Friday, December 09, 2005

Rang De Basanti

Oh...My...God!!! Seriously, I know I'm biased and all that, but I really wasn't expecting this one to be as mind-blowing as it obviously is. When I heard parts of the title track and Paathshaala, I wasn't too impressed, but I chalked it down to the "repeated listening - then liking" syndrome that Vijay referred to in his comment to my last post. I did eventually start liking and then got hooked on both of the tracks in a couple of days. After having listened to all the songs more than a few times, I'd say this lot reeks of ARR from a while back. There are some of his melodious pieces too, even Kaadhalan had Ennavale, and Kaadhal Desam had Ennai Kaavilaye. But it was the wilder numbers that stood out and made the youth of the nation stand up and take notice of him. But it's been a while since ARR did anything that sounded young and just plain fun in Hindi. The inclusion of Paathshala and given the amount of publicity that that one song is getting should do wonders for the lack of a hit for him. Well, atleast I hope it does.

The title track starts off very well..Daler, the King of Bhangra, does full justice to yet another bhangra number. Chitra was barely used at all. There could have been some more of her singing in the song. This song is one of those no win songs. It's a let down in that ARR didn't do anything new here. But if he had done something there'd be this big hue and cry about how he messed with bhangra . It wouldn't be bhangra anymore, would it then? Oh well, I remember him saying something about how the North is bored with the steady diet of bhangra it's being fed. Why this song then? I agreed with him. While the song was definitely an enjoyable and a good piece, I feel he sold himself short for a hit, something he hasn't had since what Saathiya? or was it Yuva? To which I would say, his music is awesome and mind-blowing without him having to resort to what everybody else is doing right now. Didn't we all start liking his music because he was making music that was vastly different from those who came before him and his peers? Besides the beginning seemed familiar, and with good reason. Paarthale Paravasam's Moonrezhuthu has the same tune to it. Oh well, it fits and it sounds good, what more can a person ask for?

Moving on, I loved the way Roobaroo started out and liked it even better when ARR starts out with the title of the song. Very non-hindi filmi. Or maybe it's just that I've been out of touch with most Hindi movies and their songs since the Salaam Namaste fiasco. Naresh Iyer sounds like he'd fit right in a pop song. Having heard him doing some heavy duty singing in Ah Aah (Mayilirage)...makes me think he's a very versatile singer. There are, however, some parts where he doesn't quite sound right, or where I can't appreciate his singing. The seconds in some parts remind me of Simon and Garfunkel. Very likable song.

Khoon Chala - Beautiful song. Everything in this song lends itself to prefection. I think this song depends on picturisation for it to be something big though. I hope Aamir obliges.

My abso fav initially - which totally rocked my socks off was Paathshaala. Granted I had some more exposure to the growing effect, but man this song just rocks. The lyrics had me smiling despite the way my body was swaying to the music. Loved it, loved it, loved it!! Was Aamir a part of the song? As in did he sing? Esp. the apni to paathshaala, masti ki paathshaala part. I read some other review where someone said that the song reminded them of a Michael Jackson number. I can see where that came from, theres a part where the electric guitar(?) is strummed on. I think I vaguely rememeber an MJ song that had it in one part. I don't know if it was lift or not. I'm thinking not, as nothing else in the song reminds me of any MJ song. Anyways, the song rocks (even though its not a rock song). I wonder how ARR would deal with an out-and-out rock number. Now that's a thought that's I'd really like to see materialised!

Paathshaala - Be a Rebel is pretty much the same with Blaaze rappin' it up. He always does a good job. I think he wrote the lyrics for this one. I liked the Zinda-bad Zinda-good part. It was cute. I'm fairly sure he wouldn't appreciate his lyrics being termed as 'cute'. What can I say, it was cute-funny. The song was neat.

I liked the way Khalbali opened. Hone hone de nasha, khone khone ko hai kya, ek saas main pi ja, zara zindagi chada.... I really liked this part. Didn't like the Ziddi parts in the songs. This one grew on me. Really liked it after the 6th or 7th time I heard it. Kinda tecnho, there's so much happening. Now that's something to expect in an ARR piece. Tecnho+arabic+some string instrument in some parts+ARR singing(albeit with accent issues) = one awesome piece. My current fav of the album! It's been exactly 10 years since his last Arabesque song was released, and he doesn't disappoint.

