The music of My Name is Khan – the eyes have it!!

After a gap of 3 years Karan Johar is in the director’s chair again and directing his favorite jodi of Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. The claim is that this is not his usual drama, set in the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Though they do exist, as we were told by Ram Gopal Varama when he went to the AbhiAish wedding – he came back saying he now understood Karan’s cinema!! But Karan moves out of his comfort zone, where he had last played out his version of ‘The Dangerous Liaisons’ set in New York City, and now he promises a film that deals with a “challenged” man, Shahrukh with autism of the Asperger’s variety, and his quest to win back the love of his live and in the process show a nation that religion does not determine who the fanatic is. The film is said to have no large song and dance spectacle, and in fact no lip-sync singing at all. A Karan film without the Shava Shava, Mahi Ve, Where’s the Party Tointe numbers would make one wonder what kind of music is in store for us.

The composers are the Dharma Productions faithful Shankar Ehsaan Loy, and the lyrics are by Niranjan Iyengar. Niranjan Iyengar had written some excellent dialogs for KANK (Hum zameen par to chal hi nahin rahe thay, wahan to kabke fisal chuke thay!) and that had my hopes high for the lyrics of MNIK. The music of Wake Up Sid and Kurbaan by SEL had been quite promising this past year. So without further ado let me tell you which my favorite track of MNIK is:

Song Title: Sajda
Singers: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Richa Sharma

Richa Sharma has the range and power in her voice to make your hair stand on end – and that is exactly what happens as she starts out with:
Rom rom tera naam pukaare
Ek hue din reain hamare
Hum se hum hi chiin gaye hai
Jab se dekhe hai nainn deewane

And almost before this ends we hear the voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shankar Mahadevan with the refrain
Sajda ..
Teri kaali ankhiyon se jind meri jaage
Dhadkan se tej daudoon, sapno se aage
Ab jaan lutt jaaye, ye jahaan chhut jaaye
Sang pyaar rahe, main rahun na rahun
Sajda tera sajda!

Richa comes back towards the end and lifts the song up again so it soars!!

Next up is Noor-e-Khuda:
Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Adnan Sami and Shreya Ghoshal.
This is in exactly the opposite mood to that portrayed in Sajda. Here the mood is somber and almost despairing!
Ajnabi mod hai,
Khauf har aur hai,

Saans ruk si gayi
Jism chhil sa gaya
Toote khwabon ke manzar pe
Tera jahan chal diya

Noor E Khuda Noor E Khuda
tu kahan chhupa hai humein yeh bata
Noor E Khuda Noor E Khuda
yun naa humse nazarein phira.
Noor E Khuda ..

The trials of a tortured soul as he asks the divine powers that be, to show him the light again, and the song carries on in this vein in the voices of Shankar and Adnan Sami until Shreya enters the number with her mellifluous voice:
Ujhde se lamhon ko aas teri,
Zakhmi dilon ko hai pyaas teri
Har dhadkan ko talaash teri,
Tera milta nahi hai pata,

And this changes the tone of the song and somehow makes it more a song of hope than despair. Noor-e-Khuda is a haunting number, full of soul.

Then we have Tere Naina
Singer: Shafqat Amanat Ali

The voice here is soft, the tune is mellow, and the mood is one of love!
Tere naina tere naina tere naina re
Tere naina tere naina tere naina re
Naino ki chaal hai, makhmali haal hai
Neechi palkon se badle samaa

The singing is accomplished though the song generally lacks any major punch. It only picks up a bit at this juncture:
Zakham pe marham, tere naina
Dhool pe shabnam, tere naina
Jag bhoole bhoole, tere naina
Dil chu le chu le, tere naina
Tere nainon ke aagey jo taare bhi sharamaye ..
Pa ni sa ni sa ni dha pa ni dha pa ma ga re sa

I would not fault the singing but the lyrics – they are just short of being pure poetry.

This one is followed by the qawwali number Allah-hi-Raham
Singer: Rashid Khan

The song starts in a serious tone with the chorus kicking in almost immediately with:
Allah hi raham, maula hi raham
Allah hi raham, maula hi raham

And then the solo voice of Rashid Khan sings:
Kaise ishq se sajh gayi raahein
Jab se dekhi yeh teri nigaahein
Ya khuda, main to tera ho gaya

‘This song again picks up on the eyes motif! And the chorus immediately turns it from a love song into a sufi paean to Allah. Unlike most qawwalis that have a very uplifting tone and energy, this one is almost “dull” in the way it is presented. I wonder if this will be seen only minimally in the film, as it does not seem to have the qawwali energy that seems to be required.

The next song is Rang de:
Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Suraj Jagan
This song is a full on rock and sufi fusion and supposed to have an uplifting message about peace and goodwill. It also has the feel of a journey song. I would guess that this is the hero’s journey to his quest. The mood is upbeat, almost like a marching beat because of the rock fusion. The singing is competent and the song does the job.
Suraj ka naya chehra
Tode darr ka har pehra

Jaane kyun har nazar mein hai
Ek junoon.. jo yahi kahe
Iss aandhi mein bhi,
Na chodenge imaan o yaara
(o yaara)
Rang de aman se aasmaan
Rang de aman se aasmaan

Finally we have the one instrumental piece – Khan the Theme. It starts out with an almost music box type feel but gradually swells to almost grand proportions, however always staying just short of pompous of grandiose.

My final verdict on MNIK – It has two excellent numbers (Sajda and Noor-e-khuda), one good number (Tere Naina), one average number (Allah-hi-raham), an intriguing number (Rang de), and a good instrumental piece. All in all it is a successful album for a film that will not showcase the music as much. It is certainly worth a buy just for Sajda and Noor-e-Khuda!

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3 Responses

  1. I won’t say I loved the album very much. Sajda is excellent. Khan theme is billiant. Noor-Khuda and Tere Naina is good. But I was expecting something more. Or maybe it is because of Ishqiya, after listening to that, I was and am in a different mood. And the album of MNIK fails in comparison to that. But I loved the Sajda song and the Khan theme. Richa Sharma was fab. Rahat Fateh Ali khan ka kya kehna – Mai to bachha hun ji. 🙂

  2. “A Karan film without the Shava Shava, Mahi Ve, Where’s the Party Tointe numbers would make one wonder what kind of music is in store for us.”

    According to me, it missed Suraj Hua Maddham, KANK title Track, Tumhi Dekho na, Mitwa too and more importantly Sonu Niggam. And Mahi Ve wasn’t in Karan’s film, though it gives a feeling it was ghost directed by him.

    I rate KANK’s music album minus Where’s the party tonite as the best album of a KJo film. MNIK album wasn’t that good IMO.

  3. Thanks……….
    very Good review here…….now i know why u took that much time
    My order of liking for songs is different
    1.Noor e Khuda..Awsome for me.after Maula mery ly ly meri jan from CDI,this song gives me goosbumps and especially when sherya enters.words r awsome here.May b we in Pakistan r going through this…….This is sensational for me
    2.Allah hi Rahem……..i like it very much
    3.Tery naina
    4.Sajda…somehow m not liking it that much(in comparison)
    Rest theme without any ranking is awsome and rang dey very different from rest of the album and m liking it slowly………….
    Going to share ur review with others

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