Thursday, March 27, 2014
Kochadaiiyaan - A.R.Rahman
Rahman is after grandeur and largeness with Kochadaiiyaan music, that aims to go with the image of Rajini as Kochadaiiyaan and that of the ambition and milieu of the animation film. Unsurprisingly, A.R.Rahman settles with the usual 100-piece Orchestra, massive choir and percussions to create that sound, and also with usual dose of Synth. All of these elements come together creating the impact, the best it can offer, in Enge Pogudho Vaanam, a song that interestingly alternates between a song a leader sings to his army and a song an army sings to its leader, the army that is marching briskly towards a war, towards victory. With the strings whirring, brass blaring and chorus screaming consistently throughout the song, the song fits its premise to T, and a perfect harmony is achieved between the sound of music and the music of the sound. The arrangement is brilliant in the way it relentlessly changes to sit with the meaning of the lyrics being sung at any given point in the song.
The energy and the power a song like this requires, doesn’t come only by using an orchestra, the melody on its own must have it, which the melody of Enge Pogudho has in abundance, as it is evident in the prelude when just the main melody played on a solo trumpet produce a majestic sound. This is the aspect that is missing in other songs - Maatram Ondrudhaan and Karma Veeranae. Though A.R.Rahman gets hook portions perfectly right — “Un Maarbodu Kaayangal Or Aayiram” in Maatram Ondrudhaan and insanely addictive “Kaatrae Kaatrae Nee Thoonguvadhae Illai" — it is the journey of the song between the hooks that is less interesting, with the melody in these portions constantly at a tug of war with Tamil and lyrics. Even the orchestration is rather underwhelming in both these songs, they deliver the desired mood and impact, but somehow feels like A.R.Rahman took an easy way out here. Especially, on Maatram Ondrudhaan I would go to the extent of saying this - A.R.Rahman might say, “I totally forgot this song” five years from now, when someone sings it in Airtel Super Singer Season 10 (He said that when a contestant sang Athini Siththini song from Thenali). However, we might find the same song interesting and wonder why we didn’t lend a proper ear to this song all this while, like it happened for that Thenali song.
In the emotional roller-coaster Idhayam, A.R.Rahman cleverly averts any risk by choosing not to have any kind of journey between the hooks, the song is a parade of addictive stanzas stacked one after the other. Rahman travels two extremes within one song in a way only he does - Chinmayi exquisitely sings her pain in a fluid semi-classical melody, whereas Srinivas goes all masculine and staccato in expressing his pain. Again, there is nothing new in the orchestration, a mix of stuff from In Lamhon Ki Daaman mien and Hai Rama, but that knowledge doesn’t come in the way of me connecting with the emotion of the song. I complained about the war between music and lyrics in other songs, but, here the same A.R.Rahman shows how it is done; the marriage of melody, lyrics and musical arrangements in that line Nazhuvi Nazhuvi Nagarndhu is sheer beauty.
There is more from Jodha Akbar here in Kochadaiiyaan and some from Rahman’s Chinese Soundtrack Warriors of Heaven and Earth too. The Rudhra Thaandavam song Kochadaiiyaan Engal Kochadaiiyaan is Marhabba oh Marhabba transposed from Mughal to ancient Tamil era. After that Italian version of Anbin Vaasalae in Kadal, here is another instance to prove that it is an utterly technical exercise for a composer — that is making a song out of an abstract melody represent a specific place, clan and culture.
Most interesting of all tracks in Kochadaiiyaan is the Rana’s Dream, which takes the main melody of Enge Pogudho Vaanam and turns it into a motif and the different sections and solo instruments of the orchestra play and plays with it just like that singular thought, wish or dream that plays in a loop again and again in different shapes and forms in Rana’s mind.
Set to a simple rhythm of a lullaby, the melody of Sathiyam is too conventional and straight forward to like instantly, but, once we get past its conventionality, we can see how the simplicity in every aspect of the tune augurs beautifully well with the sincerity in the oath of marriage bride and groom sing to each other. The melody wouldn’t sound out of place in that first night scene in Kandhan Karunai.
Medhuvaagathaan yenai eerkkirai could be a line a Rahman fan sings to A.R.Rahman, but that wouldn’t be because of this song. It is an instant winner in every possible way, despite being a mish-mash of elements of so many of his other songs. Yes, that loop the song beings with is straight out of Maahi Ve from Highway, but what the heck, What a Song, What a melody and What Singing! S.P.B and Sadhana Sargam continue from where they left off in Swasamae. It has been a while since we heard S.P.B singing with a sparkling smile throughout a song, even when he is not injecting a deliberate smile like he does in the line Yenai vella yaarum illai. Dear A.R.Rahman, chuck the new sound, I can take hundred more songs in the same template as Medhuvaagathaan.