10.25.2007

Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan - Some more thoughts

In many of his recent movies, especially the Tamil ones, A.R.Rahman composes the tune after the lines are written and that badly shows up in some of his songs. He tries so hard to set the lines to tune and fit it within the basic rhythm pattern looping throughout. This is again evident with the ‘Ellapughazhum’ song from Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan. It starts of well with an identifiable tune, but it slowly looses its flow in the second stanza when he repeats ‘Athai Nee Marakkathey’ or ‘Indrai Ilakkaathey’ which sounds nothing but a filler to fit the rhythm pattern. And in the third stanza, Rahman literally reads few lines with the hooky pattern in the background. But with mastery over layering rhythms and sounds, he covers it up. Often these kinds of variations are mistaken and praised as surprising twists and turns.

Rahman has used a lot of new voice in ‘Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan’. There are no known big names here. But I feel, though ARR introduces many, he is unable to nurture everyone these days. He uses only a few singers often like a Naresh Iyer or a Madhusree or Karthik. Though ARR has been constantly giving songs to singers like Aslam or Chinamyi, I think he could use them more often. Two notable singers in the ATM singers list are Madhumitha and Saindhavi. When I watch their live performances on TV, I wonder why these brilliant singers are under-utilized in Tamil Film music or in Rahman’s music. With right opportunities a Chinamyi or a Madhumitha or a Saindhavi could have easily become ‘Shreya Ghosal’ of Tamil film music. Any song of Madhusree would easily sound much better in a Chinmayi/Madhumitha/Saindhavi’s voice. One more versatile singer who isn’t getting enough opportunities is Maathangi.

In ATM soundtrack, my pick is ‘Valayaptti’. This is one song where Rahman stamp is all over in every instrument used, every layer and every beat of the rhythm. Though it sounds a lot like ‘Kummi Adi’, the interesting parade of different genres of music on a common road of rhythm, sounds so refreshing. Even the interludes are made like a collage of different genres and sounds.

Having understood the conditions in which Rahman would have scored music for this music, I am not complaining or regretting. But I strongly feel that Rahman should stop doing music for such Tamil movies simply for the sake of having a presence in Tamil Film music. He should do only movies in which he gets the time he needs to give his creative best. Having said that I am sure, ‘Sakkarakatti’ soundtrack won’t be much different.


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12 comments:

Naren's said...

I for one don't understand why there is so many if's and buts and constraints to bring out good music from A R Rehman, and even more complexities and time to get a better feel of them..enakku puriyala pa.....

Parthi said...

i have hope for sakkarakatti u know why? bcoz even more than the producers rahman was keen to make the music of the film and release the film since he said it was somethign refreshing after a long time...ATM is far better than what other music directors have offer even compared to the hindi cinema...bcoz no one can beat the musical arrangment and orchestration of songs of rahman than rahman himself...

but the point in ATM is that as you said he just did it cause he had to not bcoz he wa sin love with the film... for more on my ATM thoughts check my blog

Vidya said...

Hi Suresh
You wrote another entry because of my rants :) Gee, thanks! Your entry made a lot of sense..
But when we are so unforgiving on other composers, I feel we always tend to give the benefit of doubt to our ARR obviously because he is so much more talented than the rest of the current crop of MDs.. I understand his urge to create these layers and new sounds but he needs to control himself to make such paisa vasool masala albums..
And I still defend my criticisms on the singers. Saindhavi might be really good (she was very good in Varalaaru), but I feel almost every singer has a comfort zone. There are multiple places in the song where the high notes clearly make her lose her pitch. God only knows why ARR let it go: for me, this just shows his sheer apathy towards the film; why take it in the first place?
I may have been a little harsh on Sriram but he does lose his pitch a couple of times in the first stanza.. And I admit Madhusree is awful in her pronunciation (most recently, her "paaniyaai" in the Kannamoochi Yenada)... Ujjaini is bad as well, but my point is when one struggles with the pronunciation, only simple, light tunes have to be given.. Now, this girl is made to sing that bruga and she goes wrong every time..
My next crib is that the common defence that "ARR is composing a masala album; hence you should view it in those sensibilities" is in my opinion not a valid one.. We know a lot of instances wherein a masala, superstar album boasts of awesome music: ARR's very own Muthu, HJ's Saamy being ideal examples..
I may be crucified in mentioning HJ here, but I am not comparing their composing skills at all.. We all know that ARR is immensely talented, but then, why then should he waste any time in composing such an album and have his name in it as well? Please be an unbiased ARR fan when you answer this question..

Muthuvel said...

