Rockstar – Music review

This post first appeared here –

In the times of ‘gone with the click’ I cannot remember the last time when the curiosity of a music score being released was even half as it was for the soundtrack of ‘Rockstar’. Guilt is my witness as I shamelessly searched all the ‘shady’ sites to catch hold of this album because right from the first promo we could all smell ‘Rahman on the rocks’ soundtrack. Does it live up to the hype? (Yes T-series, we are talking about the artificial hype you created…Boo you for that by the way!)

1. Phir se udd chala – A folkish chorus of girls humming a tune which you associate with hill stations normally, welcomes you to this song with Mohit Chauhan taking over almost instantly. A song set up with a nomadic feel and the usually accused of being ‘Instrument heavy’ AR Rahman gives us a flavor of how can he blend the music in the background. The first 2 minutes successfully create the anticipation of the song taking off and Mohit chauhan doesnt disappoint throughout. A very positive song.

2. Jo bhi main – Guitar…Yes ‘THAT’guitar starts off with Mohit chauhan throwing his voice melodiously. If you hear attentively you will find the chorus (which is brilliant throughout the album) is set in a very theatrical and live concert style. It doesn’t give you the feeling that a few back up vocals were called in the studio to ‘sing’ (like the ones in the soundtrack of Rock On). The music setting is mostly soft and almost all the ‘hysterics’ are done by a wonderful mix of the ‘crowd’ and Mohit chauhan. Meaning wise, a very deep song especially the part where lyricist has revealed that all of us are just mirrors….I just cannot get the beautiful and very theatrical crowd effect of the song. Two thumbs up!

3. Kateya karoon – The punjabi folk sounds welcome you to a bubbly song mixed with good bass to begin with and then the characteristic (and almost continuous ‘hoye hoye’ chorus). Harshdeep Kaur has sung this song in a very ‘Jaspinder Narula’ style by occassionally making her voice heavy. A generally happy song. Personally speaking, It did not touch me at all because I felt that the song just couldn’t take off. The song iis just under 4 minutes so it just comes and goes.

4. Kun Faya Kun AR Rahman starts and is accompanied by a very ‘dargah like’ harmonium and Javed ali joins. The surreal atmosphere of this composition is very infectious and you would definitely end up listening to it more than once. The ‘beautiful romance between ‘claps’ and a slow guitar is ‘oh so very Rahman’. Javed Ali in between calls out to the power that be. Mohit Chauhan joins the party and gives the song his soul. The part where Mohit is reciting words with a very faint harmonium is what makes this song very very special. The near jugalbandi feel towards the end of the song is surreal and hasn’t been heard for a long time. A very pure song. If you feel it reminds you of ‘Khwaja mere khwaja’ then the purpose of the song is accomplished because when you call out to ‘Maula’, it doesn’t matter if someone else has remembered ‘Maula’ before you. Again, the way the song ends is very very theatrical with AR Rahman leaving a haunting echo.

5. Sheher mein Karthik and Mohit – Not a melodious earth shattering song but a funny song largely thanks to the overall sound of it. The ‘composer’ is very vocal about how should Mohit Chauhan sing this song to ensure that the song is made ‘caller tune’ and is a ‘hit in UP and Bihar’. Mohit by the way croons it well. This will be a treat to see in the film. Clearly the composer (in the film) wants Mohit chauhan to stick to the ‘hit formula’ and not ‘innovate’…but does Mohit listen? Melodiously NO!

6. Hawa Hawa – Acoordion, voilin and a catchy chorus start this retro feel song with somewhat Arabian undertone. A good song because of the way Mohit chauhan has sung it. Hear it attentively and you can almost feel Mohit chauhan dancing in the studio while singing this. The musical setting you might argue is very ‘Zubeida’ like but then hear it and you will hear words like ‘waat’ and ‘bhajiya’! Towards the end you do feel that may be the composer is trying a little too hard. Might grow when the film hits the theatres. (Mohit ‘Meows’ in this song by the way) : )

7. Aur Ho – Mohit and Alma ferovic – A sinking feeling. Thats what the beginning tells you and Mohit chauhan confirms it with very powerful lyrics. The song has a ‘satrangi rey’ (Dil Se) feeling. The instruments are usually repeating short notes to create an eerie feeling. Mohit chauhan at times fades and then comes back almost dreamy/drugged with Alma in the background crying out. A song perfect for theatre performances depicting pain. The song really ends on a high. beautifully.

