2.16.2009

Illayaraja Vs A.R.Rahman




I was reading this beautiful piece written by Vignesh on Illayaraja’s ‘Maarugo Maarugo’ song from Vetri Vizha and I headed to comment section and this is what I read as one of the comments,

Dear Vicky,

Long time ago, I used to play the flute in light music troupes in chennai, though I have been fully focussed on practising carnatic music lately.

I wanted to listen to the music of the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" today to see why it's being talked about so much. I searched and listened to it online.

It left me with a bad aftertaste. I just felt like cleansing my ears, body and soul by listening to some Raaja music and landed in your blog.

Thanks for the wonderful analysis, sound clips. You (and Raaja) made my day.

with love,
srikanth.


I really haven’t taken such comments that have no constructive purpose seriously and till this date I have never read or been in a single constructive argument or debate when it comes to Raaja vs. Rahman. I don’t understand the mind of some people, who call them to be an Illayaraja fan and who talk more about A.R.Rahman and how bad his music is than about how great Illayaraja’s music is. I don’t understand what is their real problem with Rahman, is it the music itself, or its popularity.

Irrespective of who is the composer, Music has one single purpose. Is it so difficult to understand the oneness of music? And who can better teach you the oneness of music than Illayaraja, who has covered every possible genre of music in his repertoire and yet makes us feel that it is all music, just Raaja’s music? I guess if you are a fan of Illayaraja, and if you have really understood his music and its purpose, it is so simple to accept and appreciate anybody else’s music. If not, then you fail Illayaraja, his music hasn’t educated you enough. (In this particular case I am so devastated that he who commented about the music doesn’t know what background score in a movie is meant for, and he calls himself Raaja fan)

I get as exhilarated by that worldly interlude in ‘Dil Gira Daftan’ from Rahman’s Delhi-6 as I get in the thundering coda of ‘Om Shivo hum’ from Raaja’s ‘Naan Kadavul’. The kind of music in the songs that I compare here has nothing in common in its sound and yet the purpose is the same. Illayaraja is a way and A.R.Rahman is another way to attain a musical Nirvana. Everybody has the right to choose his own way but the one who foul talk about the other ways is no different from those extremists who in the name of religion, do things which their religion itself doesn’t preach.

I don’t believe in religion but I believe in a God and in the same way I believe in music and I take the best of both to pave my own way to reach its purpose. I am both a devotee of Illayaraja and a Rahmaniac and I find it perfectly normal and rational to be so. And some call it incomprehensible and eccentric? I don’t know how to answer them because they never really explained to me why they feel so.

When A.R.Rahman wave was spreading all over India, everyone told that A.R.Rahman’s popularity is not because he is a genius or he has any talent but because he borrows heavily from western music but it is the westerners who now say that they have never heard a music score like that of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ before. And so where did Rahman borrow all this long? Nobody seems to be talking about this.

And what is this cry about Illayaraja deserving many International Awards and not A.R.Rahman? These are utterly ridiculous arguments. Oscar or Golden Globe is not given to greatest music composed by the greatest music composer of all time from a country. Why can’t we be practical and realistic about these awards? Raaja is contended in whatever he does in Indian films and if he gets a chance he will definitely do it right in an international movie too, I believe in it more than any other so called Raaja fan. And do you mean you want Illayaraja to win an Oscar for his background score in ‘Naan Kadavul’ to prove that he is the best background score composer in, the country? An Illayaraja doesn’t want that because he has no intention to go global or is in no contention with any Rahmans out there to prove his genius. Now if both Illayaraja and A.R.Rahman were nominated for their respective scores in ‘Naan Kadavul’ (though Raaja has slightly overdone it in Naan Kadavul) and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and if I say A.R.Rahman deserves it, then I can be crucified. But that is not the case here. I feel Illayaraja is one of the best in the world when it comes to composing background score. When I wrote this, I was just trying to understand the impact of the music in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and explain it to others who are interested and who otherwise would easily oversee it. I was trying to illustrate the life that Rahman’s vibrant music brought to a movie like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

In this year, even if Thomas Newman wins it in the Best Original Score category, I wouldn’t be disappointed because I have totally fallen in love with his score for ‘Wall-E’. I felt its impact while watching the movie. I have heard only the audio of Alexandre Desplat’s score for ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and I loved what I heard but I don’t know how well it serves its purpose in the movie. A great music needn’t always be a great background score.

And I can go on and on, I think it is best to conclude this piece with this video

125 comments:

Naani said...

I have fallen for ur posts...I exactly feel the same way u do..

Suresh Kumar said...

Naani - Aahhh... I am glad that I am not alone....

kannan said...

This has always annoyed me, and I have tried countless times to argue on pointless forum threads and given up. When it comes to music, I find nobody expresses it as well as you do, and I am so glad you wrote this piece.

I don't see the need to take sides in such a fashion. Liking a musician is alright, but bashing down another is a pointless exercise; etho katchikaaga porattam seyra mathiri.

There is only so much good music. What is the point of actively hating a composer and restricting oneself? People who do so really lack perspective. Without Raaja in the 80s, there would be no Rahman in the 90s. It is only upon the shoulders of that giant that later people progressed. Same can be said of MSV and Raaja. The funniest comment I have heard from a friend of mine is when she said "Raaja's music may suit some kinds of songs, but not all." What?!?!

prabhu said...

Bang on target, Suresh.
Well expressed.

melodiouslife said...

Good post Suresh! I have always wondered at these narrow-minded guys---is it a rule that a Ilaiyaraja fanatic cannot be a Rahman fanatic ALSO as MANY of us here are?

Muthuvel said...

At last somebody put it in a post.

This attitude has always been there, right from the tfmpage, forum days.

As someone who grew up with audio cassettes of both Raaja and Rahman and also others it was actually a shock when I landed up in forums in those early days to learn that there are people who are so hung on one side that they fail to see or simply don't want to see (leave alone appreciating) the other side.

Guess... after hearing these type of non-sensical fanatism for quite a while I have grown so immune to these attitudes, of fanatical holier-than-thous finding fault in every aspect of Rahman music just to relieve themselves of some imagined frustration and small li'l kids with their ipods blabbering utter non-sense without realising even a wee bit of the rich Raaja legacy.

Great post Suresh. Agree with every line you have written here.

Prakash said...

Excellent post Suresh. You spoke my mind. Keep it Coming.

Anonymous said...

IR fans have lost it.

kannan said...

HAHAHAHA!
Sorry, the incongruity of anon's comment is just hilarious, considering this is exactly what this post is about!

Arun said...

Beautiful piece, Suresh! Hard to disagree with anything written here.

Hashir said...

Hi suresh,
You just wrote my mind..
I have great respect to Raaja though i am a rahmaniac and i feel pity about the raaja fans who make noice when ever and where even ARR and his music is discussed. I feel they are insulting a legend like Raaja by advertising raaja in the expence of ARR..

Suresh Kumar said...

Hi all, Happy to hear from all of you who feel the same as me...

All these days I was restricting myself from writing about his controversial topic to avoid inane discussions in my blog... But the growing stupidity in discussions all over the internet about Raaja and Rahman pushed me to do this...

vforvadi said...

well composed thoughts suresh.
exactly u hav spoke out wat was in our hearts, but we were not able to comprehend.

for the people like the one who has commented, i jus pass him away without any reply. they are not worth a preaching or an argument.

keeps up suresh.

Chandrasehar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chandrasehar said...

Great post Suresh. Although i am a hardcore fanatic of IR, there are certain times where ARR just makes you feel that he is no way inferior. I just realised that he orchestrates his compositions in such a way that you could feel the emotions warranted slowly.

BTW regarding IR's background score for NK, i felt what you meant as his scores for the fight scenes were abit too much but i think he purposely added that in to enhance the scene as the emotions were minimal unlike pithamagan's fight scenes as the latter had the ferocity from sitthan in them already thus the undermined score.

Ramki said...

mm...Well , suresh - i believe you started to listen to Raaja's music quite late . Those who are listening to Raaja for 20 odd years are unable to take in the fact that Rehman has dislodged raaja commercially and has climbed up in popularity and in awards ..

You see , they don't crib about Harris whose music is a 10 steps lower than Rehman by their standards !- its only rehman whose music was a run away hit and reduced the demand for raaja ! If Rehmaan in his every interview thanked raaja , they would'nt crib, for this is what they expect !
The other view is emotional - some people have been given 'life' by Raaja's music and they cannot see Raaja failing commercially and somebody immediate de throning - I dont see anything wrong with that . Just like how people support Microsoft inspite of its virus -friendliness over the years , although both MS and Linux are basically OS !

This has happened during Raaja - MSV transition also . It will happen to Rehman - MR X Also !!!

But then , you have a got a point a bit off tangent in an intention to go the neutral, 'truth' way !

