Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Music of Raavan

I don’t know why A R Rahman is called Mozart of Madras as if to be called M of M was Rahman’s life ambition. Its so silly. And if Rahman is M of M then Mozart should be Rahman of Austria!! Okay, that’s beside the point. I have been listening to Raavan repeatedly over the last few days. That’s one of my irritating habits, to listen to the same album over and over again initially and don’t even touch it later for years altogether. I believe that one should let the music grow on you just like men. I don’t think Raavan’s music can be described as earth shattering. But you will love it if you only let it grow on you.
Behne de is the only song which I wanted to listen to again and again after I listened to the entire album for the first time. One reason is the lyrics which are easier to understand compared to other songs. Its plain Hindi. Other songs are like Omkara hindi, I need help in the form of ready text and also a translator to understand !! And moreover this is Gulzar and its open to several interpretations. The pace and the rhythm of Behne de is not uniform. The variations are superb. Just when you are thinking that it will end in crescendo it gives an indication of smooth flow. Remember how wonderfully ‘Dil se re’ ends in Hariharans velvety voice. I don’t know whether the song is for somebody or whether it will be just a background song. But it gives wings to your imagination because you know Santosh Sivan is the Cinematographer.
The album comes with an introduction from Mani Ratnam listing his thoughts about Raavan. And the Music Album opens with Beera. ‘Beera ke dus maathe, beera ke sau naam’ tells us who the song is for. Probably this is the first time in bollywood that a song is created to describe the villain of the movie. Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam had song for the leading lady, Omkara for the hero but I cannot recollect anything for the villain. Ghajini was less about Ghajini and more about Sanju/Aamir Khan. Beera has kind of world music. This is just not local or Indian. Mani asks in the intro whether there is Raavan in each of us? And the music is kind of international.
The next song is Behne de. The music is an expression for ‘from quite flows the river to ebbs and tides of the ocean’. For a person in a state of anguish the song is apt.
Next song is Thok de killi. It’s a long song perhaps to describe the state of affairs of the place of action. Social conflicts, repressed emotions and dissatisfaction of the people find an outlet in this song. And Sukhwinder Singh’s unique voice is just right for that note of discontent, rebellion. Anthem for the people on the move demanding justice or their dues, I suppose.
Next on the menu is Ranjha, Ranjha. The biggest disappointment of the album is Anuradha Sriram. If she is the one who I think she is. I think I have watched one Anuradha Sriram sing beautifully during Margazhi festival shown on Jaya TV. Anuradha Sriram has rendered her vocals for the Ranjha Ranjha which is a caricature of voice. Any techno voice could have replaced her vocals without making any difference. I felt sad. Otherwise the song is great. Taste of Gulzaar from this song: ‘Jal ja, jal ja, ishq main jal ja, jale so kondan hoye, jalti raakh lagaa le maathe, lage toh chandan hoye’. Gives you goose pimples, doesn’t it?. I wonder who this song is for. Is it for Ravan or Ram? I wonder whether the song is like ‘Kadal Roja’ from Roja where the man sings in agony remembering his wife. This is my second favourite of the album after Behne De. Listen to both the songs keeping the volume to the maximum.
Khilli re is supposed to be a romantic song with its soft melody. My acid test for Romantic numbers is that they should be hummable in the bathroom. This song fails my acid test. Its boring in a way. Kind of odd song out with its classical rhythms in between reminding you of songs from Lagaan and Guru. Khata kata bechara will be a standard song hence forth for all stag parties. This chorus number is good but for Ila Arun’s voice. Has she ever varied from her ‘choli ke peeche’ style. It gets on my nerves. I guess the movie is set somewhere in central or north India and whats this rajasthan ‘pallo latke’ doing in this song was the question that cropped up in my mind while listening to the song. Incidentally this reminded me of Rukumani from Roja and Humma Humma from Bombay. Whats this with Mani and wedding night songs!
Strangely there is no theme music for Raavan. Just 6 songs. Over all the album is okay. Theres hardly any experimentation apart from the Beera song. It is as though they were following some pre set formula. Raavan is not explosive like Dil Se. Music of Dil Se was so good that I was never tempted to watch the movie and it was an album in its own right. When Dil Se came out I was up all night listening to it. It sounded fresh every time the first song got played again. Gulzaar’s lyrics and Rahman’s crooning had left me weak, fulll of visions and shaking like noodles! Emotional exaltation of the highest degree, I suppose. A night to remember. Those were the tumultuous times! I didn’t know where I was and where I would be in future. I mean I had realized to my greatest shock that a PG Degree in Economics did not figure in the requirements in a classifieds page in newspapers. There was absolutely zero demand for a person with PG Economics in the job market. Nobody wanted a PG Economics on their payroll which added to my misery.


Anonymous said...

Interesting review that. I've listened to raavan songs and am bracing myself for a huge disappointment. Speilberg, maniratnam, jagjit singh - all my idols have gone to dogs. Time does that to greatness I believe.

You are right in calling AR Raghuman good but not iconic. Gulzar is a legend.

Btw I chanced upon your webpage while looking up vagardha vapi samprattau.. And you are right on ulyseus.james joyce. Very few ppl are capable to tolerating it. Its somewhat like tyagaraja's pancha ratna kritis - one of the 5 numbers is a haunting melody that only the 'pure' enjoy.

june 8th is that ulysseus day, maybe a good time for you to pick up brothers karamazov. i think ud like it.

-your friend

alice said...

Aha, Tyagaraja's haunting kriti, that must be Endaro. Even as I am trying to recite it in the corners of my mind I feel a lump in my has that effect.
Yeah, I have read BK and almost everything by Dostoevsky. BK is ofcourse one of the best (if theres anything like that:-) )
I know how disappointing when your idols dont live up to your expectations. But maybe fault lies with us. Because we give them the larger than life image. It happened to Tiger's Fans. I dont know whether you have heard of MS Satyu of Garam Hawa fame..He peaked with that movie and thereafter could not even maintain a plateau. They all succmb to pressures. But maybe there is some part of them which they keep away from these pressures which keep on inspiring them. I believe in them.