8. Nadaan Parindey – AR Rahman and Mohit chauhan – Carol like start with electric guitar. The song starts with Rahman requesting one to come back. The song has a very pop feel to it (Ok Ok I will use ‘pop’ and ‘rock’ interchangeably). The words like ‘Har karam ke kapdey mailey hain’ means that the song is advocating peace. Mohit chauhan almost cries out the fact that you will come back home no matter which road you take. The ‘chun chun khaiyoo maas’ (lines from Kabir I guess) are a misfit in the song so I did not like them at all. You might.

9. Tum Ko -Kavita subramaniam – From the start of this song, I got a feeling that this song is an old Rahman song. I hate to mention this but this came across as the weakest song of the album. Although the use of sarangi and tabla is very ghazal like, the song didn’t touch me at all. May be it was because of the fact that the other songs didn’t have me believe that there could be a ghazal like composition woven in between.

10. Sadda Haq – Yes…HELLL YES! Orianthi starts the guitar and tells you quite clearly that this would be the song that will result in the demise of a lot of woofers and speakers all over the world. Kicking ass from the beginning Mohit recites some lines which are very ‘rebellion’ in nature and then the song reaches the HIGH when Mohit along with the chorus cries out ‘Sadddaaaa Haq’. Trust me, when someone sings from heart, it reaches your heart and this so called SCREAM does exactly that. Cannot recall a song in the near future which shakes you up (in a good way) as this one. I could write an entire post on this song but I will stop. Do check this song out even if you feel it is a rip off from here there or somewhere (because I know such tribe exists who cannot accept a good thing from INDIAN composer you see).

Special mention – Would have been too easy for Imtiaz ali and AR Rahman to have opted for Ranbir’s voice at the beginning of the song but thankfully they have used Mohit chauhan. Keeps the wholesome feel alive to the song.

11. Tum ho – Mohit and Suzanne – Romantica! Aha! Suzanne shines in the background (like always) and Mohit chauhan does a vocal waltz around that feeling of someone’s presence and how he has lost himself and gained love. The song lasts for about 5 mins. or so but ends leaving you wanting for more. Strange isn’t it? The tune is more or less similar to ‘Tum Ko’ mentioned above. I am yet to make an opinion about the song. Any help on this would be much appreciated

12. Tango for Taj – Here is a tango piece which is very old piece and signature Rahman. A typical song which if treated well will be a visual treat. The constant piano and the claps are just too good too be in a piece which just lasts for about 3 minutes. Two thumbs up.

13. The Dichotomy of Fame Shehnai! oh how i have missed you after ‘Swades’ song. After opening this piece beautifully the shehnai mixes well with the rest of the instruments, yet enjoys a ‘lead vocal’ status. Just too good a piece to miss.

14. The Meeting PlaceRanbir Kapoor says one sentence and vanishes…leaving you with much curiosity about the film. No, I won’t write it here. Go discover yourself. In a way, this piece might give away the ending of this film. Or may be not. Spoiler? Let’s see.

This album is undoubtedly a coming of age experience for Mohit Chauhan because he has shouted and romanced at many different levels. A special mention for the master lyricist Irshad Kamil. It’s almost taken for granted that a rock album will have a ‘woofer-phaadu’ music but the character of the songs come out when the lyrics are powerful and it is certainly the case here.

AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali have gone to the press stating that they have invested a lot of time in this album and when you hear it, you feel they might be right!

Rating – 4/5

So which track are you playing on the loop?

43 thoughts on “Rockstar – Music review

  1. I will say they are right..They did invest time for this soundtrack..I don’t recall any music album from Bollywood which I listened continuously for 4 times..Its a good review that you have provided but I felt u went too strict for some songs..

