NOT JUST ‘OK’, BUT FANTASTIC! (OK JAANU – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: A.R. Rahman, Tanishk Bagchi & Badshah
♪ Lyrics by: Gulzar, Hard Kaur, Navneet Virk, Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam, Kaly, Mehboob & Badshah
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 4th January 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 13th January 2017

Ok Jaanu Album Cover

Ok Jaanu Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Ok Jaanu is an upcoming Bollywood rom-com / drama, starring Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson. The movie has been directed by Shaad Ali, and produced by Mani Ratnam, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta and Hiroo Yash Johar. The movie is a remake of Tamil film ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ directed by Mani Ratnam, and like ‘Saathiya’ (which was a remake of Ratnam’s ‘Alaipayuthey’) Shaad Ali has taken it upon himself to successfully tell the story to the Hindi audience. The music of the film has been composed by A.R. Rahman, and it is primarily a dubed version of the ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ soundtrack minus a few tracks and plus some new songs to fill in their places. Young talent Tanishk Bagchi, along with Badshah, has recreated one of Rahman’s own 90s hits, ‘Hamma Hamma’ (Bombay) for the film. Skeptical as I am about this, I really hope that the makers have made a good decision about that. Rahman last composed ‘Mohenjo Daro’s Album, which, as good as it was, was a bit underwhelming. Also, the last time he could oosed for a rom-com like this in Bollywood was ‘Tamasha’ and before that ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’, both of which were awesome. I have heard the Tamil album when it released in 2015 itself, and it was good, but I didn’t really hear it much afterwards, because of the language. I just hope the dubbing has been done good!! Rahman has used 5 tracks from that album, and composed two new songs, and then Tanishk-Badshah’s one song, make this album an eight-song album! Just right!

{The names of the original Tamil songs from the Tamil album have been written below the respective song’s name}


1. OK Jaanu

(‘Mental Manadhil’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singers ~ A.R. Rahman & Srinidhi Venkatesh, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Dheere dheere zara dum le naa,
Pyaar se jo mile gham le naa,
Dil pe zara woh kam le naa,
Ok jaanu, tu dhin dhin na! Hey!”

– Gulzar

One of my favourites from the Tamil album, ‘Mental Manadhil’ gets redone as the title track of this movie, and I cant tell you how happy that made me! 😀 The song is a wonderful mocktail of techno sounds from Rahman, something that will drive you crazy, in a positive way. The composition is something that instantly grabs you and needs no time to invade your mind. It starts off with a nice ‘Jaanuuuu’ (and I know that sounds a bit cheap compared to the awesome ‘Lailaaaa’ from the Tamil song) and then transcends into an entrancing, but catchy tune that gets you grooving right away. The tune has been tweaked a bit from the original Tamil tune, which had this jumpy feel to it, especially in the “Mana mana mana” parts, which have been strung together to make a continuous tune in this version. However, after a couple of listens, this starts incorporating itself in your brain. (Read: my brain, and others who care about listening to music that isn’t in either their mother tongue, their national language or English) So I’m probably one in a ten-thousand people in North India who have heard the Tamil album. Yay me. Anyway. The antara is as catchy as the song is, and acts as a nice filler. Most of the song is composed on the same lines that constitute the mukhda, and I don’t know how many times the hook repeats. But it never gets boring! The arrangements are what make it more interesting than anything else does. That techno backdrop really makes the song sound pacy and makes it an apt song for a ‘carefree-and-youthful-couple-roaming-the-streets-of-Mumbai-on-a-motorbike-as-if-there’s-no-tomorrow’ situation. The interesting sounds that Rahman throws at you over the three-and-a-half-minute time span of the song, is enough to make you trip over the song. Especially that loop at the beginning!! The beats are so trippy, that it’s hard to explain in words. What does play a bit of a spoilsport in the song, are two things. First of all, Rahman’s vocals. I know they have a different kind of twang to them, and nobody else could have sung it like that, but some of the words have been mailed by his diction. (“Badi na tu kisi se” sounds like “Baaadiii na tuksi se”!) Srinidhi replaces Jonita from the original, to no actual effect — Jonita sounded much (!!!) better. (Which reminds me, there’s no female version!! The female version of ‘Mental Manadhil’ was awesome!!! Jonita’s nuances were to die for!) Also, Srinidhi has only one line that comes like two times in the whole song. The second spoilsport is (surprisingly!) Gulzar’s lyrics. The words in the antara (‘aayu-vaayu’, ‘mangal-dangal’) have merely been penned down to make them rhyme. And who addresses their friend as ‘kanya’? The lyrics were a big letdown, especially after Gulzar wrote the spectacular lyrics to ‘Mirzya’! I would’ve thought he would dub better! Nevertheless, a major portion of this song is awesome, as the tune and music is what matters the most. Some damage done by the lyrics can be overlooked by listeners.

