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Monday, October 25, 2010

" Hey! Hey! Hey!"

Every Rajini film starts with a grand title sequence in which each letter in S-U-P-E-R-S-T-A-R-R-A-J-N-I bombards the screen to stir an Euphoria among Rajini fans. It is a moment when the walls of Cinema halls are put to sonic shock test, what with the high decibels of cheer and uproar created by Rajini fanatics when they see their Thalaivar’s name on the screen. Traditionally, it is the Annamalai Theme (Composed by Deva) that was always played in the background of this title sequence. It isn’t a majestic fanfare like the prelude of “Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalaali”, but what that “ Hey! Hey! Hey!” piece has in abundance is the cool quotient and the attitude that is all Rajini. It actually is played out brilliantly in one of the scenes in Annamalai when Rajni beats his friend Mohan Sharath Babu in the election for Association president.

A.R.Rahman, the rebel that he always is, replaced the popular Annamalai theme and dared to play the peppy choir version of “Adhiradikkaaran” melody, for the film Sivaji. A melody from the most popular song of the film’s soundtrack is an easy choice, and moreover, it is the melody from the song that explored and enhanced every possible Rajini tricks on a massive scale. That quintessential cool quotient and attitude were clearly on Rahman’s mind, and that is why even Rahman couldn’t avoid putting the signature “ Hey! Hey! Hey!”. But, it is merged with "NaNaNa" in a way that musically fits this piece.

In Endhiran, A.R.Rahman goes even further. He doesn’t use the melody of any of the songs of the film. He doesn’t use the Annamalai theme. He doesn’t use the prelude of “Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalaali”. Instead, he dares to use a background score cue that plays in the most heroic moments of Chitti (Action sequence in the Electric Train, Fire Rescue sequence) in the film. It is again an intriguing choice, because there are better choir-orchestral pieces in the film, the trumpet that replicates the sound of Chitti bleating like a Goat, the grandiose choir-orchestral version of “Arima Arima”, but Rahman chooses the music made for good-hearted Chitti over ill-hearted Robot.

The letters bombard the screen in a rhythm, which matches with the rhythm of the racing string section in the piece, and when the letters R-A-J-N-I appear, the trumpets blow the fan fare. Rahman seems to have scored it diligently like scoring a regular film moment. I don’t like this piece, though. It doesn’t have the necessary regal aura that it intends to create.

I still wish Rahman’s “Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalaali” prelude becomes signature tune for introduction of name “Rajini” in the titles of Rajini’s films. Why not work around with the graphics of the formation of the name after composing or deciding on a piece of music?

But, what the heck? No one is going to be able to listen to or even hear the music even in the Cinema halls that have the best available Sound system. I personally don’t prefer Rajni name introduction accompanied by the musical theme of the character that he plays in the film. There may not be another theme that transcends films like Deva’s Annamalai theme, but they could ask a composer to compose something especially for Rajini’s name introduction which could be used in all of his future films.




Unknown said...

I love the Annamalai theme. Though it is inspired from the James bond theme, Deva has done a very good job. Very energetic, and powerful. Well suited for Rajini and the opening Superstar titles. It has something in it musically as well.

In Enthiran, I don't even remember what came during the SUPERSTAR title. But it definitely did not create any impact.

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Ramesh - Yes. It did not create any impact.

I guess the majestic prelude of "Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalaali" would make a great signature tune for Superstar titles. But, the piece has already been over used and abused for Kungumam ads, so much so that people may start laughing when they hear this music for Superstar Rajini titles.

sandy007 said...

I second what Ramesh says, I dont remember how Endhiran started ! :P

I loved the way, what Deva started off, it still lingers on in my mind when I see R-A-J-N-I scrolling on the screen for any movie.

Sugeeth said...

Correction - It is Sharath Babu and not Mohan Babu :)

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Sugeeth - Thanks. Corrected.

The Game said...

Same music theme for all movies is an excellent idea!!

Vijay said...

