Sunday, November 20, 2005

Don't you find Rahman's music repititive?

Do you? Well if you do, you're not listening to his music properly. How come you don't find remixes repititive, or stale. How is it that the same old bhangra beats of the Salaam Namastes and the Duses of Bollywood don't bore you out of your mind? Haven't you had enough of that same old pop-bhangra sound? Remixes are by far one of the most boring pieces of music I have encountered in recent times. With the exception of Instant Karma ( who sometimes make the original sound less robust), I don't care too much for remixed music. What I do see are scantily clad women with paw marks (which in itself is not original) on body parts, and butt-squeezing, that lil kids in India are watching even though it should not be allowed. I wonder how the censor board doesn't catch this stuff, but comes down hard on Shekhar Kapur?

Sure, you can tell that it's an ARR number almost right off. That's due to his style. I mean, I can tell it's a Nickelback, or a Nirvana song as soon as I hear the opening notes. Does that mean that they're repititive? Everybody has a certain style. ARR has a very distinctive one, and his music has so much variety. Okay, the reason he himself gave to his sounding 'repititive' was that he'd been doing so many period films off late. Well lets take a look at them period movies. Besides the fact that they were all productions in Hindi following the wildly successful period-pioneer: Lagaan, I don't see anything similar in their music. Also Meenaxi was completely written off. I had to look up the internet to even find out when it was released. I also listened to Chinnamma Chilakkamma because ARR obviously thinks( and I wholeheartedly agree) that the song is good enough to play in his live concerts. Reena Bharadwaj in Yeh Rishta was...I can't think of any other word it, stupendous. The sheer beauty of that song....leaves me 'word'less. I loved the Bicycle Song too.

I digress..I'm really good at that!

The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005) ... aka Mangal Pandey (India: Hindi title)
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005)
Kisna: The Warrior Poet (2005)

I think the above stated movies released in quick succession within the same year, have led to this misconception that ARR is getting stale. To begin with, he only did a couple of songs and three instrumentals in Kisna. Both the songs were beautiful in themselves. The piano-flute duet had me wanting to look up the internet for it's sheet music. The best part, is that I don't have a clue how to read the notes and make any sense of it. But I want to learn how to play that piece. And come hell or high water, I'm going to learn it. Incidently, I saw a really bad quality version of the movie, devoid of any of the songs, and thought that the movie stank up to high heaven. Well, after Company, lets just say Oberoi's ratings slipped after I saw that one. I don't think he did a great job in Saathiya or Yuva. He hasn't got what it takes I guess. Just not a Maddy. Oh wait, not a Maddy in Alaipayuthe. Didn't really like him in anything else since. Siddharth did a much better job than Oberoi did in AE.

Before I go on to extol Ghai's work ( being sarcastic here), Bose's music was wonderful. I didn't see any similarities between any of his songs and any others in Mangal Pandey or Kisna. From his Aazaadi, to all the instrumentals and the Des ki mittis. I thought it was very novel. I' m just waiting for when I make my annual visit back home so I can buy the CD. Even to my partially untrained ears, they seems to stand out. Mangal come on! None of the songs in this movie are even vaguely similar to any of the songs in the aforementioned movies!

I don't know if other people feel the same way, but I've always found that some of ARR's music does not appeal to me the first time I listen to it. Examples? Believe me or not, I didn't like Chaiyya Chaiyya when I first heard it. Thanks to the Ethi van driver, I was addicted to it soon enough. Anbe Aaruyire didn't strike me as great until I listened to it for the 3rd or 4th time and then...I was hooked, and still am. There are plenty more of these.

He's coming to the USA early next year. I'm hoping and praying that he comes down to Houston too. It would be great to listen to him live. I was in Chennai when he had his concert there, but given that it was at night and I wasn't going to get the permission to go, I never even tried. I was of course glued to the telly when they aired it.

There are some other people out there who don't consider him to be as great as others. The title of this blog is 'True Blue Rahmanaic'. It's obvious from the very title that it's going to primarily consist of my feelings about ARR. If I felt that someone else was great, I'd have named it accordingly. Attempting to convince me of someone else being better when he/she has blatently lifted tunes just won't wash with me. You may be a music pundit and I won't accept it. I be that way.


Aravind said...

Too good! Wonderful analysis! I jus luv ur blog!!!!

>>some of ARR's music does not appeal to me the first time I listen

Same for me too and I think it is true for many others - coz, ARR experiments a lot, unlike all other composers, and it takes time for us to get used to it and digest it!

>>Attempting to convince me of someone else being better when he/she has blatently lifted tunes just won't wash with me. You may be a music pundit and I won't accept it. I be that way.

This is exacltly what I feel when someone tries to compare some other MD with ARR...These words are like they are straight from my mind :)

Suresh Kumar said...

hey, great post and you have analysed it well. Even now, i couldn't understand the music sense of the north indians. What on the hell is bad in "Meenaxi". The one of the failures that i couldn't digest even now. People say "repetitive" because he is repeatedly trying something new. They don't want that. But i admire ARR for giving non-stop good music even after failures of some of his best works like "Meenaxi".

vijay said...

hey i totally agree with u.First of all,lemme introduce myself.I am vijay frm chennai and i can proudly say i've grown up listening to Rahman's music.As far as the repetition part is concerned,here's my POV:the occasional deja vu feel in rahman's m,usic is basically because the songs are composed in the same raaga.Observe closely and u will observe the subtle yet beautiful difference.Now thats not getting "repetitive".Having said that,I do feel Harris Jeyaraj is getting repetitive,take no credit away frm him.And there's a rahmanic term for the "repeated listening - then liking". We call it the "growing effect".Nice work.keep it up.Long live AR

Sushma said...

@ Aravind
Thx! The weird part of the ones who try to convince me that other MDs are better is that they're actually members of the ARR group! How weird is that!? Nvm them. I felt very happy after reading your comment!

@ Suresh
Meenaxi was truly awesome. But when a movie doesn't do so well, the songs go unheard. That's what happened to me, until ARR re-introduced it. All I can say is that I'm glad he did. Thanks for the appreciation! :)

@ Vijay
You're absolutely right. Wish others would realise it too instead of telling me that ARR sounds stale. HJ is rather repititive. Now that's a good topic for another post. Thx for the encouragement. Plz also look at my comment on the other post.

Aravind said...

Not only HJ but almost everyone is repititive... Who else gives this much variety other than ARR? Even Ilayaraja was (and still is) repititive... But ppl wont accept... Take songs like "Raasave varuthamaa" (Mudhal Mariyathai), "Muthu Mani Maalai" (Chinna Gounder) and many other melody songs from IR... Everything sounded the same - ditto tabla beats, similar tune.. But, ppl are not ready to accept... Actually, the main reason why ARR's music takes time to grow on, as copmpared to *all* others, is that everything is new and novel - something which we havent heard b4 - we need to digest the stuff b4 we start linking it...

Sorry for the loooooooong comment :)

vijay said...

U have the support of another true blue rahmaniac.

vijay said...

Hey Sush,
Ive finally written into my blog..and started one dedicated to ARR too..