OK Jaanu – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Songs at the end.

Succumbing to the current remix (read Badshah) trend in Bollywood, Shaad Ali too enlists the services of the rapper for OK Jaanu. The remix entry for this soundtrack comes in the form of Badshah and Tanishk Bagchi’s recreation of Rahman’s own Humma Humma. And I am well-aware that I belong to a pretty small minority when I say I enjoyed the remix! Though there probably wasn’t a real need to replace the richly orchestrated Parandhu Sella Vaa from Tamil, the choice of song is still smart – another bedroom song from another Mani Ratnam movie. And while the remix strips the song of a lot of its original arrangement, the composers also don’t add the cacophony that is the norm for remixes these days. They just retain samples of the original shehnai portions and let the melody of the song take centre-stage over their lounge-ish backdrop; melody that Jubin Nautiyal and Shashaa Tirupati deliver very competently. Since the traditional sufi piece Maula Wa Sallim was non-Tamil to begin with, Rahman reuses the song as is in OK Jaanu, featuring his son A R Ameen’s voice. Sounds ethereal still, and the tinny quality in Ameen’s voice still rankles. Mental Manadhil from OKK becomes the title track in Hindi; composer does away with the female version and sticks to the one with him in the lead, Srinidhi Venkatesh playing chorus. And like it did in Tamil, the song works for its trippy quality, despite average lyrics and singing. Kaara Fankaara too retains the craziness from its original form, except the lyrics including the rap shift from Tamil to Hindi/English – Hard Kaur joining Aaryan Dinesh Kanagarathnam on the rap while Shashaa, Paroma Dasgupta and Ashima Mahajan deliver the melodic bits. While the Tamil song ended with thodarum (to be continued), Fankaara goes for a filmier translation – Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.

It is probably owing to the common occurrence of raag darbari in Hindustani music as well that Saajan Aayo Re (which has shades of the raga) retains its original melody and arrangement. And here too it works as beautifully, highlighted by that frenzied harp-like rhythm and the use of percussion. Jonita Gandhi is good with her rendition (though not as good as Shashaa) with able support from Nakash Aziz. While Shashaa misses singing what was the best song of OKK, she still gets the pick of this soundtrack. Malargal Kettaen from OKK was composed in Carnatic style so it was expected that Rahman would go for a different song here. Sunn Bhavra is composed the Hindustani way but conforms to Malargal otherwise – the arrangement is minimal, the singing exquisite and even the raga sounds similar, if not same. For some reason the song also took me back to Naina Milaike from Saathiya at times. Arijit Singh’s Enna Sona is a passable melody that could have fit right into a Bhatt film, but is disappointing when you consider that it is an ARR-Gulzar product. Naveen’s flute does improve the proceedings later on, but the song is still underwhelming overall. Finally, Jee Lein follows Theera Ulaa’s arrangement as-is for most part. The variation understandably happens in that female solo – the Carnatic-flavoured bit is replaced with a melancholic filmy melody sung by Neeti Mohan.

OK Jaanu is a well-made soundtrack, but with 5 out of 8 songs reusing tunes a comparison was unavoidable. And the remake is unable to recreate the magic of the original except on a couple of occasions.

Music Aloud Rating: 3/5

Top Recos: Sunn Bhavra, Saajan Aayo Re, Kaara Fankaara

This review first appeared in the Mumbai edition of The Hindu.

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