Tag Archives: A.R.Rahman

On Kaatru Veliyidai’s music – A conversation

Long ago (Okay! A year ago), I asked two of the most enthusiastic Tamil music fans who I know of to write about Kaatru Veliyidai’s music for Rahmania. Those guys did their homework and gave me the doc on March 25 2017, but I missed posting it then. Then the movie came to the theater screen, the Amazon Prime Video screen, Aditi Rao Hydari went around singing Vaan Varuvaan on TV shows and then people forgot about the movie. And I still hadn’t put the post up! Here’s the conversation between Karaboondi (K) and SoundTrackIndia (N) on the music of Kaatru Veliyidai! Better late than never! –Viju


Karaboondi (K): The release of a Mani album is like a festival and what better way to celebrate than discussing the album with friends.

SoundtrackIndia (N):  Indeed, sometimes you end up making friends because of the music. If I recall correctly, you became friends with V around the release of Kadal, and I around the release of OKK. And now, here we are discussing the latest release Kaatru Veliyidai for his blog.


K: Azhagiye, the meet cute song  came out first. The Charanam is all sorts of brilliant , hitting the high with Marukaadhe Nee and then going on to tease you to break into Nivedha. I find a lot of things I love in the Charanam compared to the Pallavi: Sid and Jonita playing hide and seek with Charan, the carnatic music flavor – What’s not to like about this song?

N: Of course! Starting with some catchy a cappella ish harmonies, the song hides no surprises and is one groovy number with no lull moments. Throw in a bit of Punjabi shake-a-leg, and Jonita’s na na na  the song is just so effervescent. Karky’s lucid lyrics hide no intentions either. You know what,  I’d like to dub this song the third of the “heralding triplet”, following Adiye! and Aye! Sinamika.


N: Moving on to Vaan, a quintessential track of the Mani-ARR soundtrack. An instance of variety of complex emotions in a song — melancholy, love, jealousy, longing. And all these connect with me so plainly.  Vairamuthu shines here with his inimitable command over the language. The tranquility about this song is ironically unsettling. Shashaa is sweetness personified here. How things confluence at the ”கர்வம் கொண்டால் கல்லாய் உறைவான்” phrase is an experience that is quite difficult to articulate — but go ahead and ask your headphones. As cliched as the ending fading refrain of காதல் வந்தால் கனியாய் நெகிழ்வான் is, it leaves me heavy-hearted.

K:  Vaan is a modern Aandal Paasuram tinged with longing. Leela’s anticipation is represented by that melancholy flute cutting through the piano notes, especially between 2:23 – 2:45. They remind you of Porkkalam Ange, don’t they? That Ennodu Irundhaal Evalo Ninaivaan line is beautiful and functional  characterizing the man’s profession as the other woman.

N: Aha! Gotcha.


K: Let’s take a small journey to some hill station where close friends have gathered to celebrate a wedding.  The Sangeet is an intimate affair around a campfire on a cool September Evening. The best man is strumming the guitar and the groom’s brother who is also the flautist is making moon’s eyes at the bridesmaid. The bride and the groom are cuddled up under a blanket under the stars , and all of a sudden a groomsman starts drumming on the stool . Soon the others join in with their plates , glasses and spoons  as the bride and groom start reminiscing about their story through song. They are so comfortable with the place they are in their life that they grin and nudge each other in a weird dance as the ribaldry continues. Somewhere down the line , the groom’s brother who is our flautist has fallen for the bridesmaid who is behind most of the jests and the culmination of a love saga sparks the beginning of another. N ! you know what I am talking about here .

N: Saarattu Vandiyila is good old Rahman, wielding an orchestra of gazillion instruments, both classical and otherwise, to a folksy tune sung by chorus, checking every item off a celebratory event list, in the process. Perhaps the first time Tipu gets a solo credit in an ARR album, he is effortlessly charming. Raihanah owns the song, and Nikita chips in with the best segment that goes Kathaazhang Kaattukkul just as the song crosses mid-point.

