Yuvvraaj (2008) - Music Review

Cast : Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani
Directed by : Subhash Ghai
Producer : Subhash Ghai
Music Director : A. R. Rahman
Lyricist : Gulzar
Release Date : 21 November 2008

The original showman, Subhash Ghai, Beethovan of the East, A.R.Rahman and ageless lyrical genius, Gulzar, all are great names that command respect and are absolutely fantastic in their respective fields. So, naturally the teaming up of all the three for the first time is bound to create a heightened curiosity and manifold expectations from the audio album of YUVVRAAJ. And that more so after a scintillating show of creative masterpieces in TAAL, which had only Ghai and Rahman. Since the film is a musical and some of the lead protagonists play musicians, so naturally the scope for audio brilliance gets wider and thus it also increases our craving for the classiest album of a rather tame year.
The magnificence of the album is immediately brought to the attention of the listener with the first track, "Main Hoon Yuvvraaj With the Fifth Of Beethovan". The track is a befitting introduction to the main protagonist of the film, Deven Yuvraj, played by Salman Khan. And so naturally we have Salman mouthing dialogues in his characteristic charming, confident and unassuming manner, cashing on his bad boy image. Salman's dialogues are well supported by the "Fifth of Beethovan". Ludwig van Beethovan needs no introduction to the followers of Western classical music and this (performed to perfection by The Chennai String Orchestra) is the fifth symphony. It is one of the most popular and well-known compositions in all of European classical music, and one of the most often-played symphonies. Why the genius music wizard A. R. Rahman has chosen this particular piece (in all probability) is because Beethovan himself had dedicated this symphony to two of his patrons, one of whom was Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. And Salman plays the title role of 'Yuvraj', a prince.
With such a brilliant and fulfilling start we move forward with huge expectations and come across another brilliantly crafted "Tu Meri Dost Hain". The lilting signature tune sung by the composer, music maestro, A.R.Rahman that heralds the commencement of the track is absolutely divine (and so very infectious that one simply cannot help but repeat it!) and the portion that follows, heavenly. Rahman's melody is breathtakingly simple and comes as whiff of fresh air in this era of mediocrity and plagiarism. The musical arrangements are mind-blowing- simple guitar strums, bead sounds and of course the cello, (a stringed instrument, part of the violin family) played (in YUVVRAAJ) by Katrina who is supposed to be a musician, adept at playing the cello. Shreya Ghoshal and Benny Dayal are simply extraordinary. Benny Dayal is a new find; he was fantastic in JAANE TU? YA JAANE NA and he shows that "Pappu "was not a flash in the pan through some superlative rendition in the present track. He will definitely earn a foothold in the music industry, in the field of playback singing. He has a distinct voice that is very macho as well as sweet and his voice structure matches that of Salman Khan perfectly. Gulzar's lyrics are simple yet classy and very much identifiable, giving an insight into the relationship shared by the two main protagonists of the film, Salman and Katrina. In other words, simply fantabulous!
After "Pappu Can't Dance" Rahman targets the Gen X yet again with "Shano Shano" a very contemporary and in sync with today's time dance floor composition. The tune is not very refreshing (unlike the first number) but nevertheless manages to catch attention. It has the requisite thump, required disco beats, the usual rap and combined with (at times) quite unique as well as funny style of singing by a host of artists like Sonu Nigam, Srinivas, Karthik, Timmy, Sunaina, Vivienne Pocha and Tina makes it a happening song and dance number. What must be kept in mind is that the picturisations will be superb (with Ghai at the helm of affairs) and so it will definitely serve as a tension reliever.
