Highway (soundtrack)

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Highway
Digital soundtrack cover art
Soundtrack album to Highway by A. R. Rahman
Released 24 January 2014 (digital release)
5 February 2014 (2014-02-05) (CD release)
Recorded 2013—14
Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios, Chennai
AR Studios, Mumbai
Panchathan Hollywood Studios, Los Angeles
Length 43:34
Language Hindi, English
Label T-Series
Producer A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Raanjhanaa
(2013)
Highway
(2014)
Kochadaiiyaan
(2014)
Singles from Highway
  1. "Patakha Guddi (Female Version)"
    Released: 7 January 2014
  2. "Maahi Ve"
    Released: 17 January 2014

Highway is the soundtrack album, composed by A. R. Rahman, to the 2014 Hindi film of the same name, directed by Imtiaz Ali that stars Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt in the lead roles. The film is produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and Imtiaz Ali is the co-producer. The songs in the soundtrack album are situational whereas the original score is minimal. Initially, the filmed was planned with no songs. However, the tracks eventually fell in place due to the script and situational numbers to fit in. The track "Patakha Guddi" has heavy Punjabi influence in its music, however, rest of the songs do not entirely depend on picturised regional music themes but concentrate more on the feelings and spirits of character "Veera" played by Alia Bhatt. The track "Sooha Sahaa" marks Bhatt's debut as a singer through this soundtrack album. The track was co-sung with Zeb Bangash. The female version of Patakha Guddi was released as the first single followed by the second single "Maahi Ve" to positive critical reception. The album features nine tracks, and was digitally released on 24 January 2014 (2014-01-24) on T-Series. The soundtrack as well as the film score garnered positive critical response from music critics.

Development[edit]

Initially, the film was planned with only background score and no songs.[1] On the score of the film Rahman quoted "The background score in Highway is more minimalist and it is not locked down to any choreography."[2] In an interview for The Hollywood Reporter, director Imtiaz Ali stated that all songs barring "Sooha Saha" were recorded after the entire film was shot.[3] The track titled "Patakha Guddi" lyrically describes freedom and holds abstracts of purity and wildness."Maahi Ve" is of ballad genre picturised on Veera (character played by Alia Bhatt) and Mahabir(character played by Randeep Hooda) as they go through the journey together. According to Rahman, for some songs, he has used a region's soundscape while for others, he has utilised the character's internal journey as a map. "Maahi Ve" being one such song, he has used sounds from Punjab, another that could connect with Haryana to transform it into futuristic soundscape.[4] A single stanza[5] of the track "Sooha Saha" is sung by Alia Bhatt, marking her debut as a singer.[5] In an interview with The Indian Express, Rahman quotes, "I am very fascinated with the concept of actors in Hollywood lip syncing to tracks sung by them. I think it adds a nice and real feel to the song. In Highway, we wanted a natural voice for a lullaby and Imtiaz suggested that we should try Alia. I was not aware that she could sing, but Imtiaz asserted that we should give her a chance. I called Alia for a recording session and realised that her voice has a fine, natural texture which went well with the song."[6] In the film as the journey moves from the plains of Punjab to the hills of Himachal, Veera sings this lullaby that reminds Mahabir of his childhood. Alia was made to sing to add more poignancy to the scene.[5] The track "Wanna mash up" is a groovy western dance number composed entirely in English with rap and reggae to which Alia's character Veera grooves to, in the film. As per the situation in the movie, any English song would have fit in to the situation, however Rahman opined to compose an original piece.[7] Further, on singing the male version of "Patakha Guddi" Rahman notes, "Singing in Punjabi wasn't difficult as I'd composed the tune, and improvised a lot. All I had to do was work on the pronunciations." It is the first time when he had recorded a full-fledged Punjabi track. The track drifts from Sufi tones to a hard rock number in its length.[7] On development of the same, lyricist Irshad Kamil stated, "Imtiaz strongly felt that the song must be recorded in Rahman sir's voice to make it more gratifying in its high notes. I couldn't agree more. The only hitch was his Punjabi diction, but we soon came up with a solution. I read out the entire song in Punjabi and sent the voice memo to Rahman sir. Patakha guddi was a long piece. We spent quite a few days working on it. The result is for all of us to see."[8] The opening refrain of "Tu Kuja" is from the famous Persian phrase but later the song is pure Hindi track inspired by the Amir Khusro song 'Kirpa Karo Maharaj' in praise of Moinuddin Chishti.[7][9] The track "Heera" involves traditional couplets by Sant Kabir.[7] "Kahaan Hoon Main" is a track that lyrically describes one's self-discovery.[7] Singer Jonita Gandhi who sang this song noted, "It is the song which can take 'you into the realm of spirituality and lead to self-realisation'".[10] Upon the questionnaire of the mood of the song, the singer in an interview at The Hindu added, "It is about a girl who is facing new experiences which make her question aspects of her life and journey. It is a song about inner reflection and self-realisation, which are themes that everyone can relate to."[10] Nakash Aziz has sung the male version of the track "Tu Kuja" that was featured only in the film.[10]