Rating: 4/5

 

2. Enna Sona

(Newly composed song, replacement for ‘Aye Sinamika’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singer ~ Arijit Singh, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Kol hove te sekh lagda ae,
Door jaave te dil jalda ae,
Kedi agg naal, rab ne banaaya,
Rab ne banaaya, rab ne banaaya!
Enna sona kyun rab ne banaaya?”

– Gulzar

Next up, we get a fresh song, by which I mean that it isn’t a song from the Tamil album. And I must say, how thankful I am that ‘Aye Sinamika’ was dropped! 😛 I say this because what Rahman has produced in the bargain proves to be a spectacularly dulcet romantic ballad, that you just start loving instantly. Though I didn’t at first. Here’s my journey to liking this song: After 1st listen, “This is by A.R. Rahman?? Are you sure it isn’t Pritam..? I mean, there’s guitars, there’s Arijit…”. After close speculation in the second listen, “No. That flute in the first interlude is signature Rahman.. so it has to be Rahman. But what has he composed? A Pritam song!”. After 3rd listen, “Rahman!! Aaye ho kis bagiya se… Tummmm! 😍😍😍” And then I fell in love with the song. What can be better than a Punjabi love song, composed by Rahman and written by Gulzar? The composition is a verrrryy down-to-earth composition; so much so that the majority of its duration is taken up by that hookline that keeps on repeating, but never sounds repetitive! The antara with it’s inexplicably beautiful high notes just steals your heart away. (You’ll get it back he next time a beautiful Arijit song comes out. Don’t register any F.I.R. or anything and land yourself into trouble.) That leads us to the vocals. Arijit’s soothing voice is an excellent proof that he really is the only one out there these days who has the power to sing any type of song, but especially rocks it in the romantic song genre every single time. The arrangements are divinely soulful. PMK Naveen Kumar with his flute, impressed like always, and Keba Jeremiah on the guitars is exceptional. The flute and guitar in the first and second interludes respectively sound utterly charismatic! When the flute plays the hookline’s tune behind Arijit’s voice, a smile mischievously appeared on my face. (It was no use telling it to go away or grounding it.) Gulzar’s lyrics here, were a good exchange for the losses incurred in the first song, because they’re double beautiful. Though there are (and I counted) only 14 lines in the song, (Hey! It’s a sonnet!) each line has its own beauty. “Taap lagge na tatti Chandni da, saari ratti main os chhidkavan, kinne dardaan naal rabb ne banaaya” is the entire second antara, and the first is up there… Both are so marvellous! Enna Sona (gaana) kyun Rahman ne banaaya?