"If not, then you fail Illayaraja," - But then , it is quite naturally possible that for a ardent listener of MSV and Illayaraaja , the purity Of music has suddenly started to stop in the later Rehman 's songs ( which is my view too ) .yeah , the sonsg are nice , affects you , but you don't feel the same way as you heard MSv or Raaja ! This is subjective feeling , the same way i feel Raaja's songs are not upto the mark post 1995 - although there are quite bit of exceptions .

Ramki said...

Everybody except Rajeev menon made teh right point ! Rajeev was half corect and half off target !

Anonymous said...

Hmmm........

There are many geniuses writing and commenting here!

Hope they all realize someday that what they talk as correct or wrong are based on just how much they know and understand!

It's just a matter of like or dislike and not a matter of correct or wrong!

May Wisdom dawn on you all and bless you to be able to distinguish between what is bad and what is not appealing to you!

Hmmm.........

Reformed said...

you echoed my thoughts Suresh.

Why do some Ilaiyaraja fans dislike ARR & his music so much? all they do is to find faults every time.

A true music lover should be able to appreciate both IR & ARR

Ramki said...

Reformed ,
I ask the same question - In order to be labelled as a true music lover , why t should i love both IR & ARR ?Can not be a case where i don't like IR /ARR music , except for few songs ?

Anonymous ,
seringa Ramana Maharishi. Konjam unga gugaikku poreengala ? :) ( Sorry boss , RGV blog padichcha effect :)) )

Suresh Kumar said...

Chandrasehar - About NK background score, it is not just about the background score in fight sequences.. I felt that as a whole... there are moments which I felt IR could have done less or I don't know I felt because of the volume level in the local cinema hall that I watched the movie... I have to watch the movie again in a good cinema hall to understand the BGM better...

Suresh Kumar said...

Ramki - I agree. Rajiv menon was not completely convincing but atleast he chose to talk about it....

And 'That feel is missing' factor is because of the nostalgia that one associates with the Raaja's songs of 80's early 90's...

//Those who are listening to Raaja for 20 odd years are unable to take in the fact that Rehman has dislodged raaja commercially and has climbed up in popularity and in awards ..//

I don't think Rahman's entry affected Raaja's career in anyway, I think since 1992, Raaja has composed music for more movies than Rahman... just that they are not as popular as Raaja's earlier songs...

But yes, Maniratnam, Balachander, Bharathiraaja and the directors with whom Raaja gave classics... moved to Rahman... What Raaja now needs is directors like Bala who could inspire him to make great music...

Suresh Kumar said...

Reformed

//A true music lover should be able to appreciate both IR & ARR//

I would say if a person love IR for his music, then it is highly contradicting if he/she says I hate ARR's music....

Suresh Kumar said...

Here is what Hans Zimmer says about A.R.Rahman's music

//"I kept hearing his music and really liking it ... there was a fresh sound and a fresh approach ... and a completely different way of looking at film music," said Rahman's friend, the German-born film composer Hans Zimmer. "Like any good artist, A.R. is not a traditionalist, he's a revolutionary. He uses all the revolutionary things that come from all over the world in his stuff ... hip-hop beats, electronics .... and there's an incredible inquisitiveness and playfulness in his music ... .

"Plus he writes a bloody good tune," said Zimmer, an Oscar-winner for his score to "The Lion King." "He's got the most perfect love theme ("Latika's Theme") in 'Slumdog Millionaire' which I am incredibly envious of in a loving way."

//
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/02/18/arts/NA-FEA-US-Oscar-Rahman.php?page=1

Chandrasehar said...

Then you must watch it again i guess. The first time i watched the dialogues seemed louder and the BGM was more like buzzing so i felt abit awkward but i could still relate to them . It was only after they fixed the theater speakers that i could enjoy it better. I could even spot the instruments clearly.

Suresh Kumar said...

Here is a great write-up by Vignesh about Illayaraja...

http://www.thecommentfactory.com/indian-composer-ilaiyaraaja-is-a-genius-how-long-can-the-west-ignore-him-1878

And this is what I wrote as comments in that post

Hi VIcky,

This is the most comprehesive piece about Illayaraja and his music that I have ever read. Great job.

But the thing about westerners digging and appreciating his genuis may never happen. He is THE film music composer who understands the medium of cinema better than any other Indian composer. If the music he composes for the films has to strike a chord with a foreigner, first of all the movie that he chosses to compose should have a global appeal.

On other hand, suppose if I have to ask one of my foriegner friend to listen to Illayaraja, where would I direct him to. Is there any records available with good sound quality. This sound quality really will put them off. And then the language is another big constraint.

If at all Raaja feels the need to be discovered and appreciated by westerners, there are options. He should concentrate more on composing music for albums like How to Name It, Nothing but Wind, Thirvasakam and Music Messiah. He should take up movie assignments only if the script is extremely exciting. (Yuvan mentioned that he is starting a recording label and he is going to invite Illayaraja to compose an album and he said he would ask his father to do whatever he wants to do in that album, I hope it becomes true one day).

Above all, the best bet according to me would be releasing compilations of his background scores he has done so far. They can re-record these BGM piece with good sound quality and release it. For all this, one needs to have an urge to make it big globally, which Raaja doesn't have. In todays time, just being a genuis is not enough, one has to understand how important it is to market the same.

Thanks and Regards,
Sureshkumar.

Vinith said...

At last, a post that makes a very good sense.
View that is neutral. Neither of the fans will be hurt. Very neutral. Good Suresh!

There are only three kinds of fans here.

* Fans who say only IR is great. These people cannot stomach the recognition that ARR gets.

* Fans who say that ARR is the best. For them, IR's music is out-dated. These people do not know the "Healing" power in IR's music. They cannot experience IR's music.

* Fans who believe in famous saying "Hariyum Sivanum Onnu".

I'm into the third group! Happy that you too are there.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vinith - "Hariyum Sivanum Onnu" - Nice. Good to know that you are in third group.

Vijay said...

Hi Suresh,
Great Post, I really liked reading it. I would like to comment on your post for the below:

//I guess if you are a fan of Illayaraja, and if you have really understood his music and its purpose, it is so simple to accept and appreciate anybody else’s music. If not, then you fail Illayaraja, his music hasn’t educated you enough.//

It is not true. May be it's even generation issue (not sure but..)

I dont think there may be big numbers who are neutral fans like you. (If you ask our parents, they would have stopped listening music after MSV and so on.)

It's primarily your choice. For example, you might enjoy a meal in a particular restaurant, but for change you go to another, but something always remains your favourite. It's just not your fault. You develop taste on that.
You cannot always say I like everything. I definitely cannot say that.

Same way, we enjoy music right from pre-ilaiyaraaja days and till today, but some music always remains your favourite. This is a case with me also. Maestro has tuned my mind and soul (not the body) to his music for the past 30 years, so that it cannot be separated and if anything other music enters, we can feel the difference in quality.

So I belong to fourth group here. In this group, I am a fan of IR enjoy his compositions, but could not enjoy others (but definitely listen). I dont hate anybody's music, but the feel I get in IR's music is just not there with anyone else, eventhough I dont stop listening to ARR's (I have even listened to Delhi-6). The quality of tune (the tune is most important thing in a song or music, rather than any sound, IR beats with his mesmerizing tune left and right) and emotions our soul is attached to the tune is definitely not there for me with anyone else.
Second the powerful orchestration both in songs and BGM (First of all there cannot be comparison wrt BGM definitely does not belong to ARR at all, may be IR has mesmerized me in this, so no comparison can be done).

So I cannot accept the fact that a true IR fan should accept other music also, even my mind is not able to associate and appreciate the music. I am not in that category.

But I admire and very happy that ARR is on to win Oscar, that's a biggest achievement, but I dont worry IR has not achieved so, as hereafter awards have to be name after Maestro Ilaiyaraaja. He is beyond these wordly things. He has million fans like me who is his biggest asset and award.

Thanks
Vijay

Anonymous said...

MSV, IR and ARR are all geniuses in their own right. Fortunately, they came one after the other and enthralled us over the last 5 decades.

I am a fan of IR's music but then I am quite eager to lap up the gems from the other two. I think the affinity towards a particular MD depends on who we listened to and who impacted us more during our formative years (from age 6 to 16). Beyond a certain age, people may not be able to appreciate new things. That explains why many people in their 50's find it hard to relate to ARR, or maybe even IR. It is also very hard for people in their teens and early 20's to appreciate IR/MSV and expecting them to would be a futile exercise.

So, it is pointless to debate who is better of the three because each of them are quite strong in their own style of music and the target audience belong to different demographics.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vijay - Thanks. Perhaps, you are right. One would anyway have a favourite. But believe me I have two favourites or may be even more. I started with Rahman and I listened to Rahman the most when I was growing up but after a point, I was equally amazed by Raaja's music...

