Friday, February 27, 2009

A Request

Despite my several requests, the comments section in the other post "Illayaraja vs A.R.Rahman" took ugly turn with personal bashing and with heavy heart, I had to delete ALL comments without any judgement on the merit of each comment.

I apologize and make a sincere request again to engage in constructive thoughts, as you have always done in the past 1 year!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Illayaraja vs A.R.Rahman

Yes, Déjà vu.

One of the blog that I read regularly and I respect the views - Yours Musically! I can always expect an unbiased and balanced viewpoint. And a recent post of his drew a lot of attention and I am forced to reopen this topic in 7Swara that we discussed quite a while back!

What pained Suresh so much to write that post was the following comment made by Srikanth.
Dear Vicky,

Long time ago, I used to play the flute in light music troupes in chennai, though I have been fully focussed on practising carnatic music lately. I wanted to listen to the music of the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" today to see why it's being talked about so much. I searched and listened to it online. It left me with a bad aftertaste.

I just felt like cleansing my ears, body and soul by listening to some Raaja music and landed in your blog. Thanks for the wonderful analysis, sound clips. You (and Raaja) made my day.

with love,

The whole point here is, why do you have to put somebody down if you want to praise the other? If A.R.Rahman is nominated for Oscars, why is there a heartburn for the "so-called" Illayaraja fans? Literally, in Tamil, this is called "வயத்தெரிச்சல்". I have seen several A.R.Rahman fans who hear enjoy "Mandram Vantha Thendralukku" as much as "Taxi Taxi". I have heard many many of A.R.R. fans who claim that they like any good music - not just A.R.R., though they love A.R.R. the most.

So, in a set theory, looks like A.R.R. fans are a subset of "music lovers". "Haris Jeyaraj" fans are a subset of "music lovers" and "music lovers" is a big set who loves every genre of music. And there is a "DISJOINT" set - "Hardcore IR fans" who like only Illayaraja's music! They are often pulled up for making disgracing comments about ARR.

For sure, I belong to the 3rd group and I take all the pride to declare that openly. Did I bad mouth ARR? Did I pass disgracing comments about ARR? Do I have "வயத்தெரிச்சல்" that A.R.R's Vande Mataram gets all the publicity and IR's Thiruvasagam doesn't? Do I have "வயத்தெரிச்சல்" that A.R.R. is nominated for Oscars and the first asian to have composed Symphony is appreciated in a meeting with only Nassers, Partheebans and Vaalis?

The answer is "Yes" and "No". In my school & college days, I used to fight ARR vs IR without understanding the essence of music. Nowadays, I hardly get into these discussions and I live in my own Rassaiya's world! But, gone are the days, when we ask why someone drinks alcohol? Today, if someone doesn't drink, he is asked, why he doesn't!

My experience is that I am questioned why I am out-dated and don't open up my ears to other's music! So, I am forced to make my opinion public. And my opinion is MY opinion. Now one can not take offence on my opinion. And my opinion is that Raaja has filled my ears and heart with His music, has invaded my system and he wouldn't let anyone else in. And it is not ME who wouldn't open up, but, it is He who is doing this to me! And I like Him for doing that to Me. So, we have got into a groove and this entire life time is not enough for me to comprehend His achievements and enjoy His divine music!

Knowing some of the other hard core IR fans, I would like to speak on their behalf that hard core IR fans like to speak to other hard core IR fans, they like to live in Rassaiya's world and don't have anything to complain on anyone, unless they are provoked.

The other interesting part is "Recognition". Is it A.R.Rahman's mistake that he will will Oscars before Illayaraja? Should A.R.Rahman be polite enough to turn down the award and make a statement that Illayaraja deserves more than him? Is that what hard core IR fans are wanting?

A big NO. The right answer is: 'ஆதங்கம்" and the often misunderstood expression is: "பொறாமை". Nobody is expecting Raaja to be nominated to Oscars for Nan Kadavul. But, the point is about what recognition has our system and Government has given to Him? What about Bharat Ratna, Padma Shris?

But, wait a minute! Do I want my Rassaiya to stand in dias, first asian to have composed a Symphony, to receive a Padma Shri award after A.R.Rahman, Hema Malini, Vivek, Thotta Tharini, Mani Ratnam, Aamir Khans and 1000s in this league, who received for their contribution in arts?

NO. Didn't you hear what I said?


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good Enough Is Not Enough

If I start to run a software shop and do not command proficiency in what I do, obviously, I end up trusting and taking my sub-ordinate's points at its face value. When I don't command proficiency and if I am not confident of what I want to get done, I tend to leave it to the team. I wouldn't be able to complain much because I didn't have a clear vision as to what I wanted anyways!

With no exceptions, every singer who has sung for Illayaraja have repeatedly made one point clear. Raaja has clearly something in his mind and he wouldn't let you go until he gets what he wants. Some even go to an extent to say that it is difficult to satisfy him. Some who can't get along with him even say that he doesn't take your ideas/improvisations!

Here is my take:

Illayaraja is a natural, prolific, gifted composer who can complete the entire re-recording for a movie with 1.5 days! It's no joke. As much Illayaraja is known for his unparallelled BGM, his speed is unmatched as well. This is only possible because when he watches the movie without any background score, musc pours into him, no labor here, and rest is the mere formality to execute.

So, the bowl is already full with musical feast! He isn't starting with a blank slate. As he watches the movie, slate is full. So, he isn't looking for inspiration.. he isn't looking for ideas.. At this point, all he is indeed looking for is artists, who can just bring what he has already conceived note by note with time signature.

I have no problems with that. No offence meant to any artist. Raaja has told in one interview that he makes compromises because he isn't able to get what he wants in the limited time he has. Because, the movie has to move on..

Look at the specifics and details that Raaja pays attention to.

I retire with just one observation.

I wasn't fond of my math teacher in my schooldays, because, she wouldn't settle for anything less than perfection. My opinion is not the same today! So, only time will tell.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It is BGM

I was watching the movie ''Vaaranam Aayiram" yesterday and remarked to my wife in a complaining note - "BGM sucks!". I don't know how many of you would agree with me on this!

It is no secret that Raaja exercises his mastery in the re-recording of every movie. From a low-budget movie like Kutty to a high profile movie like Hey Ram, from a masala movie to a movie with a in-depth storyline, it gets only one treatment and the same treatment - Raaja's.
Some of the otherwise ordinary looking scenes were elevated several 100 times with his sheer Re-Recording works. It's a well known fact to everyone.

Still, often when I complain about the poor BGM of the new music directors, my friends don't seem to agree with me. They don't think they pay attention to BGM separately. And it doesn't make a big difference to them!

Hmm.... Illustration is the best way, isn't it?

I have taken randomly two instances of Kamal Hassan's movies-

Wow!! Kamal has shown brilliantly with the graphics the dilemma he faces between his wife and his mission. But, the visual cues can only get so far! To touch your heart and bring out the right emotions, Raaja gave what was needed. A contrasting, alternating music pieces!!

Honestly, when I looked at this scene, I could only laugh. It didn't reach/touch my heart. In what otherwise must have been a high impact scene, no amount of graphics and set-spending could bring out the right feel. Simple, it's BGM!!