Jab Tak Hai Jaan (AR Rahman)

by Srikanth Mantravadi

Challa is zingy and mint fresh; Rabbi is good and a perfect choice for the song (although I don’t see how his vocals suit SRK). Also the guitar-drums combo is a complete winner. The pathos of Saans is conveyed more in Gulzar saab’s lyrics than in Rahman’s tune which has a curiously time worn 90s sound. Ishq Shava brings the soundtrack back on track; simple tune with a catchy hook which Rahman builds to a trance like effect. Heer is completely Gulzar saab’s song, the poignant meshing of Heer’s story with Mirza Sahebaan to depict the protagonist’s emotional state; Harshdeep sonorous vocals give the song great depth while Rahman is content with composing a simple, folksy tune. Jiya Re is the best song of the soundtrack, easily; Rahman comes up with a terrific tune and the orchestration with the prominent guitar and violin sound is lovely. Neeti Mohan’s singing is spunky and effortless while Gulzar saab’s lyrics capture the joie de vivre of a free spirit to perfection (I especially love the chhote chhote lamhon ko, titili jaise pakdo to, haathon mein rang reh jaata hai, pankhon se jab chhodo to..lines). This is great song. Rahman constructs Jab Tak Hai Jaan like a contemplative, background piece with alaap interludes fusing into each other. Otherwise its a song in the Chopra mould in terms of structure and orchestration. The Ishq Dance instrumental and Poem are passable.

The Chopra-Rahman-Gulzar collaboration does not reach up to the fantastical expectations I had but, again, I should have known; Rahman appears to be at his inventive best when he is freed from Bollywood’ish genre considerations (Read – with directors like Rakesh Mehra, Mani Rathnam, Gautham Menon and Imtiaz Ali). Here he appears to be reigned in by the Chopra tag and does his best within those confines. Gulzar saab has his magical touch intact, not more visibly than, in songs like Challa and Heer where he is at his philosophical best and Jiya Re. Still, a good soundtrack with songs that will last.