Friday, 12 October 2012

Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is full of big names acting, singing and collaborating together. AR Rahman, Gulzar, Yash Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Raghav, Rabbi, and Shreya Ghoshal. Accordingly the expectations are sky high and there is still another month of hype to go before the film releases this Diwali on the 13th November. However, the soundtrack was released a few days ago and is already number 1 on iTunes.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan
did not sound like a work by AR Rahman on the first listen. The songs somehow lacked some of that intangible magic that AR Rahman’s compositions usually have. This is one of those sountracks that grows on the listener. It takes a few listens to fully appreciate the subtleties in the music and to understand all the lyrics.

The title track is buried towards the end of the album. It takes a while to warm up but the slow intro allows the listener to fully appreciate Javed Akhtar’s vocal talent. The song is good but lacks the grandeur of a title track and needed to be a bit longer to leave a lasting impression.

There are two Punjabi language songs on Jab Tak Hai Jaan and both have a reflective philosophical feel. Sung by Harshdeep Kaur, Heer is a girl’s plea to be one romantic literary character over another. It’s soft, lilting and traditional. Challa by Rabbi is well rounded and provides a good start to the album. It’s nice to hear his lyrics and vocals on a Bollywood soundtrack.

Ishq Shava is Raghav’s second appearance in Bollywood. There is an Arabic vibe going on in the track and it has a modern energy to it. Whilst this track is very good, it is not amazing and I feel Raghav’s talented vocals could have been used more effectively on another track.

Saans appears twice on the soundtrack. There is the main duet from Shreya Ghoshal and Mohit Chauhan and a softer reprise version with Shreya on her own. Both versions are beautiful and haunting. The use of strings in the first version gave it a cinematic feel and added a dark note to the track. The expansive tone of Saans suits the picturisation, particularly the scene at Syon House. I was surprised that they had managed to find a traditional English phone box that was so clean.

The only instrumental on the album is Ishq Dance. It’s full of rhythmic percussion that I associate with AR Rahman, but is nothing special. My favourite track on the album is Jiya Re. It’s peppy, powerful and girly with an uplifting powerful chorus. This is the most western song on the soundtrack with a few English lyrics and pop feel. I can’t wait to see this one on film.

The Poem is the track that is the most unusual on the soundtrack. It consists of Shah Rukh reading a poem accompanied by music. Whilst the track works, the music in between the verses was a too strong and felt out of place. It would have been interesting to have Shah Rukh record the poem without any accompanying music and to see if the track was as good with his voice alone.

Verdict: Jab Tak Hai Jaan has a few memorable songs and a few hits in it. The soundtrack doesn’t quite live up to all the hype and high expectations, but by the time the film is released you may have grown to love it.

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