10th July 2008 - This is when the music of Rock On had arrived. I still remember being truly baffled with the soundtrack that was offered by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Javed Akhtar. My review was - to put it mildly - scathing.
29th August 2008 - The film released, and the entire perception built around the soundtrack went through a complete turnaround for me. This has been the solitary instance over the years when I decided to re-review the soundtrack. Yes, such was the kind of impact that the music created when heard in the context of the film, with some extraordinary picturisation to add on the impact. Of course, it was all positive!
24th September 2016 - Eight years and almost a month later, it is time to hear what the same musical team has to offer for the sequel to the film.
Expectedly, it is the sound of guitar that kick-starts the proceedings for Rock On 2. Also, there is no surprise to hear Farhan Akhtar taking charge right from the onset. As per the need of the genre, 'Jaago' is a rock track to arrive right at the beginning and this time around the theme is that of revolution where Farhan is joined by Siddharth Mahadevan to 'wake up' and be your own self, which is not bound by traditions and social pressures. The track starts on a slow note and then gradually builds up the pace, hence turning out to be fairly entertaining. That said, one would have actually preferred a more boisterous beginning.
On the same lines as 'Jaago' arrives 'Udja Re' and while Shankar Mahadevan is heard somewhere far in the background for the first few seconds, soon enough it is time for Shraddha Kapoor to arrive on the forefront. She is mild, sober and soothing to begin with and then starts gaining momentum to turn all ferocious by the time it is time to announce 'Udja Re' to the world. She does quite well as a singer in this song which is again about freedom and being liberated.
By the time 'You Know What I Mean' arrives, you know that Farhan Akhtar and Shraddha Kapoor have actually sung six out of eight songs in the soundtrack. While this one too is set in the rock mode, it has a romantic flavour to it which has the male protagonist wooing his lady love in a setting which could well be that of a college. While this Farhan Akhtar sung track has a young appeal to it and is pretty catchy too, one waits to see how this one is incorporated into the film.
For those waiting for some sort of 'thehrav' in the album, there is 'Manzar Naya' which turns out to be one of the best tracks in the offering. Beautifully written by Javed Akhtar, this one is a soothing outing with just a guitar in the background. Farhan Akhtar does quite well as a singer too and one just wonders if a song or two more like this in the soundtrack could well make this an even better roller coaster ride.
Well, this is something that happens soon enough as 'Tere Mere Dil', the next song, has a very smooth flow to it as well. This isn't all, as Shraddha Kapoor shows very good hold over the medium as a singer and impresses yet again with her controlled vocals that never go astray. Her icy cold voice does quite well for 'Tere Mere Dil' which is just the right follow up to 'Manzar Naya' and can be heard on repeat mode.
After preparing the listener well with a few solo tracks each, Farhan Akhtar and Shraddha Kapoor pair up for a duet, 'Woh Jahaan'. It is, in fact, Shraddha, who is heard first and she sets the tone well for what would follow next. This one has an easy flow to it as well and is about the search of an ideal world where everything is nice and quiet with no troubles or bloodshed anywhere. This works as a situational outing.
Since the film has a major portion set in Meghalaya, it was but natural to have a song with Khasi (the local language) lyrics. 'Hoi Kiw/Chalo Chalo' is one such song that has a mix of Khasi and Hindi lyrics. While Kit Shangpliang (who writes the Khasi portions) and Pynsuklin Syiemiong are the local singers roped in for this rock track, and they do quite well too, Usha Uthup steps in for the Hindi portion of the song. This one too is about reaching out for the destination with a steely resolve and one waits to see how the situational track is incorporated into the film.
The album concludes with 'Ishq Mastana' which has a complete departure from whatever that has been heard in the album so far. A song with a mix of Sufi and Punjabi flavor, it also has Western instruments added to good effect. It is nice to hear the voice of Shankar Mahadevan here as it also breaks in variety into whatever that has been heard so far. Digvijay Singh Pariyar is the accompanying singer in this foot tapping number that has a lively feel to it.
The music of Rock On 2, just like was the case in Rock On, is different. More importantly, it goes well with the genre and hence should hear and look good in the film's context. Also, considering the kind of monotony that has been set in today's Bollywood music, this effort by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar at least brings in some variety.
‘Udja Re’, ‘Manzar Naya’, ‘Tere Mere Dil’, ‘Jaago’, ‘Ishq Mastana’