K: Aha! H. Sridhar moment!

N: There’s something about delayed gratification. Last time it was the Thalli Pogathey hook. And take a note of this song, BandBaajaBaaraat enterprises.

K: Saarattu was the third single that came out. It had a resemblance to Alangatti and Eechi, inspired by the Kummi format. There was that coincidental similarity to Dhavanipotta Deepavali in a line that created frenzy and drew battle lines across twitter. Despite all this, the song is addictive as hell, with instrumental filigrees that are super intricate decorating the intimate lyrics. You know, Rahman is also very naughty with this song. The soundtrack version of this song is slightly different than the single version with the production slightly tweaked to make the strings and flute sound crystal clear. The percussion is also less tinny, and the soundscape resembles an open revelry as opposed to an intimate celebration.

Now , lets come back from this imaginary wedding to the present. You are no longer in Coorg. You are at your desk. You miss the fun you had  at the wedding. You miss Kamalakar’s flute , the singers. You want to go back to the poetic lyrics tinged with Eroticism and Ribaldry that entices without crossing its limits . You close your eyes and hit the repeat button , again and again and again . The Siren Sings “Katthazha Kattukkul Matthalam Kekkudhu Sitthanai Rendukkum Kondattam”. You grab some camping goods and walk behind the Siren into that enticing forest leaving the mundane behind you.


N: Sigh! But then all drama culminates in Tango Kelaayo. While the singers only sing Kelaayo, the title of the track is a tip-off to us, the listeners, to check out the Tango the song is set in. Another conflicting song of the album, that contrasts the dual personalities of the male protagonist, with respective vocals by Hariharan and by Diwakar. Nice touch comes in the form of a processed female voice. The song is embellished with all grand sounds that a Tango needs. Chuckle if you noticed a nod to Sundari..Siriya Rettai Vaal Sundari!

K: (Chuckles) The orchestral flourishes indeed remind you of Sundari and the grandeur is remnant from Arima Arima.

N: I’m curious to know what imagery you have in mind for the Tango song. Don’t disappoint me!

K:  The warrior and lover are in love with the same woman and she is miffed. The warrior tries acting nonchalant, telling her she may come back if she needs to. She doesn’t give an inch and so the lover takes over and all this happens within the first two minutes of the song as Diwakar and Charan pass the baton between each other seamlessly. I had to listen to this song about 45-50 times to identify the two voices and I was so surprised by the Googly ARR bowled by having Charan sing the female voice – Sexy Indeed.

N: (Chuckles) Like the exotic Indai Haza! What do you think of the Tango template?

K: The tango rhythm is addictive and for the most part ARR has stuck to the instruments traditionally used in a tango. The flute which played a starring role in the other songs representing Leela, is missing though. The song paints the story for you keeping the mood light and playful.


K: Let’s talk about the rap fixture that is an ARR standard these days.

N: Following Magudi and Aattakkaara, we have Jugni, a Punjabi track, one that could find a place in an Imtiaz Ali’s album without any reservations. After Aaromale, we have a whole song set in a non-native language, dictated by the movie locales; and likely the sole montage song of the album. Sprinkled with Piano chords throughout, this song makes for a wonderful listen. The rap portion, which doesn’t seem to have had many takers, certainly brings in a new dimension to this song. I’ve got another song in my travel playlist. How about you?

K: Jugni is  the Punjabi Thenmerku Paruvakatru revamped with trance and rap.  Tejinder serenades the free spirited Heer who doesn’t want to be caught. She is on this never ending road trip — friends with you but not quite. A flute like instrument forms a repeating leitmotif along with the keys, tying this song thematically with Vaan and Saarattu. This is the perfect song for long summer road trips, where the days are filled with sunshine and the thought of doing something productive seems criminal.

