Thursday, July 2, 2009

URGENT REQUIREMENT: VINTAGE RAHMAN OF THE 90'S

A.R.RAHMAN as i spell his name, I could sense the vibration within me as memories flash up before....Those childhood memories, those songs and those excellent times will never come back.. The musical genius came in at a time when i was doing my 5th standard...those formative years, both in education as well as my extra curricular activities...

I can still remember that day, when we all went for the Roja movie(Our visit to the cinema theatre with my father,mother and sister was a rarity..we don't go to theatres). Something struck me while watching the movie. Previously I had watched "CHINNA GOUNDER" and the rich aura of sounds and the traditional heard before orchestration and the hero's charisma did something to me. But this was different. Roja right from the scene in forests while the security forces fight the terrorists(I could still remember the blue filter added to that scene), I was caught in total awe. The song, the entire plot of the movie captivated a lot of hearts, as the movie set the entire country ablaze. The music wizard A.R.Rahman came into prominence.





Even then I didn't recognise the genius. All my school friends discussed about the movie Roja and were heaping praises on the
handsome ArvindSwamy rolling over the national flag....Oh....So much patriotism and jingoism thrown in...Neverthless it was one of the best Mani Ratnam's work...

I could still remember those days when i use to return back home and there was a house with a huge stereo set and they use to play "PUDHU VELLAI MAZHAI" and somehow that song became one of my favorites till date. Then I persuaed my father to buy a Roja cassette(no CD's those days). It was a dually recorded with ROJA on one side and SOORIYAN on another side. Then we saw KIZHAKU SEEMAIYILE...I admired that movie and shed a few tears in the theatre, loved the music that deep penetrated my heart.


The next A.R.Rahman movie i saw on theatre was "KADHALAN". I really loved the music and I was terrified with the music (that Sumo style music) that came whenever they shown Raghuvaran. I was enquiring about the music director with my dad and came to know it was one called A.R.Rahman. I realised I had become a hardcore A.R.Rahman fan.

I used to search franatically for Rahman's news in magazines... Movies came with much fan fare,hit followed by a hit, I can remember those times, when i fought with my parents as who is the best...
Is it Illayaraja or A.R.Rahman????My parents were great fans of Maestro.
I used to follow the news that used to come in the newspapers and magazines about A.R.Rahman and his projects.



I
n 1994,when KADHALAN got released, MAY MADHAM also got released and it also had some stunning music. I really loved that MARGAZHI POOVE song(Its still my all time favorite). Due to some unknown reasons, that movie and that heroine Sonali Kulkarni became one of my favorites. MAY MADHAM had an interesting peppy BGM too. I really liked the dubbing voice that was given to the heroine(Only recently I found out it was actress Rohini's voice).

I think I am totally going off radar from the topic. The reason for elaborating on the movies were the role played by Rahman's music. It was a binding force, a magnetic pull that enthralled the audience, brought sheer joy and brings back those memories. Well its the thing of the past. After 2001, sadly i have only a few memories may- be a child in me had grown up.



A.R.Rahman still delivers his magic but that old magic has gone or may be has added so many textures to his music that I cannot understand it.


A little insight into his musical albums may throw some light: The albums are purely weighed on hit factor as none of the wizard's albums may be termed sub standard..May be a few non tamil works. I have considered only pure tamil works. I have not considered hit movies like Uyire as they were hindi movies with hindi cast but dubbed in tamil.I have left all of his brilliant hindi works too...and off course International Projects too...so that it is purely confined to Tamil fan's affinity towards his music.

ALBUMS BEFORE 2001

1)Roja

2)Pudhiya Mugam

3)Gentleman
4)Kizhakku Cheemayile
5)Uzhavan
6)Thiruda Thiruda
7)Vandicholai Chinraasu
8)Duet
9)May Madham
10)Kadhalan

11)Pavithra

12)Karuththamma

13)Pudhiya Mannargal

14)Bombay

15)Indira

16)Love Birds

17)Indian
18)Kadhal Desam

19)Mr. Romeo
20) Anthimanthaarai
21)Minsara Kanavu
22)Iruvar
23)Ratchagan
24)Jeans
25)En Swasa Kaatre
26)Padayappa
27)Kadhalar Dhinam
28)Sangamam
29)Jodi
30)Mudhalvan
31)Taj Mahal
32)Alaipayuthey
33)Kandukondain Kandukondain
34)Rhythm
35)Thenali
36)Star
37)Parthale Paravasam
38)Alli Arjuna
39)Kannathil Muthamittal

ALBUMS POST 2001:

1)Baba
2)Kadhal Virus
3)Parasuram
4)Boys

5)Enakku 20 Unakku 18
6)Kangalal Kaithu Sei
7)Udhaya
8)Aayitha Ezhuthu
9)New
10)Anbe Aaruyire

11)Sillunu Oru Kaadhal
12)Varalaru
13)Sivaji: The Boss
14)Azhagiya Thamizh Magan
15)Sakkarakatti

Blue indicates hit(in my most humble opinion).

