Yashji. Shahrukh Khan. AR Rahman. Gulzar. A wait which has never been longer than this. Really, should one seriously be talking about expectations here? After all, ever since the film was announced, it was a given that its music would have to be the biggest of the year, and no less. Simple. No compromises whatsoever. With enough intrigue being built around the film's title for months in succession and glimpses of music being thrown very recently, it was high time that one caught hold of the entire soundtrack of this romantic saga which should be nothing less than exceptional.
The beginning of the album does throw you in an unfamiliar zone though with 'Challa'. Just when one expected 'santoor' to be doing the trick (something which is expected in a Yashji film, especially since the time when he collaborated with Shiv-Hari three decades back), it is actually a guitar on the forefront. Rabbi Shergill is the chosen one and though one would have still adjusted to his voice if it was for a montage sequence, it is surprising to actually see Shahrukh Khan lip-synching on him. Yes, the music is indeed very catchy (which is a relief) but the heavy duty lyrics as well as peculiar singing style of Rabbi does take time to settle in.
By the time 'Ishq Shava' arrives, one ends up wondering if A.R. Rahman was asked to basically compose his style of music with Yashji actually taking a backseat. Reason being that this number doesn't have any trace whatsoever of the kind of legacy that Yashji carries. Even on repeated listening one fails to find the legendary director anywhere in the compositions so far and that's a pity because when it comes to a film from the house of THE Yash Chopra, expectations are that of some vintage stuff in the offering. However this Raghav Mathur and Shilpa Rao song is hardly that and could have been a part of just any film.
Just when one thought that Jab Tak Hai Jaan wasn't quite an album that one expected it to be arrives 'Heer' which is a beautiful composition by Rahman. Yet another Punjabi number, it has Harshdeep Kaur doing quite well in this happy-sad rendition which has a folk flavour to it. A smooth flowing number, it only becomes further soulful in the 'antara' portions and pretty much transports you into the world that one looks forward to stepping in for this film. This is one song which has in it to rule in the charts once the film turns successful at the box office.
Neeti Mohan is the chosen for the dance number 'Jiya Re' which sounds like the one that would fit in Anushka Sharma's effervescent personality. Though yet again one does feel that it doesn't quite carry a 'special' tag that one had been looking for in each and every song coming out of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, it still manages to hold on its own. Having said that, one has to hear the song multiple times to get a hang of it and still it can't be said with utmost certainty that it would turn out to be a chartbuster in the offering.
Title song 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' arrives quite late in the day and yet again the beginning portions do remind one of the kind of sound that Yuvvraaj carried. The song begins in the vocals of Javed Ali and while the start is slow, there is a rhythmic flow that it acquires as it proceeds. Though Shakhtisree Gopalan's entry into the song at the two minute mark is rather abrupt, one just hopes that in the film's context it does aid in giving the film's narrative some smooth flow. However it has to be added that for a title song of one of the biggest films to have come out of Bollywood, this one doesn't quite cover the distance.
A three and a half minutes 'instrumental' piece 'Ishq Dance' could well have been the 'The Dance Of Envy' [Dil Toh Pagal Hai] moment of the album. However (and ironically), it comes across as a mix of Helen's dance number from The Great Gambler (remember the 'secret code dance film' sequence at Prem Chopra's den?) and 'Hothon Pe Aisi Baat' (Jewel Thief). One just hopes that the dance moves on screen are enticing enough to elevate this instrumental's perspective.
The conclusion is quite good though with Shahrukh Khan rendering the poem 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. In fact this is the only song where one experiences vintage Yashji in action where right from Gulzar's lyrics to Shahrukh's voice modulation to Rahman's arrangements justify the entire team coming together to create something magical. Expect this one to be huge, especially after the film's release.
Jab Tak Jai Jaan turns out to be a mixed bag and while none of the songs is the kind that one turns away from (it can't be imagined that way in any case, given the team involved), there are only a few which make you come back to them. Now that's not quite an ideal result for a soundtrack that had found so much attention come it's way and that too for the longest possible time. For a film like Jab Tak Hai Jaan which is supposed to be the last film directed by Yashji, the least one expected was a soundtrack that carried his stamp on it. More so since Rahman, in any case, would be heard in many more films to come as well. Moreover, the songs here could well have been included in any of his other films and with an exception of two or three songs; they wouldn't have come with 'Made for Yash Chopra-Shahrukh Khan' tag.
Of course when it comes to the sales of the album and revenue generated from other sources, it would be a different story altogether since there is immense curiosity amongst audience to check out what Jab Tak Jai Jaan has to offer. This means that while the CDs could well be disappearing from the stands in a jiffy, the fact would still remain that all credit would be more due to huge reputation that so many players associated with the film and less due to the actual content that the soundtrack offers.
Challa, Heer, Jab Tak Hai Jaan – The Poem