Rating: 5/5

 

3. Jee Lein

(‘Theera Ulaa’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singers ~ Arjun Chandy, Neeti Mohan & Savithri R. Prithvi, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Bichhad bhi gaye, toh bhi kya hai,
Tera dard toh saath hoga,
Gar aa gaye aansu, toh kya, mera chehra
Toh yaad hoga, toh yaad hoga…”

– Gulzar

Now this is another song that has been dubbed from its Tamil counterpart, from the original Tamil album. And I must say, it has been remade quite well! Let me remind you that the man behind this is A.R. Rahman, and so a Kollywood to Bollywood transition isn’t going to be as straightforward as it seems! And sure enough, the man has introduced some significant changes in the song, which we’ll come to later on. Firstly, the composition. The composition is a dreamy, anthem-like tune for the most part, until a nice and soothing interjection in the form of a female portion comes (Which is that significant change I was talking about, because it was a Carnatic piece in the Tamil song) and brings the melancholia into the song. Upbeat for the most part as the rest of the song is, this part very wonderfully and seamlessly brings a nice and emotional touch to the song — something Rahman is an expert at. The rest of the song is mostly the same time repeating again and again, but it doesn’t sound boring (except a bit when you hear it for the first time). It all has a very harmonic sound to it. The arrangements just elevate this entrancing feeling. Nice beats go with the chorus part, making the song upbeat in the right concentration. The occasional veena strums really reach out to your heart. (Which has been stolen by ‘Enna Sona’, don’t forget!) The melodious female portion in the middle has the upbeat beat toned a bit down, but the tune of that part definitely overrides the beats. And the seamless transition from that part, back to the chorus part, is awesome! Vocals are amazing, and I would like to have a list of everyone who was on the chorus! Arjun Chandy is clearly on there, and I can hear Neeti’s feathery voice, I the background. But Neeti has the aforementioned female portion to her credit, which is definitely the best part of the song, and she has rendered with her magic touch. Gulzar’s lyrics are wonderful. Especially in the same female portion that’s definitely going to be on my tongue and in my mind for a long time! Different and lovable, but might take some time to grow on you!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

4. Kaara Fankaara

(‘Kaara Attakkaara’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singers ~ Paroma Das Gupta, Shashaa Tirupati, Hard Kaur, Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam, Kaly & Ashima Mahajan, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Hard Kaur, Navneet Virk, Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam & Kaly

“Kaara fankaara kab aaye re, kaara fankaara tarsaaye re” 🙉

– Whichever one of them wrote it

In a film targeted towards the youth, how can there not be a youthful number? The next song is just that. The song is a mishmash of sounds that are supposed to attract the youth. And it succeeds to quite an extent. The main composition is only during the hookline, the title of the song. I’m not sure if it even means anything, but the tune is likable. The composer has tried his best to make the song sound like many of his earlier such songs, and it does, but you can’t help but lose the link somewhere in the middle. The rap is amazingly rapid-going, and better than Badshah and Raftaar for sure, but I’m not sure the public is going to lap this rap up like they do for Raftaar and Badshah! Nevertheless, Kaly (How do I know it’s him? He says it in the song.. see if you can find it!) delivers it perfectly, so that it sounds rad. The ‘nama nama nama neiiii’ gets a bit repetitive after some time, and the song is almost 6 minutes long, so keep your seatbelts on! The vocals by so many people make it sound like a very hastily put-together song trying to sound unconventional. And unconventional it sounds, but doesn’t work! Hard Kaur, after a long time in some big Bollywood song, gets drowned amidst Shashaa’s ‘kaara fankaara kab aaye re, kaara fankaara tarsaaye re’ and Kaly’s English rap. Also, she isn’t recognizable thanks to programming. One thing I really loved is hat quirky nadaswaram like thing that plays when Kaly raps, somewhere in the initial two minutes of the song. The digital beats are commendable, but not commercially viable, especially not in Bollywood. The lyrics to the rap are good, but the hookline makes no sense. It is also the only song (except ‘The Humma Song’), that hasn’t been written by Gulzar. A good attempt at making a youthful rap number, but I wouldn’t recommend this, as it is quite heavy to the ears.

