Articles - Stories | Roja Rahman faded? Nah....Here is the Answer!

Posted by : Raghav™
In one of the interviews, A.R.Rahman said that a composer who moulds his music that suits the idiosyncrasies and tastes of the audience belonging to that moment would be a failure in the long run but at the same time a composer who can mould his music to suit the contemporary audience as well as satisfy the old generations can definitely come out as a winner and will last for a long time !
and you know what ! This is a widely acclaimed fact!
Roja came in 1992, which was almost 16 years ago when there was an audience acclimatized to the classical music and folk.The sound of Roja was completely was like a whiff of air for the audience used to those genre and accepted Roja which created waves in the music world and established a new horizon in composing music !
In Roja's music, Rahman explored various raagams like Des, Kapi, Yaman Kalyani which are purely carnatic....the mathruk of the song was the raaga but the flavor is something which is unheard ever before....Actually this is the basic mantra in analyzing Rahman's music and which demarcates his stature from the lot !
For example, Ilaiyaraja composes a song in Kalyani...he sticks to it throughout the song....but Rahman is totally different.....If he starts a song with a raag he rarely sticks to it....the chain of raags keep on instigating in the song...for example, Kannamochi Yennada from Kandukondain Kandukondain starts with Sudha Dhanyasi and then flows to Nattkurinji and then deviates to Lalitha, then again you hear some other thing....which is totally an absurd to do in the books of a carnatic musician But thatz where his success lies....and he stuck to that through out his career till date...Even in Ada, I can see a song(Hawa) which starts with Hamsadhwani and then shifts to mishra Kalyani ! One has to accept this coz ARR had redifined the barriers in the music school !
Coming to Sakkarakatti, even I was flabbergasted after hearing the songs coz with one hear, a common man can say that itz not Rahman....The reason for this being the reputation a Rahman album commands in the ears of the audience !
To be very frank, I liked only Marudhaani and Naan Eppodhu (reason for that mite be that I hail from the school of carnatic music).People generally and conventionally give their vote to a film which is cut out off the rest.No melodrama and DDLJ stories are accepted over here.Only those films sell which have very novel thought depicted in something which is not seen before.That's what is called as something "Being Different" these days.If we apply the same principle to the music intricacies of ARR, he tried to be something different with albums of these kind.Whatz wrong in trying something which is very unconventional to depict in a conventional way ?? As far as I am concerned, I dont see any wrong in this !
  And you know what !! To be on top always is a herculean task and mind you.ARR has kept his stature as the top musician almost throughout his career till date...
So one cant say that Rahman had lost his touch or forgot the principles of Carnatic....He’s just trying to blend the contemporary music by applying the high father's principles....He’s tasting success with that and listeners are getting to hear a soulful music....not a loss in anyway !!
I took the names of the raagas only to enlighten you all about what goes behind in composing a song.Those who don't know much about music just can't configure out the essence of a song imbibed in it! So I took the initiative so that even they could get to know the Complexities dwelling around in composing a song! Now lemme give you one conundrum.
"There is a very thin line between knowing music and composing music!"...One who understands that thin line is becomes a pioneer! ARR is one such pioneer!
Conglomerating different perceptions of different sects of audience on a single line is virtually impossible! But you know what!! A Roja did that, A Kandukondain Kandukondain did that, A Dil Se did that, A Swades did that.....Now don't search for any examples....We all in this community are the best examples for this thought!
One talks about acceptance....A Chinna Chinna Aasai was accepted gleefully by the audience at that time...Now as I said you before, the current audience have become more complex and more prudential.I can take an example at this point.Usually ARR takes 6 months to compose an album, it can even take him 2-3 years in churning out an album(Mangal Pandey, Rhythm, Ada, etc) and once it is released in the market, do you know in what time the album gets a mere 5-10 mins.The judgement is done…Rating given...Hit or Flop!!  This is the scintillating set of audience we have in this modern world....(Even I am one among them)...The audience who accepted Roja can be satisfied to the zenith and they keep on saying that quality of ARR's music had increased by leaps and bounds....But for the same album, the current crop of audience can't give the same judgment.....The same happened with Ada!
There is neither a change in the raagas used nor there is any change in the quality of music being delivered...Hawa Sun Hawa has the flavor of Hamsadhwani which was used by ARR in his earlier works like Thenali, Udhaya, etc....yes, the style has changed....because he should keep focus on the audience! Now if you compose something like Sangamam, only people like me will lend an ear to that and it will be very quickly erased from the memories of the audience...but yu know what! An album like Sangamam needs an extra Endeavour rather than a film like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na....and believe me, A composer feels impeccably happy while composing an album like Sangamam.... than composing a Sakkarakatti
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There might be inhibitions amongst yourselves but you have to cut down on them and tread the path where success lies...This is the philosophy that ARR has been using throughout his career and its redundant to say that he was immensely successful !!
I do accept that beautiful raagamaalikas are prevalent in carnatic but a musician prefers to stick to only one raagam while delivering a concert...Just keenly observe get to know that Raagamalikas are used only by the established ones like that of a Unnikrishnan, Nithyashree, Bombay Jayashree, T.M.Krishna, etc...
And for a song like Narumughaye from Iruvar, you can clearly demarcate the swara of Maand from the mathruka raagam of the song, i.e., Gambheera Nattai! I love that composition

And moreover, there's a time specific every raaga....few examples include the melakartha raagam Hamsadhwani is preferred for late evenings and the songs like Vellai Pookkal, Hawa Sun Hawa (based on it) are really suited for such times although we can listen to those songs anytime for their soul stirring music...but am saying theoretically!
Another example is Hindlolam is for night....and Innisai is exactly tuned to listen at that time  and Panturavali is for morning....based on which, Hai Rama acts like a good morning song in the notebooks of any penchant listener!