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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What Next for A.R.Rahman?




A.R.Rahman is the only music composer to have cut through all linguistic, social and cultural barriers within Indian and now even outside. A.R.Rahman, who gave hit songs in every single film he composed music for, adequately proved that he is an equally adept film score composer. He has won Grammys, Globes and Oscars. Rahman is already on his way to become a regular composer in Hollywood. He is composing music for an animation film next under DreamWorks Animation studios.

As a film score composer, A.R.Rahman has done it all. Hasn’t he? Or, Has he? Is there anything more one would want him to do? How about winning a Grammy in “Best Instrumental Composition” category? A customary view at the list of film score composers and their works that won Grammys in this category would explain what I want Rahman to do next.

Rahman’s orchestral pieces are melodic and sweet, no second thoughts about it. However, there is not enough chaos created in the orchestration, for the listeners to immerse themselves deep into and come up with a comforting musical clarity. In Rahman’s orchestral pieces, there will always be a dominant melody and all other sections of the orchestra play in support of the main melody. They do not make counter statements to the main melody. The motifs do not go through a process of development within the cue; they do not travel from Point A to B within the piece. Rahman’s orchestral arrangements do not build structures, the kind in which even if a strand or two of the instrumental layers are removed the whole would crumble. Rahman layers his orchestral pieces like the way he layers his songs. The additional layers in his orchestral bits do not always become the inseparable part of the overall composition.

It is not mandatory for an orchestral piece that supports a film to be complex in its arrangements. He can still choose to be what he is and compose music for 10 to 13 pieces film scores like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Rebelliousness is admirable, but it should not become an excuse to do something that is convenient. The biggest strength of A.R.Rahman is that he knows what he knows and what he does not know. When asked about “Conference of Birds” symphony in an interview, he openly admitted that it is a challenging task, and he is not spiritually ready for it yet. He will be. He can. If he cannot, no one can.

I am happy that his next in Hollywood is an animation film. Animation is a genre of film, in which the score is of prime importance. The score plays a vital in bringing the colourful, animated objects to life. The score helps to make their emotions believable and human. I hope, in this film, Rahman finds the Mozart in himself and become the name he earned much earlier than he became one to be called so – The Mozart of Madras.

8 comments:

Anand said...

Rightly said !!.
Animation will bring the best out of him.

Arun said...

Nice read Suresh. Looking forward to the animation movie.

Muneer N.P said...

Exactly..

Vijay said...

True that. If I want a strictly orchestral score for my movie, I would go to Michael Giacchino rather than A.R. Rahman. In fact, the orchestral portions of Liberation & R.I.P. sounded so Indian.

That said, Rahman does what he does and how, which is bridging the west & the east with his own brand of music. No one else can do what he does and the same thing can be said about Clint Mansell & Reznor-Atticus.
Every hollywood movie that he scores will be nominated for Best Song (if not for score) because of his Indian film music background. His strength is and will be melody because he comes from this part of the world.
Even though it would be awesome if he comes up with a score like The Incredibles for his animation movie, it is extremely unlikely given the movie is about two Monkeys from Bollywood.

Suresh Kumar said...

Vijay - Yes. AR's strong point is his eastern roots, where Melody is the King. Andrew Lloyd Webber chose Rahman, not for his orchestral skills, for but the sheer beauty of his melodies. That the world knows now.

I also prefer to hear his instrumental pieces Sound indian, but even within that format there is scope for much more interesting things happen between the instrumental layers, like it did in the track "Shark" in Couples Retreat.

Shankar said...

Is it the style of todays composing (which Rahman pioneered in India) the reason why there is no "chaos" or depth in his music? The way he goes about (and almost everyone does, except for one genius! :-)) is layering sound over the melody, creating a soundscape. I have the highest regard for Rahman and enjoy his music and achievements. However, the hallmark of composing is spontaneity (in my mind)...so, I'm not sure this method (which in itself explains my point...how can music be a method?) lends itself to the level of creativity you are looking for. Maybe it's possible...maybe not. I don't have a good answer to it. Maybe my bar has been set high by the genius I mentioned earlier...

Anonymous said...

Dear suresh,
kindly dont call him as mozart odf madras.reason simple..his music does not have depth nor chaos.if you want to hear the feeling of chaos listen to beethoven's 5th symphony...if you want depth listen to mozart's 40th symphony..if your ears cant get used to mozart or beethoven hear this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUnydYq--mw

regards
Navin.

Gopal said...

Ya.. Dont call him as mozart.. Bcoz.. Our rahman is unique.. He has set a trend pattern in indian cinema, which was never ever heared before by anyone in the world.. In the future, everyone wil be calling "rahman of u.s.a" "rahman of u.k".. Jai ho..