Definitely the music one listens to while growing up tends to become the favourite... but I see beyond the relationship with music beyond all these non-musical aspects of it...

Suresh Kumar said...

// So, it is pointless to debate who is better of the three because each of them are quite strong in their own style of music and the target audience belong to different demographics.//

Anon - That is exactly the purpose of this write-up. It is not to debate on who is better, but to understand that each one is best in their own way...

s6 said...

Both are geniuses in their own right.
Rahman's success apart from his Quality of Work/ choice of less films goes to the conscious effort to reach out to Pan India audiences while Raja was still composing for Mindless Tamil directors who can't inspire him, which resulted in many lackluster albums.
What baffles me is if Raja can produce movies in 80s under 'Pavalar Creations' Why can't he produce his own Crossover album or a Symphony? All Raja fanatics who have headaches listening to Rahman will be blind and deaf to this Fact and will continue to scream like the whole World has a vendetta against him.
Life for a normal music fan goes by listening to both Raja and Rahman.

Vignesh said...

Hi Suresh,

that was a superb post.
BTW, did u feel that, suddenly Raja is all active, composing for albums, bhajans, tamil, telugu, malayalam and hindi flicks. Singing in his son's music...

I really admire this 66 years old's energy. Check out my post on his influence on our life
http://vigneshram.blogspot.com/2009/02/blog-post_20.html

Vinith said...

Suresh,

Sarvam???????????????

Please write a review at least for this :(

Yuvan has come up with good music this time!! :)

vensub said...

I doubt that if IR or anybody gets a chance they can win? You can't compare illayaraja, msv, Veda or deva, naushad or burman or some etc. I accept that. So many thoughts and questions, some of them are below,

- In the last decades ever since India got independence, who had some ambition to go beyond India or Indian music, except some fusion artists like Rvi Shankar, Zakir, Hariharan, L.shankar etc who showed their own talent to prove themselves?
- Have any of the composers had any knowldge to take Indian music(every style and type) and go global?
- Which composer opted for less films a year vs a.r.rahman worked 4 to 5 films or less or none in a year to make only rich music and make less money?
- Who revived some of the dead but alive excellent artists like hariharan, sujatha, alisha and many more and bring them to light, still using the current best famous without banging on the same famous artist to monopolize?
- Who recognized many unknown musicians, instrumentalists and gave them recognition?
- Who brought together various cherished indian musical geniuses, who thought film music is a bad way to go and get recognized?
- Why always every kind of musician bow their head to a.r.rahman never caring about the money involved?
- You hear all talking heads in the music filed in India. Did they ever popularize any of their talent to reach the world audience or try to go global? If not, who they depend on now?
- Forget the south India. Did anyone from the bollywood who represent India did their best to get indian music to the hollywood ? Don't say ravi shankar, he was choosen because he was a lucky Indian and he didn't do much there? He even had relations with the beatles. Still today he and his generation is playing the same sitar with same style with no ambitions to hit world music, preserving the classical roots and rules, which is agood thing.
- Did anybody from india tried a world music like a.r.rahman did? Chinese, persian, spanish, arabic..etc?
- Why does not any composer in india can't even get closer to his talent?
- Has any compser took a veteran proud singer for almost many decades to to the doors of oscar nomination, like latha mangeshkar for lagaan?
- Have you seen a quiet and humble composer after acheiving so much, not insulting anybody and encouraging everyone around anywhere in the world, not running behind fame or anything that make a human being happy?
- Has any composer in India managed to compose music for various parts of our country called the '*woods' making everybody happy, all at same time?
- Has any composer in India recognized, introduced hundreds and possibly more during their career, recognizing talent in everybody?
- Have you seen a composer dumping an artist for personal reasons and not recognizing their talent?
- Who always went ahead without getting in to any issues and skipping bollywood media buzz for fame?
- Who doesn't have a education in music from some teacher or from a great school like Trinity College in London. Ilayaraja had that long time back like a.r.rahman? So what?
- Is there anybody currently or in the past skilled like a.r.rahman in the pipeline to understand local music as well as the world music to represent India?
- Is there a mouth in India to tell the world, these are the variety of Indian music, this is how Indian music is also great when compared to the international music and we can definitely entertain the world?
- Who revolutionized and changed the face of Indian music?
- Who even changed his relgion to live in peace, be an example to the world and still making all kinds of people happy with his music?
- Who can even change the country's national anthem sound so excellent and more patriotic, accepted by everybody, in a country of billion people?

It is A.R.Rahman!

There won't be another gandhi or mother teresa going to be on this earth again. A.R.R.Rahman is a god's child and we should be proud to live with him while we live on this earth and not compare him with others. Long live the legendary Rahman!

Suresh Kumar said...

//What baffles me is if Raja can produce movies in 80s under 'Pavalar Creations' Why can't he produce his own Crossover album or a Symphony? All Raja fanatics who have headaches listening to Rahman will be blind and deaf to this Fact and will continue to scream like the whole World has a vendetta against him.//

S6 - This is one question that has been itching my mind for a long long time ever since I came to know that Raaja is struggling to get money for making 'Thiruvasakam'. I chose not to talk about such non-musical aspects of the composers for obvious reasons. But in an interview Raaja told that his 'Thirusakam in Symphony' is like consturcting a temple for Siva, which can only be done by collecting people's money and not from one's own pocket. Fair Enough. But what about composing symphonies or instrumental non-religious albums like 'How to name it' or 'Nothing but Wind'? There is only one answer for all these questions. WILL.

But Yuvan in a recent interview told that he is going to start a music label and ask his Father to compose a non-film album.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vignesh - Thank you. And yes the energy he has in this age is admirable. Though I am happy that he is working hard and busier even at this age, I think all this would be worthy only if picks quality projects....

Suresh Kumar said...

Vinith - Going to salem this week. Appo CD vaangaporaen... I will see if I have anything to say about Sarvam music... but I am eagerly looking forward to buy Shankar Ehsaan Loy's 'Yaavarum Nalam' CD...

Suresh Kumar said...

Vensub - What can I say????

kannan said...

Suresh - Yavarum Nalam is not bad, but I didn't find it anything amazing either. Nevertheless, I hope it's a good (re)entry point into Tamil for a quality composing trio.

s6 said...

Suresh,
Though Rahman got instant acceptance in India with Roja, it has taken him 17 years to reach the pinnacle of International Acclaim helped by a carefully chosen Path. It's hard to penetrate the insulated mindset of the West, There's no use crying foul that west is ignoring Raja. He can't wait for Opportunities that inspire him in Films to cut through for bigger/International projects. He's got to make his own opportunities and he's not a struggler financially. It's just a question of intent, he's got to buck up and move towards composing his symphonies or any crossover effort.
Raja fans think that the West should favor him for his work done here, it doesn't work that way otherwise Rahman would have been accepted when Dilse broke into UK top 10 or after Bombay Dreams or when Time Magazine rate Roja in one of 10 best Soundtracks. If you want a career you must make the moves. I am sure Raja is aware of it!

Suresh Kumar said...

Kannan - I am yet to listen to the songs of 'Yaavarum nalam'. They did a pretty good job in 'Aalavandhaan' and I hope they do more projects in Tamil too...

Suresh Kumar said...

S6 - Yes. I am sure that Raaja has enough financial backup to make such efforts. And that is why I can't understand what he is waiting for?

Chandrasehar said...

Alot of people ask about raaja's intentions. Why most raaja fans ask why the west ignore him, i very well know IR is not bothered. As i said he is a music scientist, he will only rise to do a album if he feels there is a challenge, a challenge that really makes him think about composing.

About Vensub, well i can go on about IR yet this will never end. Let me remind you all i am a fan who was a general music listener and only came to know IR from 2004 onwards by listening to a song from a post 2000 film, Mumbai express. All these when ARR was destroying his competition single handedly. That itself shows IR greatness. Evidence? Myself as mentioned above.

s6 said...

//he will only rise to do a album if he feels there is a challenge, a challenge that really makes him think about composing. //

You know Raja only from 2004 yet you speak with Authority about his mindset ;)
Just go through the discography of his works in last 10 years and see for yourself the mindless flicks he has composed.
I really don't know What made him accept a movie like Dhanam last year! It's not a Bala or Kamal movie where there's scope to entice his Creativity.
General Music fans will always yearn for a Heyram or Thiruvasam from the man and will not be content with his Average scores.

Chandrasehar said...

s6, you dunt need 20 years to understand somebody's mindset. IR himself has mentioned that films are like nothing to him. He only does films he feels touched by their subject. When a director tells a story it is interesting problem is when it comes out in celluloid it is different. IR cant just drop out halfway after committing himself can he?