K: You know N, I had very high expectations of Nallai Allai and therefore it disappointed me the most. This song has the best lyric Vairamuthu has written in ages. It has the perfect leading man voice behind the mic and Chinmayi is in scintillating form. It is simple, sweet and reminds you of Ek ladki ko dekha toh in places. But it doesn’t grow on me. I get the fact that the idea was to showcase the lyric but you need a stellar tune too. That said, I have started looping this song, because I cannot afford to stay mad at the singers.

N: Indeed, Sathya Prakash leads the vocals with grace and conviction, and it feels as if the composer made the song with the singer in mind. You’re right, it is very much a simple melody, one that took quite a while to grow on me, despite the ethereal cameo by Chinmayi in the interludes. But as you noted, the most striking quality about the song are the lyrics that singularly convey helplessness and conflict, which perhaps the hero is going through in his state of mind; it teeters on the edge of futility of his exercise vis-a-vis love. It is this nature of contrast that makes this song quite impossible to label as a breezy romantic number. Sample “Oligalin thedalgal …mounathil mudigindradhey”  for how forlorn he is. While this all could be reading between lines, I’m looking forward to see how it is picturized.


N: So, what do you think of the album?

K: See, in Kadal and OKK, ARR had delivered enticing soundscapes that were new to Tamil Cinema. KV sticks to soundscapes we have heard previously. Here the songs have a strong frame of reference to other melodies and hence don’t meet the standards set by this combination.  May be this was ARR’s brief . It is after all the 25th year of their association, making nostalgia inevitable. N , How do you like the album and what are your picks?

N: Hey, I’ll take nostalgia any day, and I’m almost entirely sold with this album. You know why I qualify it with ‘almost’, don’t you? Anyway, my picks are Vaan, Jugni, Kelaayo & Saarattu. In that order. Yours?

K: My preference is a little bit different: Saarattu , Kelayo , Jugni , Vaan  and Azhagiye in that order. (Chuckles) But this can change in a week. What do you think about V’s picks?

N: You mean, what *will be* V’s picks? We’ll have to wait and see.


PS: After a year almost, K says ‘I fell in love with Nallai Allai later and cannot get enough of the song!‘ How music changes us!


Rustic Rahman

(A post by @atlasdanced)

Everybody who was anybody growing up in TN in the 90s will tell you that the album, that turned Rahman from being talked about as the “new kid in the block taking the industry by storm creating interesting music with computer generated sounds” to someone who everyone started taking really seriously as a guy whose success wasn’t going to be with defined by just ‘sound’, was “kizhakku cheemaiyilE”.

Bharathiraja was no longer the director whose movies were going to be box-office hits because it was “A film by Bharathiraja” (his previous 5 thamizh films, captain magaL, nAdOdi thenRal, pudhu nellu pudhu nAththu, en uyir thOzhan & kodi paRakkudhu were disastrous flops). I will stick my neck out here and say that had it not been for the album and the rage it created, the man’s career could’ve hit rock bottom with a 6th. But boy how much the success of the album turned everyone into finally believing that the kid wasn’t a one trick pony! “mAnooththu mandhaiyilE”, “kaththAzha kAttu vazhi” & “edhukku poNdAtti” were such brilliantly done folk numbers that have stood the test of two decades’ time.

There was another movie set in the village, “Uzhavan”, that released around the same time. But it was so damn insufferable that even a decent soundtrack from Rahman couldn’t save it. Although it had just one folksy number, it was enough to make us know what the guy was capable of. ‘mAri mazhai’, in the eminently likeable voice of Shahul Hameed is another number i go back to every now and then.

A handful of such brilliant numbers, picturised in a village backdrop, followed over the years – “senthamizhnAttu thamizhachchiyE” from vaNdichchOlai sinrAsu, “nee kattum sElai” from pudhiya mannargaL, “mazhaiththuLi” & “varAha nadhikkaraiOram” from sangamam, “thirupAchchi aruvALa” from tajmahal (i am obviously not including the few lovely melodies/ballads set in a village backdrop here), but none as supreme, as standout, as complete as my all-time favourite song among such songs one of my all-time favourite songs – “kAdu pottakkAdu” from kaRuththammA.

