Saturday, August 25, 2012
Boys (Hindi) Soundtrack - A.R.Rahman
When I first heard Cry of a Rose performed live at Hollywood Bowl, I couldn’t instantly recognize what they were playing; it was only when the brass section took off to play the anthemic main motif I realized that they were playing the melody of Bharat Humko Jaan Se Pyaara Hai from Roja. Much later I figured out why I couldn’t instantly recognize the melody. It is because they played the melody of Bharath Humko from Roja (Hindi), which I have heard not more than ten times all my life. They didn’t play the melody of Thamizha Thamizha from Roja (Tamil) which I must have heard umpteen times. Matt Dunkley seems to have notated the score by listening to the Hindi version of the song. Though both “Bharath Humko” and “Thamizha Thamizha” seem to fit the meter of the song perfectly, the notes that one has to touch on the keyboard to play Bharath Humko seem to be slightly different from that of Thamizha Thamizha. I am no expert. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.
I have been listening to Hindi version of the songs from Boys every day ever since it released, like it is a brand new A.R.Rahman album. Abbas Tyrewala has really pulled it off. It isn’t easy to fit Hindi verses into melody and meter set for a Tamil song, especially the songs of Boys, which already has lots of Tamil and English mix in the lyrics.
If music is nothing but sonic vibrations, the vibrations of the words in the lyrics of the song plays a significant role in the final sound and thereby overall emotional impact of the main melody. The musicality of the words and language becomes an inseparable part of the music in the melody. I guess that is why we could never instantly embrace a new version of a song in Hindi after having heard the song for years in Tamil. When the language of the words in the song changes music in the song does change, even if it is only slightly.
Ilaiyaraaja in a press meet said that beauty of the melody is spoiled a little once you put words on it and is further degraded when reproduced by a voice singing those words in the melody. I almost agree. However, I wouldn't go to the extent of saying that the emotions and the beauty are spoiled, instead, I guess, they do get slightly altered for better or worse. Thankfully, in Hindi version of Boys, Abbas Tyrewala’s words don’t do much harm to the main melody. To put it differently, neither the melody nor the words sound like they were forced to fit within the contours of the other.
The only song that seems to have lost its charm considerably in translation is Girlfriend. The inflections in Kya woh of “Kya woh girlfriend thoo tho nahi” isn’t even half as effective as the inflections in Enakkoru of “Enakkoru girlfriend vaendumada”, which is why the motif of the song is still “wohoo wohoo woo hoo woooh woh ho woh” and not what when “Kya woh girlfriend thoo tho nahi” is woho-fied. With a new set of words comes new set of inflection points and that changes the whole spirit and attitude of the hook phrase.
I don’t know why in Secret of Success, “To be a Star, we will show you how” has been changed to “To be a star, wake up wake up”. And even in Hindi, Maro Maro is the weakest song of the soundtrack.
In remakes, especially of that of A.R.Rahman’s songs, it is not just the lyrics that are different. A.R.Rahman never restricts his singers singing the Hindi version to sing exactly the way Tamil singers sang the original. If something new comes by, he wouldn’t hesitate to use it. Like, in Ale Ale, towards the end, in the humming with which the song fades out, Chitra Sivaraman touches the last note and cuts off then and there without any slide, whereas Madhusree adds another note or maybe stretches the same note a little longer and slides down gradually, which does make it sound much sweeter. Also, listen to how different a part in Secret of Success is from that of the original version. I am sure, there are many such other little surprises throughout the soundtrack.
Secret of Success (Hindi)
Secret of Success (Tamil)
Ale Ale (Hindi)
Ale Ale (Tamil)
And then the Voices! In Boom Boom, Adnan Sami is replaced by one with a similar voice – Rashid Ali. A clever choice, but there is some charm in Adnan Sami’s voice, and also, the hefty bass in Sami’s voice goes beautifully well with the basic boom sound in the pop-brass layers of the song throughout. Maybe, that is why A.R.Rahman has retained Adnan’s Boom-Boom-shak from the original in the interludes of the Hindi version too. I missed Lucky Ali’s voice in Secret of Success. Don’t know who has sung it in Hindi. Shaan and Madhusree make “Ale Ale” sound fresh.
I would have been happier if Boys in Hindi were released on Audio CD instead of just digital mp3. I remember that Boys Tamil was released specially in 5.1 Surround sound on CD. I never could buy that CD. Is it available anywhere now?
P.S: Boys related Nostalgia from "Memoirs of a Rahmaniac"
On the first day of the final year in college; it was the time for campus placements. Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) was the first company for which I gave the written test and left for Thiruverumbur to buy Boys Audio Cassette – AR Rahman‘s latest soundtrack. I was shortlisted for the interview. Instead of preparing for the interview; I kept listening to Boys songs all day. I instantly got hooked to all the songs. The interview was a breeze. I got the job.
P.S 2: I love Godfather songs in Kannada. I love it much more than I did the original Tamil version when it was released.