From a Rahmaniac's point of view, Rahmania show (on Aahaa 91.9 FM, Chennai) should be the best thing that has happened on Radio!!! The Friday celebrity interviews are a total treat, and these are something to be treasured... Last Friday, it was Director Vasanth, who spoke about ARR on the show. Though he has worked with ARR for just one movie (Rhythm), he had so much to say about ARR. In my opinion, this is one of the best interviews on Rahmania.
I've uploaded the interview at (5.7 MB - complete interview)

For the benefit of ppl who don't understand Tamil, I've transcribed it... Read on!

About Songs in "Rhythm"
ARR improvises a lot with the songs... Consider Nathiye Nathiye song (Dheem Thananaa) song for example. "Dheem Thana naa" was never meant to be the pallavi (antara) of the song. It was a refrain that was used in the middle of the song. Since it was catchy, he made it as the opening. The entire song did not stick to the usual format of 1 antara and two mukhda - there were lot of variations in the song - just like how the flow of a river is never uniform and varies throughout... Since each portion of the song was so different, we decided to make the "dheem Thana naa" refrain as the common link for each part, and thus we finalised the opening of the song.
Nathiye nathiye which was supposed to be the actual pallavi (antara) of the song, was made to appear only once or twice in the song!!

About ARR as a person
ARR is the only Indian composer, who is successful in the regional, national as well as the international arena... There may be many who are successful in the regional level. You can even find people who are successful in the regional and national level. But, he is the only one who has succeeded in all 3 levels... Be it Nagercoil (a small town in Tamilnadu) or New York - he is a success everywhere!
He is the pride of Tamilnadu and India..

When you consider only the film compositions, I see him as the major composer in Tamil and hindi film music. In Tamil, he is of the lineage following G.Ramanthan, R.Sudharsanam, KV Mahadevan, Viswanathan-Ramamoorhty and Ilayaraja.
If you look similarly in Hindi, he follows the lineage of people like Anil Biswas, Naushad Ali, Shankar Jaikishen, SD Burman, C.Ramachandra, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji Anandji, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, RD Burman...
He is one of the Titans in Indian Film music arena.
According to me, there has been no titan music director after ARR in India in any language. He is the latest and last arrival.

In this lineage, I include only those who bring a totally new style of music. There are new composers who follow his style. They may also do some good music, but they have not created a new style of music.... not until now...

The most important aspect of his music according to me, is his technology + music. It is not technology alone or melody alone.. This is something that he pioneered. we have heard lots of melodies.. we have heard technology being used... but he put both of them together in the right mix and composed music.... He follows this in all styles of music - be it hindustani or carnatic or sufi or soft rock.
If ARR had been around in 1960s or 1970, I think, he would have given songs which are 100 times better than what he has given now!
Even now he gives the best songs, but what I'm saying is that, "story" had lots of importance in movies back then... Important aspects of ARR's music - like the melodic nature of his music, the depth of his music, the ability to show different perspectives, the ability to transport us to a different world - all these would have had more importance back then. But now, there are not many stories which can fully utilise these aspects of his music. Sotry-telling has decreased these days!

About ARR's simplicity
His simplicity is what I admire the most. I had once read about what composer Pyarelal of Lakshmikant-Pyarelal fame, had to say about ARR.
According to Pyarelal, Roja is his fav ARR album, but the most important work in ARR's career is Thiruda Thiruda. ARR had met Pyarelal at a party, which was their first meeting. ARR himself went and introduced himself to Pyarelal, saying "I just wanted to meet you and get introduced to you... I'm A.R.Rahman". Pyarelal says that he had never seen anyone being so simple and modest, that too being a composer of international fame!
Rainahah: Usually ARR is very introverted and would not go and introduce himself to people... but since Pyarelal is a composer whom ARR respects a lot, he probably would have gone and spoken to him!

As a Director, what's your role in the music creation process?
According to me, a director's role is to create an environment or a situation for the composer to create a good song - mainly to inspire the music director... The director should strive to inspire the composer to reach greater heights... The director's intervention should not pull the composer down!!
(Raihanah ma'am interrupted here saying "Those are golden words... You should say this everywhere sir... You should say this loud and clear! It would be great if all directors understand this!!!!
Vasanth retorted saying "You seem to be really affected by such instances" (Laughs))

The director should try to bring out the best from everyone.... The director should identify what's the best aspect of the composer and bring out the most creative stuff from them.. and should never give up till the best output is produced!

Raihanah: You have explained it brilliantly, sir.. When we talk of this, the first song that comes to my mind is Nenje Nenje from Ratchagan....

Vasanth: Definitely.. Definitely... Similarly, I like Thoda Thoda Malarndhadhenna (Indra) How do I say... I'm at a loss for words...

I think ARR is the only composer who has given his heart and soul to each and every song and each and every movie. Not jus for one or two songs in a movie, but for every song.... That is why he takes more time... He has never compromised on quality any of the songs - ever! He takes each and every song seriously!!

About directors/producers asking for tunes similar to another song
That's usually done to communicate the mood that's required for the song - we sort of give examples... For some composers, you can get the best only if you communicate this way... It's more about convenience.
About asking to compose a song similar to another song - i won't comment whether it is right or wrong... but, it is wrong if the composer creates the "same" tune, instead of creating a similar mood!