Everything about this song is well done, the picturisation (check out the video…the movie was centered on the ‘female infanticide’ theme…almost every stage of a woman’s life in a village is covered in 5 minutes of directorial/editorial brilliance…sigh, if only the entire movie had that kind of quality overall!).

The lyrics..ah the lyrics! Vairamuthu is in elements and shows you how much of emotional value lyrics can bring to a song. Every line makes you realise and even feel a bit awkward about the privileges of an urban life.

And what to say of the rendition by the third of the holy trinity of thamizh cinema’s male playback singing of my generation. SPB is a mad genius rockstar, KJY is gifted and should sing all our lullabies but ‘Malaysia’ Vasudevan is the voice that makes you appreciate the extraordinary art of (at the risk of sounding like a The Hindu katcheri review) – soulful rendition. Check out the “ada pOda vekkakkEdu” around 1:59-2:00. An entire life resigned to the tragicomedy of being a puppet in nature’s scheme of things brought out in half a second of nonchalant snigger while singing about it!

I have always thought it was a masterstroke to make Bharathiraja sing those opening lines…i mean, can it even get any rustic?

The minimalistic arrangement fits perfectly well with the mood of the song and one of those songs that i’ve probably heard a zillion times by now. It is *that* special.

“பட்ட மரத்து மேல…எட்டிப்பாக்கும் ஓணான் போல வாழ வந்தோம் பூமி மேல” (because some lines shouldn’t even be transliterated, leave alone translated.)

Am I a Rahmaniac? Let’s just say i’ll probably be the first guy who’d take a dig at a lot of those as ‘Rahmehniacs’. So why am i writing here? I’m just tired of reminding even my good friends that I am a fan of the man’s music too. Just because i take a dig (almost always in good humour) at some of his recent works, doesn’t make me dislike the other 100+ songs that i love. Does my opinion even matter? No. Then why?

I have been wanting to write in this blog for a while, primarily because the good folks who are managing this blog are two of the nicest folks you’d come across online. People whose ‘mania’ i respect & relate to. This is just for them and of course, the music we all love.

That One Song: Part 4

This is Part 4 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series for Rahmania’s fourth anniversary. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.  


A few days ago, when Aishu asked me to write about one of my favourite ARR songs and added her suggestion (i.e. which song I should write about), I immediately agreed but wondered about the suggestion. I started evaluated other songs too. Then lighting suddenly struck and I immediately stopped thinking about other song choices.

You see, one day, as a wee blogger, wondering what I’d do if I met someone (an Indian that is) who did not know who ARR was, I started making a list (a sort of “ARR for Dummies”, if you will) and posted on my blog. The 1st song on my list that day? Paakathey Paakathey (Gentleman). That was in 2005.

The one line that you will hear from a lot of ARR fans is that his songs will grow on you slowly. This is not always true. Like Paakathey, specifically in my case. The cheerful fun song with the catchy whistling and the violin interludes stole this Rahmaniac’s heart at the first listen itself. And today, 20 years since I first heard it, this song has not aged on me at all. And I can safely say that of all the earworms I get, this one song still repeats the most.

Paakathey not the most popular song from the Gentleman soundtrack by any measure (Chikkubukku, anyone?), but to me, this was the song of the soundtrack, that one song that will always be in my personal all time ARR top 10 list.

And hey, whatever happened to Minmini?


Priya (@enthahotness)

Netru Illatha Matram from Pudhiya Mugam is one of the first Rahman songs I can remember. I was ten and spending the summer with my cousins in Chikmagalur. We didn’t have a TV so our time was divided playing carrom, exchanging WWF cards and listening to the tape recorder. That’s what we called it, the tape recorder. When it was my turn we only listened to one song. I rewound that tape until I had written down all the lyrics, or what I thought were the lyrics and sang along to the happiest song I’d heard.

