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.


Naani said...

good article

Anonymous said...

Wonderful perspective MJ!! Even I used to wonder why Ilaiyaraja is so "stubborn", now I can appreciate that :) Even, I found this amazing video today, while searching for Naan Kadavul title song in youtube!

Suresh Kumar said...

Emjay - I saw NK. BGM was omnipresent and awesome but I felt Raaja has slightly overdone it this time.

Anonymous said...

Suresh, i think he purposely overdid it as i mentioned in your blog cause alot of viewers are raving about it and are watching it again and again. Smart trick by the old dog i would say. :D

Dr J Vijay Venkatraman said...

Dear Sureshkumar & Chandrasehar,

In an interview, Raaja said "If the director didn't add a dialogue just before the beginning of Mannil Indhak Kaadhal song in Keladi Kanmani, nobody would have realized that the song's saranam had to be sung breathless" and went on to list songs like Thamthana Namthana and Kanmaniye Kaadhal Enbadhu as similar breathless compositions which never came to public notice.

Similarly, if there was no news made known to us on what happened during the re-recording sessions of Naan Kadavul and if we didn't get the opportunity to view this video, we would've gone to the movie with an open mind and whatever BGM that we experienced in the movie would have sounded adequate. However, now, after all these inputs, when we watch the movie, we tend to catch up on the music alone and somehow lose track of its alignment with the movie. May be, this makes us feel that Raaja has overdone the BGM.

Nevertheless, for the sole reason of being unbiased, I watched the movie for the second time and concentrated only on the BGM and how it is stitched with the movie. I was glad that I felt it apt at all places. Right start points, apt endings, stark silences, augmentation of Rudhran's wrath, helplessness of Pooja & her colleagues, etc - I can only say that there are some scenes were Raaja has taken more care than usual, for He did not want Bala's message to be perceived wrongly, I guess.

To summarise, I think it is not overdone BGM but over-realised BGM. It is purely my personal feeling and I don't intend to oppose or support anybody with this comment.

Yours Always Musically,

Emjay said...

I haven't seen the movie yet... So, can't really comment.

But, in my opinion, an overdone BGM could be something where the focus goes away from the film to notice the musical piece, even if its good.

Will watch the movie and comment later in this section :)

Dr J Vijay Venkatraman said...

Dear Emjay,

"But, in my opinion, an overdone BGM could be something where the focus goes away from the film to notice the musical piece, even if its good" - this is no different from my opinion as well!

I am sure you would agree that Raaja is not known only for His good BGM but also for His relevant BGM with a different thinking while strictly sticking to the timing of the scene in question! Raaja has approached 'Naan Kadavul' in the same way.

I reiterate that it is because of the attention that this movie's BGM and the making of this BGM have been receiving from the press and the media that we are pushed into thinking that Raaja could have overdone it.

As such, as Raaja's fans, it is difficult to watch any movie without consciously listening to the score, at least at some points during the movie. I too tended to do it when I saw this movie for the first time. This factor coupled with what I mentioned in the paragraph above could have made people think along the lines that Raaja could have overdone it.

I am placing myself in this discussion so strongly because I was completely convinced regarding the BGM after watching the movie for the second time during which I consciously removed all the confounding factors (including bias) involved. I hope I made myself clearer with this comment.

Yours Always Musically,

kumar.s.r said...

OVERDOING is better than LACKING !!!!

sridhar said...

yeah, i also noticed in Sure Kumar's blog that raaja has overdone in naan kadavul. it could be personnel viewpoint. but when he is telling in the second time, he could have talk something specifically. i guess that would lead into a clear discussion.

can u tell me which scene or which shot you are trying to convey that raaj has overdone?

Prashanth said...

This Video is great!

Maybe it's just me,but I think there's more pleasure in watching the music being made than listening to the completed music..

PS:Hey, Emjay, Do you by any chance read Ayn rand?