Pre 2001->Total Movies->39--->Hits----->33
After 2001->Total Movies->15--->Hits--->11
Hit Ratio pre 2001--->84.6%

Hit Ratio Post 2001--->73.33%

The results may be still lower post 2001 if I consider all his dubbed works and hindi works. So Rahman's hit ratio has fallen from 2002. Most of his movies also flopped big time in Box Office which in turned pulled down his music also like
KADHAL VIRUS.



Post 2001, only 7 movies were declared hits in Box Office while the remaining bombed at the Box Office that brought down his music that brings his movie hit ratio to 46.6%.So where was he actually lagging ???...

It was a combination of factors ranging from choice of wrong movies, weaker script sense and emergence of new music directors
. Before 2001, Rahman had to contend only with Illayaraja,Yuvan Shankar Raja and Deva and to some extent VidyaSagar.
Rahman had already built his unique sound and people were used to it. So whatever gems Rahman tuned became collosal hits while other people like Deva tried to recreate his style but with very little success.

Off late I can sense that Rahman's catchy music has taken a backseat whereas his class and repertoire has increased.
He has experimented with more artists and he has gone to the next level whereas an ordinary fan like me wants the vintage ARR of the 90's.



After 2001, many music directors like Harris Jayaraj came into prominence and each and everyone tried to replicate the Rahmanish sound with great degree of success. Harris' MINNALE was a pure Rahman sounding album. And several other MD used Rahman's absence(thanks to BOMBAY DREAMS) and regrouped together while Yuvan came with all guns blazing. YSR,HJ,Imaan,Vidyasagar all produced good music and most importantly most of the movies became great hits.



Yuvan's rise up the ladder was phenomenal and he delivered hits with higher frequency. By the time, you could sense a YSR hit, it was followed by another.
Vidyasagar worked out numbers that combined the genius of both the maestro and the Mozart of Madras. And slowly Rahman moved towards west and increased his works in Hindi as he got more challenging subjects in the North whereas Rahman's mentors were semi retired and some of the projects took so much time that they eventually got shelved...There are innumerous examples. Sometimes Rahman would dedicate a lot of time for a particular project and the audio will scorch the charts but the movie would be a damp squib(e.g) KADHAL VIRUS, DELHI6 and SAKKARAKATI.


As an average ARR fan, I would like to see an album with his pure vintage 90's style. Sometimes I would confuse myself that ARR has become more and more complex and has added more layers to his songs, complicating the song structure and i even feel the sharpness and crystal clearness in his sound has gone down barring Delhi 6 recently.



Is A.R.Rahman composing complex melodies??
Yes and no. He has done the most complex scores off late from WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH to ELIZABETH. In my opinion SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was an average score. Was not ELLA PUGAZHUM better than JAI HO.. the former was a winner hands down.


The songs of the vibrant young Rahman was melodic, beat oriented and was simply catchy.
If one was asked to compile Rahman's greatest melodies I am sure almost 70% of the numbers would be from his old movies. His ROJA was trendsetting. His melodic number AZHAGU NILAVU, THAAYUM NEEYE from PAVITHRA were not only soaken in melody but also far complex semi classical numbers far matured beyond his age. PUTHIYA MUGAM was a stunner, KS and KARUTHAMMA proved that he can compose folk tunes as well. Here also he presented thr rustic folk in his own style. He didn't follow the Maestro's or Deva's style.



UZHAVAN was an under rated album
but each and every song was an experience-full of earthern melodies. TT defined another new sound to Tamil Film music. KONJAM NILAVU was a pure rock number that only Rahman can deliver.DUET was an absolute classic as it showcased his geniusness in compositional techniques. MAY MADHAM was a youthful album.





IRUVAR is one of Rahman's best work till date
. Who has bettered that track.??No one can... Not to mention other masterpieces like AP,SANGAMAM,KKKK,TAJ MAHAL,KADHAL DESAM,KADHALAR DHINAM etc. Most of the scores for the PRE 2001 movies were haunting. They had that surprise factor.
But I feel that Rahman's work in the post 2002 was great but didn't have that emotional factor may be due to exposure to more electronica and many good works by other composers.



