I write this with a sense of ownership. It’s like I have stakes in that golden globe they gave him. I look around proudly with an angelic look of “I knew it always, sir. Long before some jury”. I knew this man who I affectionately called Thallaivar (Tamil for ‘The Super Leader’) would grace the rest of the world with his tunes some day, someway.
Slumdog millionaire was an ordinary album for Rahman’s standards. Smart Publicity, Marketing Money and resulting hype the Brits/US people gave to this movie made it a contemporary classic and Rahman known to the world. But Hell, He has wasted his brilliance in atrocious movies like ‘Parthale Paravasam’ ‘Yuvraaj’ and ‘Taj Mahal’.. Its only Poetic Justice he gets an award for Slumdog. And I am not complaining.
I recollect say till some 7 years back, I used to enquire the friendly cassettes shopkeeper on when Rahman’s next tape was releasing. Rahman regularly composed for movies directed by Mani Ratnam, Baradhiraja, Rajiv Menon, Shankar and few Bollywood movies too. Being the earliest to get Rahman’s tape and to hum the new tunes before my friends did, was how I prided in being the Rahman Fan.
But today, thanks to the MP3 format, cheaper storage devices, broadband internet and apple ipods, everybody seem to be listening to the tunes before I do and distributing it freely around. It irks me. But then am not complaining.
Now I cant tell you what my top 5 Rahman songs are, I simply cant. Unless some Mathematician proves 5 = 1000 and gets a Nobel for his study. Its improbable and silly, I mean.
But then what I can tell you is Rahman is brilliant when his songs have a depth and melancholy about them. Rahman’s music is as true as lost love. When the love’s lost and all that lingers is her memories.. Like Anbe Sugama in Parthale Paravasame, Poongatrile/Ae Ajnabee in Uyire/Dil se, En Kaadhale (Duet)… This brand of music is what only Rahman can do. The songs will take you to a level which my written English cant explain. Neither yours.
He has charmed me with Pachai Nirame (Alaipauthey), Smayie (Kandukondein), Strawberry Pennae (Minsara Kanavu), Madhuriaku Pogadhadi(ATM), Yuhin Chala (Swades), Dating (Boys) And hey the recent Masakalli too… Something in these tunes relaxes you. You tell yourself World is not a bad place afterall.
His Sufi-like compositions in Kwaja(Jodhaa Akbar), Arziyaan(Delhi 6) or Chanda Suraj(Vande Mataram) talk to you at a spiritual level... There might be better composers in each genre, Illayaraja does better melody, His pauses are more intelligent than Rahman's..There are better Sufi composers.. Nusrat Fatehs of the world..but Rahman composes all genres of music in its essence making him a true musician.
Adding to the Rahman Special playlist.., Who can forget his love songs...His numerous solo and duet love songs.. like Sonaalum Ketpadhulai(Kadhal Virus), Adhisayam(Jeans), Telephone Manipol (Indian) ..which make you blush like that yahoo smiley.. and end up making a romeo out of you...as sing to your girl friend, only to be told “Stop it and don’t create such noise”.. “Huh” my repartee comes..“Am sorry madame, I am an audience who has stakes with Rahman, I am not his singer, lyricist or piano player.. Am his audience. The Most blest of em all.”. Period.
Rahman, like Sachin, has left a huge impression in the generation that I grew up and growing in. They are common Indian Man's stress buster . Its exciting to think I’ll tell the future what glorious tunes, Rehman treated me to.
PS: Hope he wins the Oscar, though it really doesnt matter.