There are good expectations from the music of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. After all Ashutosh Gowariker has been an accomplished film maker and when it comes to films that bring with them a sense of patriotism (Lagaan, Swades), the music has always been a highlight. He may have moved on from A.R. Rahman to Sohail Sen but the latter's compositions in What's Your Raashee? had proved that the replacement was not a bad idea at all. Now that Ashu has entrusted Sohail to create a much bigger (and relatively serious) soundtrack in the form of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, one hears the album with keen interest to know if the man manages to deliver. Javed Akhtar writes.
First things first - Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey takes time to sink in. Music here is not bad by any means but it is not instant coffee that hooks on to audience in the very first listening. In fact one has to give the album a hearing - once, twice, thrice - and it is only then that the songs start registering themselves. This is what is evidenced in 'Yeh Des Hai Mera' which reminds one of the namesake tracks in Swades. However, the mood, treatment and setting of the song is totally different here as the revolutionaries get together to see that light at the end of the tunnel. Sung by Sohail Sen himself, this soft sounding number has a distinct Rahman touch to it and gives the album an expected start.
There is some fun immediately after with 'Naiyn Tere' following the same route as SD Burman's 'Dheere Se Jaana Bagiyan Mein'. This one is far peppier though and has a sweet innocent feel to it that makes you fall in love with it instantly. In the times when beats have taken over the proceedings, the world is dancing to the tune of 'Munni Badnaam' and rock is becoming an integral part of Bollywood compositions, 'Naiyan Tere' is like a whiff of fresh air. Credit must also go to Pamela Jain and Ranjini Jose who get the flavour of the first half of 20th century bang on and remind one of the eras gone by. 'Sad version' of the same song also arrives later in the album. This time around, the song is mainly hummed with instrumentals and chorus adding on the appeal.
What one was waiting for till now was an anthem song though and one finally gets to hear it in the form of the title song 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey'. Taking one back to the days of Lagaan, this anthem track comes with just the right kind of energy, pace, exuberance and styling that establishes loud and clear that one would hear this piece multiple times in the film's narrative. Following Rahman approach, right from the manner in which it is tuned to orchestrated, 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey' - which is a kids chorus sung quite effectively by members of Suresh Wadkar Ajivasan Music Academy - should find audience for itself.
If you liked 'Naiyan Tere', rest assured you would play on 'Sapne Saloney' repeatedly as well. A love song about the protagonist promising his beloved all the dreams to eventually come true, provided he first attains what he has set out for in life, 'Sapne Saloney' has a serene appeal to it with no Western adulteration whatsoever. While Javed Akhtar's lyrics here are simple and effective, singing by Sohail Sen and Pamela Jain is heartfelt as well that makes it the kind of number which fits in perfectly well with the setting of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.
If you have caught the promo of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, you would have heard the 'Vande Mataram' piece that goes in the background. Full fledged version of this song is heard here with the words being translated from Sanskrit to Hindi. Cine Singers Association Chorus Group delivers quite well in this high energy track that should add on to the momentum that visuals are expected to create in this action-drama affair. A much shorter version of 'Vande Mataram' appears later in the album with just strings doing a good enough job to keep the composition flowing.
From this point on, the album is entirely made of instrumental tracks which have mainly been set for different moods in the film. 'Long Live Chittagong' carries the exuberance of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey with a feel good factor to it that enlivens the proceedings. The longest of them all is 'The Teenagers Whistle' which again picks up from the title track Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey and makes one suspect if the sound of whistle would be a code call for the teenage revolutionaries in the film.
A pensive mood is created soon after with 'Surjya's Sorrow' and the way Sohail Sen brings flute, strings and chorus together, it does manage to make an impact. There is an instant shift in mood soon after with 'The Escape', as is expected from the theme, picking on pace and moving ahead quite rapidly. Last to arrive is 'Revolutionary Comrades' which starts off on a slow note with the sound of 'Yeh Des Hai Mera', continues to gain momentum and turn ferocious in his last one minute. Expect some dramatic fireworks at the juncture in the narrative when it appears.
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a good quality album which, as stated above, needs multiple hearing from audience before it settles in entirely. An album like this is different from what is being churned out week after week and since it belongs to an era gone by, it further needs to gain a solid platform for itself before it consolidates its position. While majority of album is situational - whether songs or theme pieces - and does register an impact in each of the tracks, the ones that should find instant attention are the title track 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey' and 'Naiyn Tere'. Later, as the film manages a standing at the box office, 'Yeh Des Hai Mera' and 'Sapne Salone' could also find an audience building over in the long run.
'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey', 'Naiyn Tere'