  2. I know… I can relate to every word of yours written here… I was one of them who were eagerly waiting for Rockstar’s music release… and not disappointed at all.

    I loved Kateya karoon… the song has a pahadi touch to it…

    Tum ho is a haunting song…. which leaves you with a lingering surreal feeling…

    ‘Sadda haq’ makes my blood rush to my head… you know, you can write pages on the song…

    I am yet to listen to ‘Tum ko’ or may be I was too excited to remember the song… and ‘Aur ho’… will listen to that one now…

    Now waiting for the movie… 🙂

  3. Rahman Rockssssssssssssssssss
    Kun faya kun
    sadda haq
    sheher me
    phir se udd chala
    yet to go through all songs
    Emperor of Music is Back With A Vengeance.

  4. Couple of things.

    1) For me Katiya Karun and Kun Faya Kun are the best songs of this OST. I am in love with that brrrruuuaaah with a child like voice in Katiya Karun. AR Rahman is still to produce something as good as Piya Haji Ali but he has come closer with Kun Faya Kun

    2) Why aint there more songs with guitar and drums except Sadda Haq and Jo bhi main. Shouldnt a film called Rockstar constitute of rock songs and some mind blowing guitar lead in start of the song?

    Overall a good album but I am still waiting something like DevD, Gulaal or Oye Lucky Oye in near future. For me they are the best OSTs say in last 10-15 years

    1. 1. Can’t still get myself to like Kateya karu…Kun Faya Kun (although people tell me it reminds them of Khwaja mere khwaja), is on a different tangent than khwaja. It is more innovative and not one dimensional with some familiar hooks as is the case with Khwaja (I loooooooooooove Khwaja mere khwaja by the way).

      2. Just wait till the film hits the theaters, it is not a ‘western’ definition of rockstar which imtiaz ali is bent on aping. The movie is a journey of an individual and the sounds he picks as he travels. That is why you won’t experience typical ‘doped with guitar’ persona of a ‘rockstar’. See the cover of ‘rockstar’ CD? Do you think that mirrors the typical ‘rockstar’ image which we have been fed since time immemorial?Nope! 🙂 Hope I made sense here 🙂

      Won’t compare this album with DevD, Gulaal or Oye Lucky Oye because all are quite different genre wise. If you talk ‘film to film’, then also I believe rockstar will be right up there with them (and How did you forget udaan?) 🙂


  5. a nice article…..
    i agree with many points like being so anxious about the album….and even i did not preffered .Pk sites but bought an original touch to Rahman…..
    Saadda Haqq is great…Tum ho is lovable,Hawa Hawa is enjoyable,Sheher mein is laughable(i mean smile!!),Kun faya Kun is chantable,Jo bhi main is yayayaable!!!:D:D:D
    i dont see much written about phir se ud chala…..its a wonderfull melodious song…..i dont really like the last 1 min,but the first 4 mins are too awsum to get it off your head……
    A great album from the mastero….go to the stores ryt now……stuff given in album too is worth readable!!!!!!
    YO RAHMAN,YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!

  6. a nice article…..
    i agree with many points like being so anxious about the album….and even i did not preffered .Pk sites but bought an original touch to Rahman…..
    Saadda Haqq is great…Tum ho is lovable,Hawa Hawa is enjoyable,Sheher mein is laughable(i mean smile!!),Kun faya Kun is chantable,Jo bhi main is yayayaable!!!:D:D:D
    i dont see much written about phir se ud chala…..its a wonderfull melodious song…..i dont really like the last 1 min,but the first 4 mins are too awsum to get it off your head……
    A great album from the mastero….go to the stores ryt now……stuff given in album too is worth readable!!!!!!
    YO RAHMAN,YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!!

  7. Nice and fair review. Apart from sadaaa haq , for me the best songs are Aur HO and phir se udd chala. Fact that different people are liking different songs makes this album a 5 star.