As for albums, even thiruvasagam was not done to showcase a crossover, but it was to see how a divine set of lyrics considered forbidden to be mingled with could compliment a western classical setup. That's where the challenge is. As i said, if IR has been scoring average albums since 2000 how come i got interested?

s6 said...

Chandrasehar,
None of the recent albums of Raja can match the magic he gave in 70s and 80s.
Heyram is the only exception that can blow your mind out. He has had a few good scores for Kamal, Bala, BaluMahendra here and there.
Very rarely he comes up with a nice score for a small time flick like Azagi, Bharathy and few more. Just listen to his earlier works for directors Maniratnam, Bharatiraja, Balachander, K.Viswanath, Mahendran, and almost all Mohan (Actor) movies.

//As i said, if IR has been scoring average albums since 2000 how come i got interested?//
Why don't you ponder if you are narcissistic? To know the real world talk to more people who grew up listening to Raja. But that's not warranted because you are happy where you are!

Naren's said...

It's been quite sometime i have been trying to write on this subject. First in first that this ain't any debatable subject. It is anything sort of anyones' need to decimate all delusions to deduce the damn reality. However damning it may be. Slumdog was no way near to my definitions of a decent movie. It is a colossal nonsense. But i am enjoying all the attention it's garnering. The reason being just A.R.Rahman. I will feel happy for him all time and at all levels. But he will never have the place that raasaiyya occupies in my heart.This amidst the fact that i have enjoyed both rahman and IR, though not equally. Because it will all just be unjust if anyone claims that he has enjoyed all of IR. Is that anything wrong? Does that mean any fanaticism at all? It is not about being fanatic. Because in fanaticism it's either you are or you aren't. But this is not about fanaticism. To put all my thoughts to simple words, given a choice to carry a song and just a song only to the death bed i would definitely carry an raasaiyya. And if Rahman lost that i have no explanation and don't care to do either.

Chandrasehar said...

Once again the 70s and 80s thingy. I guess this is called ignorance with a purpose. I enjoyed all his albums in the same vein cause all the orchestration still carries his stamp. Selective amnesia wunt help here.

raj said...

Producing a movie is totally different - you dont need to fund it fully - you can borrow at high interest rates and provided you release on time, the kind of village flicks that paavalar creations produced had a great chance of breaking even.
Also, they might have been loss making ventures helping in the IT calculation at that time for Raja.
Producing a Symphony is a totally different animal where there are only expenses and only a minimal chance of returns. I dont think Raja has enough funds to produce a symphony and at the same time have enough left to provide for Karthik Raja's family - which he has to since the latter doesnt seem to have enough earning potential.

raj said...

suresh, no offence but when an IR fan came barging and raising his "only iR" flag, you rightly ticked him off but looks like when vensub came barging with "only ARR" flag, you arent? I am surprised.

ABCDEFG said...

//suresh, no offence but when an IR fan came barging and raising his "only iR" flag, you rightly ticked him off but looks like when vensub came barging with "only ARR" flag, you arent? I am surprised.//

When I said, 'What can I say??' I meant, inspite of writing such a long post, we get such one-sided opinions... I guess i could have explained it better instead of just that one line which when i read now can be interpreted in many ways...

Btw, ungala yaaru symphony panna solli kaetta... entha symphony orchestra vandhu 'How to Name it' albumku vaasichaangha....

Suresh Kumar said...

Oh... what is this ABCDEFG? that was me Suresh.

raj said...

suresh, ennai yaaru symphony panna solluva? :-)
Enakku therinju, he needs to justify the expense to his family - even if it is a small amount, whether that is better spent on his family or in an effort seeking to express his creativity - at 66, he might have different priorities

s6 said...

When it comes to Raja there's no shortage of inventing explanations! ;)

raj said...

s6, thambi, 66 vayasukku ARR varattum - appo epdi pandrarunnu paarkalam. That would be 2032, remember. Idhellaam Kaala Suzharchi ma. Ippo naanga pothikkarom. Aanaal, 2032-la oru nandu sindu ipdiye eda koodama kelvi ketpaan paarunga - appo remember us. Lets call the top musician in 2032 as, say, vensub. Appo andha nandu sindu ketpaan - namma vensub ennama podararu ya indha Rahman-aala en adhai panna mudiyalai. Namma vensub Intra-Galactic Nascar award vaangittare - idhukku munnadi irundha IR, ARR ivangellam bhoomiyilieye kudhirai ottittu irundhangale - namma vensub dhaan all time great-nu andha nandu sindu pesarappo, appo engalai nenaichukkanga.

(P.S: Oru kaalathula naangalum ipdi than MSV magimai puriyaama kenathanama andha maamedhaiyai kindla pannikittu irundhom - vayasaga aga, unmai purinjidhu,ungalukkum puriyumdi!)

kannan said...

Hahaha good one raj...

This is definitely turning out to be the most interactive comment page among all your posts, Suresh (barring perhaps the Yuvan-related posts on the other blog)

Suresh Kumar said...

Kannan - Ethavathu oru vidhathula yarukkavutha intha discussionla thelivu kidaichaa sari....

kannan said...

Suresh - Haha true true. By the way, do check out Emjay's newest post. A rather interesting list.

Suresh Kumar said...

Kannan - Yes. I did check that. Infact most of the recent visits to this blog also had similar search keywords...

Suresh Kumar said...

And here is what Emjay has to say about Illayaraja Vs A.R.Rahman

http://7swara.blogspot.com/2009/02/illayaraja-vs-arrahman.html

Suresh Kumar said...

Yuvan Shankar Raja says the whole family is happy for A.R.Rahman here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlkh7vcn0dE

kannan said...

Yup this is the clip I was referring to on Vinith's blog, I couldn't find it when I looked for it. Good find.

Amjath said...

இளையராஜாவின் இசைக்கு முன்பு ஆஸ்கர் விருது மிகச் சாதாரணமானது. சர்வதேச எல்லைகளைக் கடந்தவர் இளையராஜா. ஆஸ்கர் விருதை விட உயர்ந்தது இளையராஜாவின் இசை என்று இசைப் புயல் ஏ.ஆர்.ரஹ்மான் கூறியுள்ளார்.
---->இரண்டு ஆஸ்கர் விருதுகளை வென்று தாயகம் திரும்பியுள்ள ஏ.ஆர்.ரஹ்மான் இன்று பிற்பகல் சென்னையில் செய்தியாளர்களைச் சந்தித்தார்.
வடபழனி கிரீன் பார்க் ஹோட்டலில் நடந்த இந்த செய்தியாளர்கள் சந்திப்புக்கு கிட்டத்தட்ட 400க்கும் மேற்பட்ட செய்தியாளர்ககள், புகைப்படக் கலைஞர்கள், வீடியோகிராபர்கள் என குவிந்து விட்டனர். ஆங்கிலத் தொலைக்காட்சி நிறுவனங்கள் ரஹ்மானின் பேட்டியை நேரடியாக ஒளிபரப்பு செய்தன.
----->பின்னர் செய்தியாளர்களைச் சந்தித்தார் ரஹ்மான். அப்போது இசைஞானி இளையராஜாவை வெகுவாகப் புகழ்ந்து பேசினார்.
இளையராஜா குறித்து ரஹ்மான் கூறுகையில், இளையராஜாவுக்கு முன்பு இந்த ஆஸ்கர் விருதுகள் சாதாரணமானவை. இளையராஜாவின் இசை சர்வதேச எல்லைகளைக் கடந்தது.
------->சரியான முறையி்ல் அவரது இசை எடுத்துச் செல்லப்பட்டிருந்தால் எப்போதோ அவர் ஆஸ்கர் விருதினை வென்றிருப்பார் என்று புகழாரம் சூட்டினார்.
இந்தியப் படங்களுக்கு ஆஸ்கர் விருது கிடைக்குமா என்ற கேள்விக்கு பதிலளித்த ரஹ்மான், ஆஸ்கர் தரத்திற்கு ஏற்றபடி படம் எடுத்தால் நிச்சயம் நமது படங்களுக்கும விருது கிடைக்கும் என்றார்.
பேட்டியின் நிறைவில், செய்தியாளர்கள் வேண்டுகோளுக்கிணங்க ஸ்லம்டாக் மில்லியனர் படத்தில் இடம் பெற்ற ஜெய் ஹோ பாடலின் சில வரிகளைப் பாடினார் ரஹ்மான்.

Saravanan said...

Hi Suresh..

You can very well delete my comment...And you have every liberty in doing it.

Its not that AR Rahman is influenced by western music... or that he is borrowing much from western compositions...

