Raavan is maniratnam’s big deal movie ,coming
after a couple of his big family crises and health problems and an indifferently recieved(and concieved?) guru.
The hook in the film is that the multi lingual casts the protagonist of the hindi language version (Star and star scion Abhishek Bacchan) as the villain/ antagonist of the tamil language version, thus setting this up into a regular clash of civilizations that ramayana was supposed to be. (the worthy rama and the worthy ravana lashing over the right to steal somone’s wife which Ravana had, as the king of the non aryan civilization, a right which the monogamous rama(coming from a playboy polygamous father) gave to noone.
The AR Rahman Album is being released at a time when AR is coming off some mixed success from the west. While he seems to ahve won every award in sight for Danny Boyle’s neo colonialist piece the fox lorber produced Slumdog Millionaire(tm),
He was associated with only one lukewarmly recieved (and pretty bad) comedy “Couples Retreat” which nevertheless seems to have made a hundered million dollars or so. With nothing else to show and some high profile but not commercially widely distributed films on his plate, AR is now planning his “journey home” by taking his immensely successful worldwide live concert tours to under the live nation/ ticketmaster banner, thus demonstrating that all was not lost with his hollywood experiment.
So when we come home to talking Ravan(the hindi version) album we see mixed motives and appeals. Like many AR Rahman albums made in times when he is shuffling his audience appeal by mixing genres,
the album does not have a “take it to the bank ” quality to it. there’s just one song Khili re that instantly appeals, even though it has a regurgitated May madam/ sahana saral poothatho feel to it.
Khili Re – Reena Bhardwaj
The album also is charecterized by AR Rahman’s preoccupation with “world music” sound. I use inverted commas because the sound is a combination of Indonesian gamelan and african(usually senegalese) konga rhythm mixed with drunk noises of various cultures . World music is thus the music played when white colonials behave badly (with one another and the poolboy) in a tropical beach resort.
The decadently titled
Beera – Vijay Prakash, Mustafa Kutoane, Keerthi Sagathia
The next most impressive song on the track sounds like AR is adding world music sounds to ram gopal varma’s(ARR’s) ottam soundtrack which featured the awesome drunk song “shabba shabba”.
Thok De Killi – Sukhwinder Singh, Am’nico
we come to some of ARR’s mischievous and pretty amusig ideas. this is a follow up to the Dilli 6 Kala bandar when ARR mixed rap and bhangra. Here Arr mixes genres again, with a riff that starts with arabic stains, morphs into bhangra and then has a stain of des raga(thus making a political statement that the roots of Punjabi and north Indian nationalism is really arabic in nature. While this is mature political commentrary, as music, it works like a charm, although to somewhat less clued in audiences this will all be greek. the song also cements ARR’s place in the British queen’s pantheon of friends. expect to see a Sir AR Rahman (or better a Lord Rahman) soon.
Kata Kata – Ila Arun, Sapna Awasthi, Kunal Ganjawala
reinforces the impression that this album is a regurgitation of the ramgopal varma Road(ottam) soundtrack by AR Rahman. we are left somewhat underwhelmed and cheated by the unfinished nature of the musical ideas in the tracks as if Maniratnam stopped insisting that ARR should produce mature sounds like this or this.
But mani’s old and ARR has evolved beyond the point when he needs to make good music to be successful so…we always have shantanu moitra…and Adnana sami 😦