Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NOSTALGIA: MEMORIES OF A RAHMANIAC

Hi all!!
I am back to blogging, thanks to my pal Suresh Kumar vide his blog
http://www.backgroundscore.com/2011/08/memoirs-of-rahmaniac-19-years-of.html


This made me to revive my blog again after by long haitus..So impressed with his article, I also thought of penning my sweet child hood memories of the 90's. Actually I really couldn't recollect when i started liking his music, but I can remember, when we all went to watch the movie "ROJA" when i was in my V standard.



It was a very different experience alltogether..I thoroughly enjoyed the movie along with my parents and my sister and the next day, I was discussing this movie with my class mates P.R.Suresh and Ravi( I lost touch with them after the school days). The memories of ROJA is still intact with me..the opening search operation in the dense forest (amidst the blue filter), the beautiful songs, the patriotic Arvind Swamy trying to put off the flames on our national flag and the pulsating escape from the terrorist camp.

Luckily my father got a cassette with Roja and Sooriyan and I always used to listen to Roja and I used to skip "Rukkumani" song. While returning from our school, on the way, one of our school teachers had a very good hi fi system and they used to play " Puthu Vellai Mazhai" very frequently..I always used to hear it and i instantly liked the song....though i never knew about A.R.Rahman.. Then came movies like Puthiya Mugam, Gentle man and I enjoyed all the songs especially "Chikku Bukku Railu"..I was mad after the song sans its picturisations..I became a fan of that bearded dancer..


Then my parents took me to the movie "Kizakku Cheemayile"..The song "Vandi Maadu Etu Vachu" was so loud when we entered the theatre, but i really liked the film's music...My real eye opener was KADHALAN..After that movie, I really became a fan of the composer whom my father said " Yaaro A.R.Rahman am...Romba nalla potturukkan"... I really liked the movie and was really terrified by the Sumo sound that was used for the Malli character (late Raguvaran).

His songs in Uzhavan and Kadhal Desam were also huge hits..That was a classic youthful Rahman trying to give earthly ethnic sounding numbers in the former while he gave a modern Rahmanic sound in the latter. I liked all the songs in Uzhavan. "Pennala Pennala, Kaathu Kaathu, Maari Mazha and Kangalil Enna Eeramo" are still deep impregnated in my heart. Recently, when i heard the song "Sara Sara Saara Kaathu" from the movie "Vaagai Sood Vaa-Music: Khibran", I jumped in joy, as the number brought back my nostalgic memories of "Pennala Pennala". Afterall its ARR sound, I still long for it..I miss that old Rahman... What to say about INDIRA?? Wow..Its still fresh...The melodies, "Oda Kaara Maari Muthu, Thoda Thoda, Nila Kaigirathu" still linger fresh in our minds.. As a school boy, I really enjoyed those songs...Those moments will never come back.




After this i became of a fan of ARR..I used to force my parents and I will literally cry for the original cassette whenever his album comes..I used to follow his news and I used to buy magazines that had his slightest mention. I can remember I searched everywhere for the Kungumam magazine (Mr. Romeo movie review) just to find out what the reviewer had mentioned about his music ..My father used to buy cassette and used to play it as a surprise for me..He bought the originals of "Minsara Kanavu", "Uyire" and we used to record assorted songs in the nearby shop (though the end recording quality will always be abysmal).




One of my favourite songs was "Margazhi Poove" from the movie "May Madham". Till date it is my favourite. That freshness in that song, with its amazing prelude full of bird chirps, amazing belltones, flute and saw lead, I loved that song like any thing. It was like energy booster for me..In the afternoon, after the school shift (half a day holiday), I used to run to my home to see "Oliyum Oliyum" in DD. Most of the times, they would telecast the songs from that movie. Even when playing cricket, I would stop to listen to that song..I loved it....All my friends hated that song.... Thiruda Thiruda music just blasted into the scene...I remember falling in love with the songs and I used to get amazed at the sound quality of the songs...I used to get excited at the "warm pad/soft strings", ARR would have used in his songs...I used to enquire one of my friends who played keyboard...What instrument is that??? I always used to get a lame reply...."Athu keyboard da....:-(