Sometimes I feel Rahman's style post 2002 is slightly disinteresting like rap by BLAAZE. I still feel BLAAZE was a good rapper but he has gone stale now or people are getting used to it
. ASLAM MUSTAFA and SURESH PETERS are more catchy than BLAAZE. VINNAI THAANDI VARUVAAYA also has a BLAAZE rap and its not sounding Rahmanish. His other biggies RAVANAN and SULTAN are in making for a long time that people are starting to lose interest in those subjects.




Rahman's lack of interest in TFM is clearly reflecting in his songs, not his fault at all-he has gone westward. We want some cool dance numbers, may be we need an other MAY MADHAM, KADHALAN or a THIRUDA THIRUDA or atleast a LOVE BIRDS. That will take the Mozart of Madras to an another level where it will bring another revolution in Tamil film music.

YES URGENT REQUIREMENT: VINTAGE RAHMAN OF THE 90'S

13 comments:

DnEsh said...

Awesome man!! loved it... will post this link in my blog too.. :)

KARL MARX. J said...

Hi Dinesh!!! Thanks a lot for your feedback. I have been thinking about this for a very long time and finally decided to write it through my blog. Hope our man understands his fans feelings...

Thanks again...

Anonymous said...

dont get me wrong but this statement irks me as thalaivar's fan - "We want some cool dance numbers, may be we need an other MAY MADHAM, KADHALAN or a THIRUDA THIRUDA or atleast a LOVE BIRDS" - so you want rahman to entertain you always?? is he some sort of joker to keep everyone amused all the time........in 90's, his music was new fresh and vibrant - which amused us automatically....but his compositions post 2000 are mature and its like musical enlightment....tell me, if rahman keeps composing love birds and may madham, what would be the difference between him and HJ?? should he be one amongst the crowd - keep dishing pop numbers so that we can dance at home/disco? if you are not happy with yuvvraaj or kangalal kaidhu sei, then i dont think even mozart can make you happy.......

btw, ur analysis doesent consider hindi albums - which is not a correct picture.....he spent most of his time in hindi and made timeless classics......you attribute going to west and his lack of interest towards TFM as reason for less movies in tamil......ok, tell me which director deserves ARR in tamil??? slapping rahman physically is better than giving him a project like sakkrakatti.....bala is by far the best director in tamil after maniratnam's exit - he doesent prefer ARR......aamir, gautam, selvaraghavan - are next hopes - how many of them are with rahman.......i ask "give me 5 good reasong why rahman should work in tamil"

slumdog - average composition-a - god bless you.....currently listening to innisai (varalaaru - mahathi/saindhavi version) - i dont think rahman could have composed this in 90s.......please empathise with rahman a bit - he has to explore new territories and spread the unconventional way of music throughout the world.....he has to make history in world music and not compete with HJ and YSR forever......

all points above are IMO.....

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rekhs said...

hi KM
i enjoyed ur rehmania:)
just one point to make, and its my humble opinion
ppl felt the same abt KVM,then MSV Then came IR's breath of fresh air... then ARR made his chaappa!
I think it stopped there
no one has made the kind of impact these four legends have made and
theres no use fighting who is best of these 4 ? ALL these 4 stalwarts have given to TFM their own INDIVIDUAL identity...
its i guess what songs u grow up listening to that cultivates ur pers pref...
after or with ARR....???

KARL MARX. J said...

Yes u r absolutely right. KVM, MSV,IR and ARR are the trendsetters as far as TFM is concerned...Thanks for reading...

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RrAaVvAaNaAa said...

ARR has lost his magic, none of his recent albums, since 2001 dsnt have that magic touch.

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Rex Albert said...

Dude Marx, this post brings me to tears. Till date I have not found another voice echoing exactly the same what I was longing for( rahman before 2001) , aptly put by you as "vintage rahman" and I was reading myself when you said "the element of surprise is missing now ".it hurts when people say after the exit of harris from his troupe, his magic is gone, and I am scared that I would start believing as well. We all need that Rahman badly.
I sincerely hope that our longings would be answered. thanks a lot dude. hope we will meet someday.

Rex Albert said...

I keep listening to en swasa katrae, may madham, roja, pudhiya mugam, again and again, and I dont seem to have enough of it.

Riyaz Mohammed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Riyaz Mohammed said...

Totally agree with your words. As you said I like post 2001 songs by Rahman. Though I love Vintage Rahman most. I consider songs from te movie IRUVAR is best till the date.