  8. Indeed a very good review. As it was rightly pointed out people like different songs like I like Naadan parindey & Hawaa Hawaa a lot coz of the variations used by ARR and the arrangement of notes. I have a feeling that this album will rank alongside Taal, Delhi 6, Dilse and Rangeela in terms of its mixture and variety.

  9. When I heard it first time I thought it is an average album from maestro, but the music started echoing in my head all the day along (eeyoo – Jo bhi main and Nadaan parinday). Now I can’t live without it. Excellent music with some incredible haunting tunes. Now I like almost all the tracks. There is no comparison with any other albums that came out recently. This one is a germ to keep. Not even ARR’s old music come closer to this in terms of experiment. ARR has taken a great risk to churn out different genre of songs in one album. Quality of the songs are amazingly superior and refreshing. Saddaa Huq is out of this world. My favorite in this album is nobody’s favorite. Nadaan Parinday… too soulful and haunting music. AR Rahman is back with the bang! Expecting a lot of awards for this album. Now Rockstar is the No.1 album in iTune downloads in US!

  10. The BEST review…i am truely,deeply, madly in love with each of the tracks by the maestro..great lyrics,versatile singing…excelleeeenttt Muzhik…take a bow Rahman sab

  11. An excellant album offered by the Maestro and an excellent review as well…though initially downloaded all the songs but today purchased d CD… personally i liked all the songs…but phir se ud chala, kun faya kun, nadaan parinday r my personal favs.

    God Bless ARR….

  12. Nice review. There was so much expectation and hypre before the musice release and it is rare that despite all that the musice lives up to the expectations of so many. The other thing about the album is it is not your typical album like Rahman himself has stated in one of the interviews. The movie talks about the journey of Jordan and therfore the songs are in a way situational and usually situational songs do not get very popular. Rockstar is a huge exception.
    Love Jo bhi main for its breathtaking simplicity a la Rahman style; Kun Faya Kun is too divine and the singing (by all three) is unparalleled; Phir se ud chala is Rahman without bounds; Nadaan Parindey absolutely grows on you – awesome, Tum Ko and Tum ho are breathtaking, Hawa Hawa is experimental like never before, Katiya Karun is massy; Aur Ho is agonisingly beautiful; Sheher mein is funny and very very enjoyable; Sadda Haq is rageful music at its best; Tang to Taj and Dichotomy of fame are the best instrumental pieces in a hindi film music album released in recent times.


  13. Hi!
    Congrats for a good review!

    Have anyone noted the background humming in Sadda Haq, at about 3.36 minutes in to the song? Many won’t due to the musical richness of the album in total. it is from ”tum ko”. My bolly-dil predict that our hero meets his long-lost love in the audience during the final concert. May be.

    May be due to the effect of looping the same song for 50 times.

    10 out of 10 from me.

    Kudos to the Legend, the genius, maestro, one and only A.R. Rahman.

  14. and i was wondering why u r not posting anymore!
    my google reader had the feed of your previous blog 😦
    as always, a post as good as the album. even if one hasn’t listened to it, you’ll make them buy or download all these songs 🙂
    that is your power and that is why i love your reviews.
    kyunki rehman and chauhan ki tarah, aap bhi dil se create karte ho 🙂

  15. Haha reading this reminds me of the blogs you wrote for Coke STudio :). I love your style – sincere, earnest, critical when needs to be and yet very passionately fanboy!

    The rating is perfectly justified and i loved what you had to say for all the songs , esp Saada Haq (which always reminds me of your tweet abt the HR :p). But I think you missed out on the point that Tum Ho realllly reminds you of Yuvraj’s Tu Meri Dost Hai. I’m glad you caught the Satrangi re inspiration to Aur Ho.. which is exactly what I felt with this and even with ‘Behne de’ of Rahman’s Raavan.

    1. Nikhil, thanks a lot. Actually the yuvraj point didnt come in my mind at all and to be totally hnest i havent heard yuvraj much. Yes i should have mentioned behne de when i referred to satrangi rey….bothhave the impending doom feel…

      What cokestudio blog? I cannot recall. 😉 must. Meet. Soon. 🙂

      Rahman ke fan hai sir…

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