My first impression of Lukka Chupi - starts out great. A tad too long but still not bad at all. Would call it pretty darn good. ARR still doesn't seem to have his Hindi accent down pat. Kya bataVun maa kahan hooon main. Kya main vudnen...It's surprising how ARR sounds so different in each song. Sounds very nasal in Lukka chupi. Did he have a mild cold when he recorded the song? I think if he'd been singing the song in Tamil he'd have done a way better job. I think he was too busy concentrating on the pronunciation of the words that he couldn't quite figure the feeling into his singing. I didn't particularly like the sound of the harmonium in the background but it's growing on me too. I think he did great in Kannalane with the use of the harmonium, but I didn't think it really fit in here. Despite that, the song is very likable. His rendition towards the end was awesome.

All the slow numbers are vintage ARR. Tu bin bataye was great, just didn't like the way Madhushree draaags on parts. Tu bin Bataaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaye, mujhe leeeeeeeeeeeee chal kahin, jahan tu muskuraaaaaaaaaye meri mannnnnnzil wahin. Meeeeeeeeeethi lage.... and so on and so forth. Beautiful, beautiful number though. I usually think of the sax as something that's played at the dentists and on phones when they put you on hold. I loved the way ARR's used it here. I also think Sonu Nigam would have been a better choice with the male singer. The church bells are a nice touch too. I know he tends to do this with a new find...overuse him/her. He sure did that with Naresh Iyer in this movie. He could have used some other singers as well, is what I think.

Lalkaar cannot really be judged as a song. It's more like poetry being recited to a background of humming and some singing. Ek Onkar is similar is that it is a short prayer (?). It's not really a song. It's a beautiful prayer.

Overall, I'd say he refrained from using his favs: Udit Narayan, Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Given that there's just one female in the movie: Soha Ali Khan, I'm guessing there wasn't a call for many female singers. He did use a couple of his regulars: Madhushree and Chitra rather well. Normally he sings one song in his films, I'm surprised that he allowed himself 3 this time around. Hey! I'm not complaining, I think he should do it more. He has a very different voice, it goes hand-in-hand with his different style when it comes to music. I really enjoyed it in Khalbali.

One thing I can say about the sucess of the music is that ARR has played around quite a bit, experimented some. Expectations that rise when seeing the A R Rahman name on a film, might be dashed because most people who are not really acquainted with ARR will not think to listen to the music more than once. I don't see very many people being able to appreciate this album. I think people's tastes lie in different areas that even when they are aware that a song is a copy (and a bad one at that) they will continue to listen to it and extoll the MD for his work. This has been my experience.

These are my views. I tend to be critical of anything and everyone. Bottomlin: I really liked the songs in this movie. Only ARR could possibly render a set of songs that are all almost flawless in and of themselves. I would say that the music of Lagaan was perfect. I would also say that this movie's is not perfect, but is close. Looking forward to his other work with bated breath.

The picture is courtesy of arrahmanfans · Fans of A. R. Rahman. Some of the fans (you lucky lucky ppl) were able to see ARR at the audio release of RDB at Planet M in Mumbai recently. This was one of the pics shared by them.


Aravind said...

Hi Sush,
Nice review... me getting lots of thoughts... Gonna write a loooooong comment.. Excuse me!!! :)
Agree with u that Chitra should have been used more.. Alsom her voice is not as audible as that of Daler's.

I never thought Naresh would fit so well in a pop/fast songs after listening to the soft and soothing Mayilirage!

BTW, I am not sure whether Aamir sang for Paathshaala.. Where did u get this info from??

Blaaze is amazing... Even I loved the "zinda-bad, Zinda-good"... Good one!

Khalbali opening.... Wowwwwwwww.... Techno opening for a Arabian song - and it did not sound alientated in the song... That's the magic of ARR!
I just love the way ARR sings this song... Donno how he picked up the Arabian style so well!!! Man.. awesommmmme! Addicted to this one... This is my favourite song too!!!!

Aah.. here is the only point where I differ from u - I just love the
"ziddi ziddi" part... I mean, it is ringing in my ears continuously even after I have stopped listening to the song!

Of course, Luka Chuppi is awesommmme... BTW, I feel that this song remembles the tune of the poverty anthem.. not sure though coz I very vaguely remember it - I heard it more than 2 months back in the B'lore concert!

Three songs sung by ARR in a single Album... Yipeee... heaven...need more such albums!

Regarding Ek Onkar: googled and found the info that it is the most basic prayer of Sikhs and it forms a part of what is known as "mool mantra"...

Hmmm.. now I wonder whether I should write my review - coz u have put down most of exactly what I was thinking!!!!
No.. jus kldding... will write my review in 2-3 days!

deepak nair said...

