Two-time Academy Award winning music composer AR Rahman has saved the best for the last in his next film, Shaad Ali's romantic comedy Ok Jaanu.
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What we have seen and heard from the album so far are three songs that touch upon the frivolous and tender moments of a live-in relationship. But a relationship encompasses a myriad range of emotions which have not been reflected in the album yet. However, four songs of Ok Jaanu, the videos of which have not been released yet, are in fact the best of the album.
The rationale for this could be the way the film is being marketed — an ambition versus love story; or a young romance. That is probably why the makers have released what has been trending these days: a fast-paced number like the OK Jaanu title track, a peppy remix of a classic in The Humma Song and a romantic number by Arijit Singh in Enna Sona.
The title song clearly stands out as the best of the three. It was only fair that Rahman lends his breezy vocals to the title song. The lyrics by Gulzar follow a peculiar rhyme scheme and lend the song a sense of liberation.
The Humma Song, which has been criticised by the '90s kids' on social media, is in fact one of the better remixes we have heard recently. While all other remixes resort to increasing the tempo and tweaking the lyrics, this one, on the contrary, slows the pace down which actually complements the intimacy of a bedroom sequence. The turn off is Baadshah's rap which sounds completely out of place.
Enna Sona is just one of the typical Arijit Singh romantic songs that we have been hearing these days. However, this one does not have the same recall value even though it is yet another rehash of a classic by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The four tracks, visuals of which have not been released yet, are the hidden gems of the album.
Jee Lein is the most unique song of the album. It is sung by a host of vocalists including Neeti Mohan, Arjun Chandy and Rahman himself. The male voices in this song have been toned down as the pitch is much softer in order to lend it a resonant touch. This modulation is in sync with the soft EDM genre. In case the visuals are equally powerful, it can serve as a soothing yet energetic number on the lines of 'Phir Se Udd Chala' from Rockstar or 'Safarnama' from Tamasha.
'Kaara Fankaara' is another song adorned with western beats and musical instruments. It borders on a lyrical hip-hop, a rare occurrence in Hindi cinema barring dance dramas like Remo D'Souza's ABCD franchise. Rahman has roped in the unbelievably gifted Hard Kaur and Dinesh Kanagaratnam for the rap portions of the song. These portions fit in organically given the entire song qualifies as a hip-hop and is a welcome U-turn to the conventional, rather than blindly attempting to fuse rap sequences into every second dance number. (Read: The Humma Song)
The other two songs land on the other side of the spectrum as they are semi-classical. Just like Kanagaratnam, Rahman borrows Jonita Gandhi and Shashaa Tirupati from the south who have also lent their voices to Ok Kanmani, the Tamil film which has been remade as Ok Jaanu.
Tirupati sounds like a younger version of the veteran Rekha Bharadwaj in Sunn Bhavara which is arguably the best song of the album. It not only has been serenaded beautifully but is musically and lyrically sound. The age-old collaboration of Rahman and lyricist Gulzar come into play in this number which is a familiar area for both the veterans.
Similarly, Gandhi enchants the listeners with her effortless yet soulful aalaps in 'Saajan Aayo Re'. It's what the maestro Rahman is known for - a soul-stirring rendition that settles gradually within you, and stays there long after the song is over.
However, these four songs are the ones you listen to on a loop when you are in a laid-back mood. They are not high on lyrics but create magic with their vocals and music. Going by the theme of the film, the first three songs which are more fast-paced and formulaic have been pushed more into the market.
If you don't like them, do not worry. There is much more to come which is certainly the best that Rahman has to offer in this film.
Ok Jaanu stars Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson. It is produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions and Mani Ratnam's Madras Talkies. The film is slated to release on 13 January.