Thursday January 6, 2011

Roja (Music review), Tamil – A R Rahman

Posted by Karthik

With a definite, but mutated fusion reggae sound and dew fresh vocals by Minmini, Chinna chinna aasai doesn’t sound like anything one has heard before in Tamil film music. Vairamuthu’s lyrics, in particular, is a captivating word play on the ‘aasai’ theme, while the composer makes a lovely uncredited vocal appearance mid-way. Rukkumani rukkumani opens with an interestingly unconventional, aged voice and continues to use similar aged vocals in a startling manner all through. The main tune, sung by SPB and Chitra is a fantastic reinvention of the usual item number, with pulsating arrangements. Hariharan aces the anthemic Thamizha thamizha – it starts off beautifully, on a serene note, but gets into a rousing mode with a really impressive chorus that ends on a high! The orchestration that the debutant composer chooses to adorn this song with is mesmerizing!

But the soundtrack’s sensational highlights are the two dreamy and scintillating melodies – Pudhu vellai mazhai and Kaadhal rojave. The former’s ambient sound has to be experienced to fully believe it, while the vocals are stunningly beautiful, particularly the way the young composer reserves the higher pitched lines exclusively to Sujatha, with Unni Menon supporting her appropriately. Kaadhal rojave, on the other hand, is exhilaratingly lovely. Sujatha’s haunting humming is strikingly reminiscent of the similarly desh raag based jingle for Garden Vareli (originally by Vanraj Bhatia, later refurbished impressively by Ranjit Barot), while SPB’s portion in the song conveys a heartbreaking sense of solitude. The way this song’s tune fluctuates between incredibly high pitched notes and soothing milder notes is proof enough of the debutant composer’s prowess over music!

Roja’s music is path-breaking. The sound is astonishingly fresh and the fusion Rahman attempts works at so many levels. Hats off to director Maniratnam for introducing us to a phenomenal new talent!

Keywords: Arvind Swamy, Madhubala, Maniratnam, A R Rahman, Dilip, Roja music review, #300

PS 1: This is a small birthday gift for Rahman, one of my favorite composers. I was in school when Roja released and Milliblog is just 5 years old!

PS 2: This is only the second 300 word review in all of Milliblog; the first, of course was for Rahman’s Delhi 6.

PS 3: I was under the impression that the Garden Vareli jingle was by Louis Banks, but came to know recently from a friend in the ad agency circles that it was by Ranjit Barot, based on Vanraj Bhatia’s earlier version, both based on raag desh.



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