talk of the pressure of expectations on Sachin Tendulkar
whenever he steps out to bat in Indian colours. But
spare a thought for A R Rahman too. The Mozart of Madras
is in no less unenviable position. Every time a film’s
audio for which he has scored music is out, the whole
world sits up to listen. And for Sivaji, the pressure is
three-fold, as he has to satisfy his own fans, that of
Rajinikanth and Shankar too. In such a situation, when
you have constituencies to live up to, the music
inevitably is populist.
Sivaji, Rahman’s music works at two levels — as he shows
glimpses of his own splendid arrangement-orchestration
skills. The second is in smart packaging in an effort to
live up to the myriad demands of diverse sections.
seven tracks in the album don’t fit in a particular
genre. And that is to be expected. Some of them appeal
instantaneously. And some, like many Rahman numbers,
take time to settle down. Mass elements are inevitably
there. It is to Rahman’s credit (and genius) that he has
managed to incorporate melody within the ambit of
Balelakka: SPB, Raihanah,
Benny & Chorus
Lyrics: Na. Muthukumar
Rajini introduction song is a non-negotiable instrument
of sorts. It has to have SPB belting it out with his
unmistakable gusto. It has to have some pulsating beats.
It must make you snap the fingers and tap the foot. This
song makes you do all that and plus some more. SPB is
amazing with his breath-controlled rendering. This man
never ceases to amaze us. He might be over 60. But who
would say that after listening to this number. The
interludes and the rhythms give an extra pep to the
proceedings. Raihanah (Rahman’s sister) and Benny also
chip in with their best. Muthukumar’s lyrics set out in
Style: Rags, Tanvi, Suresh
Lyrics: Pa Vijay
song works in many ways as it has a variegated pattern
to it. As the initial words suggest, the song talks of
style, which is the essence of Rajini. But Rahman, as he
is wont to, has worked the tune in a slightly recondite
way, in that it moves around an attractively bewildering
manner. You have Blaaze letting out his typical staccato
rap bits while Suresh Peters bungs in his anglicized
rendering. And suddenly, almost catching you unawares,
you have Tanvi chipping in with a beautiful morsel in
traditional Tamil. Though the song is multi-dimensional,
it works, especially with its surprise swerves and
Rahman’s mastery over arrangements. Style is in Rajini
and Rahman too.
Vaaji Vaaji: Hariharan,
Madhushree & Chorus.
this will be the anthem of the State for some time to
come. Musically, the song may have nothing new. But
Rahman’s genius lies in packaging. Building layer by
layer, he lets the song rise up like a beautifully
created skyscraper that is high on both aesthetics and
utility. Rahman has made Hariharan croon in a un-Hariharan-like
manner. Perhaps that maybe the trick that makes the song
work and makes Vairamuthu’s lyrics stand out in
beautiful relief. Madhushree is adequate without being
anything extraordinary. The tempo and the beats make
this a good mass song.
Athiradee: AR Rahman,
straight away Rahman turf. The man knows which song to
pick and sing. His nasal twang may not appeal the first
time. But they just take control of you over a period of
time. Athiradee does. The lyrics are unabashedly Vaali
as he plays to the gallery big time. But his smart mind
chisels out interesting lines. Vaali deserves special
plaudits for his ability to think in sync with the
modern generation. The rollicking beats and the guitar
ensemble give a good edifice for the song as Rahman
gives it all he has. As a singer, Rahman has also
improvised, and innovated, with his voice. The effect is
ethereal. The song takes time to take effect on you, but
once it does it doesn’t vanish. That’s Rahman effect for
you. A high-octane song.
Sahana: Udit Narayanan,
comes to Tamil words, Udit Narayanan’s tongue becomes a
knife of sorts as they (words) are chopped mercilessly.
But here you will almost forget that failing as the song
and its inherent melody fill you in a cool embrace.
Chinmayee is Rahman’s big weapon. He uses her for songs
that deserve something special. Right from Kannathil
Muthamittal we have been seeing that. Here too the young
girl sings with a rare elan which comes from the
combination of talent and intelligence. Chimayee’s
speciality is that she is no one-type singer. She can
deliver according to the needs. The Rahman interlude (in
voice) adds a special mystique appeal to the number. A
honey-dipped flower. That is this song for you.
The Boss: Blaaze, Naresh
Iyer, Raqueeb Alam
Probably the theme number. Or a kind of leitmotif in the
movie. The song has its limitations as it is perhaps
situational. The lyrics too are puerile as the words are
forced and stretch for effect. The rap bit is on
expected lines. Naresh Iyer dulcet voice manages to
leave a mark even in this small piece.
Sahara: Vijay Yesudas,
Gomathi Sree & Chorus
seems to be a modulated version of the Sahana song. But
what a beauty it is. Rahman’s mastery is all pervading.
He has fused a variety of ideas into this one number and
his unquestionable brilliance with soft instruments show
up elegantly. The way he has got Gomathi Sree slip in
that Thirupavai bit underscores his virtuosity. And she
also rises to the occasion quite brilliantly. But the
song-stealer is Vijay Yesudas. The young man shows that
he is well and truly on the way to filling the perch
that once belonged to his illustrious dad. Vijay is very
soothing and pleasing in this number. When he and a tiny
flute join forces, you could almost feel heaven A
fitting finale to a rocking album.
sure, there will be different opinions on the songs.
There will be carping critics who will pronounce that
the album doesn’t measure to usual Rahman standards. But
you have to take into consideration the situation that
Rahman was working under.
things considered, you can unequivocally say that Rahman
songs will be heard for a long, long time.