Sunday, December 14, 2008


In one of my earlier posts, I have written my views on rise of Rahman. One of the key factor that I mentioned about was "Rahmanism". For anyone to standout from the crowd, they need to exhibit a unique style and Rahman did it with a style. No doubt.

My opinion is that he very carefully avoided the spheres that were explored and dissected by others, especially Illayaraja when he began the journey. To unseat a person from the crown of Tamil industry who enjoyed only success throughout 2 decades would have been possible only with something special.

If SPB and Janaki were "overused" (I have no problems with that, personally), Rahman brought new voices to the forefront. If violin and Tabla dominated the era of Illayaraja, Rahman brought the techno music to the forefront. If "poor sound/recording quality" was the norm, Rahman changed it. He kept "Vairamuthu" by his side, when he was almost ignored for over 5-6 years. If 30-40 movies were scored by Illayaraja at that time, Rahman chose to limit to 5-6 movies a year. To an extent, even ther timings of work were opposite. He stood out.

One such instance, that I can think of is even usage of Raaga. If "Keeravani", "Mayamalavagowla", "Kalyani", "Sivaranjani" and "Natabhairavi" were predominantly used by Illayaraja, Rahman either chose the Raagas that Raaja scored a very little or moved to the Hindustani paradigm.

Even on the Raagas where both have scored, there is a paradigm shift in the usage. Take for instance - "Sivaranjani". As I had written in my earlier post, this Raaga has been used by many music directors to depict the emotional bonding and that comes out very clearly in the scale - S R2 G2 P D2 S. Various hits in the past set in Sivaranjani scale are: Adi Aaathadi, Kuyil Paattu, Oru Jeevan thaan Un Paadal thaan, Oh Priya Priya, Tere Mere Beech Mein and so on.

All of the above as you can see, depicts the emotional bonding and that is mainly derived by the traversal from P D2 to upper octave's S R2 G2. Try humming a song in the list above and you would easily be able to connect to any other song set in the same Raaga with the same feel. However, now look at "Kannum Kannum Kollai Adithaal" set in the same Raaga featured in the movie "Thiruda Thiruda". Can you believe this song is set in the same Raaga that generates a completely different mood. Though orchestration is one of the possible reasons for the same, this is mainly due to the handling of the Raaga.

I find it difficult to explain in words, however, the way he split the scale into pieces and traversed makes the song feel completely different from other "Sivaranjanis".

For your listening pleasure, here are the two contrasting Sivaranjanis:


Suresh Kumar said...

Rahman in Filmfare Magazine Interview

Q: What roles has your apprenticeship with Illayaraja played in the music person
that you are today?
A: Err... Illayaraja's influence is so overwhelming on everyone in Tamil Nadu,
it almost permeates your body. I respect his music so much. But just to
get my style in, I had to stay away from his music. In the past when I
have said that people read it out of context and things got

Ramesh said...

"Thaneerai kadhalikkum" song from Mr. Romeo is another sivaranjani song in western style by Rahman.

Vinith said...

Wonderful posting Emjay!

Yes, Rahman creative thinking is one of the reasons for his unparalleled success.

Emjay said...

Thanks Suresh. That statement of Rahman is very understandable.

Ramesh: I haven't heard that song yet. Will do.

Vinith: Great to hear from you back :)