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a r t i c l e s

rahman burnt out?


*Please see the end of this page!

It's a great, euphoric feeling, being at the top. Some lucky talented ones attain it without much effort. But sitting on that chair can be like sitting on a giant wheel. One minute you're up there, the next, you're down. Ask whiz kid A.R.Rahman. Just yesterday he was being heralded as the Number One music director in the country, the marvel who pulled one foot-tapping tune after another out of practically nowhere. Today, everyone is ready to knock him off the pedestal they'd placed him on. To be very objective, Rahman's last few creations haven't exactly topped the charts. The music of Tu Hi Mera Dil, Love Birds, even Hindustani are being rejected by music lovers. What could have happened to the man whose creativity produced such memorable sound-tracks in Roja, Bombay and Rangeela? Why had the twenty-three-year-old genius" music stopped appealing to music lovers? Is this is a classic case of early burnout? Or is it just a temporary setback? SHOWTIME decided to find out by speaking to a cross-section of the industry and music world, and asking their views.

Nadeem of the famous Nadeem-Shravan team said, "Yes, today Rahman's music has got so repetitive that each song of his sounds the same. Most of his songs sound like they are an extension of the original few numbers which he had created in movies like Bombay or Roja. Technically, Rahman is a genius but as a composer of late he has not been able to sustain himself. Also, since most of his songs are dubbed, people have great difficulty in following the lyrics. Ratan Jain of Venus who had marketed A.R.Rahman's Hum Se Hai Muqabla from the original Tamil film Kaadalan commented, "Of late it has become very easy to identify A.R. Rahman's songs. All his songs bear similarities with his previous numbers. The best thing about Rahman is that he uses an orchestra in his songs, and he blends it so well. But the music market being competitive he should realise that every song can't be orchestrated in a similar way. To this adds Mr.Bohra of Polygram India who has marketed the hit film Bombay and also one flop album called Love Birds, "Yes, definitely A.R.Rahman's songs all sound the same and of late it's just become too much. If I am allowed to, I'll say that the songs from Rangeela were different. Here, it looked like he had taken some special interest and done it quite differently. Also what happens is, since most of them are later dubbed, a lot of their charm is lost like the songs of Priyanka or Thiruda Thiruda or Love Birds. Another charge against Rahman is that his style of working has irked many a director. Apparently, he takes a very long time to create music and, according to filmmakers, he is very selective about whom he works for. Is this attitude correct? Nadeem doesn't find anything wrong with the working policy of his rival. "See, there's nothing wrong if he works in this manner. This is a correct attitude and that's how all the members of my fraternity should be working. If he chooses to do a few films...I think such a style of working can enable him to give his best. If Rahman uses an orchestra for his songs he also uses different and rather unusual singers for his songs, which works pretty well, like Remo Fernandes for Bombay or a pop singer like Shweta Shetty for Rangeela, which has worked in his favour. Nadeem nods in affirmation, "Yes, he is very good with such gimmicks and they have paid off. Also he has to his advantage a well equipped studio with modern amenities. But what's so great if he is doing well here?" asks Nadeem and then continues, "If he is doing well here it's probably because he is a bit different from the North music directors. But in the South, Rahman is no great shakes. His style resembles Ilayaraja's and many others." "The recently released music of Hindustani isn't much to talk about. Save for one number the album is quite thanda", says Bohra. "Our company marketed two of his films, Bombay and Love Birds and the sales of Love Birds was a disaster. Later on we realised that the original Tamil version of the film itself was no great shakes, so obviously the dubbed one wouldn't do well. Again the major problem we foresee is that those dubbed movies do well which have stars from north, like Bombay has Manisha Koirala or even Hindustani can since it has Manisha and Urmila and Kamal Haasan who is not an out-and-out South star. But Nadeem contradicts Bohra, "There is not much to hear in Hindustani. These songs last till their publicity lasts, after that they eventually fade out unlike our songs like Aashiqui etc, which one still hums even after 5 years." All three universally maintained that Rahman's songs lack melody. Bohra stressed, "The age group between 18-25 go for Rahman's type of music but the majority of them prefer to have soft melody songs. So his market is restricted only to the teenagers. And how long can that go on for? Ultimately where does one see Rahman after 5 years? Nadeem was quick to add, "See, there is no doubt that given a right kind of an environment and with his potential he can do much more, but for that he mustn't restrict himself. Also the instant fame he has got, I can only say, it's because he is such a Namaazi fellow that God has bestowed his good wishes on him.

Otherwise he is nothing exceptional. Ratan Jain was more diplomatic, "I don't know what will happen 5 years from now but Rahman will not fade out this soon. While Bohra says, "It's all a matter of time, luck and perseverance. Also one has the ability to see his faults in time and take reasonable steps to rectify them. If all this is there than there can be nothing which can stop Rahman from ruling the roost!"

A R Rahman fans, don't worry all these stupid people here are talking like this because they are unable to produce good music so why not try a hand on talking?!Our Genius will be the No.1 always and he will always remain the best music director in the history of motion pictures!
-Krish Ashwin

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