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Old 26th December 2013, 13:11   #1
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Default Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

I had been looking forward to explore this topic for some time.

What has become of one of the most talented music directors Bollywood has ever produced?

AR Rahman stormed into the screen and into millions of hearts in 1992.

Mani Ratnam, ARR and Roja created history and landed ARR his first National Award.

In fact, he went strength to strength with some memorable singles, albums and OSTs in the 90s and the first half of 2000.

Greatest contibutions :

- Roja
- Bombay
- Rangeela
- Dil Se
- Vande Mataram(a beautiful singles Album)
- Zubeida
- Pukaar
- Humse Hain Muqabla(Kadhalan)
- Thiruda Thiruda( an exceptional Tamil Album)
- Swades
- Lagaan
- Rang De Basanti(exception post 2005)
- Haunting OST scores for Mumbai, Water, Dil se

Whatever ARR touched during the phase was magic.

Singles from low budget films like Lakeer, Zubeida, Tehzeeb also struck gold.

Then followed the lull and I believe the same is still continuing.

A strew of forgettable tracks and albums followed.

- Mangal Pandey
- Jodha Akbar(mixed review from critics)
- Delhi 6(barring Masakali/Rehta Tu, nothing to write home about)
- Raavan-Disastrous to say the least.
- Rockstar(Good but nothing close to the high ARR standards that he has set for himself).
- Raanjhana- Again, not blockbuster stuff
- Robot- Pathetic, forgettable.
- Highway(The music trailers are not very inspiring),
- Slumdog Millionaire(I sincerely felt that the music of Jai Ho did not deserve the Oscars. ARR has given more memorable tracks at home).
- Jab Tak Hain Jaan
- Blue(pathetic music and the film debacle didnt help the case either).
- Debacle theme for Airtel
- Another major disappointment theme for Common Wealth Games. Simple forgettable.
-Yuvraaj


So, now comes the proverbial question....

Has AR Rahman, the legend lost his midas touch?

And what could be attributed to this?

This is my simple submission:

1) He is working with large directors(Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Rockstar, Delhi 6) who are following typical storylines with no room for innovation. Could ARR be a prey to this? Maybe.

2) The best of tracks are being churned by low key Music directors-Amit Trivedi(the new superstar), Pritam, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy. They are willing to innovate and look at fresh and non conventional options.

The Gangs of Wasseypur series music by Trivedi is a classic example.

SO, here in, the directors of these low key films may not be able to afford an ARR. Hence, ARR may be losing out on these opportunites.

3) The West influence. In a bid to work with the Boyles and the Webbers, ARR has actually lost focus on his home projects. Result-Complete lack of sync in both sides.

Example- The lack lustre 124 hours Back ground score by ARR.

The Way Ahead:

I sincerely pray that I get to listen to the old ARR-unrestrained and pure.

Have been a strong supporter of ARR and it simple pains to see him falter.

The lack of focus is one of the major factors that has lead to his downfall.

But want him to rise and not falter like the Manmohan Desai or Prakash Mehra of yore into oblivion.

Maybe, even the selection of films has not helped his cause.

Whatever be the case, heart yearns to listen to him again-unrestrained and free, full of innovation, a music that I would listen with my heart and not with my ears.

I sincerely hope and pray that ARR of yore returns, big time!!!

Coz, we miss you-----Big Time....

Last edited by arnabchak : 26th December 2013 at 13:17.
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Old 26th December 2013, 13:22   #2
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Default re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

+1 to your post. The charm in his music is surely missing. I have a feeling that the best of his is now over and now its the time for the next generation music directors to take over & run the show.

It is very difficult for anyone to be at the prime everytime in his career except a few exceptions like RD Burman. May be that the music bank that AR Rehman created during his struggling times were the best - I would rate the music of Roja by far the best work of ARR. Can listen to the album all day long...anyday.
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Old 26th December 2013, 13:36   #3
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Default re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

Completely agree with you Saket.

Roja certainly seems one of his master pieces.

RD is one of my all time favs too.
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Old 26th December 2013, 13:42   #4
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Default re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

The major problem lies in the fact that there is too much intervention in the creative process of a music director by the film producer/director, which disrupts the flow of musical creativity to a large extent. Film producers discourage experimentation by Music Directors and demand them to remain more mainstream. This is the same reason I left the Kannada music industry as a music director, as the film producers/directors tried to do too much of micromanagement, and disrupt my creative process.

