Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Name Is Khan: Music review

Music Composers: Shankar-Ehsaan- Loy

If there's one thing that has been a constant with Karan Johar, it has been his terrific music sense. He has a keen ear for breezy, peppy chart-busters --- It's Time To Disco or Kaal Dhamaal, You are My Soniya, Rock N Rock are examples. But the quality that has proved invaluable for the success of his cinema is Johar's emotional staging of romances, that are weaved with rich, silken smooth musical melodies. The chorus, the profusion of sounds - all enable him to achieve the grandeur and larger-than-life picture he loves to create. The celebratory, playful tunes of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum and even Kal Ho Naa Ho gave way to a pristine, haunting soundtrack with his last film, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - a superlative one! Invariably then, Johar's music has wonderfully complimented with his stories, making the songs extremely important to his film's narratives.

Johar's latest My Name Is Khan understandably would have posed plenty of challenges before him and his favourite music composers Shankar -Ehsaan-Loy. The essential seriousness of the subject - the film is about an autistic Muslim man whose love for his wife is put to test, amidst the backdrop of the 9/11 terror attacks - somewhat restricts their scope in terms of variety and mood. They've opted for a familiar musical template, with hardly any invension in terms of instrumentation or sound. This makes the album somewhat generic with a certain sense of deja vu.
But commendably enough, S-e-L rise above some of these problems and lovingly put together six musical pieces, steeped in Sufi flavour, that make for consistently good hearing, and occasionally scale some gorgeously melodic peaks. I call them musical pieces because each song appears to be composed part by part, as if meant for different moments and moods in the film. So at least three of the best songs in the soundtrack - Sajda, Noor-E-Khuda and Tere Naina are all very long, with variations in tunes, orchestration and singers.

Sajda is already gaining popularity. Like most of the tunes in the film, this one too is kept simple and easy to hum. But with its earthiness ( brought out by singers Rahat Fatel Ali Khan and Richa Sharma), the classical notes, the awesome orchestration (after the mukhda), Sajda turns out to be a wholesome, rich song that will serve the film very well

Noor-E-Khuda starts out like any other breezy number, alternating between Shankar Mahadevan and Adnan Sami's voice. But it turns out richly rewarding, as the tune rises to a crescendo and then falls to a tragic strain... so that by the time Sami goes on a high pitch with 'rooh jam si gayi, waqt tham sa gaya' in that awesome voice of his, it gives you a few goosebumps. Shreya Goshal's rendition is another high point in the song. This is an elaborately structured song, with a definite emotional sweep.

Tere Naina again starts out in a simple way, only to reach a rare moment of high passion with 'Aise nainon ki baaton mein....' The song has its charm, though one starts to get the feeling that Shankar Mahadevan has overused his voice for the album. He's fabulous of course, just a case of too much of a good thing not being good.

The MNIK theme music is wonderful and one hopes to see some magic on screen with this.

From here on, the album somewhat loses steam. Allah Hi Rahem has a good hook to start off with but it falls short. Compare this with Vishal Bharadwaj's Tu Mere Rubaru for Maqbool and you'll know what's missing. The last one is Rang De which seems to be put together taking bits and pieces from the rest of the sound track.

The lyrics by Niranjan Iyengar is a mixed bag. There are a few lines of beauty, like this one, “Mujh pe barsi jo teri nigahen, Meri saason ne badli adayein' in Tere Naina - Lovely!
But overall, the lyrics don't act as a clutter-breaker at all in this album where all the songs are basically in the background and speak of the same thing -devotional love. So tiresomely, every song almost is an ode to the lady and her eyes! The lyrics only add to the feeling of repetitiveness.

Over all though, My Name Is Khan bristles with sincerity and has its moments of melody. Along with the film, the soundtrack will certainly make a bigger impact.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

tere naina isn' sung by shankar mahadevan, it is sung by shafqat amanat ali! Good reviw otherwise. :)

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