ANTAGONISTIC! Indian films have been benevolent to suave natured 'protagonists' but its darker and parallel versions ('antagonistic' or 'anti-hero') have not been justified by many. After delivering out back-to-back socially relevant cinematic treats, genius like Mani Ratnam is all set for the countdown that pitches the hottest pair of Abhsishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles. As expected from the long-list of musical successes of the past, its old compatriot A.R Rahman along with experienced Gulzar to deliver out the devilish tones for this horrifying love saga. The conglomerate of Mani Ratnam and A.R Rahman stared off with bang with ROJA (1992) that was successfully followed by equally successful albums like BOMBAY (1995), DIL SE (1998), SAATHIYA (2002), YUVA (2004) and GURU (2006). Expectations are huge and so are the credits of this much-awaited musical releases that features favorites of maestro's in the credits. Touted to be one of biggest releases of year 2010, this one promises something innovative as well as experimental in its packaging. Can the music of RAAVAN be as enterprising and challenging as one expects? Let's get straight into its musical facts...!
Ghastly in mood 'n' iconic in narration, A.R Rahman pelts out innovative spell of 'African tribal rhythms and sounds' to exude out the characteristics of lead character in 'Beera'. Gulzar's hot-headed narration is facsimile to his earlier penned 'Omkara' (OMKARA), depicting out 'ten' different facades, moods and phases of 'Beera'. Rahman's creative genius creates different drum sounds in varied pitches and timbres mixing well with prolong synth sounds in flows of electronic dance music. Vijay Prakash and Mustafa Kutaone's gruffly voices range from aggressive to cheerful moods while additional vocals by Keerti Sagathia adds to the gory situational needs. To give it tribal folklore appeal, there are rigorous spells of howling choral sounds in loud pitches to deliver out festive feel in the backdrop. 'Beera' adds to the listing of another valued experimental mode track that unravels new genre (tribal music) and creates hysterical feel about the on-screen happenings. Mani Ratnam's unmatched cinematic zeal will be out there to justify Rahman's genius and will be creating 'word-of-publicity' for the flick.
Tread-milling the path of emotionally volatile tracks like 'Satrangi Re' (DIL SE -1998 ), the next track titled 'Behene De' carries typical Rahman's stamp in its belligerent arrangements, sounds and beats. The highlight of the track is the progressive phili-harmonic orchestral displays at the concluding interludes, emoting out the turbulent phases in love-chemistry. Karthik's likable voice in softer tones has penetrative excruciation that carries out with varied sounds and rhythms with affable support of Mohammad Irfan as back-up vocalist. Rahman plays defined 'conductor' in maintaining equilibrium between subtle toned sounds (soft violin notes, lighter wind chimes and soft-drumming) in initial phases and aggressive orchestral displays in the latter half. Despite carrying situational song appeal, Gulzar's wordings ('Arrey aankh se boondh gira koi, Chingari ka tukda jala koi, Umeed ko aag laga zara, Sehra ki pyaas bujha zara...) metaphors the communicable painful ire of disheartened lover in simple verses. For all Rahman's fans, this one is listening pleasure that adds to the momentum of the album.
Aggression unlimited! The devilish tones of 'Raavan' get louder with daunting melodic metaphors of thumping drumming and shriller percussive moves in 'Thok De Killi'. It's Sukhwinder Singh along with Gulzar's wordings at the helm of affairs and the feel is violently antagonistic in nature. Like previous tracks, this one is too loaded with heavy-duty impulsive sounds and rhythms that give it an intrinsically theatrical appeal.
In 'Chhaya Chhaya' (DIL SE -1998), Gulzar introduced 'Bulleh Shah's poetry' base of Sufism that later became trend. It carries forward in 'Ranjha Ranjha', folksy sound number with outset of Punjabi folklore of 'Heer-Ranjha' in its earthen sounding lyrical works. Rahman's relives the euphoric feel of tracks like 'Ni Main Samajh Gayi' and 'Taal Se Taal Mila' (TAAL -1999) with gyrating seductive touches of 'Mayya Mayya' (GURU -2006). Javed Ali sings his heart out along with deep-throated Rekha Bhardwaj while there is added feminine oomph in Anuradha Sriram added vocals. Well suited for grungy forest locations, it bears out skirmish loving charms in its sluggishly roguish tones that are matched with instrumental zeal.
Reena Bhardwaj's soother tones in 'Yeh Rishta' (MEENAXI - A TALE OF THREE CITIES -2004) was blessing to ears. It was A.R Rahman's magic that created prodigy out of her and the magical touches relives again as she shimmers out in her svelte tones in 'Khilli Re'. It works on classical Indian musical base (preferably 'thumri' singing) with mesmerizing flute notes, lighter tabla and 'ghungroo' sounds that are mixed well with enthused chorals. Reena's vocals are the brightest of the lot and so is her immaculate command over modulations and variations in varied emotional singing moods. Unlike the haunting antagonistic feel of the flick, it serenades out soothing musical charms and spells out lighter romantic moments in its sappy packaging.
The last outing comes out for grand opulence for big screen with loud streams of drumming, ear-splitting percussions and folksy singing, mixing together to create commotion of affairs in 'Kata Kata'. Rahman's gets the pack of coarsely voiced singers (Kunal Ganjawala, Ila Arun and Sapna Awasthi) to sing out the tribal-festive feel soundtrack. It's complex and intricate in its formation as tribal instruments, howling chorals and rustic-flavored folksy wordings collage together to give it glitzy multihued splendor. This peculiarly sounded track brings out celebratory feel of 'Rukmini Rukmini' (ROJA -1992) with majestic lavish touches of 'Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshah' (JODHA AKBAR -2007). Mani Ratnam's experience and intellect is likely to be making this one as everlasting silver screen feast for viewers.
RAAVAN is devilishly experimental and creatively likable album. It's none other than the maestro A.R Rahman himself who can dare to this big challenges of glorifying the ultimate devil ('Raavan') and still delivering out the needful. Despite its intrinsically gruesome and horrifying outlook, the soundtracks fit well in to the situational mood with quality singing and composing. One can expect huge likings for tracks like 'Beera Beera', 'Behene De' and 'Ranjha Ranjha' while rest of them will rise up high with flick's promotions and success. The combo of Mani Ratnam and A.R Rahman had been magical in the past and so will be the future with this music launch. Stay tuned to your radio stations to hear and listen more about these soundtracks...