This is Part 2 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series. You can read Part 1 here.
Rasathi, or the Big Voice and Brief Life of Shahul Hameed: Unfortunately, most of us will never know what Shahul Hameed looked like when he was singing Rasathi from Thiruda Thiruda. The closest we can get to that knowledge is through this striking cover, and the visible effort put in by a very talented lead singer. What remains to be said about Rasathi that hasn’t already been said in many different ways? Nothing, except that even today it surprises and takes back in its various different forms. Back to where cows amble, time stands still, and the green rolls on for miles — a perfect and misty, quiet, cold morning. In paradise.
I’ve never had a favourite song when it comes to Rahman. But one song that particularly comes to my mind is “Yeh Haseen Wadiya“. The beauty of this song is not just in its lyrics, but also in the freedom you sense when you listen to the music given to this masterpiece. It awakens my soul to a point that I lose track of my worries and troubles. This has been one song which I’ve listened to for years but never got bored of it ever. There was never a point where I started resenting this song because of listening to it on repeat for days on end. The lyrics are good, but the music makes it outstanding.
Choosing one favourite is going to be impossible, so I’ll just talk about the one song that cropped into my head the minute I thought of A. R. Rahman. Well, New York Nagaram is the chosen one. The album, Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, had two of Rahman’s most popular songs in recent times. While the whole world went for Munbe Vaa, New York Nagaram stuck with me from the very first listen (rare trait in Rahman songs). A song sung by the genius himself, he starts with a very interesting bit of humming. He then takes it to a whole new level, a level which induces goosebumps each time one listens, in the verses that follow. He brings the perfect tone to the song – keeping it soft and low. It is a song that showcases long distance separation in a relationship, and to this day it is the one song I go to when I undergo the feeling of separation from near and dear ones.
For me it was 2003 The Unity Of Light Concert that made me a proper fan. If I have to narrow it down to one song, I will say Maula Maula (Arziyan) from Delhi-6. It is hard to give reasons especially considering I don’t understand Hindi, so I have no clue about the meaning of the song but there is such a divine effect every time I hear it. Also, Kailash Kher is simply brilliant in this song.
“Isn’t this the best A.R.Rahman song or just the best song ever?” I ask myself whenever the song “The Journey Home” is on loop in my mind. If I have to settle with just one moment in a song to illustrate Rahman’s innate genius, it would be that second in this song when the strings swell up and pour down heavily like a rain to reprise the main motif towards the end of the pivotal line of the song “Sometimes standing still could be the best move you ever make”. The exhilaration in having to make no choices at all couldn’t be expressed better in music. Most of us in today’s world are perennially in-transit, hanging on to a place or something while always longing for a return to home, whatever, wherever or whenever the Home is. Journey Home is one song that fits all ever. And to me, Rahman’s music is home, and irrespective of what I listen to, the journey has always been towards that moment of listening to a new piece of Rahman’s music for the first time.