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?
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.