Monday, April 03, 2017

Celebrating ARR-Ratnam magic

I am a big fan of partnerships. Be it whichever field - sports, politics or movies for that matter, would always root for my favorites. Ratnam/Raja musicals would be on everyone's play list as their combination resulted in some of the best melodies ever, cutting across all languages. With Roja, Ratnam did the music world a big favor in unearthing the raw talent that went on to win Oscars. Of all their albums, Roja is always my firm favorite. The very first time I heard that jing-chuk tingle sound at the start of "chinna chinna aasai" song, i was reminded of the ad jingles where that instrument was pretty prominent that time. No point for guessing who composed those jingles. ARR always has a soft spot for that tiny jing-chuk instrument which is used as substance abuse to target people who bend over backwards to please others. The otherwise casual and small instrument becomes a magic wand in ARR's composition. That initial chime at the beginning of the song, has become the signature of it and even with that single chime, the song becomes immediately recognizable. It sounds fresh every time we hear it and probably the reason why temples have gongs and bells which produce similar resonance.

In one of the hundred interviews on the movie, Ratnam had mentioned that he wanted ARR to create music that would've the feel of winter as ROJA was set in Kashmir. I never knew this when I heard the song for the first time, but "pudu vellai mazhai" does send a chill and soothing cool feeling all over, every single time one hears it. And if one doesn't get goosebumps after hearing "Tamizha tamizha" you are probably what people who doesn't agree with ruling parties are nowadays called as - desh drogi.

Of their other albums, I had special mention for Bombay about which I posted previously. Next in list is Thiruda Thiruda. If ever one can have a crush on a song that would be "Kannum Kannum Kollaiadithal" for me and it started the long list of my favorite songs that were screwed by choreographers. Ditto for "Veerapandi koataiyile". I've few songs that I go back to everytime when I redo my playlist and "Putham pudu boomi" will always figure in that. If you hear the song in full blown version, the effect would be awe inspiring and i realized it while watching the flying mountains in AVATAR movie. Somehow it felt as a link. My cousin had bought surround sound home theater for their house and had a CD of Thiruda Thiruda movie and Kadhalan. It was a huge thing to own an audio CD plus a home theater to play it. Me and my sister had a dream of setting up our own speaker system in our own house and even had designs for where to keep the speakers. That it never materialized is a different story. But when I first heard "Chandraleka" in speaker, it was love at first errr..hear (!!??) Michael Jackson "influence" was unmistakable. Yet somehow, that first time feel was never felt replicated how many ever times I hear it on different devices and renditions. Something always feel missing.

There could be so many other songs but the next one to leave a lasting impression was "Pachhai Niramay". The song had music even when on mute as such was the level of picturization. I have a fetish for white shirts which started with this song and till date i'vent been able to find that white which Maddy wears for the "white portion" of the song. "Snehithane" was my mom's favorite the moment she heard it which Kovai Sarala screwed it up for me. I will never be able to pronounce the word but as "Snaygithanaiii". After a really long while I heard "Yaaro oruvan" song and was surprised how come I missed it for so long. "Endrendum punnagai" was the very first ringtone of my "sengal" Nokia phone like tonnes of others. Then came "Ayutha ezhuthu". I was in Bangalore when the movie was released and was on one of the many weekend hiking trips we did across Karnataka when I first heard "Hey goodbye Nanba". When the high pitch portion comes you can feel yourself on top of a wave about to crash and surprisingly the picturization was exactly that. My colleague who was a kannadiga but can speak fluent tamil heard "Yakkai thiri" for first time and dumped the song as non-tamil for none of the words were familiar to her. We laughed our hearts out when we heard it after her exclaim that ARR has composed a non-tamil song in that movie for the lyrics were so chaste in tamil.  She mugged up that song as a bet and till date can recite it by heart.

"Kannathil muthamital" was never my favorite and for long had avoided the movie thinking it was all cry and melodrama. Many songs from that movie crept into my playlist without even knowing about the movie. One fine day I saw the movie on KTv and was stumped at the sequence of the "Sattena vizhunthathu nenjam" song. For most it would be "Deivam thantha poove". But to me "Sattena" song was not just impressive by its tune but the suddenness with which it comes on screen. Truly "suttena" it came, on screen and on my mind as well. After a long while it was "Nenjukkulle" unplugged from KADAL on MTV that recreated the magic for me. Watching it on a 60 inch screen with full sound was surreal and we all were mesmerized for the whole running duration of the song. We played it again on repeat mode from You Tube several other times. But it was "Moongil Thoattam" that stole the heart. A friend of mine managed to Ushaar pannufy one hindi girl while doing his MS in US of A. As his birthday gift that girl had written the song lyrics in tamil on her own with so many typos that made it even more cuter and shared it with their photos and some paintings on charts which she self decorated in his room when he was away as a surprise gift. Needless to say he was stumped and for a change the girl proposed and he accepted!! I had two pizza treats, one each from them so it was memorable for me as well :D The word you are looking for was pakki and yeah that was me.

Last in the list is the latest entry "Azhagiye" from their recent album for "Kaatru veliyidai". Going by the picturization shown on trailers, I guess the list of songs screwed by bad choreo just went up by one. For such a peppy song it definitely deserved better. Here's to wishing the combo more and more hits. May they continue to pleasure us all.

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