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Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Starring Yash Chopra – his brood , his khandani Dholkiwala and a Cameo by ARR

In an interview from a long time ago , ARR candidly admitted that there were directors who did not have a sense of what clicks when it comes to music , and in such cases it was a tad bit difficult for him to decide what suits the film and hence the output was not so great. Yash Chopra’s supposed Magnum Opus ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ does not fall into that category – not because the songs are epic ; but because the not so great output has more of Yash Chopra’s influence written over it than AR’s genius.

Remove the AR label and no one can find fault with Challa. The song begins with an addictive guitar hook and has lovely guitar arrangement. Rabbi Shergill makes his debut for ARR in a song which feels more like a part of one of his albums than a Rahman composition. The extra strong punjabi tadka and the out of tune singing at times , fails to prop the song up . A dated and middling effort from  the master which is pleasant on the ears.

Violins , Cellos , Flute and vocal harmonies circa Yuvraaj herald the beginning of Saans with Shreya Ghoshal and Mohit Chauhan doing the honor behind the mike . The song also features the standard punjabi beats which acts as a dampener. There is nothing extraordinary about the tune as such , but the orchestral work while sounding dated is commendable . I loved the flute and the string bits totally. What didn’t work for me in this case was the choice of singers : I felt that an Anuradha Paudwal or an Alka Yagnik would have made the staid tune work much better accompanied by may be a Vijay Prakash or Hariharan and yes the Dholki / Punjabi beats could have been done away with.

Ishq Shava begins with a neat riff that is more Rahman than Yash Chopra and you end up playing the song multiple times just to dig into the superb string work. Ragav Mathur and Shilpa rao do a commendable job with the vocals but its the string work which scintillates and serenades one into submission . Is it me or does the ‘Ajj Ki Raat kiski hai , kal ki raat teri na meri’ phrase (1:45 into the song) have a striking resemblance to ‘Mazhaithuli enna thavam thaan seithatho’ phrase from then merku paruva katru?  Ishq Shava is one of the better songs of the album and grows on you with multiple plays thanks to the string arrangement.

A rose is a rose by any other name . Similarly , call it whatever you want but Heer to me is one of the best picks of this album. Harshdeep Kaur enchants everyone with the dreamlike quality of her work and the dholki for once , adds to the beauty of the song instead of acting a spoil sport. There is also excellent guitar work to dig into and that whiff of violins when you catch it is very soothing.

Guitars and a peppy Neeti Mohan make a lethal combo and the fact is best highlighted in ‘Jiya Re’ which is where ARR makes his full-fledged appearance along with Gulzar.The Jiya Re phrase is a total earworm and the tempo used makes you want to tap your feet in tune to the song.If you liked Neeti in ‘Ishq Wala Love’ , you’ll love her in ‘Jiya Re’. In fact Jiya Re gives stiff competition to Heer in terms of standing and as I write this review , has tipped Heer to become no 1 song of JTHJ for me.

The lesser said of the title song , the better . Jab Tak Hai Jaan is one horrendous excuse of a song , and the superb beginning is ruined by what follows. One wonders if Rahman composed the first minute and then the baton was taken over by YRF’s khaandani dholkiwala – so misplaced and overwhelming the dholkis are – even distracting one  from Sakthishree’s hatke voice texture. Cutting and Otting scene from KanduKonden KanduKonden anyone?

Saans reprise has more of the Punjabi Beats and the tempo is slower than Saans . Even a kid can guess that this is the quintessential sad love song . One can even imagine Katrina Kaif dressed in immaculate designer wear , crying with desperation over her breakup/departure of her beloved . But does the song work – NO.

Remember that dance contest between Madhuri and Karisma in Dil Toh Pagal hai to an instrumental tune? Ishq Dance to me is just an upgraded version of that. While the fact that tune is dominated mostly by percussion instruments and choral segments is interesting , it is not that good to hold one’s attention.

The second instrumental , works much better with the guitars and sweeping string arrangements take the sting away from the inane poetry .

To sum up – quite an ordinary soundtrack for a supposedly extra ordinary love story

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