A musical promotional event took place on 18 January 2014 in Mumbai.[11] The event also had an interview wherein Rahman described as the track Implosive Silence as a "a state of mind-soothing yet enigmatic". It is a musical piece trying to capture the sounds in character Veera's mind as she travels along the highway.[7] Later, singer of the song Jonita Gandhi stated, "The song 'Implosive silence' isn't a song that requires lyrics – it is very expressive in itself, and portrays the emotions felt by the characters in the film."[10] Further in yet another interview, Rahman disclosed that in the film, for him the most important sound (track) was "Implosive Silence". The song being the voice of the main protagonist Veera was compared to which is not definitive and goes through many layers like brain functions with several different questions coming, settling somewhere, not settling somewhere.[2] Imtiaz Ali's interview with Examiner wherein he stated that the music was not necessarily only in the geographical sense, but also in the change of the spirit of the girl. The song in the Salt Pan desert ("Tu Kuja") had influences of the region. The song in the land of Punjab was "Pataakha Guddi", entirely in Punjabi. But other songs drop the regional aspect and concentrate more on the girl's emotions, like the song in the mountains ("Wanna Mash Up") and ("Maahi Ve") or atop of the bus ("Kahaan Hoon Main") were not regional but were approached more in western manner to show the ebullience of one in a situation or mentality like that.[12]

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

The track titled "Patakha Guddi", sung by the duo Nooran sisters (Jyoti & Sultana Nooran) was released as a single on 7 January 2014. The track "Maahi Ve" sung by A. R. Rahman was the next single that released on 16 January 2014. Both these singles framed the score of the theatrical trailer[13] and clenched second position on iTunes India single charts on their respective release dates. The making of the song "Sooha Saha" was released on 18 January 2014 that features clips of Bhatt's recording sessions with Rahman.[14] The male version of "Patakha Guddi" was released on 24 January 2014 as a single. Imtiaz Ali had directed a special video with A. R. Rahman and Alia Bhatt[15][16] and was released on 14 February 2014.[17]

Credits issue[edit]

On July 24, 2014, Pakistan based newspaper Roznama Express reported that singer Zeb Bangash who co-sung the track "Sooha Saahaa" with Alia Bhatt for the soundtrack was lately marked for the melody by the release label T-Series. Moreover, T-Series sidelined the artist and pronounced credit was given to Alia Bhatt. The official website of T-Series scraped off Zeb's name and on YouTube she was not credited alongside Alia, A. R. Rahman and Imtiaz Ali. The matter was reported to Alia Bhatt's father Mahesh Bhatt wherein he was quoted saying, "It is very important for an artiste to be paid and given credit for the work he or she has done, "As far as Zeb and my daughter’s song is concerned, I believe that the credit should go to both of them. If the uploaded version of the song only has Alia’s name in the credits, then it is utterly wrong." He further added, "I have always worked for the stability of the relationship between India and Pakistan. I would never want the credit that a Pakistani artiste or singer deserves to be given to someone else."[18]

Critical reception[edit]

Songs[edit]

