Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rahman Mornings

One of the things I've learnt to carefully bypass is any "Raja-Rahman" debate I'm confronted with. I guess it's primarily because I'm not comfortable with my music know-how to even qualify to adopt a position and also because I believe one need not take a stance always. Another reason could be the fact that I enjoy both of them, albeit for different reasons.

I listen to Rahman mostly during the mornings, when I'm up and running for work, when I need to reaffirm my faith in the world and its ways. You know, just to tell yourself that "Yes, this place is going to the dogs but hey, it's a new day and you never know what's gonna happen". Ilayaraja (IR from now on) is reserved for the night when I need to lull myself to sleep -- his songs have this pleasant way of soothing frayed nerves and bringing the night quickly to an end.

It's not like one can't listen to IR in the morning or Rahman at night. It's just that my preference seems to be that way. Any inspiration I can milk out of IR's music in the morning seems insipid, jejune and foolhardy and not the cautious optimism that Rahman espouses (I do agree that the lyrics play a part too, but still ... ). On the other hand, Rahman is too angsty to listen to just before you fall asleep, whereas IR is just about perfect.
Anyway, here's a list of five Rahman numbers I enjoy listening to almost every morning -
  1. Nila Kaigiradhu, Indra, 1995 -- I prefer the Harini version to the Hariharan one. My "Wake-up playlist" has this on number one. Ideal ambience would be to stand on the terrace and watch the sun rise while Harini's voice pierces the ears, rubs the sleep off your eyes and gently welcomes you into the day. Favourite line - indha vaazhkaiyae seedhanam adhil jeevanae thaeyudhae ...
  2. Vellai Pookkal, Kannathil Muthamittal, 2002 -- Rahman as a singer is very under-rated. I agree he kills a few songs with that nasal voice of his (that's more the exception than the rule) but the depth of feeling he manages to summon makes each and every song that he's sung very special. This one is number two on my list. A sort of personal prayer to start the day off. "Hope is a good thing" (Shawshank Redemption anybody?). Favourite line - koadi keertanamum kavi koartha vaarthaiygalum thuLi kaNNer poal arththam tharumo ...
  3. Endrendrum Punnagai, Alaipayuthey, 2000 - The dude song, as I like to call it. The undercurrent of youthful masculinity -- and it's not just the rap -- is so enthralling I would be very surprised if any member of the female species has a soft corner for this song for reasons other than Madhavan. I like to loop it sometimes, especially when I'm walking to work, because there's this mall abounding with women that I need to go past to get to office, and the song suits the situation to a T. Always brings a grin to my face. It was an anthem of sorts in college but then Camus came along and changed all that.
  4. Margazhi Poove, May Maadham, 1994 - Very sophisticated lyrics. And as feminine as it gets. I used to skip this song as one of those "suppressed-woman-gone-mad" when I bought the cassette, but then Rahman is nothing if not insistent and the song grows on you. Moreover, Shobha's voice is so contrary to the kind of effect that the song aims at, it ends up complimenting the music and the mood. And yes, December mornings have never been the same again. Favourite line(s) - aezhai manam kaanum inbam naan kaanavillai ...
  5. Anbendra Mazhaiyilae, Minsara Kanavu, 1997 - A rare evangelical song, and Anuradha Sriram's full-throated yet tender rendition melts you away. It is difficult to come to terms with the song ideologically but the promise that it holds of a saviour is too tempting, so I eventually give in and end up listening to the song a few times continuously. Favourite line - Like the entire song, but if I were to pick, then it will have to be: poarkonda boomiyil pookkaadu kaanavae pugazhmaindhan thoanrinaanae / ... / nootraandu iravinai nodiyoadu poakkidum oliyaagath thoanrinaanae / irumbaana nenjilum eerangal kasiyavae iraibaalan thoanrinaanae ...

An interesting biography of Rahman is here -- a tad too long but fabulous collection of anecdotes and quotes.

14 comments:

Samudraa said...

oh,i could die for "koadi keertanamum kavi koartha vaarthaiygalum thuLi kaNNer poal arththam tharumo ..."

Wot about Raja5?

Karthik said...

Was wondering the same ?? Where's the IR five ??

Karthik said...

Btw - wondering why Roja or Bombay didn't make the list. I specially like one version of "Uyire" in Hindi - it was from some concert sung by Hariharan !! Roja was a revelation though !! Love all the songs in it ...

Samudraa said...

why Margazhi Poove, and not enmel vizhundha;i thought u liked that better?

musafir said...

samudraa

Lovely line, isn't it?

As for "Enmel Vizhunda", it is a favourite, but I don't listen to it in the morning. There are other occasions I save it for :)

karthik

Roja and Bombay don't figure in the list simply because it's a "Morning playlist" I'm talking about. I like to listen to something that gets me going. The Bombay theme is probably my most favourite Rahman piece, but if I listen to it in the morning, I'll be brooding all day long. And Uyire? No way I'm listening to that in the morning :) ... Roja, likewise, is reserved for other occasions. To be fair though, I've written about a song from Roja earlier.

samudraa and karthik

Ilayaraja 5 - coming soon :) ... I'd loaded my Mp3 player with a lot of Rahman on this trip, hence the post.

Arundhathi said...

'Uyirum neeye Udalum neeye' I love this song of Rahman's as well .... Sung by Unni Krishnan , its one of his lesser known classics I guess

musafir said...

arundhathi

Hmm I haven't heard that song (and here I am posting about Rahman!), but I've seen the movie though, albeit a long time ago. Ajit and Radhika, if I remember right ... will check it out.

Anonymous said...

Well..a lot of mu fav songs featured here...And i dont agree with enrendrun punnagai being a dude song..yes it does have the dude feel..but a gal can like it for reasons other than madhavan

Stallion said...

how about ' palakaatu machaanukku paatu'na usuru' ?

sirpy said...

One real good morning song is "Pookum Malargal" from Udaya.. It is an amazing song but not known that well of course... There are a scores of morning songs.. The thing between Ilayaraja and A R Rahman is that the latter had learnt to evolve with the music whereas Ilayaraja had remained stagnant... Ilayaraja can no way compose a song like Yakkai Thiri, now for example..

Stallion said...

suggestion for ur next post:

DEVA NIGHTS

~SuCh~ said...

@stallion : (last comment)
haha... :)would like to see musafir attempt that !!

@musafir:
Funny Coincidence.. that we should write similar posts at around the same time... :).. Perhaps there is something to the zodiac, aferall.. :)

musafir said...

anonymous

I said I would be surprised. I am, as a rule, wary of generalizations.

stallion

Adanga maata pola irukku? Unna paaka vendiya edathula paathukaren.

~such~

Why oh why did you pay attention to that comment? Now he's going to be all over the place *shakes his head ruefully*

Besides, it might be a good challenge to try writing that post :P

As for the coincidence, I thought I replied to a comment of yours, saying how I'd written a draft-post similar to the one you wrote on IR-ARR and how I should publish it ... and yes, even though one tries to be all logical and rational, the number of "zodiacal" coincidences I've seen around me makes me want to believe that there might be something to it after all :)

Stallion said...

@ such:

Yea...musafir's posts are getting a bit plain now. I thought the idea might spice it up a bit.

@musafir:

Thambi. Adakkam Amararul uikkum, agangaamai aarirul uithu vidum. B-)