Wednesday October 14, 2009

What’s your Rahman Realization Point?

Posted by Karthik

The 2 composers about whom I’ve gushed generously in this blog are Ilayaraja and A R Rahman. I still find my life’s choicest moments unfolding within my brain whenever I see Ilayaraja. With Rahman, its a bit different – its perhaps sheer admiration for the way he has changed film music in the country.

But, from a madcap Rahman fan – yes, I used to run a website called arrmp3 *cringe*! – to being an objective Rahman admirer who can actually trash one of his soundtracks (personal opinion, of course!), I have come a long way. Beyond this path, one thing does stay – the first time I became aware of Rahman’s pioneering sound. I called it the ‘Rahman Realization Point’ (RRP – cheesy, I know!) in a post way back, on October 5, 1999, to be precise, in a post in the Rahman Yahoo Group! So, here’s my RRP.

It was 1992, August 15. I was at school, attending one of those annoying flag hoisting ceremonies. When I came home, my dad told me that there was a beautifully composed and picturised song on the telly (Chinna chinna aasai – Dil hai chota sa) in a new movie called ‘Roja’, (Doordarshan had a special Chitrahaar – called Oliyum Oliyum, in Tamil – for newly released movies that day, like any other festive holiday) which was incidentally released that day. I was real mad at my school that made me miss it! Then, on Friday, I caught the first glimpse of ‘Kaadhal rojavae’ (Roja jaaneman) on TV. I didn’t even know who Rahman was….I was just gung-ho about Maniratnam’s new movie because I have been a big fan of his work.

I had read about his break-up with Ilayaraja and that he was working with a new composer. Then, I heard this song and went absolutely bonkers! The song was unlike anything I’ve heard before! That was the first time I asked ‘Who is this A.R.Rahman?’.

There are other moments, later in my life, when, without knowing the composer’s name, I’ve been able to say that the music is definitely by Rahman. For instance, Gang Master’s ‘Hello hello premalekha’. It used to play on Zee TV’s Telugu music feed on weekday evenings, back in the 90s. And the minute I heard this song for the first time, I had an instinct that it was certainly by Rahman. So, I immediately got a pen friend (befriended via the youth magazine of those days, Target!!) in Chennai to get me the cassette couriered to me. These days, of course, with the internet, we’re far more clued into film credits, so all this exotic exploration goes out of the window.

So, what’s your Rahman Realization Point?

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