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.