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Thursday, December 03, 2009

AR Rahman : My top 5 !!!

Ever since that March night in LA when AR proudly held aloft the Oscar (for admittedly a below-average number) have I been wanting to write this. Today, when he has been nominated for the Grammy for Jai Ho, I have finally decided to take the plunge and list my all-time top 5 AR Rahman favourites. So after spending a few hours listening to a shortlist of 20+ songs (And yes, Jai Ho was not amongst those :-), here are my top 5. Feel free to shoot your agreements and disagreements :)

1. Dil Hai Chhotasa (Roja - 1991)

The gem that started it all. The first AR composition that I listened to. I clearly remember the day. I came back from school (must be in 8th grade then) and my elder cousin had bought an audio-tape (remember it ? :)) of Roja and told me it contained music of a kind that was completely unheard of and refreshing (those were the days of Nadeem-Shravan and Aashiqui). So I played it, the first voice was Chitra starting this wonderful number and the rest, as they say, was history.

2. Bombay Theme (Bombay - 1994)

By a distance, the best theme score for a movie. Right from the first few seconds (when the flute begins) this haunts you. Then suddenly in the middle, the flute gives way to a more disturbing kind of sound (indicative of the riots) and then a fantastic violin crescendo. This theme touches you straight at the heart.

3. Ishq Bina / Kahin Aag Lage Lag Jaye (Taal - 1999)

AR and the showman of Bollywood combined for the first time and came up with a classic. All songs in Taal were hits and I have taken two of my favourites. The first one, because of the soothing effect it had on me when I heard it the first time (and it came when I was in college, when you identify better with these things). On the other hand, 'Kahin Aag Lage Jaye' was A-A-A magic (AR, Asha Bhosle and - even though I am not her greatest fan - Ash). Also, it still holds a place in my heart.

4. Chale Chalo (Lagaan - 2001)

If 'Chale Chalo' cannot charge you up for battle, very few other things can. While his other compositions in Lagaan were also good, this made it to my list because of its attitude ('dharti hila denge, sabko dikha denge, raja kya praja kya ho.'.) and, of course, AR Rahman the crooner.

5. Title Song
- (Rang De Basanti - 2006)

The song that proved AR could do bhangra-style as good as anyone else. A fantastically infectious number, gets your feetitapping almost by themselves :).


Note that this is AR Rahman's top 5, hence I have omitted gems like 'Tu Hi Re' (Bombay) and 'Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera' (Swades), wherein I felt that Hariharan / Kavita K (in the former) and Javed Akhtar (in the latter) were the men-of-the-match. Some others that were worthy of mention were 'Humdum Suniyo Re (Saathiya)', 'Piya Haji Ali (Fizaa)' and 'Kehna Hi Kya (Bombay)'.

Cheers
Amit

2 comments:

Sai said...

great list...I would pretty much have a similar list

Roja... Bought Bombay cassette, telling my dad that this is the same music director that did Roja, I'm sure this will be equally good. (I had gone to buy Roja, but they did not have it and I bought Bombay instead :))

Bombay theme...Both priyanka and I absolutely love this...priyanka used to play it on her phone many times, when we walked back home from school (@ Texas)

Kahin aag lagi lag jaaye... absolutely love the symphonies.... and asha (Tanha tanha and chori pe chori are 2 more asha+rahman favs)

Oh humdum... the most relatable and hummable song of Saathiya... (although all the songs are just too good... Ae udi udi is another fav)

Rang de basanti... although I absolutely hate bhangra (with the exception of Gur naal ishq mitha) this song is very different...and makes a lot of sense without relying so much on the beats.

For my all time fav Rahman song I would have to differ (and I don't see any Guru here) Ae hairathe aashiqui... I went to the AR rahman concert in Oakland (July 2007) for this song only...and Hariharan ensured I had a total paisa vasool experience. Roja is pretty much up there coz it got me to discover rahman in the first place...but Ae hairathe has the makings of an lifetime favorite :)

Amit Gokhale said...

@ Sai..

Thanks for the feedback !!.. Yes, Guru is overall a good album.. though 'Aye Hairate Aashiqui' is more a Hariharan triumph rather than Rehman's.. In Guru, i also like 'Jaage Hai Der Tak'... Rahman's vocals are again in form there...
Cheers