It is hard to describe this. This experience that I am going through as I attempt to understand the OST of OK Kanmani. I don’t think I have felt like this for any AR Rahman soundtrack/album since Iruvar, which also happens to be a Mani Ratnam movie.
Well. Actually there was one more OST – 127 Hours.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me. A parallel that somehow makes sense to me when I think of what AR Rahman has done for OK Kanmani. May be I am trying too hard to draw this parallel, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Trent Reznor. A record producer and a music composer who is sort of an enigma not necessarily for his personality but more for his music. Industrial rock for which he got famous for may be a tag he will have to live with for a long time. But before he got famous for scoring OST in movies, he started associating himself with Video Games. I am not a gamer myself but a few years ago when Reznor shot to fame with ‘The Social Network’, I started following his music even though I had heard of ‘Nine Inch Nails’ long before. Some of the soundtracks he had done for video games from as early as 1996 (Quake) to the latest Call of Duty Black Ops 2 are simply mind boggling and path breaking in their own right.
Without getting into a track by track analysis of OK Kanmani and comparing them with Reznor’s OST from these video games or from the movies he has done (including the latest OST from “The Gone Girl”, which I devoured), I just want to point out this parallel that dawned on me.
OK Kanmani is a classic example of how a movie maker can get a music composer involved with the project right from the beginning stages and have him contribute heavily in building the narrative of the story to the extent that certain moods of the scenes and that of the characters could actually be filmed just because of how the OST is done. I am pretty sure Mani Ratnam conceived many scenes in OK Kanmani based on Rahman’s music.
To me that’s the beauty of this soundtrack. This OST has a flow and has a life of its own – not just as standalone song pieces which can be enjoyed on their own but more as a continuum. Rahman’s music in OK Kanmani has a loud voice – one that tells a story. It’s like if I listen to the OST, there is a story that I can form in my mind even if I didn’t see how Mani Ratnam conceived his scenes for the music.
And as for the Reznor parallel, the fact that the lead character in OK Kanmani is a video game designer and how the game he develops forms a thin backdrop to the whole story may just have been a trigger for me to draw the parallel.