Two decades later as I watch a deliriously happy Revathi running through a field of flowers hugging everything in her sight it doesn’t feel odd because that’s how this song makes you feel – insanely happy. It has remained my theory that those last fifteen seconds of spectacular flute were added to trick you into hitting repeat. It works every time. Try it.



Vennilave (Minsara Kanavu): Probably my first favorite from A. R. Rahman after reaching the part of childhood when one starts to recognize and enjoy music. Who else other than Hariharan and Sadhana could have done justice to this song in that period. You lie down there and wonder if the moon will ever come and listen to them and feel the same way. Surely, this one is up there with other melodies which can only be compared to a mother putting a child to sleep with a sweet request.



Thirakkadha Kattutukulle (En Swaasa Katre): This song instantly takes me a different world where there is abundant happiness and only positive emotions. Every time I listen to it, it is as if a portal opens that leads me to a secret utopia safely tucked away by nature, only accessible to a fortunate few. Fortunate indeed are we, to be able to surrender ourselves to such a work of art that presents an experience that transcends its own musical form and touches an emotional chord instead, like the tiny fingers of a new born child reaching out and clasping its mother’s hand. Fortunate indeed are we, to experience the magician that is A.R.Rahman.



If you had asked me on my most favourite ARR song two weeks ago it would’ve been this. A month ago was this. 3 months ago . 6 months ago… wogay wogay, so it keeps changing according to Ragu kaalam, Yama gandam, Kaarthigai Somavaram, Ashtami, Navami & so on.

Recently Sun TV’s flashback section started airing all ’90s ARR songs (Yabbah, I feel like a kezhavi!) And this is one song, whenever on air, takes me back to the fun days in Madras with friends – TVS champ, Kinetic honda rides from Besant Nagar beach to Mount Road Khadi bhavan, Nungambakkam Landmark to …. Pantheon Road shopping, the vetti days spent at Gangotree, Hot Chips, Appappo (Ethiraj) College, friends’ places… Aahaa, the carefree 5 years with the maddest, funnest gumbal were indeed the best. I miss my friends terribly & so so wish I could back to the fun days in Madras.

Shot across Madras featuring Prabhudheva, directed by Shankar with music by Isaippuyal A.R.Rahman, this song with its lyrics, rendition and music truly captures what it was all about – No kavalai, only kalaai! This one’s for you Ush, Rasiks, Tees, Vones, Deepz, Sachu, Kripa and all my Madras dosths – Namma policy eppavume Take it easy policydaan

Thank you Rahmania and congratulations on completing four years! Here’s to many many more.

That One Song: Part 3

This is Part 3 of the 4-Part ‘That One Song’ series for Rahmania’s fourth anniversary. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Mahesh (Cornerd)

It had been a few years since Rahman was at the centre of my universe. I thought I had grown up, and mistakenly, for a brief while, even thought grown beyond Rahman. The delusion of an adult with a new found exposure and appreciation of a bit more varied music than what I was used to. I still cared about every Rahman album but with a somewhat diluted intensity of a fanboy at the crossroads. It’s hard to pinpoint one song, rather than a phase, which slapped me out of the delusion , but if I should, then it has to be Tu bole from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.  It was neither Rahman’s first foray into jazz nor necessarily his best for Iruvar fans might be up in arms. But this was Rahman subtly, surreptitiously pushing himself and us out of his comfort zone. Enough of the ostentatious, rich orchestration of his Bollywood soundtracks of that time. This was Rahman sucking the weight out of his composition and letting it float in the air like only he can. But that even the Rahman of old did it wonderfully well – Kadhal sadugudu, anyone? This wasn’t just about letting it float, but how? Except the two lines of the pallavi, there’s no hint of a hook at all. The quirky, staccato melody lines in the voice of a lazy, happy, semi-drunk Rahman crooning as if it’s a duet with the Saxophone swirling in and out of the song takes an amorphous shape all its own. This isn’t a genre-defining or genre-bending song, nor is it an astonishing melody which hits the gut and leaves you transfixed.  This is just an utterly delightful lighthearted song but with the unmistakable signature of Rahman stamped all over it.



