Planet Bollywood
Yuvvraaj
 
Producer: Subhash Ghai
Director: Subhash Ghai
Starring: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani, Aushima Sawhney
Music: A.R.Rahman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: A.R.Rahman, Benny Dayal, Sonu Nigaam, Alka Yagnik, Shreya Ghoshal, Javed Ali, Roopkumar Rathod,Vijay Prakash , Srinivas, Karthik, Timmy, Sunaida, Vivienne Pocha, Tina, Naresh
Audio On: T-Series    Number of Songs: 9
Album Released on: 15 October 2008
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi  - Rating: 8.5 / 10
More Reviews and Analysis by PB Critics:
    • Feature Review by Atta Khan - Rating: 8.5 / 10
 
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Opinion Poll: What is your favorite song from A.R. Rahman┬┤s YUVRAAJ?

In a year marked by musical drought, music lovers are blessed by the sudden reinvigoration of A.R. Rahman, who is turning out a modestly prolific year, with YUVRAAJ being his fourth release (following Jodhaa-Akbar, Ada, and Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na). It's quite ironic. 2008, a year that has heard quality music sparingly, is the one year in which India's greatest MD decides to put out an astonishing four soundtracks. And if Ghajini is released this year, that would be number five; making it the most productive year in Rahman's legendary career with the Hindi Film Industry.

Although Rahman's unparalleled works do not make up for the lackluster year, they certainly do provide us with a touch of class and musical versatility that has drastically faded in 2008. The man of the hour is most certainly A.R. Rahman. And when such a showman as Subhash Ghai, the creator of Yuvraaj himself, tells you that the film belongs first to A.R. Rahman and then to him - that my friends is one of those rare compliments you wish you could frame and hang on the wall. Master poet Gulzar saab will be adding meaning to sound with his beautiful words. When you have three individuals who are considered legends in their respective fields and who have an undeniably remarkable track record, one can't help but salivate all over the CD of Yuvraaj.

We begin the journey with a short dialogue-based introductory piece Main Hoon Yuvraaj. Not much to write from a critic's perspective, the track hinges on Beethoven's masterpiece, his 5th Symphony, which has been re-created flawlessly by the Chennai String Orchestra. Salman Khan, who renders the dialogue, sets up the aura of the film and the theme of the soundtrack. Verdict: A simple beginning to a very different side of Rahman...

In deed this soundtrack is noteworthy because for the very first time Rahman infuses a very healthy dose of pop elements in almost each and every one of his songs. It's something we're not very used to hearing from the virtuoso. The key is to see if Rahman can maintain his distinction while delving deeper into these very conventional styles of arranging and composing.

Rahman eases past the first test with a splendid composition in Tu Meri Dost Hain. The major highlights of this piece lie beneath the grooves and instrumental add-ons. Rahman throws everything except the kitchen sink into the pop rhythm, with the soulful play of the Cello taking centre stage. The true beauty of music is realized when a full orchestration of acoustics, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussions, synths, and pads liquefy into an other-worldly phenomenon set to light your soul ablaze. This is how Tu Meri Dost Hai ravishes. However, I do not want to take anything away from the simple yet soothingly catchy tune rendered with grace by Benny Dayal, while Shreya Ghoshal and Rahman provide tremendous support. Gulzar's lyrics, as the title suggests, are poetic in their simplicity. Verdict: It's a song that's already spreading like wildfire and for very good reason.


After the questionable Pappu Can't Dance (JTYJN), Rahman returns to the dance floors with Shano Shano. Although the number has a cool groove, Rahman fails to make this hip-hop dance number his own. Nevertheless, the song grows on you as you listen to it. The title line is quite addicting as it's repeated throughout. It's after a while, once Sonu Nigam makes his entrance, does the song truly take off and reach its full enjoyment potential. Verdict: Enjoyable for commercial/conventional standards, both Rahman and Gulzar are well out of their comfort zone here and it shows.

