Karan Johar has brought the magic of Bollywood back to the big screen with his brilliant film Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. The film, which stars Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, and Shabana Azmi, has garnered rave reviews and is a global hit.
The director brings the heart and soul of Bollywood with story, style, dance, romance and especially with the music! The songs of RRKPK, by the acclaimed composer Pritam with lyrics by the amazing Amitabh Bhattacharya, harken back to the classic Hindi film songs but with a new vibe. Mind-blowing, spectacular, and full of Bolly-music brilliance come to mind when describing the soundtrack. Read on as we take a closer musical dive at the tracks of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.
If you have seen the Tum Kya Mile video, you know it takes you back to the classic Bollywood song sequence, and I love it. However, the amazing thing is when you hear ‘Tum Kya Mile’ alone, this composition, with the lyrics and singers, takes this love song to another level. Starting off with a beautiful lilting piano line that just made me smile, the addition of Arjiit Singh’s vocals brings all the feels. I loved it and was only seconds in. That gorgeous piano line continues, but then Pritam layers a hint of an Indian classic percussion beat. A full orchestra is added to the mix, then expanding the grounding traditional dhol element; it creates his wall of sound. Contributing to that wall is Arijit’s soaring vocals – perfect. Of course, Shreya Ghosal is brilliant; she brings in another tone and feeling that makes the song even better. The composer fills the whole track with many different tempos, flavors, and emotions; it is just phenomenal. This is a song you should listen to with headphones – I heard so much more of Pritam’s incredible arrangement, making me adore the piece even more —a pure treat to the ears. I was utterly transported into a love song, and yes, on a snowy mountain! And no, I did not sing along to the refrain! ‘Tum Kyaaaaa Mileeeeeee’….
There is also Tum Kya Mile – Shreya’s Version, which I could not wait to hear. A different lilting and, simultaneously, spritely melody gives the track a new aura. Again, of course, Shreya is flawless singing with a perfect tone and so much feeling. I love her voice on this song, her intonation, and some of those notes…wah! It is a unique song in every way, which I loudly applaud. Close your eyes and just listen. And that ending… I actually sighed!
We also have the Tum Kya Mile Radio Edit, which loses some of the depth of the sound with the cuts. The main composition and brilliant vocals are there, but it is missing something. So stick to the original track.
In, What Jhumka? Pritam brings essences of Asha Bhosle’s classic song ‘Jhumka Gira Re’, composed by Madan Mohan, to this lively new modern dance beat. Arijit Singh and Jonita Gandhi are in good voice but get lost in the overwhelming music. Ranveer raps with a very rapid flow that impresses, but it doesn’t fit within the world of this song. I liked the track as I listened, but I wanted to love it. However, after watching the video and seeing Alia and especially Ranveer’s spirit in the dance, I really loved everything about it. This is a song that plays better in the video and, I am sure, on the big screen. Also, be prepared the ‘What Jhumka’ hook happily will keep popping up and playing in your mind!
Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal are back behind the mic for Ve Kamleya. Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi join them to bring Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics to life. The beginning notes, both in music and Arijit’s vocals were very promising, but it did not live up to it. The main track line stayed on the same musical level with no real feeling. Arijit sounded as if he was struggling and fighting with the music at points. Shreya’s vocals were good, but the mix of the music and the vocal lines seemed to be missing something. I can’t put my finger on it; maybe if they lowered the background music a bit? A favorite moment is the chorus sections, that adds a grounding deeper layer, it brings the song to another level. It is a good song, but without the chorus and the added vocal lines by Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi, ‘Ve Kamleya’ would seem a little light in depth, especially for a love song. I liked it, but I wanted and needed more! It will play better during the film, and, as it often happens, I know I will surrender to love with this track.
From the first note of Ve Kamleya (Sufi Version), I thought, yes, this is what it was meant to be. Oh, that beginning is perfect. The great vocalists Shadab Faridi and Altamash Faridi are back and amazing. Asees Kaur, with her exceptional vocal performance, brings the richness. The harmony of the voices in the beginning with prem kahani line is marvelous. This version transposes to the lighter music line like the original, which, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed in. Adding the acoustic guitar, which I usually love, seemed out of note. However, it is saved by the resonance of the singers that create more feeling and depth. As I said for the original track, I hope to love it more within the prem kahani of the movie.
