album- Khwaja Mere Khwaja- hear the prominent harmonium?
    Historians are outraged at this. Why? The Harmonium originated in France and were brought to India in the 19th century by Maula Baksh, long after the Mughal Empire had met its dusk.

    And well, if you at all think good music is only understood well by the learned, I’m afraid to say, it ain’t good at all. I don’t need primary education to get thrilled by Bach’s notes, neither do I have to dispose my degree of Engineering to praise Rahman’s music. I hope we are through!!
    No offense. Just freedom of expression. ROFL. Peace 🙂

    Am still not brave enough to bear the 3hrs 40 mins. This weekend doesn’t seem good healthwise. Hmm….INOX is likely to see a fart erruption.!!!

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  19. wow.. i really diodnt want to comment on this until i had heard the whole soundtrack or watched the movie… now dat i have watched the movie … i concurr with the reviewer … 🙂 … whenever i watch watch a movie(Ithink everybody around does) i come out of the hall humming the soundtrack .. its always fresh on ur minds … wen i came out of jodha akbar… i was humming khwaja mere khwaja and hey there delilah i was listening to just before leaving for the hall … Jashn-e-bahara … well hey does dat song have any other note … as for as azeemoshahenshah well of course its in a different league.. the picturisation made all the differnce .. its an awesome video 🙂 … as for the rest of the music… was it there really?? its really fun to read all the idol worshippers close their eyes and just blabber nd blabber 😛 … nd yea one was so kind enough to list his credentials for commenting on the post … SONY BMG wow … 😛 .. if u really think music is just for the learned maybe u shuld shut shop … u can just get make a network and sell the music to all those “learned” pple u know …

    for every one not so learned … peace \m/

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  20. WOW…people are reacting too much on a blog for a movie which in entirety is not so great.
    Some people, seems have made it big and have commented in a not so good way, just cos the blogger to them is a novice.
    After watching the movie and hearing its soundtrack, I don’t care how anybody rates this movie. I rate both the movie and music a 2.
    And people, who want to comment, don’t get personal and comment on someone’s qualification or how that affects someones listening.
    Movie is mediocre and there is nothing wrong in saying that…guys who don’t like this, were you paid to fight against this blog. Sony BMG – REST IN PEACE.

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  21. Bhai!!Tze kya ho raha hai.
    I just don’t understand when we stop worshiping individuals. Rehman is a great musician, probably greater than all indian musicians of this ear together. But what it has to do with Music of JA! He didn’t live upto the expectations, he has build over so many year. Everyone is bound to be compared with their prior work.

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