The second factor is the amount of work that a music director takes. "Creativity" is like a battery powered electric vehicle and not a Petrol/Diesel powered vehicle. In the same way as an electric vehicles requires time to recharge itself after running for a specific distance, music composers too require time to rejuvenate their creative visualisation by giving in proper breaks. This was another problem A.R. Rahman landed himself into. He took too many frequent works, hence quality standards had to decline. After all, he too is a human being.

The third factor is that the core sound engineer and sound designer of ARR's studio is no more with him. Hence, his sound designing process too took a considerable blow.

Now to answer your other question, that how are the low key music directors, like Amit Trivedi, making better music. Well, these guys are fresh entrants, and like any other music director/composer, they have a tune bank/archive of tunes that they had composed with their own sweet time and love during their struggle times. Most of these tunes might have been based on the music composer's own life events (For example, the first time he fell in love, he might have written a song). Hence, these tunes have far more captivating power simply because they were composed with ample time, love, and from one's own experiences of life.
And artist can never run a factory. But that is what is being expected out of them in the mainstream film industry these days.

Cheers,
Shubhodeep

Last edited by RevvMusic : 26th December 2013 at 13:44.
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Old 26th December 2013, 15:18   #5
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Default re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevvMusic View Post
The major problem lies....
Cheers,
Shubhodeep
Very well put up Shubho.

Interruption in the music director's creativity by the marketers of the music- All people who are concerned with the financial aspects of the music want to keep it mainstream which has an appeal to mass markets. They hardly bother if technically its a crap. As music digresses from the pop (or popular) genre and shifts towards the pure spectrum like pure classical, rock, folk or whatever it may may, the listeners are also filtered as they are purists, whose numbers are limited. However, the impact on those limited listeners is immense. But this has a very low financial viability when it comes to making money. The purist approach is more for making name and fame and demonstrating the abilities of the musician/ singer etc. and making money out of it is the last thing in the mind of the makers.

And yes, to continuously produce good music, one needs to give a lot of time into it. I can tell that from my experience too. Though, I have been far from the music industry (unlike Shubho) but have composed and sung a few songs too. Finally, the songs which were properly recorded and are now in my folder are the ones which were thought off for a long time. Most random songs were not considered for a serious recording in our case.

Thanks for sharing your insight to the case. Really appreciate it.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 26th December 2013 at 15:21.
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Old 26th December 2013, 15:19   #6
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Default re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

In today's time where Chhichhora (छिछोरा) songs are chartbusters on day 1 of their release and on everyone's lips (and airtime), melody music like previous AR Rahman hardly brings in money ...
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Old 26th December 2013, 17:17   #7
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

Well, a great topic. Something which I used to discuss with my friends and always the bench mark has been Bombay / Kadhalan / Roja etc. Though I feel there are some great tracks from Yuvvraj (Man Mohini) / Rockstar (Sadda Haq / Tum Ho), Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Saans, Challa) etc, the magic surely has been lost.

I seriously hope he comes back and spend enough time for us and re-create some of those lovely tracks again.

I would NOT rate Pritam that high, all his music look very very similar. Probably the exception was Life in a Metro.
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Old 26th December 2013, 17:30   #8
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post

I would NOT rate Pritam that high, all his music look very very similar. Probably the exception was Life in a Metro.
Honestly, I would rate him much below average as most of his tracks are perfect examples of plagiarism.
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Old 26th December 2013, 18:06   #9
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

To me the audience have change much. The movies you have listed as hits had scripts and storyline that probably hit Rahman's personal motivation factor more.

Swades is by the best BGM for me from Rahman. The simplest scene of SRK trying to get his dhoti tied and the tabla taking over the emotion is a perfect example of simplistic equipment to max out the emotion.

What is missing in this list is the albums from Vandematram series. Phenomenal series of albums which probably made some of us actually Hum Vandematram.

And i have to disagree that 124 hours was lack lustre. 124 hours had one of the finest BGM.

Most of the movies that included anything related to national struggle, or as simple as struggle for a cause seems to motivate him more.

Some of his best that is missed out includes

- Saathiya(Alaipayuthey)
- Taal (The movie ran for songs if i remember right for the script was bad)
- The legend of bhagat Singh
- Yuva
- RDB


ANd i have not included any tamizh movies here.

I think its premature to call that he has lost his touch. Its just that the generation to sell music is not longer in favor of probably good music.

The reason why i still prefer Illaya over ARR or my phone is full of Rafi/KK or Mukesh songs is the same reason why i dont even a single new song in the last 10 years. This is exactly the same reason one may start to feel Rahman has lost his touch because one is exposed left right to new age of horrific music
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Old 26th December 2013, 18:24   #10
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

I have always loved Rahman sir's music.