There is also a third version, Ve Kamleya (Redux), sung by Tushar Joshi and Shreya Ghoshal. The composition still had the lightness, but the whole percussive underlayment throughout the track made it extra special. Tushar Joshi was terrific in his expressive delivery. Shreya shines even more, if that is possible; I loved every full of feeling and perfect note she sang. The harmony of these two brilliant vocalists, wow! It also has the fabulous chorus sections and soaring solo lines. It just all seemed mixed in a better way, the singers stood out, and the music supported and brought out the caliber of Pritam’s faceted arrangement. I was going to write only a line or two about this version since it was a Redux, but it is my favorite. Within the reel of the Prem Kahani of Rocky Aur Rani, this track and the singers bring love to life. I cannot wait to see this version on screen, be it a sequence or a montage!
From the first dynamic notes of Dhindhora Baje Re, Pritam takes us inside a celebration in rythmn, lyrics, and vocals. The dhol beat gets in your soul, and I am dancing while I listen and trying to write. Darshan Raval sings energetically, and you feel the rejoicing of this moment in his notes. Bhoomi Trivedi joins in, and I absolutely loved her voice quality, the color of her tone, and the spirit she brings. Both are the perfect voices for this track, but Bhoomi Tiwari is just a bit more perfect. Loved the staccato instrumental interlude that included vocals as notes. The build of the ending is incredible. I could say more, but I want you to experience this song for yourself. In the song video, we see that, as only Karan Johar can do, the piece is showcased in a visually outstanding sequence. Just wow all around!
Sonu Nigam and Shilpa Rao bring excellence with Ro Lain De. The hauntingly mournful vocal at the beginning was exquisite. This track brings you back to the sounds of classic Hindi films, this time, the moving songs of longing for their love. Sonu Nigam sings with so much soulful emotion you feel everything. Shilpa Rao adds another layer of vocal greatness with her range and euphonious delivery. The background music supports and adds even more beauty. I got so lost inside the music that my eyes were closed, and I was swaying to the instrumental sections, well, the whole track, instead of writing my notes. ‘Ro Lain De’ started more as a ballad, but then, as Pritam does so brilliantly, the song expands musically, and you don’t want it to end! Oh, I want to see this on screen!
There is a total dance groove featuring the heartthrob of the movie, Ranveer Singh, aptly titled Heart Throb. Dev Negi delivers an enthusiastic vocal line which is excellent. Even with the overwhelming back music, Negi commands the song and does not get lost. I wish Pritam had stripped it down just a bit; this time, it was too many mixes of instruments. I think playing at a party or in a club; it will bang. Ranveer’s perfect performance in the dance sequence takes the song a step higher – I loved the video. I imagine it is even better in the film.
Kudmayi (Film Version) brings the magical musical sound we associate with Indian films: to, to, to good! The video is a celebration of the union of true love, and the visuals take your breath away. Bravo, Karan Johar! But this is not a review of the song video; it is a review of the song. This track is everything that makes a Hindi film song great. I love every single note; the composition is perfect. The musicians always are talented, but just listening to this track, you hear their commitment and brilliant and emotional playing. It has been a while since I felt the musicians’ feelings coming out in their playing. Shahid Mallya brings the love, the sadness, the joy, and more. It is a marvelous performance. I know this will mean even more in the film, but listen to it alone; it is musical perfection. I wanted to play it again before it was even over.
There is also another Kudmayi track that is sort of a remix. That percussive line from the original runs under the track but also brings a more modern beat. The combination is fine, and they flow well together. Some of the musical breaks are just odd; they were unnecessary. Sachet Tandon creates a mood with his vocals; you feel him and the lyrics. I liked it, but I prefer the film version.
The Saregama Carvaan Melody is steeped in melodies from the film music of the 60s. In case you did not know, the Saregama Caravan is a digital audio player with over 5000 evergreen Hindi film songs preloaded. This melody, I imagine, is playing on a Saregama Caravan and will feature in a special montage within the film. The music is a blending of classic film songs with, at points, a new flavored tinge. Both Shashwat Singh and Jonita Gandhi are fabulous. I loved hearing the instrumentation that you know is a classic tune as soon as you listen to it and the unique intonation of the lyrics, especially in the first section. Just bask in the music memories. I loved it. This song is definitely one to hear and see within the film’s context if you have yet to see it!
I highly recommend listening with headphones to get the full experience of the songs and the incredible singers and musicians. Then, if you have not already seen the movie, fall in love more with the music as you watch the prem kahaani play out.
Thank you, Karan Johar and Pritam, for this incredible soundtrack! I loved falling into love and dancing to this superb album’s music and cannot wait to listen to them all again.
Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is playing at the cinema now!