Friday, November 14, 2008

IR and ARR

If you could not make out the title, you are probably at the wrong postHappy

Being born in Tamil Nadu, it is not possible to grow without the influence of TFM (no, I am not trying to talk in code. IR - iLaiyarAjA இளையராஜா, ARR - Rahman, ரஹ்மான், TFM - Tamil Film Music, தமிழ் திரை இசை). It applies to me as well, however, I was never an avid music listener for a long time. I started listening to music only during the early nineties. The credit goes to Rahman. When Roja came out, I think there could not have been anyone who missed to notice the new sounds that suddently engulfed the space that was saturated with IR's melodies and dappanguththus (டப்பாங்குத்து). "chinna chinna Asai" (சின்ன சின்ன ஆசை) was a rage. My personal favorite was also "thamizhA thamizhA" (தமிழா தமிழா). Incidentally, this movie also saw the introduction of new voices, which was then to be a usual occurence with Rahman. But it was Gentleman ("ஜென்டில்மான்") that really did it for me. My father once pointed out the arrangements in the second interlude of "chikku bukku rayile" ("சிக்கு புக்கு ரயிலே") (man, what a blast this song created that time!), and suddenly I became aware of an entire new world I was never paying attention to before. This particular piece that my father pointed out became etched in my mind so well, that I used to listen to this single piece so many times over and over. Even today, if that piece is played, I can probably point it out from my sleep. Thereafter, any new ARR film, I would have the cassette once it was out. I had the company of a couple of வெட்டி (jobless) friends who would group together and listen to these songs.

In the initial period when Rahman was really hot, I suddenly noticed that several people, who wouldn't have taken such a stand earlier, were distinctly anti-IR. It was almost as if they were taking revenge on him for ruling TFM for over 25 years. Unfortunately, having caught the Rahman fever, I joined the bandwagon as well. It was such a shame to treat someone who had given so much to the industry in such a fashion.

It was during these periods that dEvar magan (தேவர் மகன்) came out. "inji iduppazhaga" (இஞ்சி இடுப்பழகா) was playing everywhere, but I was oblivious to it. This song had a lilting first interlude flute piece. Once this song was playing on TV and it got to this place in the song. The flute piece cut through my heart. It was a strange experience and it had never happened before. It caught me by total surprise. I told myself "OK, I agree this flute piece is good - but that cannot make him as good as Rahman". The experience never faded though because it was the first time music was moving me beyond a sensory plane. This was also the time I had gotten introduced to Osho's work and I feel there was a connection between the two. Then, once during a car travel, maharajjanOdu (மஹராஜ்ஜனோடு) was playing. Again, it was the first time I was listening to that, it moved me to the verge of tears. I was baffled! I had not listened to it before and the song was totally new to me. My uncle was sitting in the car as well, and I asked him - "What is that song - and why is it affecting me so much?". He replied - "What did you expect - the music director is IR!". From then on there was no going back.

At this point, I started uncovering what IR had done during the previous periods and I made it a point to also follow his upcoming ventures. It was an inexhaustible gold mine! The energy and enthusiasm with which he had worked (and still works) was baffling. It was just an abundant love for music. TFM Page was my pet part time. You have never heard of this? Smile This was the place that provided much insights to me about otherwise casual looking songs. It attracted experienced people with deep knowledge who commented on popular songs and also dug out unheard gems and commented on them. Unfortunetly, TFM page had become two silos - of ARR and IR fans and flame posts vilifying one another was as common as insightful discussions. The admins must have had a handful (headful too!). Unfortunately again, slowly but surely, I had moved from the ARR bandwagon to the IR bandwagon. Again, a shame! It was forgetting who put me on the path to my current place. On TFM Page, I never flame-posted, but in my head, I would always root for IR. My friend group I told you about, suddenly became a debate center. We did not go overboard, but a lot of time was spent on steamy arguments on why IR was better or ARR was better. The argument never ended and the fun never ended as well! Essentially, IR fans couldn't accept (in some way), that a new commercial leader had arrived. Fortunately, they had a treasure-trove of statistics and possibilities to argue no end.

Now, it is sixteen years since - and both are still in the field! I guess it says something about the resilience of their music. In many ways, music has become intertwined with the way I have grown up from that point. My maturity, at least to an extent, had evolved, and I realized the stupidity for ignoring a section of work for bias of another! All this music is mine! Why not taste it? Eventually, and happily, the music field has evolved and a lot of talented music directors are around. I have especially developed a love for vidyAsAgar (வித்யாசாகர்) and karthikrAjA (கார்த்திக்ராஜா - unfortunately not many movies). Outside TFM, there were also John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Yanni.

Right now, there is no bias in my mind and I am able to appreciate a good creation, but it is inevitable that I would be attracted to music I love and relate to (I think it is true for all). In that respect, there is no replacement for IR. My entire being responds to his music, and it is beyond my conscious choice any longer. I think it is the way music is designed by the Creator - it was designed to be intertwined with our beings and heartbeats. Given that, I should say that it is the command IR had on these notes and how the mingle with one another. I wrote this poem for him, though I didn't write the context when it was originally posted. My being feels at home with his music - it is like I have known this space for lifetimes!

I feel, as maturity in music listening grows, one most move away looking for the person through which the creation was born (if it is to say "thank you" it is fine!). All creators have a common binding - music itself. In our petty differences, our clarity becomes skewed and reflects in our listening tastes as well. If whatever you had perceived about "your" creator is true, he will anyway live up to it. There is no need to substantiate this in your mind. Try the blind test - for a new composition without looking for the composer. You will immediately recognize the creator you love if he truly has his signature on it!

Music - it got me so far. I do not know where it is going to take me. One thing is clear - there is no life without music! (and it is not "my life" alone, Life as well!). This post has sort of been an unburdening.  I will move on, and so should you! Bounce

4 comments:

Raji said...

Deepak :))
Raji again
I am a fan of ARE and IR.But I should be honest that IR music touches your soul, ARR's music gives lot of happiness and sensory pleasure. there are very few songs by ARR which has that effect i.e. Eveno oruvan vaasikiraan, and some of his earlier songs.
Have you heard MS viswanathan...he is outstanding...I am a big fan of MS visvanathan and ramamoorthy (they did music together and after a while got separated. He gave ragaas in oure forms without contaminating them. :)

I have to send you a youtube link of my fav IR song. have you heard this...this is one of the IR songs which made me sleepless for days...a pure carnatic...but also can mesmerise any music lover.pulamaipithan lyrics were too good. the lyrics fit both Kathali/devi in the temple

the violin interlude is amazing...isnt



:) here it is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHQgPE0cUj8


:)) catch you and thanks...becos of you i am hearing the song again

Raji said...

btw that song was in a raagam GOWLA..just for your info...a very spiritual melody...

Deepak said...

I heard that song - it was quite amazing. I also came to know that "azhage thamizhe" is from the same movie. Should look for the CD!

Raji said...

btw that song was in a raagam GOWLA..just for your info...a very spiritual melody...

 
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