Monday, 23 February 2009

A Tribute to the Divine Genius of A R Rahman

Having won at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, A. R. Rahman is getting the recognition he deserves for his genius. Personally I do not rate Slumdog Millionaire among his top 5 albums even. He's composed for over 110 albums and a good debate on his best work is available here
My post today is on Rahman's truly divine gift. Some of his music makes one feel blessed to be just listening to the soul-stirring melody - and truly truly you close your eyes and feel you are in another land - sitting obeisant in front of God.
His own philosphy as written on this blog states
"Music is my means of connecting with the divine. What cannot be put into words, can be expressed through music."

It's well known that he is a follower of Sufism - and there are various songs which evoke that music. But you sometimes cannot believe that one man can put together all of this music. A true disciple of music in it's forms and variations, his music has blended such diverse techniques to create sound you never could imagine.
Among all the musical wonders he's produced over the ages the ones I'm writing about today are the devotional tracks appearing in various OSTs.
Sufi / Qawwali
“Khwaja Mere Khwaja” from Jodhaa Akbar
"Arziyan" from Delhi-6. The first two lines of this humble tribute sung by Javed Ali and Kailas Kher are just lovely and the rest is very well arranged.
"Tere Bina" from Guru

The bhajans
“O Paalanhaare” from Lagaan (sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan).
"Mann Mohana” from Jodhaa Akbar (sung by Bela Shende) - the violin interlude is such splendour. This is my favourite Rahman song. It must be heard with one's eyes closed to really feel the maetro's magic and oneness with God. Note to self: dont listen while driving.
"Aarti (Tumre Bhavan Mein)" from Delhi-6 is extremely simple with just the sitar stringing in the background but so moving. Sung in unison by Rekha Bharadwaj, Kishori Gowarikar, Shraddha Pandit and Sujata Majumdar

And his interpretation of the Sikh prayer "Ik Onkar" from Rang De Basanti - also picturized very well in the movie - simple and devotional.

Also must mention "Maa Tujhe Salaam" part of an album released to celebrate India’s 50th year of Independence in 1997.