Jodha Akbar Music Review

After a long wait and unexpected delays, here comes the latest offering from A. R. Rahman (aka arr).

 

The album opens with Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah which will virtually take you right to the battlefield! Bugles, heavy drums and percussion, chorus that sounds much like a war-cry, all together create such an environment that makes your feet tapping and your heart beating with an adrenalin rush. Wait till you hear the mind-blowing percussion before the second antaraa. Also, the progression from Chan Chanan Nan Nan” to Marhaba Ho Marhaba is really catchy. A perfect introductory song for the mighty Emperor Akbar. Jeetna Kahen Hum, Utna Kam Hai; Tehzeebon Ka, Tu Sangam Hai.”. Akbar’s efforts to bring two cultures together, are aptly captured in words here by Javed Akhtar

 

  • One thing I am a little confused about is: how the King is addressed as “Tu” in this song, as in “Tu Shaan-E-Hindustan”. When it comes to showing respect, Urdu language is actually very particular about the emphasis on politeness (called takalluf or aadaab). Addressing someone, who is not extremely intimate, as “Tu” is considered informal and even derogatory. [source]

Jashn-E-Bahaara stole my heart at the first listening. Javed Ali is at his best. Lyrics by Javed saab are just awesome. The opening words Kehne Ko adds very imaginative irony to the fact that love is considered a joyous celebration, but love itself is bemused (Ishq Yeah Dekh Ke Hairaan Hai”) by that because there seem to be many shades of pain along with the colors of joy (“Chhupa Hai Koi Ranj Fiza Ki Chilman Mein”). I think this song has all the ingredients and potential to work very well with the masses.

 

  • The lines Ishq Yeah Dekh Ke Hairaan Hai reminded me of Gulzar’s “Aye Hairat-E-Aashiqui from Guru. 
  • Also, the starting chords (some Arabic/Persian version of acoustic guitar?) of this song sounded somewhat similar to the lines Tinak Tinak Tin Tara” from Imli Ka Boota song from Saudagar movie (Music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal). The tunes are not identical though, there’s a vague similarity, which I am pretty sure, is totally accidental.

Arr has always wowed me with his Sufi Qawwali type songs: Piya Haji Ali” from Fiza, NoorUn-Ala-Noor from Meenaxi, “Zikr from Bose, and “Al Maddath Maula from Mangal Pandey. Here’s one more which belongs to that “Sufi cannon” of arr gems, Khwaja Mere Khwaja. Although, I have to confess that this song didn’t leave a lasting impression on me (when I compare it with the other songs mentioned above) from first few hearings, I am pretty sure that this song will grow on me slowly, like an aged wine! 

 

  • This qawwali is very well suited for this movie, especially because Akbar was a devout bhakt of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. [source
  • Arr seem to be working hard on his Hindi pronunciations, as it seem to improve with each Hindi song he sings. However, there are some flaws, like how he pronounces chhaaya for example, that I am not sure if it’s because of his singing style, or because of the fact that his native language – Tamil – alphabet, lacks the letter chh.)

Add Mira’s devotion and pang of separation to Radha’s passion for Kanha and you get the recipe for the next devotional song (bhajan) Mann Mohana. Bela Shende’s pleasant voice is very well suited for this bhajan. The set-up of this song and minimalist musical arrangement is pretty similar to the songs from Water.


My pick from the album would be In Lamho Ke Daaman Mein – probably because I am partial to Sonu’s honeydew voice and flawless pronunciations and also to arr’s knack for fusion songs. How wonderfully arr has combined Javed saab’s Urdu poetry, with Arabic instruments and style, with Hindustani classical alaaps in between, with choir-ish interludes! I loved the part where Sonu sings along with the chorus Kyon Hai Yeh Aarzoo, Kyon Hai Yeh Justajoo…”

 

  • Notice how Javed Akhar has carefully used Urdu words (pakeeza, qalma, fariste, falak etc.) for the lines that are written for Akbar (who, as we all know, was a muslim), and used Hindi words for the lines that are written for Akbar’s hindu princess Jodha (samay as opposed to waqt, kaaya as opposed to jism/badan, prem as opposed to ishq). Kudos to Javed saab!
  • This choir based interludes gave me dejavu feeling and reminded me of the – much milder and mallow – chorus Donston Se Joothi Moothi that breaks out in between antaraas of another arr classic: Chupke Se” from Saathiya.)

There are two instrumental versions in the album, which are quite good (especially the Oboe Instrumental piece). 


Overall, Jodha Akbar is another great album by arr. An instant classic. I have been continuously listening to these songs since last few days, and I can’t get enough of it. We had to wait really long for the release of this album, but it was completely worth it!


Having said that, I am not very sure if this is going to work well with the masses or not. Two concerns comes to mind: (1) Some songs (especially two devotional songs) are only for ardent arr fans, and (2) The wonderful Urdu poetry by Javed Akhtar would be difficult for many to understand – and this can hinder the overall catchiness of the songs.


Here’s a complete track-list [source]:


Song

Singer(s)

Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah

Mohd. Aslam, Bonny Chakravarti & chorus

Jashn-E-Bahaara

Javed Ali

Khwaja Mere Khwaja

A. R. Rahman (Lyrics: Kashif)

In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein

Sonu Nigam & Madhushree

Mann Mohana

Bela Shende

Jashn-e-Baharaa

Instrumental – Flute

Khwaja Mere Khawaja

Instrumental – Oboe


 

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6 responses to “Jodha Akbar Music Review

  1. Nirmal Simon

    I personally love the Khwaja number. Found its lyrics on freehindilyrics.com and think the song is very well written. A R Rehman has done full justice to Jodhaa Akbar’s songs

  2. Vishal

    Unlike the other songs of this album, the Khwaja (and Man Mohana, for that matter) song grew on me, as I speculated and mentioned in my review. Now eagerly awaiting the music release of Yuvraj.

  3. Very good review.. really enjoyed the khwaja song as well

  4. Vishal

    Thanks Pratish.

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