Category Archives: Music

A.R. Rahman’s two greatest songs

A.R. Rahman’s most under rated songs are perhaps his most artistic, in the honesty of their vision and expression. It’s as if he is straining at the leashes of mainstream film music, and trying to leave behind some imprints of true artistic genius that people may well realize only years after his ‘hits’ have become pale in the collective consciousness. It’s like he is leaving behind some aspects of his legacy, only for future enjoyment. Here are two of his greatest songs in my opinion:

Do Kadam, from Meenaxi.

It’s’ really a song about inviting life on a journey – or even the body and spirit urging each other to move towards a final destination or consummation, at a magical place full of mystery, beauty and fulfillment. And the last verse (Koun rehta hain sada? chalke dekhen to zara) is possibly the most philosophical question a hindi film lyric has ever asked, though I’m not about whether that was intentional.

Rehna Tu, from Delhi 6

I imagine a melancholic man walking alone through the streets of a city at midnight, lost in his own thoughts, while explaining his spiritual position on love to no one in particular except the night itself.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Mystic

Guru – Music Review

In this post, I attempt a music review.

Guru. Music: A.R. Rahman Direction: Mani Ratnam


Undoubtedly, the most interesting thing about this album is the ‘Dum dara Dum dara’ refrain that is used in two songs – Tere Bin, and Aye Hairathe Aashiqui. Seems like a hat being tipped to the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s sufi Dum Mast Qalandar (Rahman dedicates Tere Bin to his association with the Pakistani maestro over a decade).

First, let’s get the mediocrity out of the way – namely, Baazi Laga, and Ek lo ek muft. I will not talk about these two songs. Even to my untrained musical ear they appear to be the kind of numbers that would befit a film like Gadar.

Aye Hairathe: What makes the album worth its price (or the download time from a torrent site) is Aye Hairathe, a duet that begins rather innocuously with the Dum dara refrain from Tere Bin (which had me promptly salivating in a Pavlovian manner), and suddenly transmogrifies into a michievous, intoxicated, poetic piece of art. The gentle interplay between the tabla and Hariharan’s lines make for many aurally delicious moments. For those who still pay attention to the lyrics in these days of ‘Where’s the party tonight’, the song is a real treat. Full marks to Gulzar, who can now be forgiven for rhyming shayari with diary in Jaan-e-mann.

Tere Bina: While A.R. Rahman’s Urdu pronounciation/diction leaves a lot to be desired, there is something about that voice that seems to be directly linked to the divine. I suspect Rahman selfishly sings his love songs to God, and not necessarily in the context of the film!

Apart from these songs, there is the mandatory ‘opera like’ international sounding song (Mayya), which did nothing for me. In the ‘my experimental songs’ section of the album, we have Jaage Hain, which has all the potential of growing on you after repeated hearings, but certainly not the first few ones. Overall, the album would get a 3 on 5 at the moment (occassional moments of brilliance interspersed with mediocrity). Seeing the songs in the film’s context may improve that score!

Thus ends my attempted review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Parvaaz by Junoon

I have a new respect for Pakistani band Junoon – for making sufi poetry more accessible. I reconnected with Junoon when I started listening to Parvaaz (flight of passion), arguably the band’s best album to date, in it’s lyrical ambition. The most ambitious song in the album has to be Ghoom.

English translation follows:

Spin wheel, spin

Spin wheel, spin
The girl spinning, reeling the thread
Long may she live, while you spin
Saying, Near Him, I fear Him
With Him I tremble
Spin wheel, spin

Spinning wheel says, Lord, Lord
Thread says, You
Shah Husain, a fakir for the Lord
Says, I am nothing, all is You
Spin wheel, spin

Speak His name, breathe His name
And nothing can shake you
From flood of five rivers choose one
Live where it takes you
Spin wheel, spin

Spin wheel, spin
The girl spinning, reeling the thread
Long may she live, while you spin
Saying, Near Him, I fear Him
With Him I tremble
Spin wheel, spin
.

This was written by the sufi mystic poet, Shah Hussain. The rendition is absolutely sublime, and so is Salman Ahmad on the guitar. I can’t think of many bands that can work with lyrics like that to produce rock like Parvaaz.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Sufi