Rating: 3/5

 

5. Saajan Aayo Re

(‘Naane Varugiraen’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singers ~ Jonita Gandhi & Nakash Aziz, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Saajan aayo re, saavan laayo re,
Main poori bheegi re, Mann behkaayo re”

– Gulzar

Now comes the Rahman I was waiting for! Also, the song I was waiting for. My favourite song from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, ‘Naane Varugiraen’ gets remade in Hindi as ‘Saajan Aayo Re’, and rendered by one of the most promising female singers of this generation, Jonita Gandhi. Of course, Shashaa sung this song in Tamil, and did a great job too. But with Rahman, it can never be anything simple… He has to put in challenges here and there, and so he ropes in Jonita, though Shashaa could’ve very well done it too! Anyway, more on the vocals later! The composition starts off with a wonderful free-flowing introductory stanza, which reminds me of Kathak songs like ‘Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ (Mughal-e-Azam). The wonderful classical tune is just so bewitching! And what follows, is a classic example of why Rahman is such a master at classical songs. The nuances in the composition, especially at the word “saajan” are top-class! And the tune that follows is definitely one of the most beautifully haunting tunes I’ve heard since a long time. The interruptions by Nakash have been composed beautifully, too. The arrangements are heaven on earth. When the harp plays, when Jonita first starts the hookline, you get goosebumps, that might just stay till the whole song is over. And that wonderful percussion that follows…! The strings are exceptional, and techno music plays a big role in making the song sound unconventional for a classical melody. The vocals by Jonita surely make up her most wholesome perfromance out of all. Last year, Pritam gave her many songs, but this is not even similar to any of those. Jonita, for the first time, has taken up a classical song to sing, and she aces it with perfection! The way she sings the “Naa dir dinna tom tana na” reminded me of Shreya Ghoshal singing ‘Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka’ (Devdas) for some reason. She has really sung that part beautifully. Nakash, too, complements her very well! Gulzar’s lyrics suit the classical theme very well. An exceptional melody! Classical to the core, but modernized with some nice touches in the arrangements! Signature Rahman!

Rating: 5/5

 

6. Maula Wa Sallim

(‘Maula Wa Sallim’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singer ~ A.R. Ameen, Music by ~ Traditional, Lyrics ~ Traditional

Next up comes the traditional Arabic track that was in the Tamil album, as it is. There was no need to dub this one; it was Arabic and stays Arabic. And it’s traditional. The song is a simplistic but ethereal prayer song, sung by A.R. Rahman’s son, A.R. Ameen. The boy carries out the song with a nice aura of spirituality around his cute voice (goosebumps when he sings “Habib-allah, rasul-allah”), but it is very obviously autotuned. Rahman’s programming on his voice sounds good, when towards the end, he triples and quadruples his voice track, giving it a very nice echo effect. The song is a perfect night time song, sublime as it is. Rahman’s own voice can be heard humming in the background, and I just love it when he hums in the backgrounds of his songs. There’s not much more to say about this one, except that it should be given a chance, before being dismissed as boring.

Rating: 4/5

 

7. Sunn Bhavara

(Newly composed song, replacement for ‘Malargal Kaetten’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singer ~ Shashaa Tirupati, Music by ~ A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by ~ Gulzar

“Roshan roshan bhor dikhaye, roshan roshan bhor dikhaye,
Prem ki paalki laaye, laaye, prem ki paalki laaye,
Udann khatole pe aaye bhavara, Kartab kar dikhlaye bhavara,
Sunn sunn bhavara, kaisi baatein banaaye!”

– Gulzar

This song’s counterpart in the Tamil movie, was a Carnatic classical piece, and the makers must’ve thought (and rightly so) that Carnatic music won’t have much takers in Bollywood, and so they intelligently replaced it with a wonderful Hindustani classical piece, taking the style of a nazm. Rahman’s composition is a very soothing one, the mukhda giving the most pleasant goosebumps ever imaginable. The antara is just a wonderful continuation of where the mukhda left off. The classical composition is just as heavenly as the one for ‘Saajan Aayo Re’, but this time, very pleasantly soothing instead of haunting. The composition reminded me of ‘Saathiya’s ‘Naina Milaike’. The arrangements are divine, with the tablas taking centre-stage. It actually reminded me of the beautiful nazm from ‘Haider’, ‘Aaj Ke Naam’. The tanpura at the beginning, gives a nice launchpad to the tablas. Listen for the transition from the tanpura to the tablas. Shashaa’s rendition of the classical composition is as soothing as the composition itself. Her magical voice makes the song sound all the better. This song is four and a half minutes of bliss that can’t be replaced by anything else. Finally, Gulzar’s lyrics are awesome! As always (except the title song 😛 but I think we’ve forgotten and forgiven that already!) A short review because I can’t really explain more about it! It’s too divine! Soothing!