The "Shano Shano" remix by Krishna Chetan is a superbly handled composition. In fact, it can be classified as new track because of the numerous innovations and inputs by the arrangers. The rap is better than the original and we have Ember doing full justice to the track. The remix even has Salman saying in a deep husky voice, 'Main main main Yuvvraaj', and 'Ladies come closer, I am the Casanova', a throwback to Ghai's very own KHALNAYAK song. Alka Yagnik sounding a bit like the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar, holds fort in this soothing love ballad , "Tu Muskura" and Javed Ali who impressed all with "Jashne Bahara" supports her with his high octave singing. But Alka sounds a bit out of sorts (at times jaded) and one misses Shreya Ghoshal who would have done wonders to track. The melody is on the slower side but the result still superb. The Western musical arrangements do make up for this slow pace and the use of cello (V.R.Sekhar and Eldith Martin), guitar and the culmination with Hindustani classical alaaps in the end; make the number a pure delight. Gulzar's lyrics are the outstanding feature of the track. The pristine feeling of unselfish love is expressed superbly through some very beautifully penned wordings.Its time to put your dancing shoes once again as Rahman is bound to rock you with his trademark rollicking song and dance track, "Mastam Mastam". Sonu Nigam is in his elements as he renders this festive, celebration number, orchestrated in a carnival like manner. Benny Dayal's superb infectious croonings start the proceedings that are all fun and mirth. Alka Yagnik too renders her part well. The rock and roll touch and the style of singing take us back to the era of the fifties and sixties, the Shammi Kapoor times. However, once again the plus point of the song are the lyrics by Gulzar .We have heard of Hinglish but Gulzar Sahab comes up with Hindi-Persian, although this is not the first time that he has done it to perfection before. Who can forget his classic super hit, all time favourite number "Zee haal-e-maskin makun ba ranjhish" (J.P.Dutta's GHULAMI)? All in all another superlative number that will look fabulous on screen with some frenzied, rock and rollish dancing.
For a change it is bandonion (a kind of accordian) and cello string notes that commence "Zindagi". The use of harmonica and woodwinds played effectively by PMK Naveen Kumar are the highlight of the song. The philosophical way of looking at life is brought to the fore through some superb words by Gulzar. "Zindagi zindagi kya kami rah gayee, Aakh ke kor mein ek nami rah gayee." Absolutely spellbinding! The singer is Srinivas who is no novice to playback singing, having sung for the maestro himself in quite a few of his period films and he once again stands up to the faith instilled in him by Rahman. The situational track may be used as a background score during the sad, poignant moments of the film.
Low key piano caressing followed by some high note cello sounds and massive orchestral arrangements with some volatile drumming and shrill outcry leads one to arguably one of the best numbers of the album, "Dil Ka Rishta". The song has so many shades that it is simply difficult to classify it as a single composition. A. R. Rahman's classical Hindustani 'alaaps' are a real treat and we are treated to another facet of the master. The fusion of symphony orchestra and Hindustani classical has rarely been attempted and it is simply mesmerizing. One is amazed at the versatility of the creative genius called Allah Rakha Rahman and the YUVVRAAJ soundtrack dons a magnificent garb through this track. And before the song gets all instrumental and hi-fi in comes Sonu Nigam and Roop Kumar Rathod and the number assumes a completely new shade with normal peppy tune, English lyrics by Blazze and chorus singing by Suzanne D'Mello, Clinton Crejo and Viveinne Pocha. A truly world class composition this one!
Superb fusion of cello string sounds and mild classical alaap brings forth "Manmohini Morey". Those who loved the "Man Mohini" of HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM will definitely relish this one here is another treat in store for the die-hard semi-classical patrons who do not mind some good fusion with normal commercial tunes. Vijay Prakash shows his vocal control and is quite good. The "Tu Muskura" cello piece gels with the composition and a sense of pain and suffering and of being separated from the beloved is conveyed well through it. A fantastic conclusion to a brilliant album.The year 2008 has been a good one for Rahmanics, what with JODHAA AKBAR, ADA-A WAY OF LIFE and JAANE TU...YA JAANE NA (and GHAJINI to follow!) all hitting the stands, which is very rare as Rahman has become very selective of late. But somehow (barring to a large extent JODHAA AKBAR) the quest for a start-to-finish brilliant Rahman album was still on when we last heard. Well, we want to say 'Eureka' as we finally run into YUVVRAAJ! One just cannot find a single composition that can be classified as less than good, let alone ordinary or mediocre. If one has to shortlist the best of the best they are - "Main Yuvvraaj", "Tu Meri Dost Hai", "Mastam Mastam" and "Dil Ka Rishta". Grab the YUVVRAAJ audio album, snatch it or go ahead and even steal it