January 11, 2010 4:28:58 PM IST Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Continuing with our feature decade in analysis, today's column would like to put under spotlight A. R. Rahman, who has literally catapulted the Indian music to an international platform and has opened the door for more Indian music directors to aspire to go international through his music. January is also the month in which Rahman celebrates his birthday, and therefore it is a double whammy to interpret Rahman's rise through the decade.
A.R. Rahman: Allah Ka Banda in BANDAGI with music
He has only attained 44 years of age but has achieved so much in his field i.e. music that by the time he decides to hang his baton he would create such benchmarks in the field of music that it would be difficult to emulate. Such is his prowess with the western instruments, that TIME magazine had conferred on him the title of "Mozart" from Madras. He is also one of the rare music directors who have been featured on the cover story of news magazines underlining the fact that indeed he is a master whose feat would be a tough task to emulate.
2009 has been the year that has emerged as triumph of his perseverance to the cause of music. If music is creative presentation of sounds in such a manner that the auditory nerves may be swept of the feet, Rahman has indeed become a wizard of music. The decade that has gone by is indeed a decade in which Rahman experimented with all kinds of sound, and there never was a year in which Rahman's music did not make its presence in an impacted manner. The decade started with LAGAAN where Rahman brought out sounds from the rural hinterland of the country and also created one of the most enduring bhajans in the form of "O paalan haare", deconstructing the notion built around Rahman that he was a music director who could bring out forgotten sounds from the Indian musical instruments as well, as he did in this song. In fact the decade began on a classical note for Rahman with LAGAAN and he swept all the awards that year.
LAGAAN was followed by SAATHIYA, which again set the imagination of nation on fire with the fusion of Sanskrit shlokas to the thump of nodes of piano. SAATHIYA brought Gulzar for the first time with Rahman and the chemistry that was created between Rahman and Gulzar was the platform indeed that paved the way for Oscars in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. SAATHIYA also affirmed the reach of Rahman to the youth of the country, as his music for this film attained immense popularity among the youth of the country.
Rahman again returned to the folk music of the villages with SWADES followed by WATER consolidating his position as a music director who was constantly on the lookout for innovative sounds to mesmerize the audience and create the impact. Indeed he set the nation on fire once again with RANG DE BASANTI whose popularity was not only relegated to the youth but whole nation was engulfed in its kaleidoscopic colors. Be it "Loose control", or "Rubaroo" or for that matter the pangs of a mother, music of RDB caught the imagination of the country unheard off in the recent memory.
One of the specialties of Rahman has been to create music using the water as a source or building his music around the water bodies. One wonders whether Rahman is provided the backdrop against which he has to set the music. He catapulted himself into the imagination of nation with his debut song " Dil hi choata sa", in ROZA, which he overhauled with Haaji Ali in FIZA and he again showed his penchant for sounds associated with water in GURU with "na na na nana re" which fetched him scores of awards once again.
Interesting pattern of Rahman's music in the decade has been his flipping between western sounds and returning back to the Indian acoustics in contrasts. So JODHAA AKBAR and JAANE TU YA JAANE NA followed RDB. For Rahman this was a first large scale historical film and his music representing the period of the Mughal era was also responsible for the immense popularity that the film enjoyed all over the country and even outside.
Rahman also stepped into the Broadway music when he gave the music for BOMBAY DREAMS. His association with the BOMBAY DREAMS opened up the window for him to tell the world the immensely diversified talent that he was blessed with. Music of DELHI-6 created another milestone for him, as he came up with one of the most exquisite qawallis in the recent times" Maula Maula". Genda Phool from the same album was an example of the Indian hip hop set to the tune of classical folk, and while the film was not a big hit, its music gave his fans a choice to relive in the glory of old Delhi.
The decade came to an end with a fitting triumphant for him in the form of an Oscar for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. No wonder he has been awarded as the Fellow of Trinity College of Music that should silent his critics. Rahman is not resting on his laurels but has created a school of western music in Chennai where he is providing training to the students about the finer nuances of western music. He is the man whose music comes out from DIL SE and indeed rules the dils of all of his fans.