Music Aloud rated the album 9 out of 10 and wrote,"The A R Rahman-Imtiaz Ali-Irshad Kamil team delivers yet another musical treat! Totally worth the wait".[19] At Koimoi, Manohar Basu wrote, "For all those who had thought Rahman was losing his midas touch, well he is back with a bang! The songs in this album are mixed – some you'll take an instant liking for and the rest just grow on you. But each of its numbers is so intoxicating that I promise you will have one hell of a hard time to get these songs off loop." He rated the album 4 on 5 and called it 'exemplary'.[20] Indo-Asian News Service gave the album 4 on 5 stars and wrote, "All in all, the songs of 'Highway' will take music lovers to a different level – it's very powerful and magical."[21] The Critical review board at Behindwoods reviews, "A timeless soundtrack crafted for the road !", giving the album a score of 3.75 out of 5.[22] Critic Pawan Jha for BBC World Service stated, "Another winner from A. R. Rahman and Irshad Kamil" and gave it 3.5 on 5.[23] Critic Rajiv Vijayakar of Bollywood Hungama stated, "This is a decent A.R. Rahman score after a long gap, in the sense that it will appeal even to those who are not hardcore fans of the composer and his musical grammar (and composition!)." Rating the soundtrack 3 out of 5, he added, "However, for sheer mass connectivity, we still miss the excellence of Ali's Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal. Those were soundtracks that made the director's films get initial as well as repeat value!" CanIndia News summarised the album stating, "With offbeat lyrics, brilliant music, and a powerful mix of tracks, this album is ready to take over the charts for a very, very long time. It's as if A.R. Rahman has transmitted all his magic into one album. The album gives you precisely what is expected out of A.R. Rahman's music, if not more. Absolutely mind-blowing and soulful."[24] Joginder Tuteja for Rediff wrote, "Of all Imtiaz Ali films to date, the music of Highway is the most experimental." Assigning the album a score of 3 out of 5, he added, "In fact, it is obvious that Imtiaz and Rahman were concentrating more on a theme-based soundtrack that seeps into the narrative, rather than the kind that turns out to be a chartbuster and popular in itself."[25] Critic Baradwaj Rangan summarised the album as, "AR Rahman's songs for 'Highway' aren't exactly groundbreaking – and no, that's not an unjustified expectation when it comes to this composer."[26]

Background score[edit]

Manohar Basu at Koimoi noted, "But defending its dissipating premise in the garb of Rahman's mystically well done score isn't what is expected of Ali. one cannot disagree to the fact that it is only Rahman's divine music."[27] According to critic Gayatri Sankar for Zee News, "Oscar Award winning music maestro AR Rahman is back again with melodies that will stay with you forever. The genius has made the most of the folk tradition and thus paid respect to India's indigenous music culture that seldom finds a mention these days."[28] For Mumbai Mirror, Rahul Desai wrote,"Rahman's music keeps the pace in check."[29] Critic Sonia Chopra for Sify mentions, "A.R.Rahman's music is haunting and resonates with the film beautifully."[30] At OneIndia, Venkatesh Prasad stated, "Tranquila music of AR Rahman takes the film into a whole different level."[31]Taran Adarsh for Bollywood Hungama notes, "The soundtrack [by maestro A.R. Rahman] never strays from the essence of the film. However, the problem is it lacks popular appeal, for you appreciate the songs as long as they last on screen, but don't hum the tunes once you make an exit from the auditorium. The background score, also by Rahman, is minimal, but effective."[32]

Deborah Young for The Hollywood Reporter stated, "Top composer A. R. Rahman, who won due Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire's music and songs, has less to inspire him than in his previous collaboration with Ali, the music-laden Rockstar. But the soundtrack is still a joy to listen to and makes a fine complement to Anil Mehta's dreamy images of India's soulful landscapes."[33] Viji Alles for UKAsian wrote, "The visual beauty is lifted by A R Rahman's excellent soundtrack."[34] Ronnie Scheib for Variety said, "A. R. Rahman's score is powerful, his music, freed from the staginess of intricately choreographed, multi-costumed setpieces, flows sinuously throughout and evocative songs function mainly as inner voices conveying the characters' unspoken emotions."[35]

Track listing[edit]

The track listing was released on A. R. Rahman's official website, the same day as that of the soundtrack's digital release.[36][37] The lyrics have been penned by Irshad Kamil, except where noted.

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Patakha Guddi (Female Version)"   Sultana Nooran, Jyoti Nooran 04:45
2. "Maahi Ve"   A. R. Rahman 04:00
3. "Kahaan Hoon Main"   Jonita Gandhi 05:28
4. "Wanna Mash Up?" (Lyrics By: Lady Kash and Krissy) Lady Kash and Krissy, Suvi Suresh 03:40
5. "Sooha Saaha"   Zeb, Alia Bhatt 04:59
6. "Patakha Guddi (Male Version)"   A. R. Rahman 05:58
7. "Implosive Silence"   Jonita Gandhi 05:42
8. "Tu Kuja"   Sunidhi Chauhan 04:29
9. "Heera" (Lyrics By: Sant Kabir) Shweta Pandit 04:33
Total length:
43:34

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from A. R. Rahman's official website.[38]

Backing vocals on the track "Maahi Ve"— Maria Roe Vincent, Rhea Raphael, Neethi Dorairaju

Indian rhythm & percussion: Vedachalam, Vikraman, Venkatesh, Kumar, T.Raja
Flute: Naveen Kumar, Naveen Iyer
Electric guitar: Prasanna
Acoustic guitar: Keba Jeremiah
Ukulele and guitar: Haniya

