Allah Rakka Rahman.
The entire world knows the thump of this name, now. Popularly known as AR Rahman, he has bagged the Oscars for best composer and best song (along with Gulzar), for the film Slumdog Millionaire. This post is definitely not about his life, his younger days, his movies and how he won the Oscars, as you would find this information almost in every other blog around. I just wanted to mention what he has done in my life, as a composer.
Well, as like every other kid, I grew up hearing songs. But, there was a difference. The other kids grew up hearing songs, but I grew up hearing ONLY songs. The reason? My uncle’s recording library. In my childhood days, the recording shop was located between my home and my grand ma’s home. There was a big house and we rented it for the purpose of the recording Library. Initially, much before the recording library, it was the manufacturing place for the ‘mithais’ my father used to produce. They were so popular at that time that he used to busily visit all the southern states to distribute the mithais. They are the small, round shaped, sugar coated, jelly like mithais, with delicious taste. I can remember all those days where my father, my maternal 2nd uncle, and the employees used to work tirelessly to make them. My father and my uncle themselves go to the big iron vessels placed on the hot furnace, mix the ingredients and make the mithais, sweating profusely.
Hence, that business was popular. But suddenly, one fine day, father stopped the business, for some reasons. From then on, my uncle started a recording library at that place. Now, consider the period of the early eighties. Song recording was a unique concept, and people used to hear songs only through transistors. Cassettes were quite new, and people were just beginning to record songs in cassettes.
Since it’s a big house, a room was dedicated to keep all the recording instruments (Amplifier, record player, equalizer, big wooden speakers). The sound system was of the brand ‘Sonodyne’. The covers of the records were placed in the walls, and since the wall was huge, it would give a great ‘filmi’ look. The business was going like hot cakes during the olden days.
I used to spend most of my leisure time there at the shop. Somehow, from the very first day, I was attracted to music and movies. I quickly learned to play records and cassettes and how to record songs. I had so many old cassettes with me where I used to record my favorite songs and would play them, during the closed hours.
It’s well known that Ilayaraja was the master, during the olden days. Out of ten films releasing during an occasion, eight would be his musicals. And those songs were real good also. Hence, most people used to record his songs. Also, during the Christmas season, the songs sung by DGS Dinakaran & Nataraja Mudaliyar would be in demand. Plus the Ayyappa season!
I can clearly remember that incident. A new cassette arrived to the market, and the first time my uncle brought it home, I played it. I used to play all the new cassettes/ records once they arrive to the shop. The first song was playing. I was puzzled, as I have never before heard such a kind of music. All the music I have heard so far was tabla, bangos, drums and guitar. But, this is something unique. Something fresh! I dunno how to explain the perplexed feeling I experienced during that day. I clearly remember. I recorded all the songs and just before a song started, I recorded my voice mentioning about the song details. I was very much impressed.
With that film (Roja), Rahman changed the entire Tamil music industry! It happened like a magic! From then on, Rahman steadily moved up in the career ladder, and everything he touched, became a musical hit. People were craving for Rahman, and all the while, he was down to earth and humble to the core. His simplicity brought him the fame and everything.
He is now a phenomenon around the world, and international music directors, like Hans Zimmer, are praising his work.
The specialty of his music is the variety of instruments he uses, and the effort he puts in (for ex, he records ten different renderings of a single line of a song, and uses the best).
Here are a few songs of Rahman I love..
Jashn-e- bahaara – Jodha Akbar
E hairathe Aashiqui – Guru
Poo Kodiyin Punnagai – Iruvar
Masakali Masakali – Delhi 6
Marangotthiye – Ah Aah
Sonnalum Ketpadillai - Kadhal Virus
Khalbali – Rang De Basanti
Khwaja Mere Khwaja – Jodha Akbar
Rang De Basanti & Loose Control (remix) – Rang De Basanti
Vellai Pookkal ulagam engum – Kannathil Muthamittal
Kadhalikkum pennin kaigal – Kadhalan
Munbe Vaa – Jillunu oru Kaadhal
Sahara pookkal (melody) – Sivaji
Nenjam ellam Kaadhal – Aaydha Ezhuthu
Raasaathi – Thiruda Thiruda
These are few songs which immediately come to mind, as I hear them often. There are many more!!
PS:- Thanx to cinesouth.com for this wonderful pic,which's my fav!