Music review: Umrao Jaan

Movie: Umrao Jaan (2006)
Music Director: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Alka Yagnik, Richa Sharma, Sonu Nigam, Anmol Malik

Album rating:

Considering that it is a remake, there are obvious comparisons with the older Umrao Jaan. Anu Malik doesn’t disappoint his fans this time. He tries to create the same magic as Refugee, but doesn’t quench the thirst completely.

Alka Yagnik sings most of the songs for the main character Umrao Jaan and that means she sings a lot number of songs. You listen to 3-4 Alka songs back to back and they start sounding monotonous and boring. Alka’s voice, emotionless rendering, shrillness at times, her struggle to keep with the pitch and the similar sounding tunes don’t help much in making the songs likeable.

Anu Malik, a hint for you: Asha Bhosle. With a legend like Asha Bhosle still around, why would anyone look for another singer for ghazals?

Sonu Nigam has one song to his credit and he does full justice to it. For as long as he sings, he creates sheer magic.

What takes the cake is Richa Sharma’s song. Her voice is so strong and rustic, it suits the song so well. It’s a treat to listen to her sing.

No complaints about Javed saab’s lyrics, though he couldn’t get Alka to pronounce certains words right.

The main problem I see with this music collection is the choice of singer. This album would have been completely different with Ashaji.

Behka Diya Hamein

Singers: Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik

The way this song opens is really good. A sole instrument (Mandolin or Sarod, I am not sure) plays a melodious tune for some time and then Sonu Nigam starts. That instrument ‘aalaap’ is a treat!
Romantic song with a slow pace, melodious tune and a good choice of accompanying instruments. Sonu Nigam is no doubt good, packing enough and right emotions into the words. Alka Yagnik sounds shrill at times, and feels inferior when comapared to Sonu. She tries hard to fill in emotions, but doesn’t do a good job of it. Some good lines like “Jis zindagi ne aap se milwa diya humein” and “Tumne to khwaab dekhna sikhla diya humein”.

Jhoote Ilzaam

Singer: Alka Yagnik

This was intended to sound like a ghazal, but sounds more like a traditional Bollywoodish song. It has the almost all the ingredients of a ghazal. The song begins with a sher, uses harmonium heavily, even has Kathak wordings in between, even the lyrics are for a ghazal. What it lacks is the tune. The tune lets down the song and it ends up sounding like a mediocre sad song.

Alka Yagnik tries to make justice to the song, but fails at it. Her voice doesn’t suit this kind of song and she struggles to sing at times.

Piano is used in certain places and it sounds so out of place. Tabla, harmonium and the ‘paayal’ add that moghulish touch to the song and the piano spoils the whole thing.
A song which your music collection can do without.

Main Na Mil Sakoon Jo Tumse

Singer: Alka Yagnik

See the comments for the previous song. The same comments apply here. A song which should have sounded like a ghazal, but doesn’t. Struggled singing, wrong choice of instruments (piano is more dominant here and harmonium is almost non-existent) and a wrong tune for a ghazal. Nothing excpetional about this song.

A song which your music collection can do without.

Pehle Pehel

Singer: Alka Yagnik

Good use of paayal as a main instrument for the background. Alka is much better in this song compared to the other songs. She does lack to evoke the romantic emotion required for this song, but she tries. Give the lady some credit for that. Lyrics are ok, I couldn’t find a line which touched me.

Pooch Rahe Hain

Singer: Alka Yagnik

Nothing special about this song. Alka’s struggle is clearly visible.


Singer: Alka Yagnik

Looks like Alka has become a fan of Himesh Reshammiya and wants an entry into his club. This song should give her a free membership. She sounds so nasal in this song that one could mistake this song for a Himesh song! This song would have been so much better if it was sung by Asha Bhosle.

Hummable tune, good music, what lets you down is the singing.

Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Kijiyo

Singer: Richa Sharma

The best song of the album by one of the best singers we have. This comes as a much wanted change in the Alka monotony. The moment Richa starts her aalaap, you forget where you are. She engulfs by her magical, rustic voice and the folkish music and lyrics just add to the magic. Javed has covered the emotions of all the suffering women of India by these words: “Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Kijiyo”. A lovely song with a good pace and a good choice of instruments.

A must have in your music collection.

Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Na Kijiyo

Singer: Anmol Malik

This sounds so dull and so inferior compared to the Richa version. Singing is amateurish, bad diction, bad voice quality. I don’t know why this is even a part of this album. Looking at the last name of the singer, I can guess why.

12 thoughts on “Music review: Umrao Jaan

  1. Kesar says:

    Crappy review. Alka sings awesome-you need to get your ears checked. Please don’t write anymore rude and embarassing reviws.

  2. Have you heard the old Umrao Jaan songs? I don’t think so, because after you listen to Asha’s haunting voice, you will close your ears to Alka’s crooning.

    And about writing reviews: my review was not rude. Embarassing? To whom? You? I write honest reviews, Kesar. If you can’t respect someone’s opinions (which may be different from yours, you know), then please don’t read my reviews. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are so demented dude. Anmol Malik is like the best singer I’ve heard in the longest time ever. You better clean out your ears. I guess you’re probably hurting over your poor diction, bad voice quality and obvious rejection.
    Have fun. 🙂

  4. akash says:

    very nice review. i feel that the music album was failed from the start. it should have been Ismail Darbar and the supreme Kavita Krishnamurthy. Kavitaji is the best singer we have after Lataji and Ashaji, and her classical mastery and sheer talent put Alka to shame.

    Anu Malik should go back and learn how to compose fresh classical compositions.
    Alka Yagnik should go back and get some proper classical training, because she is truly embarrassing to listen to in this album.

  5. lucky says:

    It is one of the worst reviews i have ever read. I think this is the only negative review for Umrao Jaan. Everyone went ga ga over Alka Yagnik’s outstanding singing and classical brilliance in all the songs. Even Javed Akhtar appreciated Alkaji and said in print that she has outdone herself in these songs. Either the reviewer is an Alka hater(which is very strange) or there is some problem with his ears(i am really serious).

    The most ridiculous part is that the Melody Queen has been called as nasal in a song.

  6. mohit says:

    Alka Yagnik was superb in Umrao Jaan. She proved that no one can beat her in Indain Classial Music. Even Lata Mangeshkar praised her and said in one of her interviews that Alka Yagnik was awesome in Umrao Jaan. I think this reviewer knows more that Lataji or Javed saab or the other bunch of reviewers who have adored the music of Umrao Jaan. Alka Yagnik’s outstanding renditions are to die for!

  7. Ashlesha says:

    I agree with Lucky. And YUCK @ Kavita Krishnamurthy! Good god! I’m glad she did not sing in this album- she would have ruined it with her old lady, nasal singing. She has difficulties singing high notes, and her voice tends to fade way too much. Alka was brilliant. Very good rendition of Pooch Rahe Hain.

  8. Taran says:

    Alka Yagnik nasal? dude-you’re completely nuts. She did a great job in this album; her singing was flawless and included a right balance of emotion. Your review is very harshly written, and like Lucky said, it sounds like you’re an Alka hater; only an Alka hater would have written this. And like Ashlesha said, Kavita Krishnamurthy would have been a horrible choice. If not Alka, Anuradha Paudwal would have been incredible too. Alka and Anuradha are the best after Lata and Asha. Kavita comes in last, sorry to say; her voice is the least appealing. Anyway dude, the review needs some kind words. It looks like you have issues writing sincere reviews, so I strongly suggest you don’t endeavour in it.


    The only person in universe to complain that Alka Yagnik is not comfortable at higher notes is our dear commentator.Anyways the get dozens of ear buds to clean up your ears. On a serious note, Alka’s voice sounded grave and bold which made the songs sound awesome.Moreover Mr. commentator, these are songs belonging to the gharana of ghazals not “classical”. Ghazals are artistic expression of feelings with a semi- classical tinge in their compositions.

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