Friday, June 19, 2009

With Rahman, there is so much to hear!

AR Rahman, has undoubtedly heralded a new era in music. There is so much to hear, with him composing tunes, blended to perfection with right proportions of Indian and Western styles, the resultant amalgam compounded with Sufi and Arabic elements, making a potpourri that has won many hearts all over the world. Recent string of movies – Ghajini, Delhi6, Slumdog Millionaire stand as an unshakeable proof for the above fact with the latter winning him an unprecedented international acclamation, one that Rahman deserves in every way for his meticulous creations starting from music for movie Roja or may be even earlier , from many TV commercials/advertisements that carry his background score.

Every time, Rahman has impelled forward some new talent through his creations. Hariharan, who primarily rendered ghazals until movie Roja, won audience’s hearts through song "Tamizha Tamizha". Thereafter, he has only risen to the status of an eminent playback singer in many languages. Harini, found her entry into Tamil industry with a soothing, child-like rendition of the song “Nila kaigirathu” in the movie Indira. The Bombay theme leaves us in silence even today, in serious contemplation on where we are heading in a sphere of violence that engulfs us. Suresh Peters, Febi, Minmini, Shahul Hameed are all names we saw on cassette covers of movies like Thiruda Thiruda, Gentleman, Roja, Bombay, names if not for AR Rahman, would have got lost without recognition in the indomitable arena of SPB, Mano, Chitra, Sujatha and Janaki of those times. Songs like Veerapandi Kotayille, Kannum Kannum from Thiruda Thiruda, Chikku Pooku Railey, Ottagatha Kattikko from Gentleman are enjoyed by many even today as one reminisces how he/she danced/swayed to these tunes in younger days.

Not to forget Urvasi Urvasi from Kaadhalan and the super melodious number – Ennavale from the same movie that fetched its singer, Unni Krishnan a national award in his first attempt. He later shone brightly with numbers like “Thenmerkku paruva kaatru” from Karuthamma and “Uyirumm Neeye” from Pavithra making a perfect team with AR Rahman. What will one call a combination of Superstar Rajinikanth and super musician AR Rahman? Terrific, Spectacular – well, it truly's that! Not much is required to justify this. Just listen to the opening piece of song “Oruvan Oruvan Muthalalee” from movie Muthu, it will pump additional joules of energy in you. Udit Narayan arrived in Tamil industry with his funny, yet adorable Tamil pronounciations in "Kuluvaalilley" song.

While new names did taste success under aegis of Rahman, the masters – SPB, Mano, Chitra and Sujatha remained unconquerable with their renditions in Roja (Kaadhal Rojave, Puthu Vellai Mazhai), Puthiya Mugam (Netru Illatha Maatram), Duet (Anjali Anjali), May Maatham (Minnaley), Bombay (Kannalaney, Uyire Uyire) and in fact, many more. Be it bringing forth Kadri Gopinath’s Saxophone, largely in Duet movie, moulding Carnatic talent Bombay Jayshree (Narumugaye, Iruvar) and Nityashree (Kannodu Kaanbethellam,Jeans) into cine music, adding fresh voices - KayKay (Strawberry Kanney, Minsaara Kannavu), Saadhana Sargam (Vennilave, Minsaara Kannavu) into Tamil music from up North; bold, experimental moves from Rahman have only won him bountiful fans and limitless appreciation.

The period also saw him foray into Bollywood with movie Rangeela that won him a Film Fare award straightaway. Accolades in Bollywood for Rahman were inevitable as his music reached listener’s ears through melodious voices of Alka Yagnik, Kavitha Krishnamurthy; not to miss that of legends like Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar, coupled at times with beautiful lyrics penned by Gulzar. I am sure many of us cherish songs of Dil Se, not just for its music but also for Gulzar’s poetic streaks running all through. Worth mentioning are songs “Tu hi tu, satrangi re” in which Sonu Nigam draws us close to Mirza Ghalib times with his deep, mesmerizing voice and “Chaiyya Chaiyya” where Sukhwinder Singh, virtually offers the listener a journey on the train, chugging through tunnels, leaving behind deep valleys.

While Bollywood prospered with Rahman’s tunes in Rangeela, Dil Se, Taal, Pukar, Takshak and Zubeidaa, Tamil movies like Indian, Minsaara Kannavu, Mr.Romeo, Mudhalvan, Iruvar, Rakshagan and Padayappa placed AR Rahman on the throne that none could supersede.

A good number of movies bore the jewel of Rahman’s music. His music drew crowds to theatres even if the film was devoid of a good script and good looking faces. The maestro treaded on the path to more glory and fame without a halt, his attempts were not lackadaisical at all. Born out of his enduring passion were Alaipayuthey, Kandukondain Kandukondain and Lagaan from which to pick one hot favourite would be an act of grave injustice. The Kannathil Muthamittal title song rendered by Chinmayee, am sure, brings tears in eyes of every parent who dotes on his/her child. Singers like Suresh Menon, Srinivas and Karthik showcased their talent and routed the maestro’s creations with an algorithm - shortest path first to our hearts and heads.

The journey through a masterpiece like Lagaan, “Yaarkai Thiree (Fanaa in Hindi) of movie Aaiyautha Ezhuthu /Yuva, Chinnama Chilakamma of Meenaxi and awe-inspiring “Yeh jo des hai tera” of Swades affirmed Rahman’s regime in Bollywood. From here on, until today, Rahman has kept involvement in Tamil Films to a bare minimum. He plunged to greater depths in Hindi film music through movie Rang de Basanti followed by a better and bigger superhit - Guru. While Naresh Iyer, a new singer, came to limelight with magical “Roobaaroo” and naughty “Khalbali” in Rang de Basanti, Rahman reigned as the supremo, in composing music and delivering it directly to the audience’s ears through “Tere Bina” of Guru. Then, there was Jodhaa Akbar; Ashutosh Gowariker was keen on completing his hat trick with AR Rahman, with Lagaan and Swades being the other two joint ventures.

One could always see AR Rahman seriously involved in songs that paid respect to the Almighty – be it "Piya Haji Ali" of Fiza or "Khwaja mere Khwaja" of Jodhaa Akbar. The message of lending a helping hand to the needy through “Pray for me Brother” was solemnly conveyed. The song Vande mataram rendered by Rahman has always invoked in us, spurts of patriotic spirit and a sense of utmost pride and respect for our nation.

AR Rahman's reign continues, it will forever, for on receiving the most sought after honor of an Oscar, that always appeared a near impossibility to an Indian, Rahman said he chose love over hatred. His undying love for music has instilled in us an unquenchable thirst for quality music. If recent hits from Jaane Tu are not enough, there are songs from Yuvraaj, Ghajini, Delhi 6 and Slumdog Millionaire that follow it.

“Hai Guzarish” of Ghajini, “Masakalli” of Delhi 6, “Jai ho & O saaya” of Slumdog may compel us to conclude that this is Rahman’s best ever, but WAIT - much more is lined up! After all, with AR Rahman, there is always so much to hear.

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