Warning: May contain traces of satire and humour
This is, unfortunately, an unpaid review. Hence, most of what’s written here is not made up. This can be very disappointing to some of you who read mainstream media, so please take it slowly. Media is after all a business and a source of bread and butter for many people. And bread and butter is definitely expensive, especially in India.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the unbiased vigilante blogger. In fact, I tried my best to get paid for this music review. Apparently, Rockstar’s PR was not in a mood to humor a small-time blogger like me. Completely unfair, since being fond of Rehman’s music I would have written a pretty nice review anyways!
So, this review wouldn’t be too nice. Because it is written for free. So Mr. Cheapstakes, you can wipe that mocking smirk off your face. Let’s have a look at Rockstar’s playlist:
Jo Bhi Mein - Mohit Chauhan
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah… I can this one sing too. Have to appreciate the sense of humour of the lyricist Irshad Kamil (even better than me in this regard). The album starts with the ‘Rockstar’ yelling ‘Oh yeah, yeah’ and the audience, accepting the challenge, yells it back. This goes back and forth till you can guess who wins in the end (Hint: it’s the guy with the mic).
The song is heavily set on guitar strings and the mimicry abilities of the singer (cost-cutting measures?), while it introduces you to the apparently always-misunderstood-protagonist. You cannot imagine someone better than Mohit rendering this rock-pop composition. The song immerses yourself into a rock concert minus the sweaty t-shirts.
Kateya Karun - Harshdeep Kaur & Sapna Awasthi
Can music tickle your ears till you smile? Yes it can. Listen to this one. Not sure what vodoo music engineering that Rehman employs but the opening of this track is a quirky yet hilarious stereo experience. It is great for testing your new 200 buck earphones and be unjustifiably happy about it too. How do I know that you have cheap earphones? You are reading a free review, aren’t you?
Countless Punjabi Bollywood numbers have been created filled with ‘Ahuns’, ‘Oyes’ and ‘Brrrrraaahs’. So what makes this one different? Glad that you are wondering the same thing as I did. Funny, how that works. I guess it has to do with the innocent naughtiness in the lyrics and an equally fun rendering by Harshdeep.
This song made me wonder why I like Rehman’s music. I realised that it’s because I understand what he is trying to convey through his music. To my musically untrained ears, when he foreshadows the ending of the track with deescalating string chords I anticipate that we are slipping into a dream. Ending on that dreamy note, I believe that the entire song is a roller-coaster ride suited for a coming-of-age situation.
Phir Se Ud Chala - Mohit Chauhan
There he goes up again… well, that’s what the song’s title literally means. I am not sure what he does up there but I guess it’s an occupational hazard with rockstars. They are high up there all the time. So probably that’s what this trippy, trancy song is all about. Not bad for, emmm… those meditative moments.
Saadda Haq - Mohit Chauhan
This the song that screamed from the top of our set-top boxes. The lines that were intentionally strong to create that intentionally strong effect. The song that was set to be the youth anthem. Except it didn’t.
Saadda turned too saada in the wake of dozens of oh-so-anguished-wanna-be rock songs preceded it. Every producer wanted to cash in on the rock-craze, I guess. Hence to the DK-Bose generation the impassioned lyrics might sound a bit… tame? However, it does stand apart from the recent rock ballads with Mohit’s raw energy. Oh yes, there is that signature “Oh yeah” all over again.
Kun Fayakun - A.R.Rahman, Javed Ali & Mohit Chauhan
How many hit sufi-style devotional songs can Rehman create? Unlimited, apparently. Like a crazy fan, we fall completely in love with the soulful music and philosophical lines sung by Rehman and team. BTW, why is Mohit in every song? Is Mohit - the ‘Rockstar’?
Sheher Mein - Mohit Chauhan, Karthik
Enjoyed this parody of a typical dhink-chak Bollywood number complete with a sleazy producer interrupting from time to time. It’s a literal slap in the face by Imtiaz’s team on the crass commercialisation of the music industry that adds masala catering to every demographic, suggestive lyrics for the controversy factor and catchy jingles for higher ringtone sales.
Thoroughly enjoyed the entire track where you can hear a toned-down mushy Mohit, who breaks out in the interludes to his wild raw form. This song would probably show the inner turmoil of a rebel artist bending backwards just to pay his bills. The result is fantastically comical.
Hava Hava - Mohit Chauhan, Viviane, Tanvi, Suvi Suresh, Shalini
Ever happened that you had to listen to a foot-tapping Middle-eastern number with all the cheering and clapping, but never managed to understand a word of why or what they are so happy about? Ever tried to fill-in the words with an imaginary storyline of why they are so happy? Come on, you must definitely have. That’s exactly what is happening in this track.
Beware though, the enthusiasm in this track in highly infectious. When you set to listen to this on your 5.1 home theatre speaker, it’s likely that you would have gotten up and started dancing in Turkish folk steps. Possibly, your neighbour would be also doing the exact same thing.
Aur Ho - Mohit Chauhan, Alma Ferovic
This is a song that takes itself too seriously. It talks of breakups and sadness. Apparently, there is a certain following for such songs. They love the ‘depth of emotions’ in such numbers. Sorry folks, this isn’t really my cuppa here.
Tango For Taj - Theme
Reminding you of the background scores of late-seventies movies like Bobby or even tamil movies like Mouna Raagam, this instrumental score carries an endearing nostalgia about it. However the Turkish dance troupe (whom we met a few songs back) gate-crashes into the party. From then on, as you can guess, it’s all clapping and cheering. Gotta hate their cheeky enthusiasm for that.
Tum Ko - Kavita Subamaniam
Finally! A song without Mohit! I was beginning to wonder if there is one. This is one of those so beautifully rendered female numbers that draws you in completely. Rehman has done this before, most recently, with Sherya’s Mannipaya. In that song, the apology rendered by her is so touching that you end up weeping at her feet, pleading forgiveness. Ok, who was apologising again?
The Dichotomy of Fame - Ft.Balesh on Shehnai, Kabuli on Guitars
A fusion of Indian shehnai, middle-eastern strings and western violins is all I can say. Yes, I am beginning to get lazy with this review thing. Did I mention that I wasn’t paid?
Naadaan Parindey - A.R.Rahman, Mohit Chauhan
A mellowed down rock song where Rehman’s voice is surprisingly soothing.
Tum Ho - Mohit Chauhan, Suzanne D Mello
The male version of Kavitha’s song. Not as exceptionally good, but great for long-drives nonetheless!
The Meeting Place - Ranbir Kapoor
Ok, this is not even a song. I am definitely not reviewing this one!
It’s risky to write about first impressions for Rehman’s creations. His music tends to grow on you on repeated hearings. Time to stop the tape and rewind. Maybe I will change my mind and be nicer.
BTW, you are welcome.