There has been quite an impulsion, sometimes to the extent of being biased, with many
A R Rahman critics to pound his albums the day they are released, which to me is similar to guzzling a bottle of fine wine hoggishly, in 2 minutes and claiming you didn’t know what the claim to finesse was all about. If I can pick an analogy from Director Shankar’s books for those of you that are teetotalers or non-alcoholics, it is like shoving a piece of a fine multi-layered cake into your mouth at one go and letting it travel straight down your gut resulting in your taste buds getting just a whiff of some queer flavour but mostly that of sugar & cream. To a wine or a food connoisseur the above are acts of sacrilege in their respective worlds.
It was not long after the album, “The Rising – Mangal Pandey” was released last week, that the media was filled with reviews of the same. Remember the movie is touted to be the most awaited release in the last 4 years! As with all such releases, the media claimed that the expectations ran pretty high with the music of this album. To people like me, the genuine music lovers (want to differentiate us from them, the box-office music lovers), we will never understand what kind of expectations you can have on a musical album, that too for a movie when you have not really watched the movie or do not know anything about. If you have expectations then this means that you want something out of this album and if you do not get what you are looking for, you will be disappointed. What you want in this case is normally based on what you have heard before. So the expectations among the general music lovers for this album could have been largely based on the music of Lagaan because of the kind of similarities that exist between The Rising and Lagaan. So when the songs from this new release didn’t have any similarity to Lagaan’s songs (be in its sound or in its mass appealing tunes), the general music lovers (!!) who listened to the album with some expectations probably were disappointed.
Here is my take on the album – This is not a review by any means. More of how I feel about the songs and general observations..
The title track, “Mangal Mangal” which has 3 variations in the album is probably the catchiest tune in the album. Will fly well with everyone for sure. The tune is very very earthy and highly folksy. And to top it all what a choice of the singer! Kailash Kher’s voice is absolutely the perfect salutation to the composition and the freshness & the coarseness are truly brilliant. Rahman said that when he recorded Kailash’s voice for the intro part of the first track, he wanted it to be “real”. In other words, the crack of a flaw you may associate with his lines were meant to be there just so that the rustic feel is not lost. Genius. This makes a difference and what follows in terms of rhythm accompaniments in all the 3 versions are truly Rahmanesque in all aspects. The more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it.
The “Mujra” * song “Mai Vari” has admittedly been the most difficult one to compose according to Rahman. During my first listening itself, I knew why. What a grand variation throughout the song. The melody, the rhythm and as a result the mood changes throughout the song and needless to say, brings you the earlier part of the last century in front of your eyes. It will be interesting to see how the song is cinematographed. Kavitha’s voice is apt.
The “Holi”song has been dismissed as a noisy number by many. I just couldn’t bear that kind of a brush-off in less than day after the song’s release. This probably will be the song that is cinematographed in the grandest manner in the movie and will attract the international audience (on screen) because of the colour, the texture, the joy and the festivity associated with it. Rahman couldn’t have gone wrong anywhere given the task he was given. The song is full of amazing rhythm patterns and grand orchestrations. Yes..There is lot of music in the background and many singers too. But that’s what the beauty of the song is all about.
“Rasiya” is an amazing seductive number. Richa Sharma has been given an opportunity to experiment with her voice. She has done that wildly, boldly and in short she has passed the test (smile). Rahman has done similar songs before but to get a period feel to the song is probably the challenge he faced. There is no authentic source who can claim that this was how seductive music sounded in the 1800s, so Rahman’s creativity is our benefit.
“Al Madath” is Rahman all the way and he is a pro now in composing such fervent prayer songs specially that reflect Allah. Coming too soon after “Zikr” may make it sound similar but the structure is entirely different. Rahman’s cry of “Maula”..is haunting and I can’t get enough of that.
“Takey” is an awesome foot tapping number. If the movie was made in the west it would have made out to be a good bar-camaraderie number for the period. Absolute winner this one is and I hope the audience get enough exposure to this song because this one is an easily likeable number. As usual, Rahman shows he is the best when it comes to using children’s voices (even if his own) and that is a stroke of genius in this song.
It is less than 6 days since I started listening to this album so it may be too soon to appreciate all the songs in their entirety. And like all Rahman albums, the music will grow on me (and on you too..if you give it a chance). Even after 5 years from now, if I listen to this album , I will find something new in every song which I did not observe before.
I just feel gifted to be listening to Rahman’s music.
*** Please buy original tapes/CDs. Do not support piracy***
You can listen to the songs online through streaming audio at :
*Mujra – An Indian Classical Dance; has Moghal roots..