Its purely that AR Rahman is marketed in a better way... right from Maniratnam or Shekar Kapoor or the Doyle or Aamir or any one else in this filmdom... Raja's days didnt have those marketing gimmicks or it didnt have today's options of marketing in multiple media... Max was the movie;s ad in Dina Thanthi or the so called posters... or some trailers... There were not much of sat channels... no much of web sites... no online reviews... imagine.. the days of Raja

Today's guys dont like a Khurta clad, grey haired composer who sits on a harmonium... and rather they prefer someone with stylish hairdone westernised.... (inglishy) composer on a Key board or synthesiser... who can make those Saarang (IIT) kids or those Kollage teens dance for a while at discos...

The music is something which has some undercurrent.. and which carries you with it.. and leaves you in some other world...which can make u sleep, make you cry, make you laugh.. leave you in meditation....

for me DTH is Raja.. and DTH is what Directly Touches my Heart...

And thats Raja..

As Suhasini says... Let someone compose 'Paruvamey'.. or that 'Pani Vizhum Malarvanam'

And if happens... no one will comment on any such historic (!!) events or awards....

For me Bharadwaj is the best among today... who did 'Gnabagam Varudhey' and many more such meaningful compositions... which can reach parallely to all from A to C Class.... Remember his Unnodu Vaazhaatha Vaazhvenna Vaazhvu... and Satham illadha thanimai kaetteyn... or Avaravar Vaazkkaiyil ayiram ayiram maatrangal...

Hmmm... TN is nowadays behind fantasies rather than realities...

I know this comment will be deleted... and to keep the decorum (!) of your blog.. kindly delete this.. but after reading...

Suresh Kumar said...

Saravanan - So far I didn't delete a single comment here and I will not delete yours too. Everyone has the right to speak and it is for the readers to judge whether what one speaks is of any worth to listen...

Fan said...

Excellent article Suresh. Glad I am not alone.

Fan said...

"As Suhasini says... Let someone compose 'Paruvamey'.. or that 'Pani Vizhum Malarvanam'"

lmao. Who is Suhasini? Raja fans nilamai ivvalavu mosamaaga vendam. A lot of great musicians have said great things about Raja (he deserves all the praise that comes his way). adhellam vittuttu, poyum poyum Suhasini. lol.

Just marketing cannot catapult a person to such heights. ARR has great talent and that is what has made him what he is today. ARR was more successful in Bollywood than Raja because he understood the culture/taste better. Needless to say, Raja was more successful in South Indian 'woods' than anyone else.

If you truly believe that marketing is what made ARR, why can't you take up Raja's case and market him better. One among you, Balki of "Cheeni Kum" fame (?), is trying his best but still Raja is unable to reach out to Northie fans.

"For me Bharadwaj is the best among today."

Only for you, unfortunately.

"Hmmm... TN is nowadays behind fantasies rather than realities..."

Reality, buddy, is that ARR has won 2 Oscars and is more famous than any Indian music director ever.

I used to talk very highly about Raja to my northie colleagues. To my surprise, they had never heard him. Once, myself and a couple of those guys had to leave for a conference. I offered to drive and they wanted me to play Raja's songs. I played the best of my collections but to my disappointment, they weren't that impressed. They said they were good but not extraordinary as they expected. I explained to them about the counterpoint, the arrangement, the tune, everything. They didn't get much (or any) of that. I thought perhaps language was the barrier and played "Nothing But Wind". Again, they said the same thing. I understood and never bothered to talk to them about Raja again.

Conclusion. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks about Raja. He is a legend. But, at the same time, his music hasn't impressed a lot of Northies. Again, that doesn't mean the music is bad. You can't blame the Northies' taste for that either. Raja's music didn't reach them and it is not their fault. Rahman's has. And, that is why he is successful all over India. Does it mean he is the best? An emphatic no would be my answer. But, to attribute his success to marketing alone is a cheap shot by Raja fans who can't digest his success.

Fan said...

Just read about the cine musicians felicitation for ARR's achievement. Great to read Raja's comments about ARR. These two geniuses have always respected each other. They don't need to say that in every function to prove that. It was so obvious when Raja invited all the tamil music directors, including ARR, for his "Thiruvasagam in Symphony" release. Even few days back, Rahman mentioned that Raja is beyond Oscars.

Suresh Kumar said...

Fan - I am glad to read that. I hope the so called 'HardCore' fans of IR and ARR can stop fighting with each other.

Amjath said...

Rahman's words at yesterday's felicitation ceremony. I salute Rahman for being very candid in his statements about stalwarts, notably Ilayaraaja.. From the below article, it looks like Raaja sir's name was mentioned very often...

HATS OFF TO RAHMAN FOR BEING SO HUMBLE AND HONEST....

விழாவில் ரஹ்மான் பேசியதாவது:

எல்லா புகழும் இறைவனுக்கே. எங்கப்பா ஆசியால்தான் எனக்கு ஆஸ்கார் விருது கிடைத்து இருப்பதாக எல்லோரும் சொல்கிறார்கள். அதுவும் உண்மைதான். அவர் பட்ட கஷ்டத்திற்கு நான் அறுவடை செய்திருக்கிறேன்.

கடந்த 10 வருடங்களாக ஒவ்வொரு முறை ஆஸ்கார் விருது வழங்கப்படும் போதும் சீனா, ஐப்பான், இத்தாலி ஆகிய நாட்டை சேர்ந்தவர்களுக்கே விருதுகள் கிடைத்து வந்தது.

அந்த விருதை இந்தியா வாங்க முடியாதா என்று பல முறை நினைத்து இருக்கிறேன். இங்கே இளையராஜா, எம்.எஸ். விஸ்வநாதன், கே.வி.மகாதேவன், நவுஷாத் போன்ற மேதைகள் எல்லாம் இருக்கிறார்கள்.

இளையராஜா சார் வரும்போது எல்லாரும் கைதட்டினீர்கள். நான் வாங்கிய ஆஸ்கர் விருதையெல்லாம் விட பெரியது இதுதான்!

இந்த மேடையில் பால முரளி கிருஷ்ணா, இளையராஜா, நவ்ஷத் போன்ற பெரிய மேதைகள் இருக்கிறார்கள். அவர்கள் இசையமைத்துவிட்டு அமைதியாக இருந்து விடுகிறார்கள். விருதுகளை பெறுவதற்கு தனி பாதை இருக்கிறது. அந்த பாதையை அவர்கள் தேடுவதில்லை. அப்படி தேடியிருந்தால், இவர்களுக்கு ஆஸ்கர் விருதுகள் பெரிய விஷயமே இல்லை. இதுபோன்ற ஏராளமான ஆஸ்கர்களை வாங்கியிருப்பார்கள். இளையராஜா இசைக்கு வெளிநாடுகளில் எந்த அளவு மரியைாதை உள்ளது என்பதை நான் நேரில் பார்த்து பெருமிதப்பட்டிருக்கிறேன். ஆஸ்கருக்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட மிகச் சிறந்த மேதைகள் இவர்கள் எல்லோரும்.

s6 said...

//I hope the so called 'HardCore' fans of IR and ARR can stop fighting with each other. //

Jokes apart, Suresh. You did pull a Rajdeep Sardesai here :)

Suresh Kumar said...

s6 - On what context? You mean I am the one who provided the platform to fight and also saying that it can stop now....

S. Maheshkumar said...

Please read the following:-

http://my-miscellany.blogspot.com/2009/03/vicarious-awards.html

Suresh Kumar said...

Mahesh - I agree. But, this Oscar doesn't meant that Rahman is THE best Indian Composer but he definitely is ONE of the best.

This award is no measure of the genuis but it definitely has made the world to take a serious look at Indian Film music and now the world is walking on its way to reach and understand the phenomenon of Rahman, Illaiyaraja, R. D. Burman, Naushad, M. S. Viswanathan, K. V. Mahadevan, G. Ramanathan, et al., because of the Oscar to A.R.Rahman.

I have seen in so many forums where people from all over the world have said that music of Slumdog Millionaire has made them dig deeper into Indian Film music. Though they all would initially start with rahman, they will eventually turn towards other great composers, which is great.

S. Maheshkumar said...

Please read again the following for you misconstrued the thesis of it:-

http://my-miscellany.blogspot.com/2009/03/vicarious-awards.html

s6 said...

Suresh,
Let us not get deluded that the other side of Globe will take more interest in our Traditional Music and Musicians.
They are the people who were not interested in Rahman's solo pictures until he was nominated for Oscars. It just shows their high handedness.
This is just a platform for Rahman to collaborate with little more freedom yet adhering to the limitations aka principles of the Studio System.

kannan said...

@s6 - What is the link between this and high handedness? If you haven't heard a musical genius from China, is it because you are arrogant and refuse to listen to non-Indians? Doesn't it strike you that most of these Americans haven't even heard of Rahman so far? You speak as if people make some deliberate effort to not listen to his music.

