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Thursday, February 7, 2013

If you were to pick ONE & ONLY ONE favorite AR Rahman song, which one would it be?


In my latest article for The UnReal Times, I included a reference to one of the greatest Hindi playback singers ever ( also, one of the worst Tamil playback singers :P ) , Udit Narayan. I had stumbled upon a pic of Rajeev Shukla wherein he looked remarkably similar to Udit ji.

That led me to reminisce the songs of Udit ji. His is a voice which is SO DAMN SORELY missed in Bollywood today. Hardly ANY Bollywood playback singer's voice today is distinct - each one tries to sound like someone else. Also, I'm not sure if many will survive without auto-tune.

Think Udit Narayan, Think Pehla Nasha. Think Kya Kare Kya Na Kare. Think Oh Mitwa Sun Mitwa. Think Yeh Tara Woh Tara. In recent times, think Aao Na. Think a WHOLE LIST OF HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS of PRICELESS numbers !!!!! 

But for me, the choice is clear. If I were to pick out ONE & ONLY ONE ALL-TIME BEST song of Udit ji, it would be easy for me. That led me to another question - what if one were to pick ONE & ONE all-time favorite song of the composer of the song? It would sure as hell NOT be easy! 



I'm talking about none other than AR Rahman. I can go on and on and on. In nothing less than a PHENOMENAL career spanning 2 decades, the world has had some of its best music ever from this man. So if one were to single out ONE all-time favorite song of this man, it would be the toughest thing to do on earth, even tougher than getting Indian news channels to stop saying "Blow to Modi".


I'm a Tamilian and I think it can be agreed upon that A LOT of ARR's Tamil songs are better than his songs in Hindi. But with a bit of difficulty, I've made my choice and it is a Hindi song - 

A gem, a diamond, a masterpiece, a phenomenon ..whatever you call it - A PERFECTION OF ART called "Eh Ajnabi" from the movie "Dil Se" - This happens to be my all-time favorite song of ARR, my all-time favorite song of Uditji.

As for my all-time favorite album, I'm torn between Dil Se and Lagaan - I really can't pick just one of them :) :)...

I've had LOADS of memories of this song :) ...It came out in 1998 and I've found myself regularly going back to Youtube once in a while and playing it even in 2012-2013. I'm listening to it as I type this post :D....
Some songs are like that - you remember them all of a sudden, you go listen to them and put them on loop :) ...This song is doing that to me now :) ..

Dil Se released in 1998...I heard the songs on my cousin's cassette and I was floored beyond words ...Chaiyya Chaiyya was the talk of the school - everyone sang it everywhere - in the classroom, in the schoolvan. MTV and Channel V played it every hour. On all countdown shows, when Chaiyya Chaiyya played at #1, there was clapping, jumping and celebration....Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi became household names.

Everyone loved Dil Se. My late father, who always swore by old Hindi songs and ghazals was a huge fan of Dil Se and Alai Payuthey. The cassettes would play in his car's radio EVERY TIME he drove.

Singing the Malayalam lines of Jiya Jale was a HUGE craze. I remember how my brother used to mock me, saying "adchurkara mooka chindikko" along with those lines :D ..There may be very few non-Malayalees on earth who may not be aware of those lines by heart....Also, Preity Zinta in that song = *DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOL* !!! Whew! :P

Everyone in school used to try and sing Dil Se Re as loud and as high as ARR ..but only ended up looking like strangled clowns ..hehe...Dil Se would continue to be sung by me, with my friends in college ..while jamming at home ...and even randomly once in a while :) ...

Satrangi Re was the first song which taught me how brilliant the instrument called accordion sounds...Later when I started playing the keyboard ...This was the first thing I would try to play in the accordion :) ...Good old days !!! :) In fact, I feel like playing it right now ...BRB :D...

Yes .back :) ....Let me come to THE BEST SONG of the album...THE BEST SONG EVER OF ARR, IMO :) ...Eh Ajnabi ..by AR Rahman, Gulzar and Udit Narayan....This is THE BEST WORK of each person involved in the song :) ...

I won't hesitate to say that this song brings me close to tears each time I listen to it ...ESPECIALLY during the first violin interlude :) ...Of all the masterpieces in the album, this is the one that caught on to me most ...I would sing this song EVERY-TIME I went to the bathroom to bathe or poop...and people outside would sigh - "Here he starts off again!" ...Even if I were done with my job :P...I wouldn't come out until I finished singing every line of the song :D ....

I always used to rush through the Paa ki paa ki pardesi ..starting lines :P ....and that drum beat which comes JUST BEFORE Udit ji starts .in the bathroom, I would click my fingers to replicate that beat ...if it were the last bench in school or college, I would tap the textbook with 2 pencils ...I knew zilch in Hindi ...nothing at all ! But I know each and every word of this song ...One of the finest ever lyrics in Hindi cinema - like I said, this is the best of Gulzar...

I've fought a lot with my friend Anup in college, but looking back at those days in 2004-2008 ..singing this song with him in the back benches has been one of the things I miss THE MOST about college :D ....This is not a song ..this is a magical soul-stirring potion ....if all of the stuff we listen to are called songs, then this HAS to be called something else ..because this is NOT just a song ...a spiritual experience, may be! No other song ever ...has had such passion than the ones where Uditji sings "Woh hai kahaan..kahaan hai...Woh Roshni kahaan hai ...woh jaansi kahaan hai ?" ....

Whew ...listening to this song and writing about it ..just made me relive my childhood all over again :) all those memories associated with this song are replaying right now :) ....as they always do, whenever I come back to this song one fine day :) ...Until 2005-2006 at least, I used to listen to this song on the Dil Se cassette...Then came in CDs and MP3 players :) ...Finally, in this Youtube and high-speed broadband generation, I often go to the video :) ....

Udit Narayan ..phew...golden voice! One of my lifetime wishes that are still remaining, is to attend an Udit Narayan concert live :)...ARR, please get off the new gen singers for a while ..please do a Hindi song with this man :) ...We'd love to see MAGIC again :) ...rather than the well...mostly good music we're listening to these days ..from you....

Well, that's about my all-time favorite ARR song :) what's yours? ( ONE and ONLY ONE ! )

Cheers,
Ashwin.



1 comment:

Ravi said...

I always liked ARR prior to Tennali, cause Tennali his music changed IMO.

My favorites,

Melody - Ennai Kannavillaye Netrodu..
Beats - Urvasi Urvasi

For Gentleman, entire school went crazy.
When Jeans was released at the time of college, the cassette was playing 24 hours.

May be I should write something about my experiences in **just** listening ARR music.

Ravi
www.teashoptalks.blogspot.com
www.filmbulb.blogspot.com