AR Rahman is back with yet another Bollywood soundtrack. Not that he was missed or anything but the double Grammy winner, Indian of the year, composer of countless chicken-soundtracks and of course ‘God of Music’ to many in the country does create a sugary hype around a movie if he’s listed on the titles. Of course I have a special thing for him and so do his fans for me.
Rockstar is an upcoming flick directed by Imtiaz Ali. The film stars actors Ranbeer Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri in lead roles. The lyrics have been penned down by Irshad Kamil. With Rockstar, Rahman has replaced Imtiaz Ali’s favorite Pritam. Whoa! I wouldn’t debate about the movie right now. It is said to be Shammi Kapoor’s last last silver screen appearance. And that just made me pre-book the tickets in my imagination.
Let’s come back to the soundtrack. If you look at the CD cover and track listings, it’s a typical AR Rahman soundtrack. Rockstar is not going to be an exception no matter what. The last soundtrack I reviewed from Rahman was Raavan and that was way back in 2010. I’m sure all analysts, music-pundits and Rahman fanatics would agree that Rockstar’s music is bound to generate sales and rise expectations. Will Rockstar’s music live up to the hype? Will it bring back Rahman from the limbo? I’ll decide.
1. Phir Se Ud Chala
Mohit Chauhan seems like he’s hit it well with Rahman. No points for guessing why – he’s on the vocals for nine tracks in the soundtrack. The first one Phir Se Ud Chala is a typical Mohit Chauhan track. You almost find it hard to locate the AR Rahman touch to the music here. It’s like one of those classic Coke-Pepsi tests, if someone didn’t tell you the composer is Rahman, you would even accept Anu Malik or may be even Pritam. A more than usual track with absolutely nothing special about it. A terrible start to what was supposed to be an exciting soundtrack. No points to Rahman.
2. Jo Bhi Main
And it’s Mohit Chauhan again. This is the track they’ve been promoting all over national television. The lyrics for Jo Bhi Main have a feel-good factor throughout the song. My curiosity increases further, is Rahman outsourcing his music now? This sounds like a classic case of automated music playing in the background. Damn, the Chinese? Two points to Mohit, one to Irshad and none to Rahman.
3. Katiyan Karun
Bollywood now has a thing for Punjabi tunes. 90% of those are typical folks tunes in a loop (eg. jugni [repeat infinitely]). You’d expect something different from Rahman, right? Well he does deliver. Well almost. Katiyan Karun has Harshdeep Kaur on the vocals with Sapna Awasthi backing her up. Harshdeep lives up to the expectations from the song and in fact does a brilliant job. Extra points to Rahman for not making this sound like a typical Pritam-filled Punjabi Bollywood track.
4. Kun Faaya Kun
And the man takes the microphone. Kun Faaya Kun features AR Rahman, Javed Ali and Mohit Chauhan on the vocals. As much as I hate Rahman for his ability to sell soundtracks using pure hype, I like his voice as a singer. On any other day Kun Faaya Kun could have been a tune Rahman pitched for Jodha Akbar. A soft track and that’s what makes it bearable. A neat attempt I must admit.
5. Sheher Mein
Boy this is turning out to be more of a Mohit Chauhan album. Another track sung by him, this time featuring Karthik. The lyrics are kiddish, the music in the background is rather funny but I guess that’s what it was supposed to sound like. Probably a track where they’re showing Ranbeer showcasing himself as a singer in the movie. Surprising how Bollywood directors are ready to screw up the soundtrack like this. Imtiaz could have just stuck to Pritam.
6. Haawa Haawa
This is one huge soundtrack in terms of number of tracks. I have high respect for you if you’ve come this down and are still reading my review. Fill in a comment below and I might courier the CD to you. Haawa Haawa is another Mohit Chauhan track you’ll go on to hate. Right now I feel like smashing my head against the wall. WTF Rahman?
7. Aur Ho
The seventh track turns sour. This one is supposed to be a sad song, you’ll probably be sad enough already by the seventh track in the soundtrack. Boring is still an understatement. You can almost listen to Rahman crying in the background. Is this Rahman or is it Imtiaz making him sound so bad? Let me remind you guys – the movie is called ‘Rockstar’.
8. Tango For Taj
Oh look ma! An instrumental. The best track in the soundtrack so far. I bet Imtiaz doesn’t know about these and Rahman just managed to push these into the track lists secretly.
9. Tum Ko
Kavita Subramaniam! Her voice is just too good to miss. Tum Ko brings back old memories. The music backs her up decently and the lyrics add to the soft-touch feel of the song. A pain reliever is what I’d tag this one with.
10. The Dichotomy Of Fame
Another instrumental. Three points in a row, way to go Rahman!
11. Nadaan Parindey
I’m seriously tired now and I’m making serious typos while writing. Nadaan Parindey is a cool title for a track, may be it could be a cool title for my autobiography. Alright let’s not get distracted everyone. Personally, I love this track. Everything mixes so well, this is what Rahman is all about. Lyrics, vocals and music – it all blends well. Sadly the soundtrack is almost over. There’s still hope as Rahman scores another point with this one.
12. Tum Ho
I wonder if they paid Mohit Chauhan the same amount they paid AR Rahman. Tum Ho is a mediocre track, coming from Rahman. But hey he’s already set a very low standard with all other tracks in the soundtrack. Feel free to skip this song entirely.
13. Sadda Haq
And on the 13th track, Imtiaz slaps himself – the movie is called Rockstar. Rahman has almost taken off all his hair on his head by now. Sadda Haq is the track they’re relying on to work for the movie, supposedly become yet another Bollywood anthem. I don’t know why but this isn’t really cool. The song doesn’t make me wanna watch the movie, neither does it make me feel like Rahman is still the same he used to be. Something is seriously wrong. Or did they ship me the wrong CD?
14. Meeting Place (Based On A Poem By Rumi)
An instrumental to end the soundtrack. Beautiful. My headphones are almost crying out loud for subjecting them to such audio-blasphemy.
I’ll just sum it up in very few words – Rockstar’s soundtrack sucks. Except for two tracks and decent instrumentals, there’s nothing Rahman-like with the soundtrack. You’ll be wasting your time, money and bandwidth. Have mercy on your ears and overlook this one. Wait till Rahman gets back to his senses. I’ll rate it 1/5.