Then Rangeela happened...With his one release, ARR dethroned the greats of the industry...Everyone after his success, started to copy the sounds like A.R.Rahman, they tried to sound like the Mozart of Madras but in vain...Even then, good gems like "Khamoshi-Jatin Lalit" kept coming here and there... After falling in love with keyboards, i pressurised my dad to buy me one..He never got me a keyboard..After much persuasion, he bought me a Casio SA-21 keyboard which was more than life for me..Went to keyboard classes to become a A.R.Rahman and quit after 6 months..courtesy tenth exams...Then i started concentrating deeply into music...Rahman churned hit after hit...Whatever he touched, turned into gold.. I loved his Kabhi Na Kabhi. Minsara Kanavu became a monstrous hit, though the movie was a dud..


I really wish, ARR scores for another Bombay and Duet..I read KB was so awe struck by Rahman's compositions, he heaped praises on ARR, and he never failed to mention, that his banner was the first to unearth ARR through "Kavithalaya's ROJA". A.R.Rahman was praised for his mastery in blending the western Sax in his classical compositions. It was probably the only movie where Saxophone was used to the maximum and also liked one portion in the movie, where Prabu will play the old song "Naan Paarthathile" in his sax..and you can find the trademark ARR pad/strings in the background.. No wonder, Duet was one of his best mature scores till date...Iruvar is the best..Bombay was one of the best scores, Indian film industry ever witnessed..The movie and its music became cult classics. The Bombay Theme Music became a global identity of Isai Puyal..It was rated very highly in Western circles.. Kannalane and Uyire songs became huge hits..I also liked the moogish bass driven "Ruk Jao Ruk Jao"..

His northern sounding Kadhalar Dhinam was very good...Then came Sangamam...Man...Gosh!!! Where was this ARR all the time? I first heard "Varaaga Nadhi karai Oram" ...I really don't know how Shankar Mahadevan missed an award...I loved that movie to the core..Such a melodic score..Mazhai Thuli, Muthal murai killi paarthen all became my favourites...I fell in mad with Varaaga Nadhi Karai Oram and Margazhi Thingal songs..His Sowkiyamaa brought back his "Duet" sound as he collaborated with the sax exponent Kadri Gopalnath..




Post Rangeela, I did not listen to his hindi numbers eagerly except for his musically superior albums like "Lagaan, Dil Se, Taal, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Rang De Basanti, Jodha Akbar etc etc...All were classics in their own right. All the movies had good plots and were monstrous hits both commercially and musically. Dil Se   was ARR's entry card to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lagaan had musically superior scores and even had a desi version of the epic "Carmina Burana". Dil Se had great dance numbers and a vintage closing credits. Legend of Bhagat Singh had orchestral magic woven all around it. The symphonic orchestration was mindblowing and RDB and JA were monsters in their own regard. From a synthesizer wizard, Now ARR is more comfortable with live orchestration.



The orchestral capabilities improved big time with each and every release. For a composer who depended heavily on samples and synthesizers in his early period, the late 2000's saw the emergence of a composer who had immense self belief and confidence in dealing with symphony orchestras. Rahman also started composing abroad very frequently. He composed for WOHE, Elizabeth the Golden Age and then Slum Dog Millionaire happened. I personally liked his O'Saya and Dreams on Fire. His musically superior masterpiece Delhi-6 was made a waste with the film bombing at BO.



Couples Retreat and 127 Hours had good musical scores and the musical epic Endhiran topped the international charts for a brief time. The movie went on to become a cult classic. His Pudhiya Manidha didn't click first but captivated the hearts in his re-recording. The symphonic version was used very aptly in the movie. I personally hated the score at first as I was expecting  a pure sci-fi score on the lines of his idol Vangelis' BLADE RUNNER. Anyway the music was a super hit.With VTV and RockStar, he unleased a series of hits to his credit.



But off late, an average fan like me observes that his hit ratio has decreased to a great extent, and the numbers don't linger in our hearts for long.His Rock Star was a great hit. But how many of them remember those songs as some of his hits of early 90's. I am still the same old Rahmaniac who leapt in joy after listening to Rock Star but still yearn for his classic vintage early 90's stuff...

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