Ditto about the Sivaji theme. The NaNaNa theme is as mass as anything could be. Somebody has uploaded the Sivaji intro on youtube and it still sounds grand. If it were up to me, I would vote for that theme as a perpetual superstar theme.
Another option could be the 'Mottai Boss' theme where the rap and the Sivaji voice theme merge to give a dazzling effect.
Speaking of Sivaji, there is a unanimous opinion doing rounds that the Sivaji Background Score is better than Endhiran's. I kind of agree with that mainly because the Sivaji theme have hooks which are easily recognizable & hummable , whereas Endhiran scores consist of long linear orchestral pieces that aren't easy to remember.
I am not a big fan of the Irumbile theme either, but on my second viewing, when the Irumbile theme plays on the interval block, it is not the trumpet but a cool moog/synth. And, as the music builds to a crescendo, the words INTERVAL appear amidst the ' OHH YEEAHH!' part from the song. It couldn't be more perfect.
And that 2.0 rap seriously sucked!

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Vijay - Yes. Sivaji Intro theme would work, but I am not sure, if it has outlived the film yet, like Annamalai theme has.

Endhiran background score - I like it, overall. I also didn't like 2.0rap. Between, a Endhiran BGM quiz coming up in the blog.. hmm.. sometime next week.

Unknown said...

Vijay: I agree with you on the 2.0 rap. It didn't suit the visuals at all, esp the way it starts. As mentioned in this interview with Matt Dunkley (http://www.backgroundscore.com/2010/11/in-conversation-with-matt-dunkley.html), "AR tends to write longer pieces in different moods that can then be cut into the movie to fit various scenes". So he basically composes different themes and uses it at various places. That is the reason why, more often than not, we find the music not in sync with the visuals.

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Ramesh - Yes. Especially this approach is dangerous when you have orchestral pieces, with which you cannot easily add or seperate any layers or cut it wherever you want.

Even if not a symphonic score, A.R.Rahman doesn't work on background score pieces, with the length of the scene or sync points in mind. I have seen interviews of Abbas Tyrewala, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra saying this in various interviews.

Vijay said...

@ Ramesh : The sync is not an issue at all. I was referring to the treatment of the scene. They would have thought that a rap would have been cool for Chitti but it didn't suit the visuals at all. It removed the tension of the chase and sounded very childish esp. the 1.7 and a 1.8 part.
I agree with Rahman's style of working. Hitting the sync points need not be a priority at all. Creating the right ambience is.

Scoring with disregard for the sync points is like writing a score before watching the movie. And, that works! Sergio Leone would ask Ennio Morricone for the themes beforehand so he play it during the shoot. Why. Even Inception score was apparently written beforehand and synced later.

@ Suresh
Endhiran BGM quiz ? Woo-hoo !

P.S. Suresh Kumar said...

Vijay - I totally agree with you. Sync point isn't issue at all. In fact, with such a tentative approach, I am surprised by the level of sync between visuals and the score, in Rahman's movies.

Furthermore, I don't really bother about how a composer works. All that matters is whether the music works for the visuals or not. All these interviews and understanding of the process behind the making is just out of curiosity. I always see to that all this knowledge, that I seek to make myself less ignorant, doesn't come in the way of my innocence.

Chitti 2.0 is a classic case of confusion that arises for a film maker and the composer, in the scoring stage, as to what aspect of the visuals, the spotlight of the background music should be on. This time they have wrongly chosen the hip quotient of the action sequence.

But, it is chitti's emotions that mattered most for most of us. Chitti 2.0 is angry, it is now a monster. Music should have underlined this aspect of the scene.

Unknown said...

@Vijay: I totally agree with you. With respect to the 2.0 rap, it did not fit with the mood of the scene. And the background music that came before couple of songs in the movie were abruptly stopped when the song began. One such song is Kadhal Anukkal. I don't remember the other song where I noticed this. Either it is the composer's mistake or the editor's. It is also the responsibility of Director Shankar, who has the final say in such matters.