The greatest Rahman songs face this grueling test of time inside my head, a sort of extreme transformation from ‘why does this song exist?’ to ‘how does this song exist?’. Chithirai Nila took its own while at that, but I never imagined it would fill my mornings and round off my nights like it did, like it does. Maybe if this was the most popular number from Kadal, I wouldn’t have felt this strange connect, exclusivity with it. Happy, sad, indifferent, lifeless; any emotion I’d throw, it would echo back from this infinite soundscape of surprises; the joy of floating away with those serene riffs emanating from the continuum fingerboard; the feeling of being engulfed in the French horn crescendo, soaring over Vairamuthu’s “Naalaiyai thirandhaal nambikkai sirikkum.



Vellai pookal invokes an emotion within me that I fail to comprehend. Or, maybe the song is trying to tell us that we are not to over-analyze the simple things in life. Who said music must be pompous to be appreciated?



The closet Rahmaniac in me came to see daylight about 4 years ago, when the album Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya was released. It’s almost impossible for me to speak of Rahman’s work without mentioning this album. It lends a very airy and light feeling to the soul every time I listen to it. Particularly the song Omana Penne! The lyrics and the picturisation conveys the emotion so beautifully. What with that naadhaswaram bit setting in and the lovely girl pulling her hand away playfully, ever so teasingly as he looks on in longing, I just lean back and close my eyes as the tunes steal me away to a faraway land.


Maryam Javed

First of all, I feel privileged to be invited in to pen down, rather type in my thoughts on the Indian Mozart’s masterpiece. So thank you, Aishwarya for the same. And, Oh my God! It’s so hard to pick ONE song to write about. So, ‘the one’ song is a part of the music album of Delhi 6. The album released five years back and that’s when, for the very first time, I fell in love with a song! “Rehna Tu, hai jaisa tu‘. The first line of this song defines the meaning of true love. Although this song is primarily about romantic love, to me it’s about loving friends, family, colleagues or even pets, basically everyone who is a part of my life. To me, true love is about loving people with their imperfections and never asking them to change. And it sounds more convincing in Rahman’s voice.

Katniss Everdeen – The Girl on Fire

(After yet another unplanned hiatus, here’s something by @amrith10 on Pataaka Guddi, a song from Highway, a movie that impacted me quite a bit! –Viju)

At first, it was the teaser. A city girl kidnapped; a ruffian, stubble et al; a lorry; a gag; perhaps a touch of Stockholm syndrome. All this was the promise. The premise, even. The backdrop was the scenic beauty of the hillside and the ghats. Aptly named, the movie captured the spirit of the road. For this visual, a techno-Punjabi beat started, quite plainly, if one may say so. But then came the voices. Those earthen voices that accentuated everything that was rugged about the premise.

The song was played. Over and over. And then over. There was nothing profoundly great about the music, save for, perhaps, one flute solo, or two. But those voices were, well, something else entirely. The entire package simply made for some compelling listening. And re-listening. And re-re-listening.

That, of course, was a teaser of sorts. After the previous effort that had an angry rocker as a protagonist led to such stupendous levels of brilliance, the expectations from this album, it is safe to say, were sky-high. And this, for a teaser. One could not wait.

Of course, when such teasers come out for an album, there is always the lingering feeling that the best song might just be the one that is put first. Of course, the song in question would well have qualified to be the ‘song of the album’ in any album. Then again, this was no ordinary album, was it? It never could be, could it? No; not after its predecessor.