Rahman quickly reunites with his spellbinding ways to give birth to a truly beautiful spectacle of sound in Tu Muskura. V.R. Sekar and Elidh Martin's fragile cello nudges Rahman's composition onto a stable yet subtle groove upon which Rahman writes one of the most poignant and tender melodies of his illustrious career. And if there is one performer in Yuvraaj who, for even a moment, steals the light away from Rahman, it's Alka Yagnik in Tu Muskura. Her vocals simply glow in exuberance as Gulzar's metaphorically touching words kiss Yagnik's lips with a resonating shower of aural supremacy. Javed Ali (of Jashn-E-Bahara fame) makes a tremendous delayed entrance to provide a nuanced balance to Alka's rendition. It is in the latter portions of the song where Rahman begins to seek guidance from the Creative Gods as he deftly builds a crescendo amidst the synergistic blend of the vibrant cello, the earthy groove, Yagnik's title rendition, and Ali's passionate swaras. Verdict: Rahman creates a cross-cultural sound the unites semi-pop (groove), western classical (cello), and eastern classical (Ali's vocals). Needless to say, the result is awe-inspiring.

Mastam Mastam is instant gratification personified! Rahman goes free-style while composing this youthfully animated track. The major selling point of this song is Rahman's soothing and extremely catchy melody like you've never heard before, along with the man who sings it - Sonu Nigam. Is there any doubt that Nigam is one of the best singers alive? Rahman creates a very folksy environment in the backgrounds, yet never does he take attention away from the composition itself. Speaking of the background, Rahman really excels in this free-style of arranging, where you actually hear him spreading his wings of creativity. But it is the foreground tune that entices and wins your heart. Alka Yagnik, Benny Dayal, and Naresh Iyer provide wonderful support. Their group chemistry is tremendous. Verdict: One of those rare tracks that will seem to remain on your playlist for ever and ever.

And that brings us to another one of my favorites - Zindagi. What soul. What passion. It all starts off with the Bandoneon, an instrument unfortunately rarely ever heard in today's music. Rahman creates a very gentle groove, led by shakers, light percussion, and acoustics. Later, the rhythm blends into more of a pop influenced groove with some pleasing synths and pads filling the musical aura with color and flavor. However, what makes this song flourish is vocalist Srinivas and Rahman's peaceful composition. It's a unity that's brought us masterpieces in the past, and it once again reaches for the stars. Not to be outdone, Gulzar's ode to life's miscues is one of sorrowful beauty. Verdict: A masterful composition that will appeal to a specific segment of music enthusiasts.

Rahman is all attitude and business in the passionate Dil Ka Rishta. The opening is a complete antithesis to the rest of the song, where Rahman opens with a hauntingly beautiful play of the piano. This makes way for a mesmerizing orchestral performance that would rival much of the western world's orchestral prowess. The song erupts with a very strong pop groove paving the rhythmic paths. Although the melody isn't as prominent as Rahman's usual soul-stirring compositions, this one hinges heavily on the brilliant renditions of Sonu Nigam, Roop Kumar Rathod, A.R. Rahman, and Blaaze (English). Verdict: Thanks to the orchestral sensations coupled with the English lyrics, Rahman has created a truly international track that deserves all of your attention.


Rahman toys with us as now he attempts to blend a trance groove with Indian classical vocals in Manmohini Morey. You're kidding right? The track is surprisingly very attractive, thanks especially to the underrated vocals of Vijay Prakash. Rahman's classical sense sharpens as he writes another addictive melody while harnessing the nuances and specialties of the Indian classical style. Not an easy thing to do at all. The quasi-trance beat gives this song a third dimension that takes it to new levels of gratification. Verdict: Indian classical dancers finally have a modern and catchy track to showcase their moves on. Very cool number!

The soundtrack closes with Krishna Chetan's Shano Remix. Since a Rahman track is rarely ever tampered with by a remix, you know this one should be distinctively different. And to an extent it is. It's not your traditional remix. The only aspect of the original that has been preserved here is the title rendition of Shano Shano. Besides that, we have a hip-hop groove featuring rapper Ember. Clocking in at around 2:37, it's a short track that adds little to this diverse group of songs.

Now if you were all set to draw comparisons between Yuvraaj and Ghai-Rahman's earlier masterpiece Taal (1999), then you'll be doing yourself a dishonor. Their music is as different as night and day. As I mentioned earlier, Yuvraaj is a much more conventional film soundtrack than what Rahman is known to have done in the past. However, he succeeds in giving familiar styles a twist of unfamiliarity. Therein lies the magic and mystique of A.R. Rahman.

If you ask me, Yuvraaj is far from Rahman's greatest works. But it portrays a cross-cultural resonance that blends east and west, creating a synergistic sound that will set charts and hearts ablaze. Go on... have yourself another Rahmantic treat.


Aakash Gandhi is Managing Editor and Senior Writer for PlanetBollywood.com. He also freelances with the Asian Variety Show at

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