Rating: 5/5

 

8. The Humma Song

(Remake of ‘Hamma Hamma’ from ‘Bombay’, replacement for ‘Parandhu Sellaa Vaa’ from ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’)

Singers ~ Jubin Nautiyal & Shashaa Tirupati, Rap Written & Performed by ~ Badshah, Original Composition by ~ A.R. Rahman, Music Recreated by ~ Tanishk Bagchi & Badshah, Lyrics by ~ Mehboob

“Ek ho gaye hum aur tum, toh udd gayi neendein re,
Aur khanki Paayal masti mein, do kangan khanke re!”

– Mehboob

The finale to the album takes the form of a remake to a classic Rahman dance track. The song that created waves in the 90s when it released, probably the first dubbed song to do so, ‘Hamma Hamma’ from ‘Bombay’ has been recreated by Tanishk Bagchi and Badshah. The original composition and lyrics have been left as it is. The only changes made are the singers, the arrangements of course, and that a rap portion is added (Badshah is there, so what else can you expect?) Anyway, the new programming by Tanishk and Badshah gives the song more of a lounge feel, and where the vocals in the original were raw, here they have been toned to perfection, as in, auto-tuned and polished, so as to make them sound sensuous. The remake is good when you look at it, as it serves as a nice and enjoyable song perfect for the situation. (I didn’t want to be stating that I actually wanted ‘Parandhu Sellaa Vaa’ remade, as I had loved it a lot, but yeah, I’ll not say that) The tempo has been slowed down, in order to make it more of a romantic track than a dance track, and the vocals actually sound good, if not better. (Not that I loved Remo Fernandes’ original vocals either..) Jubin takes over most of the song, while Shashaa complements him well, and the occasional ‘Hamma hamma hamma’ whispers are awesome. The arrangements have more of a club sound to them, but that signature tune has been retained and used gratuitously. The sounds have gone under a lot of treatment, but emerge as good as the old one. The Rap in the middle plays the spoilsport, and it’s like Badshah is trying to say, “Look, I featured on a Rahman album.” Our answer is, “Good. Now feature in a Rahman song!” The nadaswaram part at the end is just whacky! Of course, it was here in the original. It is insane, and ends the song on an offbeat note. Remade quite well, but could’ve done with another stanza instead of the rap.

Rating: 4/5


OK Jaanu actually turned out to be quite an ear-friendly album. I wasnt expecting it as I was thinking about the repercussions of making those Tamil songs into Hindi. However, after hearing it, I feel that part went down really well. Even the bonus song by Tanishk doesn’t take away anything from the album. Rahman uses his innate intelligence to cleverly tweak some parts of the songs that he thought wouldn’t suit in Bollywood, and the results can be seen! The only song that underperforms is ‘Kaara Fankaara’, which I don’t think I’ll be hearing much. But the others are fabulous. The second album of 2017, turns out to be worth listening on repeat!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 5 + 4.5 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 5 + 4 = 34.5

Album Percentage: 86.25%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Saajan Aayo Re > Enna Sona > Sunn Bhavara > Jee Lein > OK Jaanu > The Humma Song > Maula Wa Sallim > Kaara Fankaara

 

Remake Counter
Number of Remakes: 02 (from ‘Kaabil’) + 01 = 03 (Dubs not counted)

 

Which is your favourite song from OK Jaanu? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

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