I don't understand why there are so many people who say "West never paid attention to A.R. Rahman so far; now when a white guy directs a movie, he gets an Oscar, when so many previous works are better." Well, John Williams has done many brilliant scores in his career. How many Indian National Awards has he gotten? Exactly. Does it make any sense to expect the AMERICAN Motion Picture Academy to come to India and give awards to Kizhaku Cheemaiyile or something? Let's stop behaving like there is some conspiracy out to ignore Rahman, or a conspiracy to not give recognition to Ilayaraaja, or something like that. It takes time for people to become aware of other cultures and artists, and that is all that is happening here.

I have refrained from commenting in this thread after my initial comments, but this is an issue that always bugs me, and I felt compelled to respond.

Suresh Kumar said...

Kannan - Bang on. Completely agree. I don't have to add anymore on this.

S6 - I partly agree but it is not that they avoid deliberately, they just are ignorant...

s6 said...

After winning LA critics award, BAFTA, and the Golden Globe people were certainly not ignorant of Rahman. It was a genuine grouse by him about the indifference of some Sect.
Even Shekar Kapur endorses the fact that excellent tunes composed by Rahman for Elizabeth were rejected by Studio Pundits.
It's going to be real Challenge for Rahman to make a East-West fusion because of the limitations imposed by Hollywood structure.
The West is no hurry to discover our Music just because Rahman has won an Oscar.
No conspiracy theory just plain mindset.

Nidhi said...

Suresh,

Nice post. Ana comments section pakarapo ne ennamo eludhikkappa; engaluku inoru edam kedachuduchu sanda podandra madhri dhan makkal ku thonirukum pola :)

kannan said...

Thought it's worth reproducing a comment some anon made on "On The Loop"; I think more people are subscribed to this comment thread, and it's more relevant here anyway.


Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "On The Loop":

This is marvellous!!!I'm just spellbound to see the musical trinity of tamil film music in the same stage having a rollicking time.We are truly a blessed generation.
"http://www.kollywoodtoday.com/gallery/events/arr_cine_musicians_union1/index.html#thumbnail11"
rgds,
music lover


The photos look lovely :)

sns said...

"but it is the westerners who now say that they have never heard a music score like that of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ before."

But how western is the music in slumdog ? I believe "Slumdog " was a platform through which Americans became aquainted with Bollywood music(Indo western or Hinglish) and naturally it sounded different for them.

I don't think ARR can ever compete with the Amercian Jazz Masters (eg Miles Davis, Weather Report, Chic corea or Emerson, lake and palmer etc)or other musicians of the classical genre. Infact, Oscar judges themselves might not be aquainted with many of these artistes that play music for the sake of music and not for popularity.

Of course, I do understand this award was given for Filmi music and not for contribution to music overall.

BTW, I feel sorry for those that rate ARR over illayaraja when it comes to western music.

IR has explored a lot more in western classical and jazz. So far, I haven't heard jazz music in any indian film that is even remotely close to IR's work in "Mumbai Express". Also Pls listen to some of the songs in "Music messiah". ARR focuses more on the cruder forms of western music like "RAP", "HIP HOP" etc that is more appealing to college students and those not exposed to more refined forms of western music.

vensub said...

Glad to hear many discussing about other and otherwise great old musicians, along with some western composers, instrumentalists and musicians we don’t even know, which is a good sign that we are keeping our mind open now somehow, apart from appreciating only the locals. This never happened before!

We Indians are always divided in everything, right form language, music, culture and many more abracadabras. Film media is powerful enough; even some great artists go blind occasionally or permanently when choosing between fame and money vs. the real art-practices.

Many people sitting in the audience dome didn’t have the chance to learn the classical music or know the depth of it, when performed by various classical composers irrespective of their talents. The fame of great film celebrities blurs them all. This was when many musically-amateurs jumped in to fool the ignorant audiences, wearing the musician’s hat. Finally film media did win, so do the fakes, succumbing the real scat towards the dark. Many top film musicians don’t even comply now with the basic classical rules like shruthi and thalam, still they claim they are. It’s not their mistake. It is the so called talent they inherited from their powerful but arrogant mentors.

The same thing didn’t happen to any other artists such as actors, causal dancers, lyricists, freelance poets etc. I still can’t be too deep in to this because even many of our traditional arts like dance, percussion and martial are also in the same boat as music; I am only concerned about music now.

Now, a little or reasonably a while back, before we shout about current music era,

- How many people have listened to composers other than our own south Indian?
- How many people understood or cared about the technical vocal intricacies of our own local singers like MKT, Chinnappa, Balamurali, GNB or Maharajapuram etc?
- How many people know about Thyagaraja and his work to appreciate the carnatic music? They even spell it as Karnatic, as if it belongs to another state!
- How much we cared about the local carnatic music or musicans?
- How many of us have even known Naushad, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Rashid Khan, Parveen Sultana or the now fame Ghazal Maestro Hariharan?
- How many people from the south know about alaps, thumri, ghazal, kayal. Dhrupad, bhangra, qawali or other styles of singing other than film-style-singing?
- We had many instrumentalists like Sivamani, Zakir, Mali. Ramani, Kunnakkudi, Palghant mani, Umayalpuram, Chinna Moulana, Kadri and many others to list. Would we ever have recognized them if they had or hadn’t made their presence in the films?

Well, we don’t understand and appreciate our own music styles and musicians. Why do we care about any other regional music or musicians?


Wait a minute, all of a sudden I see our people talking about global music, skipping our own music. Wow! Something not right! Somehow I like people talking about some musicians always. Who am I to stop that?

Enjoy! Learn music properly and understand the ‘always real music’. Do the homework. What if we hit the age 66 as well as some other musicians, I saw somebody in this blog worried? Do we care? Should I have to be in the blog at that age 66? May be, if some people don’t understand our own music and start comparing our music with Michael Jackson’s grandson’s in an unusual way!

When ARR said when Oscar is nothing in front of the other composers around, I don’t know how the other real composers felt about it. It doesn’t matter; he is a genius as accepted by many. I listen to all kinds of music. Thanks to the almighty for giving me such a talent.

Suresh Kumar said...

sns - Yes. When I mentioned 'Western', i meant popular western music like pop, hip-hop and not classical or Jazz. What I was trying to convey is the fact that there was a complaint that Rahman's has no cultural identity or any identity of its own. There was a gross omission of Rahman songs as synthesised music. But Rahman too have done quite some songs in Jazz and Western classical....

sns said...

suresh,

My post was mainly addressing people(mainly the youngsters) that consider AR Rahman as the torch bearer of western and Global music. IR or anyone else's music is dismissed as Folk or south indian music.

There is no denying that ARR produced a distinctive style and sound during his initial years.I believe those initial years were his best so far and that is what I remember the most. Contrary, to popular belief I feel he is much better in presenting Indian classical music than any other western form. I like the song from may madhan (Margazhi poove) or Sivaji (the slower version of sahana)more than any of his RAP, POP or whatsoever. These are the one's that really stand out. Another problem what myself & most others feel is his songs have a short life span. What he does today would sound jaded in a few yrs. He seems to have good knowledge of sound engineering that helps him while scoring BGM for films. It is a little too far fetched to compare him with Mozart or other great composers of the past. As you have rightly pointed out,by winning an Oscar, he has brought indian music closer to western audience so that they have a chance to listen to other composers from India.

vensub,

I am not sure if it is appropriate to bash film music composers altogether. Films are essentially a mass medium and in fact we have to thank these composers for bringing classical and other genres to the common man.They are creative in their own way.

vensub said...

True, we can skip a.r.rahman time being and leave the rest of the film composers in the pool. I don’t want to compare any musicians with ARR, as it becomes one more lengthy writing from my side, as well as hurting the IR fans in this board, I don’t have time to do that as well.

I understand that film music is the only way to promote the non-famous musicals. It’s a long way for me to understand the no-rule based film music, when comparing with the Indian classical. I can even compose such no-rule music. I am still trying to understand why I am here in this blog, may be because this site is about the word music.

How about listening to this video, how do you feel about non-film music?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goo69GDca8Q&feature=related

OR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRCuQ_c5pB8

OR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Oq8L_SdAUw


Well, I am not trying to flirt here. I enjoyed so far writing this reply. Got to sleep now. Bye for now.

Vajra Krishna said...

I've recently been reading quite a few articles, blogs, posts, comparisons between ARR and Ilaiyaraja... using their contrasting styles of composition as a means to compare which of the two is better... but in very crude terms... as if one must rule over the other... Someone actually went so far as to claim that ARR was a genius for POP music compositions, but IRR is a true film music genius. After having recently watched Ilaiyaraja compliment and applaud Rahman's achievements, and having watched Rahman send an important message to all tamil film music lovers - to not compare in so vile and violent a manner: link.

