He is arguably one of the finest popular composers India has ever produced – A R Rahman turned 49 recently and we take a look at some of the soundtracks that define the man and make him the prodigious genius that he is:
He burst on to the scene with this Tamil film and its dubbed Hindi version. Chhoti si Asha, the title track Roja Janeman, and Bharat Humko Jaanse pyara hai; even the outrageous Rukmani, Rukmani woke us up to the fact that this Rahman was a talent the like of which we had not seen before.
Tracks such as Veerapandi Kotayyile, Chandralekha, and Thee Thee from this Tamil film suddenly meant that lakhs of Indians were waking up to a musical phenomenon and listening to Rahman’s music without understanding a word!
A heart wrenchingly lovely film with a sound track to match: whether it was the groovy Humma Humma, the mellifluous Kehna hi Kya or pathos laden Tu hi re; these songs became a part of everyone’s list of most beloved songs and still retain their position there.
Many thought that a lot was lost in the translation when Mani Rathnam made this film in Hindi, but Rahman’s superlative score and Gulzar’s lyrics in songs such as Ae Ajnabi, Chhaiya Chhaiya, Satrangi created sheer magic.
This Govind Nihalahi film didn’t do very well and so perhaps songs such as Boodon se Baatein, Joombalika and Rang De did not get the recognition they deserved.
I don’t think anyone but Rahman could have done justice to this epic film about the ragtag bunch of villagers who go on to teach the English their own game. Mitwa, Ghanan Ghanan, Chale Chalo – these songs went on to become anthems.
Rang de Basanti
Another superlative score from the maestro and unforgettable songs like Roobaroo, the title track, Paathshala and many more. Again, no one except Rahman could have done justice to this iconic film.
Probably one of his most underrated albums, Delhi 6 was resplendent with songs such as the groovy Masakali, the melodious Arziyan, the folksy Genda Phool, the classical Bhor Bhayi and the haunting Dil Gira Dafatan.
So here’s wishing the maestro fifty more years of musical brilliance!
Author: Reena Daruwalla