Prelude: Sometimes, not every time, listening to a piece of music or a song can be an experience. What it invokes in the listener matters more than what it is. It is a bit wonderlandish, perhaps, but that is what dil se music can do to you. “Rockstar”’s music is a heartfelt product of A.R.Rahman’s passion, Imitiaz Ali’s vision, Irshad Kamil’s understanding and Mohit Chauhan’s range. Each one of the songs has a purpose and reason behind their existence and conveys the distinct, striking emotions of the hero of the tale. I seriously wish and hope that the movie matches the depth in music.
Hero introduction– Jo bhi mein
So, our hero is an artist. All artists are crazy, without any exception. How much, you ask? To the point that he poetically rants that whatever he wants to say gets marred by the words he eventually utters! And normal beings would just say: “Mate, er…” There is a lucid eloquence in his music even though he conveys that he is wordless. And people concur to Mohit Chauhan’s voice and views, hypnotically. Rocking no? Oh yeah yeah.
Naughty hero – Sheher mein
We already know that our hero is an artist and more specifically that he is a musician, who can play guitar like he is on electric shock and sing like the flight of the feather in cool breeze (in the beach, if you are the descriptive types) Now, you make this guy to sing a regular dolak-baje-harmonium-nache kind of song (it actually is very catchy, Sorry Mr. A.R.Rahman, you can’t create clichéd music) sung rather conservatively by Karthik. Now, our hero has to sing this song. Apparently he can’t imitate the tune exactly and employs a style where at the end of each line one feels the singer is drunk with strong wine. Twaing!
Greener pastures – Phir se ud chala
It is rather difficult to bottle up an artist and make him conform to the boundaries. He has to fly, in his mind, across the sky, beyond the space. He has to break the barriers of clichés that the society is forcing on him. The power of his music is in the vividness it brings forth. Strumming his guitar in guileless joy, you can picture him running in loose clothes and unkempt hair along the streets and between healthy fields. His smile is palpable in the song itself. How does one explain the seamless composition? There is neither start nor end to the journey, one feels. What a voice, Mohit Chauhan! It takes us through silk routes, literally.
Rising and falling in love – Tum Ho and Aur Ho (with Hawa-Hawa)
Art is beauty. And beauty is love. And love is truth. Wherever an artist begins his search from, he sees himself tending towards love. He is always made to choose love, involuntarily. Our hero falls in love, and sings a love ballad, reeling in her power. She is, as much as he realizes her: Jitna mein mehsoos karoon tumko, utna hi paa bhi loon. Perfect starry eyed-ness, isn’t it? And just in case you are wondering about hawa-hawa, I agree that I am bamboozled by the quirky zing nature of the tune. I am not going to embarass our lead couple by analyzing their duets, in any case. Let them have fun, in foreign lands.
But all good things come to end, we know. He is helpless, Mohit Chauhan goes out of control for our hero. You hear his lady love sing with all the sorrow in the world (Alma Ferovic) and the man screaming in passion throughout. The orchestration goes back and forth with the two high strung emotions that in the end our lady had to cut loose too and scream with the man. The fire is lit, folks.
Attitude unlimited – Sadda Haq
High voltage electricity. Molten Lava. Fireworks. I have always had this acrid doubt: is it suffering that makes an artist or is it the artist in him that makes him suffer? He is hurt by the unyielding, senseless society on the one hand and on the other hand, his personal sorrow, the broken love is torturing his soul. He had to erupt at some point. All the torture he underwent has made him gritty. He oozes of style, attitude and oodles of recklessness now. It is his right, give it to him.
This is the song which is in fictional reality our hero’s but whose spirit could have been Rahman’s. I think it is Rahman’s soul which has given the song a new dimension along with Mohit’s voice and Orianthi’s fiery guitar. At every point in his career, Rahman has been facing narrow minds. Everytime his album is released, people hoot “this is weird” “Rahman has failed, he has lost his touch!” “XXX (music director) is the best, not Rahman!” “Rahman is one dimensional, he can’t do rock, he can’t compose ghazals, folk his not his style, western is not his specialty, he is not trained in Indian classical.” He seems to be asking them: Mein galat hoon phir kaun sahi? Imagine Rahman singing, “Tera darr, tera pyaar, teri waah, tu hi rakh!” One can only imagine. This man is beyond such motives….
Self realization- Kun faya Kun
…Here is why. If Sadda Haq is about explosion, Kun Faya Kun is about implosion. How long can a man remain angry and young? He has to mature. He has to learn to accept the trivialities of the society and resolve to agree to disagree with the society. After all, he is an artist , compliments and rebukes shouldn’t penetrate his soul. For, the soul is only reserved for the supreme spirit – the one who orders “be!” and it has become. The song is soaked in philosophy and is a product of clear conscience, be it the lyrics or the music. A.R.Rahman seems the guruand our hero is one his disciples, evolving as the song progresses and reaches the crescendo. Goose-bumpy effort by Javed Ali, Mohit Chauhan, A.R.Rahman and the musicians.
Home coming – Naadan parindey
There is a flourish in the man’s voice, like that of a magic wand. Sivamani proves his genius yet again. Mohit completes his trip with the hero’s destiny with this effervescent tune. It is not a matter of rocket science to guess that the hero is a naïve artist. There is innocence in his being, which gives a certain purity and warmth to his music. There is originality in his creativity, that lands him into all kinds of trouble in his voyage, understandably. There is a search, which threatens to last forever. He has done it all to quench the thirst and sooth his disappointments. He flied (phir se ud chala) he cried (aur ho) he roared (sadda haq) he realized (kun faya kun), yet, there is something else. He has not reached his destination, nor does he think there is one. The artist has looked out everywhere and decides it is time to get back to the peace of his home. His self.
Dichotomy of fame
The hero is a destiny’s child. As he recalls his fairy tale on a later date, we hear the soft lull of the “dichotomy of fame” theme. Shehnai and guitar jugalbandi, for you. Strains of Sindhubhairavi raga evokes fond memories of the fate of the artist. His peak, where he is accepted by all and his lows, where he is left with no respect are visited. He is loved for his uniqueness, yet criticized for not being traditional. His choices have been hard, his challenges harder. Yet, he has survived the dichotomy of fame, the extremes. The man survives. But the real question is, does he live?