And then the track-list came out. Zeb was crooning. The heart skipped a beat. Several, perhaps. The expectations were no longer sky-high. Sky was no longer the limit. Nowhere near.

And then the eyes wandered. And then they swooned. And then they looked incredulously. And then they lost focus. And then the focus returned. And those words were still there. There was ‘another version’ of the teaser. It was no ordinary version, however. He would be the centrepiece of it. Knees buckled. The anticipation was, quite simply, too much. Of course, the dread was too.

And so the album came out. And then, track by track, it was devoured. Zeb was drooled at; Alia, commended. Sunidhi was patted on the back and Jonita Gandhi was lauded for being yet another find. Wanna Mash Up was regarded as a drishti pottu that simply did not gel with the rest of the album but then again, that would have to wait for the situation in the movie might change that opinion. That song, however, was left for the end. It had to be.

The dread built up. How could the teaser be improved? I mean, of course, anything could be but… the hand quivered. The play button was pressed.

No techno. Simple guitar notes. Fifteen seconds in. Slowly, a drum beat. Softly. Nineteen seconds. The ear picks up the faintest sign of the start of a hum. This really is happening. It really is. Three seconds. The words begin. Tu ne naam… twice, that happens. And then something out of the corner of the ear is heard. Of course, not. That has no business being here. The ear is strained. That disappears. Of course, must have been a figment of the imagination. There is no other explanation.

And then it is back. There is no mistaking it. It is a constant presence now. A harmonium. Ah the audacity of it! Incredible. Absolutely incredible. And just when the mind begins to comprehend this, his voice again. This, the mind is not ready for.

This is not the easy singing. No, of course not. The eyes close. He is imagined, chest out, one hand donning a mic; the other, beating his chest. The pronunciation is long drawn. On purpose. Words are elongated. Syllables are stretched. On purpose. This is not a song. This is a statement. When the voice usually goes under certain words, in this case, it goes over them. The words are in command. They have their place. He is the king of the jungle. His is the word. What might usually be sung a few decibels lower in the same octave are sung louder. Not blaringly loud; that, of course, would be rude but louder all the same.

Then the point is made; or so it would seem. The voice dies down again. And then it starts again. Each ho is not sung; it is punched. The harmonium kicks in again. The cha in the chali is not a cha but a chha. Then, it becomes familiar. The pitch rises with every ali until it reaches a crescendo, and then it recedes. He must be a Monty Python fan. Must be. For, what transpires for the next minute or so, is simply him taking a back seat and letting the Carnatic guitar man do his thing, and telling the people, and now for something completely different.

The mind struggles to get to grips with all of this. All this is happening too quickly. No. this is quite criminal. He cannot do this to us; there is only so much that can be processed. This bit in the middle is totally out of place and yet, it is somehow perfectly there. Just when the mind is slowly registering what has been happening for the past minute or so, he decides to turn around and face the audience. He stands in front of us, with a nonchalant smile and holds his arms outstretched, and opens them. There is nothing.

On cue, the song starts again, or so you think. He leads you to believe that. And you do. Because there is no evidence that anything happened. You look incredulously as he just stands there, shrugs his shoulders, and smiles. He simply stands there, with a glint in his eyes, shrugs his shoulders as if to say, ‘what are you looking at? Keep listening. I did nothing.’   Sure enough, it is all there. The harmonium and all else. Simply like nothing ever happened.

Before too long, that familiar feeling of something that is ending before its time dawns. You just know that you are in the last throes of this experience. The brashness is gone. The punches are gone. The decibel level is normal. The instruments do their thing. He lets them, of course. And then it is over. The oooo ooo oooo oooo ooooh takes over. There are still a few chatiyas left, though. He is smiling at you now. The chattiya is not so much a chattiya as it is chchattiya. That mischievous glint in his eye is there.

You look at that and you smile. He knows. You know. He knows you know. And yet, he lets the oooo ooo oooo oooo ooooh have the last word. He has finished. As ever, he lets someone else take the limelight, while he slinks away.

