Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Multiple listens don’t change the fact that Challa feels more a Rabbi Shergill song than an A R Rahman song. But that apart the song does have a breezy allure to it, lent by the guitar-led arrangement. The elaborate orchestration in Saans brings with it a Yuvvraaj-meets-Veer Zara feel. Which is not a very good thing, if you must know. Only digression happens in the second interlude, with a surprise bagpipe segment. Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal do their part well, though I felt that Mohit might not have been the best choice for this song. A slower and shorter reprise version has Shreya going solo, but the effect is pretty much the same. Best thing about Ishq Shava is the use of strings. And the fact that Shilpa Rao has debuted for ARR. She is joined here by Raghav Mathur (that guy who had some time back done a remix of Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar) who does an equally commendable rendition. As a complete song it fails to impress much though.

The title song starts off bearing the promise to be the best of the soundtrack, what with that lovely interplay of piano and strings. But just as things get to a high, supported by Javed Ali’s singing, a dated dholak beat template appears in the background and kills it off. And it happens again, even as Shaktisree Gopalan mesmerizes with her rendition in the latter half of the song! Ishq Dance, the instrumental track, unlike ARR instrumentals in general, is of a functional nature mostly with its dominance of percussion. Should make for a better viewing than hearing. What really made the soundtrack for me, are the remaining three songs. Jiya Re sees some sparkling arrangement from the maestro, once again led by strings – guitars and mandolins in the first half, and some exceptional violin in the latter. Neeti Mohan is fabulous, pulling off a nuanced delivery of the attitude-loaded song. I get a feeling this is an intro for Anushka Sharma (mind goes back to YRF’s Ladies vs Ricky Behl). Jab Tak Hai Jaan – The Poem is all about the arrangement, I would have gladly taken this in the instrumental form. As it happens though, we have Shahrukh Khan reciting the poem in the foreground, which would have been an absolute win had the lines been better. The music makes up for all that anyway. And that brings us to Heer. Punjabi lyrics, and a breezy melody to go with it. Who better to sing it than Harshdeep Kaur? If you have someone else in mind, wait till you hear her sincere rendition. And the orchestration is of a matchingly soft, heart-warming variety. If I were to give just one reason to buy the soundtrack, this song would be it.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Has its ARR-special moments, but for a film touted as Yash Chopra’s 50th year special and his first venture with A R Rahman (along with Gulzar, that too!), the soundtrack is underwhelming. Thankfully there is more lined up from the maestro this year.

Music Aloud Rating: 7/10

Top Recos: Heer, Jiya Re, Jab Tak Hai Jaan – The Poem

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digi says:

Digiblog-Music review Jab tak hai jaan
Well even i wasn’t too impressed initially. But now after ten days the album is doing wonders for me. I’m loving even ishq shava. Slowly but surely i’ve realized that this album needs time and multiple hearings to grow.but once it grows,it will totally overwhelm you.

Vipin says:

Oh I didnt imply that you are undermining my review. 🙂 It is ridiculous to think that he has lost his touch of course, but then detractors are always there, can’t help it.
I listen to each song sufficient number of times before writing my reviews, so that the first time bias never creeps in. This was despite that, couldn’t help it.
And you have a point that a song should be judged on its own, but when it is veterans like Rahman or Raja, you cannot but set a yardstick. Could be just me.

Rajesh says:

My point was never to undermine your review, it was just to some people who seem to believe that Rahman is overrated and that he has lost his touch..

I was pointing to those who jump to a conclusion by just listening to the song the day it releases and scream that Rahman has disappointed them. With regards to expectations, i just happened to play the songs of JTHJ to some one who did not know it was Rahman’s and that person was able to accept it with ease than myself… 🙂

On a general note, shouldnt a song be judged/liked/hated based on its own , rather than its creator?

Vipin says:

@Rajesh: Jiya Re and Heer are undoubtedly brilliant, I have said that in the review too. Others still don’t work for me that well. And yes, expectation is humungous, it is ARR. I am not ready to give some excuse and extol something that I don’t consider among his top works. Rockstar also came with huge expectations. The movie may not have lived upto those, but ARR’s soundtrack totally did. So it is not like we are missing anything by expecting high.

Rajesh says:


here i am back again after listening to the album for a week and i dont have words to explain the beauty of this album. This is no underwhelming effort of the maestro, the songs have been absorbing enough to keep me hooked on forever. I think one has to give time to the songs “not just to grow on you” , but as they say “time heals everything” ..it does conceal the preconceived notions one might have and the unreal critics who often think they have known music all their lives. Each time is listen to Jiya Re and Heer , i am transported to a different world.

Personally, i think there is too much thought-talk and as a result there is a humungous expectation these days and it often makes us miss the obvious..

As with the alleged movie copied from Varanam Aayiram – which itself was inspired by many flicks at various points of the movie…

Uma Dixit says:

“Jab Tak Hai Jaan” is a shameless lift of a Tamil film, “Vaaranam Aayiram” released a few years ago. The SRK character has never been able to get over his first love (Katrina Kaif) who pops off in a tragic accident (a terrorist attack). He later meets the A. Sharma character who teaches him how to love and so is able to put the past to rest
at many other levels as well.

My gut says that Chopra has also borrowed from Graham Greene’s novel, “End of the Affair”. Lovely book that was adapted into an eponymous and abominable English film. Here the K Kaif character is married to somebody else while she is having an affair with the SRK character. She is also suffering from terminal cancer. During a terrorist attack in which SRK is severely wounded, she takes a vow that if he lives, she will break off the relationship (the cancer is going to kill her in any case). She later dies. The SRK character does not know the whole story and has been left embittered by his beloved’s ostensible desertion.

I have a feeling that Chopra will skip the bit about the Katrina Kaif character being married while in an adulterous affair with the SRK character.

Be that as it may, will he acknowledge the sources his film is entirely based on ?

Sanaulla Khan says:

The most disappointing thing is the absence of a spine tingling track. I expected something on the lines of the background music in the poetry trailer. But, the fact remains that the album is a bit underwhelming.

Vipin says:

@Rajesh: One day of 5-6 listens each is enough for me. 🙂

Rajesh says:

I came here to see what you think about the album..but honestly, how is it even possible to rate/judge an album within a day? with me, it take at least a few days for the songs to sink in..haven’t heard the songs yet 🙂

Hoping Rahman halucinates me 🙂

Vipin says:

@Anusha: You didn’t think Rockstar and all deserved what I rated?

Anusha says:

I think ARR wanted to give a typical Yash song in the form of the title song with all the dholak beats!! Finally a correct rating for an ARR album!

navash says:

only one disappointment, i miss rahman’s voice in this album…..

munawar hasan says:

wait fr arr music to click do reviews …..?

Vipin says:

@Kamal: I have been really tripping on Jiya Re as well.
@kala: 75% of the Tamil songs of ARR I have enjoyed, I have done without knowing anything about the movie. So for me at least ARR’s music have a quality that go beyond all that you mentioned. And by that yardstick this soundtrack didn’t work for me that well.

kala says:

Too early in th day for a verdict..the situvations,mood ,depth of characters all matters in an arr sound track..i don need to cite examples….rite

This is perhaps the most underwhelming soundtrack of ARR in long time. Ultimately, only Heer is going to stay for a while i think and the rest are forgettables. Saans i felt was just a YashChopra-isation of some left-over from Yuvraaj. Challa doesnt have anything ARR in it. Jiya Re has good arrangements only but the tune is far from the Rahman standards. Ishq Dance is diammetrically opposite to two exquisite instrumentals Rahman gave in RockStar. For me, its only Heer that works and it works quite well.