I was inspired to respond:

Genius pop musicians, genius classical musicians, genius ghazal musicians…. ah yes… if you ask Jagjit singh, he would tell you that IR and ARR are both nothing, one comes from a jingle world, another comes from an equally deprived film music world… and their music lacks the substance and quality of his ghazals…

Need I go on… these vain comparisons are everywhere and abound… but the entirity of these arguements and these comparisons are focused on the very thing that is so aptly put in “Life of Pi.”

“There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, “Business as usual.” But if they percieve a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astounding. Their resolve is frightening. These people fail to realise that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside.”

These comparisons are the very same fodder of foolishness.

I have heard often that when, after a sudden spark, Illaiyaraja pens a magnificient composition, writing fluidly in a magical moment where the perfection of all the possibilities for the song - infact, the original composition that Illaiyaraja concieves in his head, as he begins to note it down, to place it on paper… in that very act the composition changes, until he is left with something majestically different. And he cannot say for certain which composition was the better one. The one that was in his head, or the one that is now on paper.

And when, roused by the power of the composition, people have asked Ilaiyaraja the secret to his alchemy… he would most often point upwards onto heaven… for he himself knew not the contours of this divine power.

When Rahman is asked about his genius, he atributes all glory to God.

Harris Jeyaraj once mentioned in an interview that sometimes he gets the uncanny feeling that the most part of concieving a composition is actually within the period of “waiting”… for that moment where a revelation is given onto the composer by a higher force. That it is indeed an act of listening, of recieving. Not creating.

So, the genius that lies in any great composer, is not even his to own.

Yet here you are, like fools, adding thickness to the illusion.

Infact, for the most part if you catch a composer at an honest moment - no matter the manner in which he composes (Illayaraja is reputed to write the entire song through a single insight, and Rahman is reputed for his experimental and embracive nature), any composer will tell you that his gift is something that he cannot take credit for.

That is, until the advent of ego. That part of humanity that wants to own, despite all evidences to the contrary. This is why Illayaraja is also known for having fought with a filmmaker or two over why a film was a mega-blockbuster hit. He insisted that it was his music that made the film what it is, and the director would insist that it was his vision.

The truth is, all such sparks of creativity was not theirs…

And creative people, artists who have truly meditated over their gift will attest to this. They will tell you that the more they try to own it, the more they will lose it. The more they leave themselves open, the greater the sparks of genius.

Ilaiyaraja leaves himself open by different means to ARR, 0ther than that their genius lies only in their surrender onto God. Rahman prays before, during, after every composition, every day. He is acutely aware of what I am speaking of, as is Ilaiyaraja.

An erstwhile film journalist recounted his own experience when he once went to interview Iaiyaraja:

“He invited me into his room at Prasad Recording Studio (in Kodambakkam, in central Madras). It is a bare room, with just one straw mat to sit on and piles of the special, personalised notepaper Raja uses to compose on.

“After sitting cross legged on the floor for a bit, he suddenly got up and switched off the airconditioner - in August, mind you, when it is hottest in Madras. Then he sat, in the lotus posture, eyes closed, while I sweltered in the heat of that enclosed room. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and in his trademark soft voice, said, ‘The best music can be heard in the sounds of silence’, and then closed his eyes again to listen some more…”

A passage, "In his short life, Mozart created over 600 masterpieces. Because he was peerless in his accomplisments, like Michelangelo, many in his time claimed his treasured music to be divinely inspired, the voice of God.

"People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me," he once explained. "Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."

"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius. " - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

So, then, are you arguing and comparing who is more capable of love? Rahman or Raja? This does not seem silly to you?

Mohan said...

Suresh,
Thanks a lot for writing this piece! My thoughts below,

For those IR fans that bash ARR for his *WESTERN* influence, may I ask them to scream any western classical radio (say, http://www.classicfm.co.uk/) for a day? May be if we have a big heart to listen and appreciate others music, we may be thrown into a shocking reality that many of IRs greatest hits have been heavily influenced/borrowed(am playing it down here) by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and the likes... but then are we going to rule that out, just coz its Trinity College's influence ? Mind you, the brilliance(^) in him created a *lively* music that suited south indian audiences and the nostalgic memory that many of 30-50s associate with. So does the brilliance in ARR took the bits and pieces from (un)heard corners of this globe to Indian audience. And he didn't stop there, but took it to a new level, which no indian film-music director has attempted, by spreading his wings to western audience and introducing them to **music that they are not used to**(be it indian classical or chinese or persian or whatever). To dumb it down, blame game is part of musician's (human) lifespan. What makes them who they are/will be is their sheer brilliance to overlook what WE see and not be ashamed of "standing on the shoulders of giants".

My 2 cents,

^ Footnote: Brilliance instead of genius coz I don't believe(I know, its debatable) they are truely experimenting boundary-less music, given the constraints of the theme of the movie.

Isai Saani said...

ஐய்யயோ!

நான் என்னத்த சொல்லறது. இளையராஜா கொடுத்த தங்கச்சங்கிலி மலையாள மாந்தரீகம் பண்ணி தந்ததாம். இப்போ இசைப்புயல் வீட்டில, ஒரு fakirஐ விட்டு அந்த சங்கிலிய கொண்டு போய் Boomerang Black Magic பண்ணப்போறதா ஒரு செய்தி வந்ததிலேருந்து பண்ணைப்புற வீட்டில ஒரே கலக்கமாமே!!

Vasanth TT said...

This post is very good. u r absolutely correct. I'm ARR fan, but also love to hear other good music (whom ever the composer). All bcos I love music. I have many friends who are fans of Ilayaraja, wont like ARR music. I donno y.. but ur log speaks about that.

Vasanth TT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Very good post. Both IR and ARR are great composers. I used to be an IR fan who refused to accept ARR's music. But his music simply overpowered me. In raw music composing skills IR is better than ARR definitely. I dont think ARR can compose How to name it, Nothing but wind or Thiruvasagam. But ARR's dedication, setting himself highest standards and great ambitions made him what he is today. IR didnt give much thought to sound quality. The simple fact that he chose to sing many of his good songs is a proof for that. Hell.. he even did that in his self-declared magnum opus thiruvasagam. He focused on scoring music for as many films as possible rather than focusing on giving high quality music. Mozart produced 626 recognized works in his short life. Beethoven produced only 138 recognized works though he lived some 20 more years. Still most musicians give Beethoven a higher place than Mozart. Quality always wins over quantity. IR just didnt make the right moves hence his failure to get his due credit... it is NOT becoz he doesnt want to get noticed by the world. He sure as hell likes popularity and recognition but he has only himself to blame for not achieving them.

Anonymous said...

raaja's music is not just music its is something beyond tat like a 'therapy',when it comes to common pepole how many of them agree with rahman??wit his borrowed wetern tunes ...I think its only the youngsters (majority)who support rahman...if u had listened to his works like how to name it,thiruvasagam..which been wriitten 200 yrs back...he had done the effort to brng it to the 21st century...no composer only ..a reseacher caaja's music is not just music its is something beyond tat like a 'therapy',when it comes to common pepole how many of them agree with rahman??wit his borrowed wetern tunes ...I think its only the youngsters (majority)who support rahman...if u had listened to his works like how to name it,thiruvasagam..which been wriitten 2000 yrs back...he had done the effort to brng it to the 21st century...not a composer only ..a reseacher can do tat..

vivekananda said...

thanks for explaining that to be raaja sir's fan u need not hate other composers. U spoke my mind. i like when u said ' raaja and rahman are ways to attain nirvana' so true!
i knew nothing about music but, i donno! tears roll down when i listen to 'chamber welcomes thyagaraja' and 'mood kapi'.
my most fav. song is rahman's 'preminche premava' from 'nuvvu nenu prema' (tamil - its 'munbe va anbe va')
thats what music is to connect ur soul with the supreme!

Karthikeyan said...

Hi Music Lovers,

Yes. We shud not compare IR and AR. Both of them are legends. They are trend setters. We shud come to the mindset. We shud not underestimate anyone. How we are not comparing MSV and Ilayaraja. The same way we shud not compare IR and AR. In the same way we shud not compare AR and the New buddies like YSR,HJ etc

RAJ said...

Even without comparing him with any of his predecessors, I will say that it is Rahman's entry into Tamil film which started the decline of quality in the melody of tamil film songs. His predecessors had also done many experiments and introduced many novelties,BUT never at the cost of basic melody and harmony. Rahaman has never flair for prelude and interlude BGM in songs. Unfortunately his success made it as a trend and that's why today's music has only heavy weight rythm and nothing else.

Karthikeyan said...

Ya.. But MSV is also a trens setter at his time. Ofcourse IR and ARR is also a trens setters. Ilayaraja's entry made lot of audiences to turn out to hear tamil songs.. when hindi songs was ruliong and dominating... When we talk about BGM's... IR is ultimate in that... His Carnatic style or western or even fusion looks evergreen... It has a real soul in that...

jonni said...

first ilayarajava innoru national award vaanga try panna sollu appuram international award patri paesalam...illayaraja from 1980-1990... arr from 1991- 3000...
ilayaraja is crippled in music after 90's..and almost dead in 21st century...

