The music of ‘Rock On!!’ opened the doors for hard-core rock music in Hindi films. Though Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Paanch’ (unreleased; album released in 2000) was the first Hindi film to have an out-and-out rock based soundtrack, ‘Rock On!!’ introduced a large section of listeners, who listened only to mainstream Hindi music, to rock music. It was a path-breaking soundtrack by all means. Though it is Shujaat Saudagar (and not Abhishek Kapoor who helmed the original) who has directed the second instalment in the franchise, the music team (music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, lyrics: Javed Akhtar) remains the same.
The opening electric guitar riffs of “Jaago” gives one an inkling of it being similar to the title track of ‘Rock On!!’. Well, there are certain similarities but it is an original composition topped with a rock base. The electric guitar riff is quite infectious and the song grows on you in a while. Farhan’s rendition is serviceable but Siddharth Mahadevan lends an edge to the song by screaming “Jaaaago”.
The sound, lyrics and the sensibilities with which “Udja Re” has been composed makes it sound like a track from an all-girls pop album. Unlike “Jaago”, this song, which has a sonorous background to it, grows on you in no time. Shraddha Kapoor’s vocal prowess in the songs she had sung in her earlier films were okay but here, her singing is mighty impressive. She has also seemed to work on modulating her voice in a way that it goes well with the mood and pitch of the song.
If you get past the jingle-like vibe that “You Know What I Mean” emanates in the beginning, you get a pretty neat joie de vivre number. Composed on the same lines as “Socha Hai” (‘Rock On!!’), the song makes you break into a smile with a lively tune and spirited singing by Farhan Akhtar. The chorus vocals lend effective support to Farhan and add to the bouncy energy of the song.
Farhan Akhtar has an interesting voice texture which works for a select variety of songs. But, in an intricate melody like “Manzar Naya”, his inability to render complex compositions lies exposed. A more skilled singer would have, undoubtedly, done a better job with the vocals. Though the track has certain similarities to “Phir Dekhiye” (‘Rock On!!’), it has the kind of sound that one has come to associate with Amit Trivedi.
As one of the members in the band plays the sarod, one is not surprise to hear it in “Tere Mere Dil”. Shraddha’s voice is heard again and she sounds as good as she did in “Udja Re”. Not only does she sing well, she conveys the poignancy the track subtly hints at. The fairly spunky tune balances the sense of melancholy enveloped in the lyrics quite well. The sound of the sarod blends in seamlessly with the electronic based soundscape of the track.
The sense of sobriety is more evident in “Woh Jahaan”, which has both Shraddha and Farhan coming behind the mike. The song talks about holding onto hope in times of despair and Javed Akhtar does a fabulous job at conveying this in simple and easily comprehensible lines that touch your heart instantly. This track is a perfect marriage between music and lyrics where each of them work hand in hand towards creating a track that delivers a coherent message.
Usha Uthup teams up with newcomers Kit Shangpliang and Pynsuklin Syiemiong for “Hio Kiw (Chalo Chalo)”, a song that blends Hindi and Khasi (a language spoken in the Indian state of Meghalaya) lyrics. From what one could make out from the Hindi lyrics, this is supposed to be an inspirational track that talks about overcoming obstacles and moving forward in life. Although the track is uplifted to a certain extent by enthusiastic vocals and a punchy rhythm, the tune barely excites you.
Amidst a bunch of rock numbers, one is a little surprised to come across a raga based track like “Ishq Mastana” in the album. You do get to hear drums and electric guitars in the background but it largely remains a composition that adheres to Indian classical music. Though the song has a familiar ring to it, it is evocative. It is not an easy song to render but Digvijay Singh Pariyar pulls it off exceedingly well.
Unlike ‘Rock On!!’, Farhan is not burdened with the responsibility of singing too many songs and Shraddha (who is a revelation) is given ample opportunity to shine as a vocalist. Despite having a rock sound that dominates the album, the music of ‘Rock On!! 2’ sounds quite different from that of ‘Rock On!!’. Despite the parameters they were bound by, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy manage to experiment and plug in different kind of sounds while keeping the rock music element intact.