What kind of expectations can one have from the music of a film which is directed by a man who pretty much has a patent on a music genre itself - 'The Karan Johar music'? Ever since the release of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai music more than a decade back, there have been imitations galore. Some have been flattering, some have been homage, some have been mere mimicry, some have been plain lacklustre while some have managed to follow it to the T. 'Karan Johar genre of music' has found many fans and followers while the man himself has continued to raise the bar up with his subsequent outings like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
When singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma come together, you know for sure that there is a quality outing in the offing. This is what one gets from 'Sajda', a qawalli, which boasts of some intoxicating rhythm and comes so quickly on your lips that just one listening and you can already hear yourself humming it around. It is amazing to see Rahat Fateh Ali Khan delivering a chartbuster track practically every second month and this New Year couldn't see a better outing than 'Sajda' which maintains an Indian quality to it throughout it's duration. Boasting of a timeless appeal to it, 'Sajda' is a kind of number that is not dependant upon the movie for which it has been composed and promises to play on for many more months to come.
Ever since the days of Dil Chahta Hai, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy can be identified with a particular style of music and 'Noor E Khuda' just takes the tradition further. A soft track that is as experimental as it gets, courtesy coming together of Adnan Sami and Shankar Mahadevan who sing 'Noor E Khuda' rather seamlessly. It is remarkable to witness one of them picking up from where the other left without the listener getting any hint of a handover taking place behind the mike. In the latter half of the song, Shreya Ghoshal makes an appearance and one can sense the female protagonist pining for her lost love. Placed in the background where the character played by Shah Rukh Khan gets set on his big journey, it has the kind of lyrics by Niranjan Iyengar which are bound to make much more meaning when heard and seen in the film's context.
First quintessential love song that one was actually waiting for to appear in My Name Is Khan makes a belated appearance in the form of 'Tere Naina'. Rendered by Shafqat Amanat Ali who goes solo for the song, 'Tere Naina' is pretty much in the same mould as 'Sajda' and could have pretty much picked from where the latter left. Yet again, there is an intrinsic Indian appeal to 'Tere Naina' with a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy stamp to it which makes it a song worthy to be heard in a repeat mode. A pure love song which takes a few hearing before it catches up with you, 'Tere Naina' is for those who love to have a bit of class in their music.
By the time 'Allah Hi Rahem' comes, one has set high standards for My Name Is Khan. This is why this Rashid Khan sung number stays on to be situational at best. Yes, it carries on the Sufi flavour as prevalent in the album but still doesn't turn out to be the kind of track that one carries home after the film's screening is through. Also, as a part of the album, since there are other better songs to pick and choose, 'Allah Hi Rahem' merely turns out to be the kind of number that one has heard and seen before and hence can be just given a quick hear and forgotten.
'Khan Theme' which follows next is an extremely well orchestrated piece that boasts of a live recording, a rarity in today's time, and has a mesmerising appeal to it. Lasting close to two and a half minutes, it has a pensive feel to it which pretty much follows the theme, mood and expected treatment that one expects from the narrative. Expect it to play in the opening and end credits roll.
Lastly comes Shankar Mahadevan and Suraj Jagan sung 'Rang De' which is a complete departure from what one has heard in the album so far and takes a soft rock route. Since it's Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy at the helm of affairs, there is a slight Indian classical touch to it as well (at places) but overall 'Rang De' stays on to be a quintessential rock track which brings home the message of peace and togetherness. One wonders though if the song would find a place in the film's narrative or instead would have a music video devised around it.
Contrary to popular misconception, Karan Johar's music hasn't stuck on to the world of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It has continued to evolve and though it's hard to ignore the romantic breeze evidenced in his films, the fact is that he has in fact strived to be different, though not completely but at least partially, in each of his outings. However, in My Name Is Khan, he along with Shankar Ehsaan Loy and lyricist Niranjan Iyengar have brought not a partial but a substantial difference to the way music in his films is being looked at. Doing something like this was always meant to be a calculated since music as heard in My Name Is Khan doesn't belong to the kind that results in blockbuster sales. However, given the fact that the film boasts of who-is-who of the film and music world, has a guaranteed chartbuster in the form of 'Sajda', comes with a huge curiosity value and overall boasts of a quality feel to it, it is bound to become further popular after the release.
Sajda, Noor E Khuda, Tere Naina