Why I think Rahman is God.

I was just listening to Pachai nirame (I don't need to introduce the song to anyone familiar to TFM) The song is light, breezy, eulogizing, a tad angsty. There's the guy who drives on the beach in sheer ecstasy, because the girl has deigned to smile at him. He thinks of her, and the visual imagery of colors is what he chooses from his palette to colour her with.

Like a boy besotted with crayons, he talks about the various shades of red in nature - the red of a parrot's beak, the quick red tongue of a young girl, the much maligned rose, and then- this is where Vairamuthu takes it a league apart - the soles of an infant's feat. பூமி தொடாத பிள்ளையின் பாதம். Love taken from the universe of well acquainted metaphors to a universal symbol - creation of innocence. By conjuring that tender image of innocence, it is no longer a carnal angst that propels the ecstasy; it is the yearning of a soul for something finer. The hands of a mother who would not let her infant's feet touch the ground.

But the genius of the song is not even in this line. As the images transition from a parrot's beak to a girl's tongue to the rose to the soles of the baby's feet, the idea condenses - this guy is not in the throes of another infatuation, this is not yet another fling. The lightness of the teenage poet's forced, comical heaviness goes away, and in he background, you hear strains of Durbari Kaanada crashing like huge, mountainous waves. And that is the cue that this song is not the light-hearted interlude that it seems to be - behind this young man's flippant mind, there is an obstinate heart. As can be seen in the dialogues of the movie - the light masking the heavy, all the time.

As if to underscore that, the next line croons, affectionately - எல்லா சிவப்பும் உந்தன் கோபம்!

( DK is the raga that resounds throughout the movie in the bgm, not coincidentally the raga the title song 'Alaipayudhe' is based on)


Nivi said...

I was in an SPB concert when I saw your blog title on my fb feed. I was listening to some of Raja's masterpieces and as much as I love ARR , i have never been able to give him the highest rank personally, just because the moment I think ARR is the best, an unbelievable Illayaraja number hits me, and just when i think he is the best, a MSV or KV Mahadevan composition hits me. I guess they are all genuines in thier own regards. Its just too hard to say one is better than the other. Maybe others can. I siply cant, trust me i have tried :)

Matangi Mawley said...

small correction.. alaipayuthey is not DK it's K.. Kaanada..DK may be the hindistani version of our K.. but there is a difference in the prayogam.. hence, it remains to be two different raagas! (Eg: kaanada- the most perfect kaanada- mullai malar meley from uththama puthran; DK- the most perfect piece is Jhanak Jhanak tori bhaje payaliya from Mere Huzoor- Manna Dey at his best)

see.. why do you believe in god? is god there.. these kind of questions.. there can never be answers.. i too believe that ARR is God. But I dont have a reason. He IS. hence, He IS!

ராமகிருஷ்ணன் ராஜகோபாலன் said...

ரஹ்மான் இளையராஜா எம்.எஸ்.வி மூவரையும் ஒரே தராசில் வைத்துப் பார்ப்பது சரியே அல்ல. ஒருவரை மீறி ஒருவர் இருப்பதாக எண்ணுவதும் சரியல்ல. இவர்கள் மூவருமே காலத்தின் தொடர்ச்சியில் தங்களின் தளத்திலிருந்து மேலெழும்பி அடுத்த தளத்திற்குச் சென்றவர்கள். தொடர்ந்து வரும் இந்தச் சங்கிலியில் ஒன்று அறுபட்டாலும், மற்றவை அடையாளமற்றுப் போகும்.

ரஹ்மானைப் பொறுத்தவரை, அவர் இன்றை இந்திய இசையின் இன்றியமையாத ஒரு விசை. நவீன இந்தியாவின் அடையாளம்.

ராமகிருஷ்ணன் ராஜகோபாலன் said...

இந்தப் பாடல் பற்றி எழுதியமைக்கு நன்றி. மிகச்சிறந்த இசை; தூய்மையான கவிதை. வேறென்ன சொல்வது?

ரசிக்க வேண்டியதுதான்...


Anu said...

I tend to Agree with Nivi... some days i listen to ARR the whole day and literally give him the crown of being the God of music and jus then i happen to listen to Ilayaraja or MSV and go like "OMG!!! wat composition!".

One thing abt Rahman though, There is probably not a single song composed by Rahman that i don like. IF he is composing, I would get the music CD on the first day without even having to listen to the songs first. With others I have favorite songs but I may not like all of their compositions.

Uttara said...

Hello Mister Etir Katchi and the jumpy, Vennila Vennila :P ! Bring on the whistles! And realised puravi means horse after a line in Narumugaiye!

Manasa said...

Thanks for the comments :) This post came about because of a moment of epiphany. I was lsitening to this song as I was working on something, and suddenly, this interlude note of (what I assumed to be) Durbari kanada came up. And I was like - I hear this throughout the movie! And the bgm is, in fact, replete with shades of the raga. And then the connection came, and it was wonderful!

(Yes, I'm a sucker for Alaipayudhe - the movie and the music. I have the entire bgm on my music player and listen to it :D)

@Nivi - I get that feeling too. I switch between 'Raja is God' to 'MSV is God' to 'AM Raja is God' to 'Rahman is God' to 'Bach is God' a few times a day, depending on what I am listening to :) As far as music goes, I'm a polytheist!

Thanks for that information :) I was not aware of that. i assumed it was DK after having seen the raga listed as DK on a Bombay Jayashree concert cd!
He IS. I know.

What we can compare is not what music they made, but rather how they make us feel when we hear them. With respect to ARR, IR and MSV, what I feel are different emotions, but equally good. Different shades of the same emotion, even. Rasippom, sindippom :)

"There is probably not a single song composed by Rahman that i don like."
I was somehow not too impressed with some of his albums like New and even a couple of songs in Sakkarakatti. But yes, it is only a Rahman album that I buy without thought and hear it out the day of its release :) Rahman grows on you.

I have a friend who says he likes HJ more tha ARR because HJ's songs are simple and easy to hum, and therefore stays with him longer :) Much as it sounds like blasphemy, each to their own, I guess.

Iruvar has the most awesome bgm ever (except maybe Kannathil Muthamittal.) (No, I am not even going to talk about Raja bgms in this context!)Plus I love the song pookodiyin punnagai.