Thursday, August 13, 2009

The underrated gems of A. R. Rahman - a guest post by Woot

Guest blogger Woot is torn up about A. R. Rahman. Here is why.

Being a hardcore Rahmaniac, it hurts when there are existent gems in his work that are underrated and don't get as much play as his big hits. So I'm going to focus on a list of underrated compositions by Rahman. Hopefully you'll either discover these for the first time or remember them enough to revisit them.

I've dug deep so if you know most of these songs you should pat yourself on the back.

Ishq Ada Hai (Ada… A Way of Life)

This CD was released among several other soundtracks in a banner year for Rahmaniacs. It was mostly overshadowed because Rahman delivered blockbuster scores on the other parallel releases. However one song on Ada (not that the others are not awesome!) that was hardly ever noticed was Ishq Ada Hai by Parul Mishra. This is the female version of the song which was on heavy rotation on B4U. Her beautiful alaaps and clear pure voice gave me the shivers, yet she sounds a lot like Shreya Ghoshal. I hope to hear more from this singer.

In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein (Jodha Akbar)

Everytime people say Jashn-e-Bahaara is their favorite song of this album, I find myself vehemently disagreeing. Javed Ali has granted his mellifluous voice to that song and these silky vocals top it among the romance tracks.

Yet I like the tadaap, beauty and pain in In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein. Rahman - the genius that he is - creates furor and intensity with percussion and vocal chants that nicely contrast with Sonu Nigaam’s melting voice and Madhushree just blows me away as well despite a small vocal part. I fall in love with this song every time I hear it.

Especially when Sonu slows down and starts singing these favorite lines of mine:

“Mere khaabon ke is gulistan mein,
Tumse he tho bahaar hi chahiye
Phoolon mein rang the lekin,
In mein khushboo tumhi se aayi hain”
All I can say is wah wah!

Ae Hairathe (Guru)

Another song that never got much attention was Ae Hairathe. I was quite surprised to see Tere Bina make it really big but then it was sung by Rahman himself and was picturized prominently on Abhiwarya. But Ae Hairathe carries on from where Tere Bina is off as it has the same basic tune but is more folksy. Sung by Hariharan and Alka Yagnik, it is star in its own right on this album. I love the accordion interludes and the tabla, another wah wah!

Shauq Hai (Guru)

Shauq Hai is an unreleased single from Guru picturized on Vidya Balan and Madhavan, and it spouted tears in my eyes after seeing the particular scene where they kiss and Madhavan proposes (extremely romantic). Anyways Sowmya Rao sings this song beautifully. Rahman cleverly keeps the piano as the other prominent instrument with some vocal humming, keeping the focus on the melody.

Dhuan Duan and Do Kadam (Meenaxi )

Yeh Rishta and Chillamma Chilakamma hit the big time on this soundtrack. But two songs that were beautiful compositions that never caught the imagination of the audience in the same way were Dhuan Dhuan and Do Kadam. Dhuan Dhuan is a peppy number song by Asha Bhonsle in her typical smoldering style with some casual yodeling thrown in. The percussion is excellent on this song.

Do Kadam sung by Sonu Nigaam remains one of his best songs in my opinion. The lyrics, the music, the aura created by this music are sooo beautiful. He gives it his all in this track. Don't miss this great review of this particular song.

Meherbaan Meherbaan (Tehzeeb)

Sadly this movie didn’t get really noticed. I actually kind of liked it. A track on this CD that I really liked - Meherbaan Meherbaan sung by Asha Bhonsle - got lost with the movie. Asha's usual pep and gusto are on play here on this song which has nice electronic beats and accompanying vocals by Sukhwinder Singh.

Warriors of Peace (Warriors of Heaven on Earth)

This was a Chinese movie for which Rahman was invited to compose. The song Warriors in Peace was done in Hindi by Sadhna Sargam, Jolin Tsai in Mandarain and in English by Sunitha Sarathy (another of my favorite singers). With beautiful lyrics, a full blown orchestra and even an Indian veena-like instrument. Its like a battle song with the basic melody lilting like lullaby (bad description but give it a listen and tell me what you think).

Hope you like these songs!


musical said...

Meenaxi is one of my all time favorite Rahman albums!

Unknown said...

And I haven't even heard it!

Woot, thanks for guesting this post. Whenever we have something about ARR on the blog, those emails really start flying between ARR fans :)

Mind Rush said...

Woot, nice! I will be paying attention to these songs now.

woot said...

@ musical - Yes Meenaxi one of my favorites to. In fact there is no song of the album that makes me cringe / frown.

@ Aspi - thanks for letting me guest.

@ MR - thx

Khali Rickshaw said...

My fav underrated song is mera rang de

Anonymous said...

Being a hardcore Rahman fan, I have heard of all these songs and I too feel that these songs deserve more popularity. :)

Jahanzeb said...

"In Lamhon Ke Daaman Main" is genius at his best. It is my 2nd most favorite song from Jodhaa-Akbar (first is Man Mohana). So sad that it didn't get the attention it deserved. And I fully agree, those lines from Sonu are ecstacy, the best part of the song.

pri said...

great list. love shauk hain and do kadam.

Unknown said...

I think In Lamhon... is pretty well liked. The Jodhaa Akbar review on the Drift way back when had a special mention as well.

The review is here is anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

woohoo - someone recognized Ae Hairathe - my favourite song from the album and Hariharan's vocals are just what was needed there. I dislike Alka's voice, so can't help but think that Chinmayee would have sounded much better in this song.

Aspiji, you need to have a post on ARR's Tamil gems...there are so many there!


Unknown said...

I would absolutely love for someone to introduce me to ARR's Tamil work.

pri said...

aspi i recommend you start with pudhiya mugam, thiruda thiruda and duet.

Unknown said...

pri, thx i will start with those. also you remain one of my favorite bloggers. when are you doing me the honor of guesting on the drift?

pri said...

yay! maybe when himesh's 'radio' comes out.

Unknown said...

Tremendous new look by the way on Himeshbhai! But I don't have any other details - need to start watching some TV again :)

pri said...

what are you saying aspi bhai? you haven't heard man ka radio? please go listen to it now on youtube or something. i think this is his first song after the 'corrective' surgery he had so he could develop a second voice. one part of the song he sings in his new "deep" voice. the tune is ridiculously simple. then his natural helium voice kicks in. so much fun! also the movie stars shenaz treasurywala who i love to hate. it's going to be magical. i just know it.

Unknown said...

I watched some TV yesterday and did see the promo finally (YouTube isn't too good while I'm in India unfortunately).

This used to Ishq Unplugged, right? Maybe we can get one of the actresses in the flick to talk to us.

Unknown said...

another stirring song is jaage hain der tak .. from guru. it sounds so pure

Ramesh Nayak said...

I am so not amazed you did not make a mention of Roja and Bombay!

Here's a Youtube link for the Bombay theme.To world peace!