You press the rewind button and press play again. 


(A post by @techrsr which went missing during the move to WordPress, originally posted on June 23rd 2012)

Time seems to stand still, as a cavalcade of harmonies and this shrill, indescribably involved vocal melody pierce the ear. The brief silence that follows it is punctuated by an evocative arabesque of instruments, whence comes the confession: “My heart has fallen somewhere… suddenly”. Dafatan.

Free verse in Urdu-laden Hindi is rendered by Ash King, while a happy marriage of diverse instruments – a santoor, a jaltarang, violins, synthesizers and a bass guitar somewhere, provide the seemingly arbitrary soundscape for the vocalist’s initial outpouring, itself an unusual crossover between an uplifting Gospel melody and some Bollywood cliché. In one memorable interlude, Irish sounds abound in bagpipes, and lutes from some village in southern China and some synthesizer in A R Rahman’s studio too, and they all seem to yearn for your attention.

The meandering soundscape has this one constant background melody, as the other instruments wrap around it. They are all beautifully chaotic, as winds may deflect some hovering bird, or as waves may splash carelessly on feeble monuments of loose sand. They break into order from discord, as if to be destined to arbitrarily synchronize with the vocals by Chinmayee and Ash Singh. There – a mention of pearls and seashells – where the bass and the vocals conspire to describe some epiphany. There – a mention of ghazals and intoxication – a musical dopamine shot and a lyric that incites more than musicality; a lyric that suggests the infatuation of music itself.

As the lyric melds into an arbitrary synchrony with the soundscape of melodies and synth, it is revealed that the object of his affection is unaware – utterly ignorant – of this drama, and entirely oblivious to his little romance. Cruelly and carelessly, the sea seems to inundate the vocalist’s love and he conjectures if the sea herself sleeps, drowned and covered in her waves. An intoxication takes over, the kind that is ceaselessly interesting and yet tumultuous. As the song winds up, this treat to the senses that started with a confession, ends with a regret : “Tu, magar, hai bekhabar… hai bekhabar”.

Dil… gira kahin par… dafatan. In my opinion, this is the best song on A R Rahman’s exceptional album, Delhi 6.



(A short post with a nice playlist by Deepi. –Viju) 

A strong cup of filter coffee. Breathe in deeply, take a gentle sip, savour the flavour, attain nirvana.

A good song is like filter coffee. You dwell in the moment, enjoy the song and no matter how many times you listen to it, you only want more. That addictive bitterness, you keep going back to it. Such is the quality that no matter how much I try to convince myself that I am indeed tired of the taste, there’s a relapse and I immerse myself in that bitterness once more.

I abstain for a week or maybe two. Something feels different; you feel like you are missing an arm maybe. I resist but I keep thinking back to that beautiful few minutes I spend everyday, cradling that cup, more precious than ambrosia.

My craving grows as only one thought is passing through my mind. I can hear strains of notes in my ears and it sounds so wonderful. Then my resistance breaks. Why should I stop myself? The addiction takes me over again; the obsession begins. All is well with the world.

And that is how one falls in love with a song.

Playlist–>   http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcgPnIWvGIftGsG6RoPsFaRZNjhRNvJKf

Nee Mazhai – Nee Yaaro (Aayitha Ezhutthu)

Thee Thee – Thiruda Thiruda

En Mel vizhundha – May Maadham

Salvador – Couples Retreat

Dil Gira Dafatan – Delhi 6

Pachai Nirame – Alaipayuthey

Do Nishaaniyaan – Jhootha Hi Sahi

Water – Between Heaven and Earth

Kuru Kuru – Couples Retreat

Poo Pookkum – Minsara Kanavu

Jiya Jale – Dil Se

Chotta Chotta – Taj Mahal

Tu Bin Bataaye – Rang De Basanti

Jason and cynthia Suite – Couples Retreat

Moongil Thottam – Kadal