I have been meaning to write this blog for nearly a month now … Ever since I saw the A R Rahman show on television. I am not a Rahman fan, I think his music is ok, he certainly has a tail wind and all that he is touching is turning to gold. Ofcourse the success is well deserved for he didn’t get it on a platter, he worked for each penny and worked really hard. Some of his songs are fantastic but most of his songs are difficult to remember after the hype dies down …. Perfect for the instant noodle eating, instant coffee drinking, instant generation that wants to move to the next big thing 🙂 and I am the long term person. Personally, if its film music, I want to hum along and enjoy the lyrics, it’s as much about what the poetry is as the music and unfortunately I cannot understand the lyrics in many of Rahman’s songs. Maybe not his fault, the lyrics being written are so bad, they are best mumbled or drowned in the music.
I grew up listening to the honeyed voice of Mohd Rafi, the melancholic Mukesh and ofcourse the magician Kishore – then Krishnan introduced me to Tamil film music and Illayaraja. And Raja is just Raja – unparalleled. The combination of Kannadasan/Vaali/Vairamuthu, SPB, S Janaki and Raja have given the world some of the best music, singing and lyrics. There are just three voices that completely hold my attention – Mohd Rafi, SPB and Sonu Nigam. A high point for Krishnan and I was to attend a live concert of Illayaraja nearly 17 years back in Chennai … The attention to music and every instrument, every note was phenomenal. No big lights, no dancers, no singers dressed in gowns, just awesome music.
Coming to the A R Rahman show on TV – he came dressed in white in a large limo …Elvis style and the stage was lit up like a rock concert and the show began. I would have had no objection if they had named it an entertainment show – but calling it a music concert was deeply disappointing. We had more dancers than singers, there was a steady stream of singers, some known, some unknown, bad quality singing and above all, female singers dressed in clothes that would look good in a rock show or Oscar night. Sure, some folks would call me old fashioned, but a singer just has to have the ability to sing beautifully, I don’t want to see them and definitely not in garish clothes.
Music is not a fashion show … The clothes that rock artistes wear is appropriate for that music and that’s fine, it looks good and you enjoy the music because the singers are not jarring in their dress sense. Unfortunately today the playback singer is forced to become a performer, shows like the Indian Idol emphasise on the “complete” package – just don’t call it a music show. Good music, good singing has takers, the recently concluded Saregama episodes were testimony to that. A classical singer could reach the finals – just goes to show that people do understand good music.
A R Rahman needs to focus on giving good music – leave the filmi stuff to your filmmaker friends !!