Well... I am the who commented on Patshala soundin like a MJ Track...well if u giv a thought most of the hip songs done by Rahman always has a MJish elements .
As far as Naresh is concerned ..he was my classmate...He is a fantabulous singer...Thank God he lost Super Singer Contest ..otherwise he couldnt be a part of AR Rahman Posse

Deepak Nair

Deepak Nair

Aravind said...

BTW.. Where is the picture??? U have mentioned about a photo in ur post?? :)

Praveen said...

Hi sushma,
Gr8 review...I stiill cudn't pick my favorite from the album....i've gone absolutely mad hearing all the stuff....The brooding khoon chala....the amazing guitar strumming in lukka chuppi n roobaroo.....the rockish elements in the arabic khalbali....& above all ARR's voice in 3 songs(am i dreaming??????), stand out...then the melodious tu bin bataye...amazing...
Onkar really surprised me at the start...nice way to start rang de basanti-the album...with a sikh prayer....gotta find the meaning of the lyrics...then daler rocks with the title track...Robaroo is really playful & arr n naresh iyer does a gr8 job....naresh again rocks in tu bin bataye with the equally beautiful voice of madhushree....wat more can u ask from ARR?

Sushma said...

@ Aravind
I think Aamir sang for Paathshaala just because of the way it sounds. The "Apni tho paathshaala, Masti ki paathshaala" sounds like it was sung by him along with the others. Maybe it's just that ARR made the singers sound like Aamir? It was just a thought. I'm ashamed of this, but I actually haven't heard the poverty anthem. Where could I find a copy of it? I've been listening to the songs over and over...can you spoil a CD by listening to it too often? like a cassette? ;) Also, I was trying and am still trying to upload another picture and not the current one that's up, but it doesn't seem to work. Well this one's my personal fav anyways. I finished writing the review at 4 am, so I didn't have the patience when the picture failed to load, I just let it be and forgot abt the note I'd made abt the pic.

@ Deepak
Maybe he sounds like MJ in parts, but he also has the Enigma touch in Kaadhal Desam's slower numbers. Also the beginning of Tu Bin Bataye reminded me of the beginning of Linkin Park's Numb. The sound, NOT the tune, seems similar to me. Naresh Iyer is a great singer no doubt. I just felt that he was overused. But that's not something that's new with ARR.

@ Praveen
I loved the ARR sung songs the most too. I like Khalbali, Lukka Chupi and Roobaroo, in that order. All the other songs come after, but not by much. What can I say, his music really does grow on you.
Khalbali was the song I wasn't too sure abt when I first heard it, and now it's my fav.

Aravind said...

regarding Poverty anthem... U dont have to be ashamed that u dont have it...Its not available anywhere...I guess there was some video from the singapore concert which had the song... When we met ARR & Blaaze during the B'lore concert, they told us to remove the clip immediately from the arrfans yahoo groups files as the album is to be released shortly!

abs said...

heyy there fellow a r rahman fanatic

I'm from Sydney, Australia, and I created an account here just so that I could leave you a comment!! I'm actually pretty excited to meet another person whose so obsessed about Rahman.
I also noticed the similarity between that song and the other song from Paarthale Paravasam. But yeah, it sounds good so whatever. I think Roobaroo is one of the best songs from Rang De Basanti, it's a bit different from the usual pop, sorta jumpy songs Rahman would be expected to compose for a movie targeted at the youth. It was alot more laid back..reminded me alot of Jack Johnson, who I completely adore. And I also love Paatshala. That bit "Apni tho paatshala, masti ki paatshala" is still ringing in my head.
A.R.R recently came down to Aussie along with Hariharan, Alka Yagnik, Sadhana Sargam, Chitra and others. It was absolutely AWESOME! I was sooo upset when it was over.I especially loved Hariharan's Nila Kaigirathu..that would probably have to be the highlight of the concert for me. Rahman finished off with Vande Mataram, it was sooo beautiful.
Anyway, I'll be reading your blog regularly from now on.. it's very interesting, and you tend to have alot of the same ideas and views as me which is pretty cool =P

Sushma said...

Hey abs,

Biggest compliment I've ever gotten. Thx for stopping by and letting me know what you think. I've been able to 'meet' so many other Rahmaniacs after I started my blog dedicated to him. I doubt if he himself would really approve of the dedication, but what the hey! these are MY feelings.

I wish I would get the opportunity to catch ARR live sometime. Í just saw the movie like a couple of hours ago, I must say timing and picturisation wise I like Roobaroo. It's been used well. I liked the beginning of the song(audio) as soon as I heard it. But, I think if ARR had sung the whole song I'd have liked it just a lil more. I still like Khalbali, but I think the song that is best picturised and that moved me the most was Khoon Chala. Anyways...more in the next post.