Karthikeyan said...

@Jonni ==> :-)

IR is 4 Stroke
ARR is 2 Stroke.

ARR fast pick up dhan... but long run he will lose the same....

Jai ho song ku ennaiku academy award kuduthaangaloo.... annaikey award mela irundha mariyadhai poiduchi....


If ARR have guts ask him 2 compose ever green song

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Anonymous said...

When it comes to melodious and memorable songs, Ilayaraja truly scores over Rahman. As for BGM Ilayaraja is unparalleled and stays unchallenged. According to me ,IR is the greatest composer INDIA has ever seen.However that never stops me enjoying the good music of Rahman:))

abhishek said...

Hi folks

people here seems do not understand the greatness of Illayaraja. they seem to be Rahmaan fans. no issues with it.
do you know rehmaan songs from where he takes them and mixes it with his fusion. for ex Chinni chinni aasa from Roja , Aayore track from swades are a few which have been lifted directly from across the world and mixed it with his music to get a perfect blend. i dont say that Rahmaan is great but he is the best copy master and produces the best songs ever. 75% of his songs and their base is lifted from other sources. if people listen to world music then they can judge who the heck is better in composing music.
i am a fan of Rahmaan too but dont compare it with the Geniusness of the Great Illayaraja. he does not pick from other sources but are his own creations which mesmerises the Indians. he goes depthly into the movie and scores according to it. he is a genius and can compose a song in a few minutes and using only simple and few number of instruments, thats the greatnest of this man and yet he is simple and polite(dedicated) in his approach. just listen to the song Aakasam yeantido from the movie Nereekshana (telugu) and you know why he is such a great man.
please please stop comparing him to anybody,since God cannot be compared to Humans.
Awards should be based on the songs and the music origin and their melody and not the popularity of it even though it is lifted from other sources. it should be real and genuine and they are eligible for National and International Awards.

once again stop comparing to god of music. he is the greatest music director India has ever produced and will be none after him.
there may be many reverts to my post but that does not hide the truth.
" SATYAMEVA JAYATHE "

Regards

Abhishek Goud

Anonymous said...

Rahman is always better than Illayboringraja. Illayboringraja has no musical skills at all.

Anonymous said...

A person who don knw music only will comment ilayaraja's music as boring. If u don knw anything pls don leave any haste comments... Both IR and ARR are trend setters.

mailvidi said...

Nice post Suresh!

I'm more of a Rahmaniac.. however I full heartedly enjoy listening to everyone's music cos I believe the focus shud be more on music rather than the music director.

& like u sed, each composer has his own path.. & most of them are gud in their own way...

One more thing arguers blame abt is plagiarism. Every creator has inspirations & I feel that's quite natural & there's no exception to it.

Bottomline, let's Enjoy music!

Madhusudhanan Appan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have always felt illayaraja is better than rehman. Illayara music has a life. It can make you smile, cry, mesmerize, control your senses . It is not about the instruments . It is the life into the musuc that illayaraja brings, that lags with rahman

Anonymous said...

Mr.Suresh I know this is a very late reply. Your commentary on these two legends is well documented and well researched kudos for it. But i need to ask u one question many comments i see here refer to whether who is the best of the two... Is it exactly the question in frame? I think A.R.Rahman wanted to go global so he did... I dont think Raaja sir wanted to go global. So the question of Oscars goes out of the window.... Now comparison of A.R.Rahman and Raaja is completely wrong... How can someone compare the master and the protege... It is almost like comparing Koundamani and Vadivelu... The master and the protege are incomparable for some reason.... The master was in a very different time frame where rock and dance music were considered Satanic and technology in music was not developed as it is now....Both are great in their way but ur point of view on BGM scoring is very good.... It is true i HATE A.R.R scoring in that way i think ur comparison is to the point...

Anonymous said...

Dear Suresh,

This is a very late response but happened come here accidentally. But thought these comments would be relevant.

@Vensub: Unless you come to your own conclusions whatever anyone says is not going to help. Here are few keywords for you to research for new talent introduction by IR: Krishnachander, Sasirekha, Bombay Jayashri, Arun Mozhi, Jency, Minmini.Even Srinivas introduced by ARR was given a chance by IR but Srini had acute sore throat the day of his recording and he went back to his hometown - srini's own words. Google to your help. I can list more but this should do.
Some answers to your question Vensub:
ARR did not opt for limited films a year - that is his capacity. How do I know? The film Kuruthipunal's music was to be done by ARR - when he was working on the project, his computer crashed and he had no backup - and the project went to Mahesh!! Ask Rajinikanth's daughter how many times ARR has sent her in circle for the Animation project she is doing with her dad. IR's writes the score for all instruments in an hour without touching an instrument. Let's music happen. So when one wants sure shot finish and also quality work they opt for IR.
As for your World Music question: Its been there in your own backyard for 35 years - listen to Thozhin Mela, En Jodi Manja, Ilaya Nila(these are just tiny few).
Who doesnt have a music education from great school? ok - are they Gold Medallist's??
"Is there anybody currently or in the past skilled like a.r.rahman in the pipeline to understand local music as well as the world music to represent India" - First do some research on Guitar Prasanna (After that we can talk about IR). AND please try to find out what Naushad said about IR's quality of output vs sum of quality of output given all the music directors.
@Jonni: Innoru National award vangiyachu - you can go have the pleasure of shoving your words back into your mouth.

Cheers,
Jayson

Anonymous said...

you should not compare rahman with raaja bcas raja didt get ascar. u should compare rahman and those 72 people already they have got ascar. some of them they got oscar award their first film itself they are legend like rahman.raja didt get oscar how he will fall in this line

vinod_train said...

As watever u all say...all I think is don't compare ilayaraja with a.r r......maybe a.r r n harris will be better....bcuz both r gud copy cat........

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Anonymous said...

I AM A BIG FAN OF RAHMAN.
RAHMAN IS THE BEST OF ALL TIME MUSIC.
RAHMAN WOULD HAVE DONE BETTER IN NAAN KADAVUL. -JAGAN

Anonymous said...

Naan Kadavul by ARR.... Good joke... Can't imagine this when we compare with IR. IR is very good @ classical.. ARR wud have not done better than him for naan kadavul...

Anonymous said...

If you wanna check who is best... just check in this way... open an youtube window and check ARR copy cat in one window and ilayaraja copy cat in another window... you shud accept IR is better than him. You can find 100's of songs copied by ARR... even the airtel tone he copied...
The funniest thing is even if you put ilayaraja copy cat and search also it will show more ARR copied songs results...

Anonymous said...

Laxmi pyare the best.1963-98. plz refer wiki.the space is too small here for the giants.

Kris said...

Excellent post Suresh...Am with you...I love music irrespective of which composer it comes from...you are rgt, each composer has his own creativity and talent and are not supposed to be compared. Infact if you see, Rahman has worked under IR for almost 8 years as a Keyboard player...Whatever blog or explanation you give there are still some narrow minded ppl who live in a nutshell that ARR music is the only music that is good..you can't change them but we can feel sorry for them for they are still a frog in the well....I am a die hard fan of IR music, at the same time, i love songs from ARR, Deva, Vidyasagar and much more...since am a die hard fan of IR, i dont hate ARR nor abuse him...I am sure there will be a strong response against my comments from some so called "narrow minded" fans...whatever it is IR or ARR they are experts in their own areas and ppl who fight unnecessarily waste their time in criticizing rather than enjoying this soothing music....

Cheers
Kris

Anonymous said...

You did not listen raja properly... Please listen his 900+ movies.. how to... Nothing but... Italy... 24 hours... Thiruvaasagam.... Also .... His sprituals...

Mohamed Zameer said...

sns: ar rahman is a genius, he have done jazz style of music too,in fact he can compose any genre of music beautifully i think you have never heard of jaane tu ya jaane na. he add the hindustani's melody with jazz style.
I am ilayaraja's fan too, but i prefer to listen to ARR more for his soulful melody, beautiful arrangement and for his scores in the film. he brings more energy to the scene in the film. Roja, Dilse, Bombay, kannatil mutthamital, is just amazing. actually all his movie score is amazing. he deserve national award for all his music.

Mohamed Zameer said...

you are saying ilayaraja never copied?ahahahaha..dude listen to more western classical music, you will know what ilayaraja did
btw since im raja's fan i wont say that he copied but he get inspired by the tune. so did other music composes. every music composer in the history of mankind have gotten inspired by other composers song. thats how music works. if you are not a musician, then you wont think like a musician. imma musician, so i know how the musician thinks.