To add up here, actually I thought,the charanams of 'Kelamaal' also sound very casual, on-spot-improvisations. Very much like Rahman had the lyrics, straightway called in the singers and went for a quick take with just vague idea of a tune (or jus the pallavi) and decided on the charanams while the recording.

Have actually heard, that Rahman uses this approach at times...Mahalaxmi Iyer in one interview said that, 'Kandukondain kandukondain' song was done that way, but there the results were fabulous, it showed Rahman's spontaneity.

Here, it just shows the indifference.

Prakash Srinivasan said...

I completely agree with every word of yours. ARR should do subject-oriented movies like Mozhi. Suresh, I somehow feel that Sakkarakatti is going to be better than ATM (not that ATM is bad, I liked 3 tracks)as ARR seems to have evinced a lot of interest in its script & composed an additional song too!! You hits the bulls eye when u said Maathangi & other singers are so under-utilized.

Suresh Kumar said...

Naren - We are giving these concessions and lot of ifs and buts because it is a proven fact. given enough time, Rahman have always been very good to great... and it is a proven fact that those films which he falters are the half-hearted ones like this... and also because we know what he is capable of.. saying that as ARR's album is bad doesn't translate to ARR is a bad composer or not so good composer like how bad and boring recent Illayaraja songs may be, We never doubt IR's abilities and genius... only few composers get such status and for now there are just 2 of them, IR and ARR

Suresh Kumar said...

Parthi - I didn't know that news about 'Sakkarakatti'... i thought it was becoz of Thanu, ARR is there in the movie... but let us wait and see... if you have read the ARR's recent interview to Hindustan times, ARR himself said that his creativity is affected to pressure of releasing the movies in festival time....

Suresh Kumar said...

Vidya

About giving the benefit of doubts... read my reply to naren

About Saindhavi - I recognize those places that you are mentioning, but i strongly feel it can't be totally her fault...I suggest that you can listen to recent title track
from 'Kannamoochi Yenada', 'En kangal' song from 'Thambi', 'Andankaakka kondakaari' from Anniyan and in almost all the track she traverses to high octaves quite well....

About ARR in masala films - that is what i too crib about.. why should he do such films... i think it doesn't matter whether it is a masala film or meaningful film... what matters the most is the time given to him...

Suresh Kumar said...

Muthuvel - I remember that Mahalaxmi's interview, she said she sang 'Knadukonden' is more than 20 ways and Rahman used all her variations at diff places in the song... Again i think such creative freedom and appropriately using it needs time... which i don't think would have given to him for this song... even 'Thottal Poo Malarum' was recorded like that... ARR himself said, Harini was there in the studio for something else... and immediately ARR got some idea and went ahead to record the song in just few hours... though i liked the new melody of 'Thottal poo malarum', i thought the arrangements were just below average...

Suresh Kumar said...

Prakash - I don't know but since it doesn't have an established mass hero, i do get some hope on it ... let us wait and see... and abt the singers, i have been worrying for them for a long long time...

kanna said...

I have more hope for sakkarakatti, simply because of the lack of expectation on the film. There is no necessity for Rahman to compose for the hero's image, like he did in Baleleka and Ellapugazhum, both of which I have a lot of issues with.

I agree with a previous comment about Kelaamal; I'm realy in love with the pallavi of the song, but the charanam really does no justice at all. It's really subpar in my opinion. Oh and about this song, suresh i disagree that live orchestration would have been better than the current 'techno' one. The pallavi already has startling resemblence to 'Nee Yaaro' line from Hey Goodbye Nanba, and a live orchestration would have amplified the similarity.
I like the Pon Magal Remix, though the rap is a bit annoying. After hearing Sivi I'm convinced Tamil rap can take the place of all the annoying English rap that is used in tamil movies. The Marilyn Monroe song is cute and enjoyable, and the Madurai song is reminiscent of the early Rahman. I'm not so taken by the Valayapatti song; I don't have gripes about its similarity to Kummi Adi, but I felt Kummi Adi was better and so the attraction of this song is lost a bit. As I mentioned earlier, Ellapugazhum is not exactly my favourite song, and I starting skipping the track after a few listenings.

If Rahman is going to do commercial albums, I don't mind as long as they give him freedom to move. Jillunu Oru Kadhal and Ah Aah, for instance, were bad movies but they gave ARR freedom to play around with new ideas, and SJ Suryah seems to extract new ideas from Rahman quite well. It is with this hope that I await Sakkarakatti.

Suresh Kumar said...

Kanna - About Sakkaratti, my fear is because it is the launch pad of Baghyaraj's son... and if they are going to launch him like any other mass hero.. .then thats it.. .we can't expect anything from Rahman but if it is going to be something of a fresh script or a youthful romantic movie... then defnitely i think ARR will score .... let us wait and watch