JODHAA AKBAR, the first major musical bonanza of the year 2008 holds many promises as it spotlights many hi-profile names in its credits. The combination of Oscar nominated director Ashutosh Gowarikar and maestro A R Rehman’s prowess in their earlier super-successful works (LAAGAN and SWADES) makes the expectations even soaring high for their third outing but the results aren’t that fascinating or ground-breaking.
If “Mangal Mangal Ho” (MANGAL PANDEY) had vociferous implications of word “Mangal” to great warrior “Mangal Pandey” then “Azeem-O-Shaan Shehenshah” is piercingly voluble salutation to the grandeur of Emperor “Jalaluddin Akbar”, hailing his supremacy for being affirmative ruler. Rehman’s harmonic affluence brings out the frivolous outburst of horns, drums and swords bustling into the textures of loud chorals and rhythmical instrumental flows. Bonny Chakravarty and Mohammad Aslam outrageous vocal outburst collage effectively in rendering out Javed Akhtar’s thematically conceived wordings but the track is entirely situational work.
Javed Ali’s shows a phenomenal growth as soloist by being the supreme strength in album’s most promising track “Jashn-E-Baharaa”, a soul-stirring love ballad. This mellifluous track has contours of mellowed stringed instrumental flows (guitar, vibraphone, jal-tarang) collaging brilliantly in rendering out a soulful backdrop for a perfect rhythm-divine track. Javed Akhtar’s dazzling Urdu “shayari” in wordings like “Phool Se Khushboo Khafa Khafa Hai Gulshan Mein, Chupa Hai Koi Ranj Fiza Ki Chilman Mein” unveils out the mystical charm of beloved while the latter “antaras” intensely emotes out the serene romantic feel felt in natural charms. Javed Ali’s smoothening baritones, Javed Akhtar’s poetically superlative wordings and Rehman’s excellent orchestration makes it an outstanding track that surely will be finding substantial critical as well as commercial acclaim. “Jashn-E-Baharaa (instrumental-flute)” is tranquil-feel flute rendition of these inspired wordings with amiable support of stringed instrumental flows, emanating out the submissive and serene romantic flare between lovers. It’s an effective musical piece that will certainly be garnishing lighter moments as impressive background score in this historical love saga.
Rehman emotes out soulfully in Sufi-Qawalli “Khwaja Mere Khwaja” and imbibes the traits of 16th century musical ethics with finesse by infusing subtle orchestrations of simplistic harmonium and tabla instrumental flows into finely textured divine wordings.
Earlier Rehman gave his divine touches with similar musical feel in tracks like “Piya Haji Ali” (FIZA) and now he adds one more feather to his cap by being modestly brilliant in evoking out the devout sentiments through this customary divine number. It’s definitely a situational hear for its cultured and divine feel but will certainly be favorite among niche Rehman’s fans. “Khwaja Mere Khwaja (instrumental-oboe)” renders out the divine feel through the impressive sounds of “oboe” (a peculiar woodwind instrument) along with customary instrumental works gelling well with the subtle synchronized philharmonic concert style orchestral works. It’s an impressive background score that should be catalyzing the serene situational feel in the film but still won’t be having many takers for its “extra-ordinary” class appeal.
Sonu Nigam’s suave and courteously romantic baritones seeps into the soul of eternally delightful romantic duet track “In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein” , an average sounding work emoting out eternal romance in “Mughal” period. It’s plaintively romantic track with subtle arrangements getting fluctuated with enthusiastic choral “alaaps”, signifying the vignette of timeless romance but the “soul” of poignantly expressiveness is strikingly missing. Unfortunately it’s too mediocre in terms of high standards of Rehman’s high-ranking works and even Madhushree’s malleable vocal overtones fails to add any charms.
After impressive “Kangna Re” and “Khali Hai Tere Bina” (PAHELI), singer Bela Shende gets bigger opportunity as a soloist in the second divine track of the album “Man Mohanna”. It proves to be weakest link for its uninspiring wordings and lackluster composition as it fails to evoke spiritual feel. Bela Shende’s mellifluously driven vocals fails to find the optimum combination of compatible wordings and binding musical works that could have surely made it a worthy situational track.
Commercially speaking, JODHAA AKBAR proves to be the weakest offering from the stables of Ashutosh Gowarikar and A R Rehman combination. It’s neither as chartbusting as LAAGAN nor as alluring as SWADES but brings out the periodical feel of the 16th century with couple of impressive tracks. Javed Ali’s “Jashn-E-Baharaa” is the only chartbusting surprise element in the album while rest of the tracks is classy but situational or mediocre in terms of compositions or presentations. The album is expected to drawing major attention for its magnanimous appeal and hi-profile face value but won’t be able to convert its big hype into grand commercial success.