Production
  • Producer: A. R. Rahman
  • Sound design: Resul Pookutty, Amrit Pritam Dutta
  • Mastering: Donal Whelan at Mastering World
  • Mixing, additional music production on the song "Wanna Mash Up?" :Gil Levy
  • Mastering of the tracks "Wanna Mash Up?" and "Implosive Silences" : Gil Levy
  • Engineers:
    • Suresh Permal, T. R. Krishna Chetan, Jerry Vincent(at Panchathan Record Inn)
    • S. Sivakumar, Kannan Ganpat, Pradeep, Karthik Sekaran, Anantha Krishnan(at A.M. Studios)
    • Srinidhi Venkatesh, R. Nitish Kumar(at AR Studios, Mumbai)
    • Tony Joy, Ishaan Chhabra (at Panchathan Hollywood Studios)
  • Vocal supervision: Srinivas, Nakash Aziz, Srinidhi Venkatesh
  • Music supervisor: Srinidhi Venkatesh
  • String engineer: V.J. Srinivasamurthy
  • Mixing: R. Nitish Kumar, T. R. Krishna Chetan
  • Additional mixing: K.J. Singh, T.R. Krishna Chetan, Aditya Modi
  • Programming: Ishaan Chhabra, Hentry Kuruvilla, Santosh Dhayanidhi, T. R. Krishna Chetan
  • Music co-ordinator: Noell James, Vijay Mohan Iyer
  • Musicians' fixer: R. Samidurai

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anirban Das (21 January 2014). "I will quit if I'm unable to meet people's expectations: AR Rahman". Hindustan Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Anu Rangachar (18 February 2014). "A film with songs has better impact: A.R. Rahman". DearCinema. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Nyay Bhushan (13 February 2014). "Indian Director Imtiaz Ali: 'I'm Supposed to Be a Vulgar Sellout' (Berlin Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Dipti Nagpaul (25 January 2014). "'Music should have subtext'". Mumbai: The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Jessica Lacewalla. "Alia Bhatt Shines at the Highway Music Launch". Business of Cinema. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Priya Adivarekar (24 January 2014). "Musical Notes/ Alia Bhatt turns singer in Highway". The Indian Express. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The soundtrack of Highway is now available on iTunes.". A. R. Rahman on Twitter, Twitter handle – @taran_adarsh. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Anirban Das (6 February 2014). "Irshad Kamil helps AR Rahman for Patakha Guddi". Hindustan Times. Mumbai. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Faridoon Shahryar (20 January 2014). "A R Rahman's Exclusive Interview on Highway Part 1". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Nakash Aziz: A R Rahman has powerful aura around him". The Times of India. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "AR Rahman, Imtiaz Ali & Alia Bhatt will talk about #Highway music". Taran Adarsh on Twitter, Twitter handle – @taran_adarsh. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Jim Bessman (21 February 2014). "A conversation with 'Highway' director Imtiaz Ali". Manhattan: Examiner. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Here's wishing Rahman sir a very Happy B'day – Imtiaz Ali". HighwayTheFilm on Facebook. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Apurva Singh. "Alia Bhatt turns singer for A R Rahman, croons 'Sooha Saha' in 'Highway'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  15. ^ A R Rahman. "Imtiaz directing a music video with me for Highway, for the male version of Patakha Guddi". A R Rahman's TImeline Photos. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Ankur Pathak. "Aila! Rahman shakes a leg with Alia". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Finally, here's the full video of Patakha Guddi, featuring yours truly Highway". A. R. Rahman on Twitter. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Highway Album Details". A.R. Rahman – The Official Website. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Highway – Music Review". Music Aloud. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Highway Music Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Highway music review – IANS". Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "HIGHWAY SONGS REVIEW". Behindwoods. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "बीबीसी संगीत समीक्षा". BBC World Service. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Highway Music Review – A product of A.R. Rahman's magic". CanIndia. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Review: Highway music is experimental". Rediff. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Lights, Camera, Conversation… "On the beaten path"". Baradwaj Rangan. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  27. ^ "Highway Review". Koimoi. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "'Highway' review: Imtiaz Ali delivers a clear winner; Alia, Randeep mesmerise". Zee News. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  29. ^ "Film review: Highway". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  30. ^ "Highway Review: Don't miss it!". Sify. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  31. ^ "Film review: Highway". OneIndia. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  32. ^ "Highway". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  33. ^ "Highway: Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  34. ^ Viji Alles. "#TheUKAsianReview: Imtiaz Ali's 'Highway' is a silent triumph". UKAsian. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "Review: Highway". The Village Voice. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  36. ^ "Highway (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  37. ^ "Highway". A R Rahman – The Official Website. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Did you know? Zeb not being given credit for Highway song". The Express Tribune. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.