Friday, May 27, 2005

And Now, Rahman's Time


[Pic Courtesy Dhwanii]

A few days after Naayagan found a place on Time magazine's 100 best movies of all time, another Indian makes it to an even shorter list by the same magazine. This time its A.R.Rahman, whose soundtrack for Roja(the Hindi version), has been selected as one of the all-time best soundtracks by the magazine's critic. According to Richard Corliss, the same critic who chose Naayagan, "This astonishing debut work parades Rahman's gift for alchemizing outside influences until they are totally Tamil, totally Rahman. He plays with reggae and jungle rhythms, fiddles with Broadway-style orchestrations, runs cool variations on Morricone's scores for Italian westerns".

The songs in Roja are definitely classics. The simple but catchy Chinna Chinna Aasai...; the melodious and soothing Kaadhal Rojaave...; the raucous Rukkumani...; the romantic Pudhu Vellai Mazhai....; and the patriotic and uplifting Thamizhaa Thamizhaa... - all songs that had me hooked on the first listen and have stood the test of time. A devoted Ilaiyaraja fan, I still remember being pissed off at Manirathnam for 'abandoning' Ilaiyaraja, who had given him some classic and memorable numbers, and hoping that the songs in Roja would suck! But ARR did win me over the very first time I heard Chinna Chinna Aasai... and Pudhu Vellai Mazhai... And with the gorgeous visuals accompanying them on the big screen, I was a Rahman fan :-)

My favorite Rahman moment in Roja though, does not occur in any of the song sequences.It's the scene where Arvind Swamy douses the fire on the burning Indian flag with his body, even as he is tied up. The music in the scene, starting off slowly before building to a mindblowing crescendo, would ignite a patriotic spark even in the most cynical of minds. Hats off to Rahman(ofcourse, equal credit is due to Manirathnam for the picturization, but we are just talking about the music here...)

Way to go ARR...

13 Comments:

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Wow... Great to see "Rojavin Raja" being honoured.. It was among the top 10, right? Thats awesome.. I totally agree with you, Balaji, on the music review of Roja.. Those drum beats in "Rukkumani" were totally new to Tamil audiences.. I too had to switch my loyalty from IR to ARR, after this single album..
I first heard and saw "Chinna Chinna Asai" on 15th Aug, 1992, in "Independence Day" Special program "Pudhu Paadal" of DD.. and dumbstruck on its freshness and picturization.. Congrats, ARR!!!

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger IBH said...

Wonderful news!really good news!

 
At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Well, I sorta grew up with listening to A.R. Rahman and only retrospectively came to acknowledge the talent of Ilaiyarajah. ROJA is a great soundtrack, no question, but that was only his debut. He made a many even greater soundtracks later on: LAGAAN, IRUVAR, THIRUDA THIRUDI, UZHAVAN and many, many more...

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous GP said...

Asokan, I hope you meant Thiruda Thiruda.. I grew up listening to IR.. and in early 1992, when IR gave big hit albums like Chinna Kounder, Singaravelan, Vannavanna Pookkal, Chinna thayi, Mannan, etc.. I was wondering whether he can create any more new tunes.. Then came the wave of Roja.. and became a turning point in tamil film music. We all owe a lot to Maniratnam for introducing Rahman and giving us years and years of fresh and different music.

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous GP said...

Guys, I have a new post on our music directors and lyricists.. Pl. do check out and post replies..

 
At 5:34 PM, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

I am happy to hear about this.
Hats off to Rahman.

Roja was a masterpiece.! Thanks to GV and ManiRathnam, we saw the dominance ( arrogance, I've heard) of Ilayaraja Vanish.!

God Bless AR Rahman.

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, u grew up listening to ARR? ennappa vayasu ungaluku?!

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ARR deserves this. Mani Ratnam and Kamal are one of the heavyweights of indian cinema. When are they going to pair up gain? Why have they not done any movie together since nayagan?

Is there any 'ego' issues between them...

tamil cinema will be better off if they work together. What do u ppl say?

BTW Balaji congrats on 500th post. pl keep up the awesome job! :)

 
At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

gp, sorry man, of course I meant THIRUDA THIRUDA!

Balaji, I'm about to be 24 now, so I was about eleven when ROJA hit the screens. As far as I can recall, only with Rahman did I first notice the importance of a film composer and lapped up everything Rahman did from thereon through the early to later-90s. Of course, I've been listening to Ilaiyarajah before while watching Rajini flicks as a child, but not that consciously as I did later on Rahman. Both are splendid in their own ways, though.

 
At 2:07 AM, Blogger bleu said...

My personal favorite of Rahman was Thiruda Thiruda (and Iruvar) possibly my inclination for more folkish tunes than otherwise. Roja was of course a revelation from Rahman. thanks for the blog.

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous GP said...

My top 10 ARR albums (so far) are:

10) Taal
9) Duet
8) Alaipayuthey
7) Kandukondenn Kondukondenn
6) Lagaan
5) Kadhalan
4) Rangeela
3) Gentleman
2) Minsara Kanavu
1) Roja

Others like Uyire, Kizhakku Seemaiyile, Iruvar and Indian follow these closely.

 
At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Prakash said...

My top 10 would go like this:
1) Roja
2) 1947 Earth
3) Dil Se
4) Kandukondein K (-Smiyae)
5) Jeans (-Columbus crap)
6) Thiruda Thiruda
7) Warriors of Heaven & Earth
8) Pudhiya Mugam
9) Lagaan
10) Bombay

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly same list as me bro :)

 

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