Challa the first song from the most awaited soundtrack of the year Jab Tak Hai Jaan will be heard, discussed, analyzed and tweeted and retweeted about millions of times in few hours. The song’s main melody was revealed already on Guitar in the very first trailer of the film. I already have a certain expectation on what the song is going to sound like. I am expecting that Challa would have a typical Indian film song structure with standard prelude-stanza-interlude structure. The song will have a lot of Guitar (There are many making-of videos of the songs which reveals that Shahrukh Khan is singing the song wandering the streets of London with a guitar in his hand throughout) and acoustic drums and very less Synth. The song though is written in Punjabi, I am guessing that there will not be any Punjabi elements in the music – no Dhols or Thumbi.
None of my predictions may turn out to be true. But, what is there.
Here is an excerpt related to the pre-release of an A.R.Rahman album from my book Memoirs of a Rahmaniac
Earlier, when the musical storm hit us, it hit in its entirety, it hit all of a sudden, one whole song, one whole soundtrack at one go, but nowadays, much before the release of an AR Rahman soundtrack, we already get to listen to samples of the tracks online. It is because of these the immensity, intensity and force with which an AR Rahman hit us, has reduced.
Also, it is a bad idea to listen to snippets of an AR Rahman song before the release, though I have hardly succeeded in restricting myself from doing that. And the online folks, who want to jump into a conclusion instantly, jump into conclusion instantly! These snippets can no way reveal what the whole experience is going to be. AR Rahman‘s music is as unpredictable as it always has been. If AR Rahman‘s songs still take time to grow on you, listening to thirty second samples could only make the process more difficult.
You first have to come out of your own restricted imagination of the flow of the melody to embrace the entire song the way it actually is. "Am I giving the listener a whole new experience?", "Am I taking the listener to a place they have never been to previously?" are the questions AR Rahman seems to ask when he sits to make a song. In the pre-Internet era, when I use to rush to the nearest music shop to buy an AR Rahman album on the first day of its release, ―What new experience is AR Rahman going to take me through his music this time?‖ would be the only question running in my mind. AR Rahman is the most predictably unpredictable composer of our times. Like they always say, the only constant in AR Rahman‘s music is the change. The AR Rahman soundtracks that released in the last three years, while I was on the journey of writing a book on AR Rahman‘s music, have occupied an interesting place in my life. For the first time, in 2011, I heard a full song from a yet-to-be-released AR Rahman album Rockstar, because of a benevolent Twitter friend.
Ayutha Ezhuthu (Yuva) was the first AR Rahman album that released after I started using Internet in college. For the first time, I heard thirty seconds samples of all the songs of an AR Rahman album (Ayutha Ezhuthu) on the Internet, much before the release of the album. I remember that I did not like the way I was preparing myself to embrace a new AR Rahman album. It killed all the excitement I used to have before buying an album, when I would have no clue of what to expect from it.
Times have changed, but the excitement levels on the verge of the release of a new AR Rahman‘s album still remains the same, despite or many a times because of all those short snippets of music that is spilled over on the Internet and the film‘s teasers and trailers. When I heard the haunting Yuvraaj Piano theme on the official movie website, my excitement hit new levels. The complete Oru Koodai Sunlight song, albeit an incomplete version from Sivaji – the Boss, was leaked on the Internet before the release of the album. I still remember the exhilaration I experienced when I heard O Saya from Slumdog Millionaire on the Internet. I wrote in my blog, "I am exhilarated like I was when I first heard Thiruda Thiruda songs".
There is AR Rahman‘s version of the song Omana Penne which, in the film, is sung by Benny Dayal. It is available on the Internet. Madhan Karky released a scratch version of Irumbilae Or Irudhayam from Endhiran, which was given to him to write the lyrics. I remember writing a review and guessing the moods of the scenes in which the cues are used by just listening to the thirty second samples of the cues from Couples Retreat soundtrack. The grandiose Choir motif Un paer sonnadhum perumai sonnadhum from Endhiran was released much before the release of the soundtrack and as always that too stirred more excitement.
The Rockstar website had the yayaya bit from Jo Bhi Mein as the background music. Also, the main riff of Saadda Haq was available on the Internet six months before the release of the album. Ranbir Kapoor fan site had posted a video taken while the shooting of the Hawa Hawa song was on in Prague. You get to hear snippets of AR Rahman‘s song, even the work-in-progress versions, much before the release. And yet, you cannot help but feel astonished when the song finally unfolds in its entirety in its final form. He does it again, again and again, in the way only he can.