Blue (A R Rahman) Music Review

ARR has mentioned in one of his interviews that he was concerned about the high expectations from Blue since it’s his first release after the Jai Ho! hysteria. “It’s important that you don’t get typecast. It’s also important to give the kind of music the film requires and have fun with it!” said the maestro, so let’s keep that in mind while analyzing this album.

I’ve never heard of the Australian singer Kylie Minogue before, but she sounds pretty good in Chiggy Wiggy. (And looks beautiful as a chanteuse as well… I would surely not mind doing Chiggy Wiggy with her!) The mukhda is catchy, but the first antraa (female part) doesn’t quite maintain the catchy-ness. The transition from Western to desi (Punjabi) style is somewhat abrupt but doesn’t really break the flow of the song. Sonu Nigam handles the naughty desi part of the song with ease. The last time ARR did something like this was in Lagaan where O Ri Chhori was merged with  My Heart It Speaks A Thousand Words. Two distinct songs (one Western, one desi) are joined together with a transitory interlude, and finally they blend together to create a fusion (Anglo-Punjabi, in this case).

The only thing I really liked about Aaj Dil Gustakh Hai is Shreya’s mellifluous and sensuous rendition. That and the sound-scaping (layering) by ARR. (You might want to put your head-phones on to fully appreciate the subtle layering of instruments in this song.) Continual acoustic guitar chords and breezy piano backdrop give this song a fast flowing tempo.

Vijay Prakash, however, seem to be a wrong choice for the next song, Fiqrana, which has a very addictive and peppy tune. He is a talented singer and did wonders with Man Mohini (Yuvvraj), and shined in Sooni Sooni (Cheeni Kum) and Pal Pal (Swades) as well. But I feel that his voice (which sounds quite different in this song, by the way) has a lot of earnestness that doesn’t do full justice to the “fiqraana” mood of this song.

The background orchestration in Bhoola Tujhe elevates this soulful song to yet another level. The sound arrangement and Rashid Ali’s voice makes me feel as if this were a leftover song from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. The trumpet makes a brief re-appearance after its last outing with ARR in Ghajini (Behka). Rashid Ali has a unique voice and he handles the singing part very well – I just wish he focused on his diction. I listened to this song so many times in headphones but I still can’t decipher some words – which is sad because Abbas Tyrewala seems to have done a good job with this poetic conversation with khuda. There are just so many lazy pronunciations in this song, but simple mistakes like ‘kahaa‘ or ‘ka-aa‘ instead of ‘kahaan‘ just frustrate me and take some joy out of listening to this otherwise beautiful song. (I mean, come on, does Rashid Ali not speak and understand Hindi or what?)

Ba-loo, I mean, Blue Theme is fantabulous. There are total six singers in this 3.52 minutes short frenzy, but the most prominent vocal is by Raqueeb Alam, whose Bachchan-like voice does full justice to the attitude of this song. The heavy percussion and adrenaline tempo gave me goosebumps in the first few listens, and I am sure it will sound even better with the on-screen action sequences in the movie. I liked the imagery of “kabhi surkh lahoo hai, tabhi rang blue hai“. But why, oh why, ba-loo?

I absolutely loved Rehnuma – easily my pick of the album. Shreya  Ghoshal’s magical voice dominates this jazzy number – she cruises her way through the highs and lows in this song. Sonu’s contribution is significantly smaller but his seductive voice does leave his trademark on this song.

Yaar Mila Tha reminded me of that natkhat song from Bombay, Kuchi Kuchi Rakamma. Without the R&B’ish beats and supporting vocals, this song would have sounded like some outdated duet from the 90’s. Udit Narayan is accompanied by Mahalaxmi here (instead of Kavita Krishnamurthy). Udit’s voice is slightly modulated (what’s it called, the sonic-sound?), and with any other song that would have been a turn-off for me, but the naughty playful tune and lyrics make up for that big time! I am eager to see this song on screen – as the situation described is pretty unique and interesting, and I am not sure if  “Teri wafaa ke kisse ab ga rahi hai duniya; har maa kahe bete se la aisi dulhaniya…” is a sarcastic take on the alleged bewafaai of the dulhaniya or not.

Barring a couple of songs, I didn’t quite liked the album during the first few listens — which wasn’t the case with Delhi-6 that blew me away in the very first listen. But they certainly grew on me after two days of repeated listening. So if you don’t like the songs initially, have some faith and give it some more time!

Overall, I don’t think this is one of the best albums of ARR, but given the premise of the movie (action thriller), I think ARR has really tried to push the envelop and give a soul to this presumably soul-less movie. (Yes, I do think that this is going to be another mindless Bollywood thriller, albeit with impressive visuals and well-choreographed action sequences.) Oh, and I wish the singers – other than Sonu, Shreya and Udit – paid some attention to the correct pronunciation… but that’s often the case with many of ARR’s albums, isn’t it? So there.

I can’t say I have drowned into the music of Blue (at least not yet!), but I am certainly enjoying a dubki (dive) or two.

Earlier music reviews: Delhi 6, Jodha Akbar

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12 responses to “Blue (A R Rahman) Music Review

  1. rc

    Fiqrana was originally made for Farhan Akhtar. Vijay Prakash only sang it when Farhan turned it down.

  2. what on earth does ‘fiqrana’ mean? Never heard of such a word.

  3. Vishal

    @ RC,

    So Vikay Prakash was the second choice for Fiqrana… that figures! Why would Farhan Akhtar reject an offer from ARR? Has he gone insane after the success of Rock On!! or what?

    @Aditya,

    I don’t know if Fiqrana is an official Urdu word or not, but you can infer the meaning easily: Jaise shayar se shayarana, dosti se dostana, waise fiqr (worry) se fiqrana.

    • I could make out what it means in the context of the song, but to the best of my knowledge no such word exists. If at all the lyricist was being all innovative and coining a new word, it should be ‘fikrana’, not ‘fiqrana’.

  4. Melih

    Thank you very much

  5. Jeffrey

    A well written Music Review. Congrats.

  6. Pranav

    May be “Ba-Loo” or “Bi-Loo” is someone’s name in the movie????

  7. Vishal

    I hope that is the case! 🙂

  8. bharath reddy

    Blue sure isn’t one of the best of ARR’s. The last album that blew me off was Delhi-6. My pick from Blue is ‘Bhoola Tujhe’. I’ve listened to it over 50 times already and I’m not tired of it.

    dude! You certainly seem to have quite some insight on music. I cant hold myself from appreciating your ‘ear’ for detail, in terms of pronunciation, in terms of music arrangement. I also like the way you compare similar sounding ARR’s numbers from history. Great going. By the way, I wrote my review too (check out – http://bharathreddyt.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/blue-hindi-movie-music-review/). After reading yours, I know I’ve a long way to go.

    Way to go!

  9. Vivek

    Apologies for the late comment. But I had to respond to this :

    “(I mean, come on, does Rashid Ali not speak and understand Hindi or what?”

    Exactly that. In case you didn’t find out already, Rashid Ali grew up outside India (in London) and does NOT speak and hardly understands Hindi.

    Liked your review otherwise!

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