A R Rahman has three nominations in this year's Oscar awards. This moment has been long reckoning in the illustrious career of ARR. From 'Chinna China Aasai' to 'Masakali' (Dilli-6), ARR has mesmerised us with his music.
It has been 18 years since his first movie, Mani Ratnam's Roja. Looking back, songs from ARR's oeuvre amaze us with the consistency and the abundance of hits. His music is the perfect unison of three traits every composer strives for: creativity, the undying spirit and the glorious uniqueness. With Rahman, you don't just hear the music, you feel it. You feel the soul of the song. Long after listening to the song, the rhythm and melody lingers within us in the background. Whether it is a fanaa or hamma hamma or thaiya thaiya...the music just reverberates.
I grew up listening to ARR's music. I was 7 years old when Roja was released. Having listened to many '80s Thamizh & Hindi cine songs, it is no doubt ARR has radically transformed the spectrum of Indian cine music. Music directors of pre-Rahman era (e.g. a Ilaiyaraja or a Lakshmikanth-Pyarelal or MS Viswanathan) had strict boundaries and dimensions in their music. IMHO, they were just, better, variants of their predecessors. No doubt they were geniuses in their own kind and did churn out numerous hits but majority of their songs were monotonic. Their approach appeared to be the same, and over the years people were sick of the crummy old tabla beats. I realise it is unfair to compare composers of different generations, but I feel ARR - when compared to other music directors - is more willing to experiment and expand his horizon. Some people look ahead but geniuses, like ARR, look far ahead than anyone can see.
ARR has ventured and adapted himself into different genres of music. Whether it is Carnatic music (Sangamam, Duet - saxophone combo with Kadri Gopalnath), or Hindustani music - ghazals, quwwali, or fusion or lately major Hollywood movies like LOTR sequel and Elizabeth, ARR embraces the genre. He is compulsively creative and his renditions traversed the across the music sub-sections of the country. Through music, I believe, he has united the musical-consciousness of India. Ravi Shastri once remarked that Sachin Tendulkar is sent from 'upstairs' to play cricket. In the same vein, I believe ARR is the 'ambassador of Providence' sent to reveal the unknown music within us. He is well and truly the symbol of modern Indian cine music.
I feel very lucky to have been born in the era of A R Rahman. He is a perfect role model. 2009 is packed with so many mega projects for Rahman. As a Rahmaniac, I couldn't be more happier.
Tomorrow is the Oscars Award ceremony. I am sure he'll win it. The Oscar deserves Rahman!
Azhagiya Thamizh Magan Neethaney!