Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rocking Star: A R Rahman

For someone who is known to break all clichés, an A R Rahman album interminably confronts three stages of clichés.

It all starts with the first reaction – ‘I don’t like these songs – they are bland – Rahman sir has lost the Midas touch – I wish Rahman sir gets back to his roots – blah blah blah’, while ‘true’ fans with a pinch of narcissistic euphemism says ‘Rahman sir’s music are like slow poison – they grow on you – wait for it’. But, once the initial euphoria is spent, comes remarks like – ‘I like 3/6 songs – am starting to like some of the songs – one particular interlude is awesome’. Inevitably, the final phase is filled with joyous remarks like – ‘the songs are out of the world – best album of the year – Rahman is God – Rahman has pushed the barriers once again’.
While this being the case of frenzied listeners, the cautious ‘critics’ crack their brains to decrypt the songs for us to understand them. But, eventually they too end up being redundant in saying ‘the use of XYZ raga in this manner is noteworthy – the improvisation of PQRS thaalam is brilliance at the best – the fusion of western and Carnatic music is honey to ears – the subtle variation in the notes & the pleasant staccato that convolute it are the highlight of the song’. Ultimately everyone ends up using superlative terms to describe what they undergo as they listen to an A R Rahman album (including yours truly). Though this showcases the lack of creativity that people have to express their views, taking their side, I feel when you are in a trance it is highly difficult to express that state through words, as rightfully said in the lines – ‘joh bhi mein kehna chahun, barbhad karein alfaz mere’.

Yet, skeptics disagree and add that it is possible to quantify those pure emotions rather than be mesmerized dumbfound. But, when a song like ‘hawa hawa’ sweeps you of your feet with its ever varying note, it is ineluctable to fly in the musical air. Besides, it isn’t really a shame to lose oneself to music of someone who can make the best of tunes, better; like how ‘seheir mein’ beautifully rendered by Karthick, gets even better under the crooning of Mohit Chauhan. Because, what we experience is something akin to going back to school as a clean slate, yet with all those fresh thoughts waiting to burst out, like the mood of ‘phir se ud chala’. Yes, there is bound to be a struggling phase in naming those thoughts which were then creeping on the back of the mind, now taking center stage making us think – ‘iss lamhe ka kya kar jahun?’ But it doesn’t leave us in limbo; it asks us to question what we know, question what we want to know, to make us understand us/our desires better and to keep them with us, what is rightfully us (sadda haq – aithe raq).

In this defining journey that one undergoes all night spinning to the tune of music & thoughts within, the euphoria that fills the heart on attaining the profound state & this saturated being can only shell out superlative words.


  1. I liked Edwin's quote on ur profile..

  2. Hmmm... well, you know it - I am no music buff. Just expressing a personal observation - appreciate Rahman but somehow his music is never my favourite. I wonder why. To me, they seem too classy and elite and I am unable to forge a personal comfort rapport with them.


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