In case of a big composer like ARR, we need not give any examples. If we give examples, he'll stay as far away from that tune as possible!! That's why he is in such a great position now!! He understands that it just for easier communication!

Some other composers would assume that we like that particular tune of a old song that they can satisfy us only if they use that tune, and would end up giving the same old tune!!

About Re-recording (BGMs) of ARR
Silence is as important to re-recording as the actual BGMs. In many instances, silence, after the actual BGM, creates the required impact - Ilayaraja sir taught me this...
For instance, if there's a long BGM and it suddenly stops when a guy opens a door, all your focus shifts to what's behind the door. silence creates an impact there...
The composer should know when to have music in the scene and when to stop. I think Rahman is one composer who knows this and handles this beautifully!
He gives what's required for a scene, rather than playing music continuously!

Another important aspect of ARR's re-recording is his ability to use various different styles of music to elevate the quality of the scenes. For instance, in Rhythm, in the scenes involving the relationship between Arjun and the kid, he had brought an italian feel in the BGM... In the same movie, he had used a very Indian sound, for the scenes involving Lakshmi....

I think he can do this with ease as he listens to and enjoys all types of music - from carnatic to hindustani to western, pop and rock...

He brought a new style in re-recording. His re-recording gave a new dimension to the film. Even for ARR, Rhythm is one of his favourites in terms of re-recording, and he keeps mentioning this to me...

Fav BGMs in other ARR movies, apart from Rhythm:
I love everything that ARR has done for Mani Ratnam's movies, especially Bombay and Iruvar. According to me, Iruvar is Mani sir's best movie.. Iruvar's re-recording is ultimate!!

In the scene in Iruvar where it is shown for the first time that Mohan Lal has got 1000-s of people behind him, the Background score is brilliant. The BGM has "spoken" this exactly. If you just listen to the BGM without looking at the scene, you can visualise that scene in your mind - even without listening to a single dialogue!

Favourite Songs
For how many movies has he composed, till now? About 100? So, at 5 songs per movie, there would be a total of 500 songs? so, my favourite would be all 500!!
I love every one of his songs...
Let me quote just a few songs, which come to my mind at this instant...

Pudhu Vellai Mazhai - I love this song because it does something to me... I love this song because I love it very much!!! It creates an ambience.. The rendering, the freshness, the music, the composition - everything was great... The sound was totally new - when I heard it in 1991, I knew I hadn't heard anything like this before!! The sound was so new, so emotional and so real..

I love chinna chinna aasai a lot, but somehow my favourites are Pudhu Vellai Mazhai and Kadhal Rojave, with Pudhu Vellai Mazhai getting 100 points and Kadhal Rojave being a close second at 99.5!!

Similarly, I love "Minnale nee vandhadhenadi" from May Madham... I'm quoting this song specially, because of the sorrow in the song beautifully conveyed by the tune, SPB sir's voice.. above all - the intricate violin opening and interlude.... It doesnt happen often that the instrumental interludes get registered in our minds as much as the main song itself - but this violin interlude did.... I always used to hum that violin bit and my ears always long for that violin bit!

Snegithane - What do I say about this song,... This is one of the finest creations of Rahman. This is the ultimate song to portray a man-woman relationship!
(Raihanah: Sadhna's voice is so sharp - as sharp as the soung of glass breaking!)

Vasanth: I am usually not enamoured by the sweetness of a voice, for me it is always the composer who captures my heart! The emotions in the song are what attracts me!!

But if there's one voice which has attracted me a lot, it is ARR's voice... Listen to vellai pookkal... it will just make you cry!!! You dont hav to do anything else... The voice, tune, the lyrics - everything about the song is perfect - and it is as though the song conveys the entire sorrow in Sri Lanka...

I'm a big big fan of ARR, and I admire him as a human being also.. I am delighted and honoured that I got this chance to share my views about ARR, and his songs!!
By Aravind on Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 5:01 PM Post Categories: ,
  1. Ani

    Thanks a bunch Arvind for transcribing this defnitely is a treat to read anything on ARR an specially words from persons who understand him the way we Rahmaniacs do :-)


  1. Subramanian Ramachandran

    not only ARR's music, but any good news about ARR brings as much joy

    Good job dude :)

  1. Anonymous

    Anything from ARR! :) Btw, I guess its Benny Dayaal in 'Aasmaaaaaaaaan', your guess?

  1. Ramya Shankar

    WOW !
    Its better if I don't say anything beyond that! :D

  1. Vijay Narain

    PPl never fail to get awed do they :-D

  1. Aravind

    @ Ani:
    u r welcome :)

    @ RS:
    Thank you! :D

  1. Aravind

    @ bhargavi:
    Benny is it? I'm so confused .... I thought It's javed ali!

    @ Ramya:
    he he :D wow wonly! :D

    @ vijay:
    he he :D ya!! :D
    When the person in question is ARR, ppl will get awed!

  1. Vani Viswanathan

    Thanks for that!! :)

  1. Aravind


    U are welcome :D

  1. Anonymous

    velai pookal is god only. I listen to that song whenever I think I can afford to get lost in music..that song always brings that lump in my throat.


  1. Anonymous


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