Outstanding work is displayed by many music directors today and versatility has become a given. But balance — this is an art that only the maestro A. R. Rahman has managed to master with such impeccable expertise.
With an incredible history, he marches into Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa-Akbar with confidence and skill that pours through each and every tune and seeps straight into your soul. Besides an admirable cast, the film boasts of an acclaimed director and a romantic story touted to touch the hearts of millions. The expectations are mammoth and yet Rahman manages to come up with a score that outdoes his recent Hindi compositions like Guru and even Rang De Basanti. What strikes you most intensely is the fact that despite all predictions of a classical score, the songs of Jodhaa Akbar manage to walk the fine line between historic and modern.
Embarking on a royal tune to the core, Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah is apt for the film in each and every way possible. It begins very simple beats and singers Mohammed Aslam and Bony Chakravarthy provide wonderful support in building the song up for a forceful second half. By the time the composition comes to a close, you are awestruck with a feeling of magnificent marvel at the royal feel of the song. What works most about the song is that its beats are in fact quite simple but it manages to emerge as an extremely worthy composition that leaves you tapping your feet. This is a monumental composition if there ever was one and it catches on from the very instant.
In complete contrast comes Jashn-e-Bahaara which is sublime not only because of a great composition and a heartfelt rendition by Javed Ali, but because of Javed Akhtar’s sensational lyrics. With this track, he truly proves that words are his best friends as he manages to weave them into what turns out to be a bewitching ode of love. The Instrumental version is heavenly.
Khwaja Mere Khwaja is the most surprising of the lot as most wouldn’t expect such a composition in this album. However, it turns out to be one of the most innovative tunes Rahman has composed. What’s so fantastic about it is the fact that it remains extremely classical but never seems to alienate the average listener. Soothingly sung by A. R. Rahman himself it possesses an undeniable historical quality with modern undertones. For many this one might take time to grow, but once it does, expect it to go down as one of the best of the album. The Instrumental version sounds like a quintessential classical composition from an era gone by.
In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein is undoubtedly the most accomplished composition of all with its ability to go from a subtle melody to such a powerful tune. It’s a tumultuous rollercoaster of sounds and pure sentiments that takes you through the highs and lows of burning passion between two souls. Sonu Nigam is simply magical as he takes control of the entire tune. He truly is the epitome of romance when it comes to vocals. With only a few lines, Madhushree makes her presence felt. Once again, Javed Akhtar’s lyrics deserve mention with their enchanting poetic quality. In a film based on romance, a track like this that oozes sensuality and more importantly, emotion, is more than welcome.
As the only female singer to get an entire track to herself, Bela Shende works wonders with the devotional Mann Mohana. She carries the track to new heights each time she croons ‘Mann Mohana’. Though it may not be the most exceptional track of the album, it serves its purpose well and will be lapped up by lovers of classical music. What’s so great about it is its authenticity that one can’t ignore.
This is Rahman in his purest form—completely uninhibited, brilliant and a supreme legend. With Jodhaa Akbar he comes up with an album that is complete in every way, shape and form. He stays true to the theme of the film yet goes above and beyond in delivering intricate and innovative compositions characterized by his distinct and inimitable style. Equally as important are soulful lyrics provided by the “wordscraft” Javed Akhtar. If you are expecting a score that sounds like it was composed hundreds of years ago, you will be incredibly surprised with an album that is classical yet stays true to today. Revered, regal and resplendent; hail the majestic king — A. R. Rahman.