Rockstar | 2011

Composer: A R Rahman

Author : Srivathsa

Synopsis: A lengthy and rewarding album from A R Rahman.

It has been quite some time since I reviewed any music album. The explanation shouldn’t be attributed to my languid attitude (I’ve been writing for the movies). Blame it on the inspirations. I, for myself did not feel enthused to write and I’ve been waiting for the time, an album would draw me closer to waking up from the budding threat of dormancy. The occasion has come with the advent of sweeping music in the form of A R Rahman’s “Rockstar”.

“Rockstar” , to begin with is a Hindi film directed by Imtiaz Ali, featuring score by whiz kid (kid???), Rahman. The chronicle of Rahman , after the recent “Super Heavy”, continues. The potency of the subject and the title of the movie, before the audio was released, made me envision the sort of music, Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s “Rock On” had to proffer. My superfluous dreams were filled with prospect of that sort. Well, it is not. This is an overall unusual experience.

The album launches with “Phir Se Ud Chala” sung by Mohit Chauhan (he covers the whole album though). The number starts with the guitar strums and as the voice protrudes in a melodic tone, the strumming tends to take the shape of what I would say is ethnically similar to “Vellai Pookal” from “Kannathil Muthamital”, but in its own novel approach. Talking about the poignancy and the joie de vivre of the song, it is stimulating and tender at the same time. When the techno rhythm starts over, the echoes take over. Each time, Mohit is not at the high note, he tends to intentionally murmur. And yes, as wished-for this adds up to the ambience. Then, arrives the hall-sounding “Jo Bhi Main”, by Mohit. With all its “ya ya” hum and echo choirs at the opening, this takes us to the slow poison concept that we are pretty much used to with Rahman’s music. As Mohit takes his voice to fill in the first interlude, the song takes higher notes, sung fervently, unluckily, the tender tone submerges, every now and then. The guitar works in the second interlude to move the number with a slightly improved pace.

The variety of the album, covers the rustic Punjabi piece of work by Harshdeep Kaur, with additional vocals from Swapna Awasthi. This song with starts as a dholak based banal first liner, it moves to a daunting and haunting third liner. The string break is surprising and the one that should be accredited to the versatility of the master at work. Not to forget the little bit of windy flute. The second interlude is relatively flat (the one nearing the end), but helpful along with the lady’ voice.

Every time Rahman turns his mood to saintly and celestial tranquility, a new version of habitual sufi music is born and each time it inspires, scintillates and reinvents me. “Kun Faya Kun” , rightfully sung by A R Rahman, the razor-sharp melody man, Javed Ali and Mohit (without whom, Rahman had in all probability decided there should be no song that should subsist in this particular album). The song is staggeringly composed. Rahman starts the proceedings, Javed Ali enters (pity that he plays a minor role) an of course Mohit follows, all the way. With the harmonic progressions and table percussions, the song brings in the serene tone that it intends to and the glory faithfully belongs to the master, whose voice lurks in deftly. The interludes blow us away only a touch lesser in texture of the beloved “Khwaja Mere Khwaja”. This lenghty song, starts its silent second interlude and then passes into a phase of genuine Rahmanisque musical behaviour.

“Sheher Mein” is peppy, sleek and when along with the backing percussions, Karthik starts, it sure sounds like one hit. Scales change and so does the percussions, intermittently pulled over by a situational voice. Mohit, hits a high note after a while, ceases with a howl to bring in the synth strings. But then the song is a short one, Alas! What follows this number in the album is “Hawa Hawa”, the number on lines with the super sexy “Mayya Mayya”, only in a miniscule way. Mohit speeds up the notes to a higher pitch, where in wild toned choir follows in. Splendid of course, is the pace narrated by the music itself. The intermission of lead guitar tends to plunge into sort of “Ramta Jogi” style. But when the lyrics begin again, the violins that run at the background and towards the end are markedly beautiful.

“Aur Ho” , the next one in the line, is haunting, profound and riveting. Mohit and Alma Ferovic spread all over the song. The periodic rhythm adds up to the heavily plummeting ambience. This is spectacular! Equally predominant is the following flute bits along with the song. Right now and only at this point of time, the only slightly let down of the album is “Nadaan Parindey” sung by the composer himself. Well, the song grows in to you. Wonderful composition. “Tum Ko”, sung by Kavita Subramanian, is mild, feeble and so darn lovable; when the sarangi along with the tablas pitch in, I thought I just felt what Rahman could do with his magical, yet mystical mind. Brilliant is the word, if only acts on a superlative mode.

Heavy guitar strumming tinted with harmonics and the stranded, longing voice of Mohit, marks the beginning of really what should be the major reason for the naming the movie “Rockstar”, “Saddaq Haq”. It takes its time to set the rhythm up, but when it does; it really does, if you only knew what I mean. Mohit even reminded me of Sukhwinder towards the middle and that’s a compliment and the song marches to the end with a fitting pitch. “Tum Ho” is the harmonious finale. Its breeds on and on. More of a lullaby, this number is as lovable as “Tum Ko”.

“Rockstar” is a kind of album with a lot of diversity; It there by lies as a proof of how resourceful can A R Rahman be; not that he needs to do so. Listen to it; you might not like it the first time; but coerce yourself for a second one and you’ll never let it go; you’ll be thankful to me for saying this.

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