AR Rahman the Genius
The music industry, at least as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, is highly commercialized. Somehow the Tamil audience seems to like dialogues ‘sung’ purposefully out of tune by people who know nothing about music. Such songs seem to become super-hits as against ones into which true musical talent has gone into. The very definition of the word seems to have changed here. I am not trying to say that good music is going unappreciated, but merely underappreciated.
It really is irritating to see people getting addicted to these crazy baseless monologues that are now called songs. I do not intend any offence to anyone, as I know that most of the music directors of the current era are actually capable of producing great music but prefer not to, considering the expectations of the general public. If you are a fan of A. R. Rahman in the manner that I am, you might understand what I am talking about.
The sheer amount of effort A. R. Rahman puts into each of his song is something hugely overseen. His songs are complete in all respects; there is not a moment without music. Even if there is a break in the physical music being played, the silence there seems to be musical. So many instruments are involved in beautiful sync that one is bound to wonder where such sounds are even generated. One begins to notice the intricacies in his music only when the same song is listened to over and over again- which explains why his songs are said to ‘grow on you’. No, you do not need to know the technicalities of music to appreciate this- I know nothing about the theory of music myself. The plethora of sounds that keep emanating, the small bits and pieces of music of a different types that he uses to fill up spaces as well as to add to the song- it all just makes you realize how much of a genius this man really is. Agreed, there are some songs where the instrumentation involved is simple, but even there the vocals and the tune almost always compensate.
The feeling he brings into songs is something that is unassailable. His music conveys meaning. It is a complete language in itself. One does not need to understand the lyrics completely in order to be able to figure out the mood of the song. A wonderful illustration of this is Sadda Haq from his latest album Rockstar- you know the singer is angry and is rebellious when you listen to it even if you don’t know Hindi. The soundtrack ‘Liberation’ from 127 hours is another such example where it is easily seen that words aren’t required to express. The slow build-up from attempt at getting freed, to freeing himself, to finally getting ‘liberated’ is superbly illustrated. And of course who else can portray patriotism (Vande Mataram, Luka Chupi- Rang De Basanti) better?
Who can argue against ARR being one of the top singers as well? I haven’t seen another composer sing with as much versatility. His voice is not even what one might call a ‘singing voice’, yet the songs he composes for himself are ineffable. One can’t imagine many other singers singing those songs.
A relative of mine had the honour of spending some time with ARR several years ago. Apparently he used to just slip away from conversations and spend short spans of time alone. When enquired, he said that ideas for composing music for the film Taal just came to him then… I wouldn’t disagree with anyone referring to him as the God of music. Such genius seems to me be to be worthy of exponentially more acclaim from the public. I am quite sure no words will suffice to convey my regard for ARR’s music. You ought to listen to the songs completely, take in what’s there and live in them for those few minutes to truly understand what I’m trying to say.