I usually listen to the sound track first (on radio, web, etc.) and then search for who the music director is! For a long time, I was listening to good songs, mostly composed by Pritam, Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy and the trio of Aashiqui 2 (Mithoon, Ankit and Jeet).

Among the new ones, there is only one song of Rahman sir which I like -



I dont really listen to old songs, hence I am disconnected from Rahman sir's music now. So yes, I agree that he has lost his MIDAS touch.
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Old 27th December 2013, 09:37   #11
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@ Shubho

Very rightly expressed and the same coming from your real life experience really makes the post authentic.

Filmmakers do pressurise Music directors to create music as per their whims and fancies and this certainly creates challenges on the creativity.

Yet, I still feel that a Director on ARR's calibre would not really be bogged down because of this.

It may just be that the creativity bank is sort of depleted right now and the right rhythm is not just coming through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
To me the audience have change much. The movies you have listed as hits had scripts and storyline that probably hit Rahman's personal motivation factor more.

Swades is by the best BGM for me from Rahman. The simplest scene of SRK trying to get his dhoti tied and the tabla taking over the emotion is a perfect example of simplistic equipment to max out the emotion.

What is missing in this list is the albums from Vandematram series. Phenomenal series of albums which probably made some of us actually Hum Vandematram.

And i have to disagree that 124 hours was lack lustre. 124 hours had one of the finest BGM.

Most of the movies that included anything related to national struggle, or as simple as struggle for a cause seems to motivate him more.

Some of his best that is missed out includes

- Saathiya(Alaipayuthey)
- Taal (The movie ran for songs if i remember right for the script was bad)
- The legend of bhagat Singh
- Yuva
- RDB


ANd i have not included any tamizh movies here.

I think its premature to call that he has lost his touch. Its just that the generation to sell music is not longer in favor of probably good music.

The reason why i still prefer Illaya over ARR or my phone is full of Rafi/KK or Mukesh songs is the same reason why i dont even a single new song in the last 10 years. This is exactly the same reason one may start to feel Rahman has lost his touch because one is exposed left right to new age of horrific music
@ VW2010

I have mentioned RDB. Taal and Legend of Bhagat Singh could certainly be included as well.

124 Hours BG is not really ARR stuff.

It may be good in parts but if you analyse the entire OST, I would not rate it great.

Try the Legend of Bhagat Singh OST or for that matter Bombay OST.

They are simply outstanding.

ARR had composed for Warriors of Heaven and Earth. Another beautiful instance of OST.

And +1 to your comment that Rafi/KK/ Mukesh still rules the roost and I still thrive on the melodies of the above trio/Manna Dey/Asha Bhosle/Lata and some "way ahead of his times" individual by the name of RDX(Rahul Dev Burman)

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
In today's time where Chhichhora (छिछोरा) songs are chartbusters on day 1 of their release and on everyone's lips (and airtime), melody music like previous AR Rahman hardly brings in money ...
I beg to differ that ARR tunes doesn't bring in money.

Case in examples:

1) Delhi 6- Film failed miserably. Yet the music could get some decent nos. inspite of the fact that ARR was not at his best.

2) Rockstar- Music played a good role in getting the film noticed.

3) Dil Se- Film flopped. Music is still in demand.

4) Taal- Film was average. Music-Superlative

5) Swadesh- Film verdict Flop. Music-Timeless.

Just some cases!!

Last edited by Eddy : 27th December 2013 at 10:00. Reason: Please use the edit / multiquote option instead of posting back to back posts within 30 mins on the same thread. Thanks.
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Old 27th December 2013, 14:01   #12
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

While I agree that there has been a dip in his touch based on his recent work, I also feel that it is unfair on him considering the pressure he faces from producers and directors. I feel there were also few cases where he had to sign more films and dilute his creativity just so that he does not end up being an outcast in an Industry where somebody can command top billing only based on how popular and busy he is.

Also, if you look at his recent works, no film of his has been successful despite the music being better (case in point is Kadal).
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Old 27th December 2013, 15:32   #13
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

I totally agree that A.R.Rahman's scores have lost their freshness. Maybe its bcoz of the change in viewer taste or maybe because we were fed with an overdose of Rahman. In an era where indian films songs where 95% plagiarism, Rahman went brought in a new wave of fresh music.

I would never call A.R.Rahman a copycat (like A.Malik). What he does is he takes a single groovy beat from some hit song, revamps it, adds his touch and creates a chartbuster. He never copies an entire song as such.

For eg: The starting beat in the hit song "Telephone dhun main" in the movie Indian is a direct lift from "All that she wants" by Ace of Base.

Actually its such a long time since we had a good number from Rahman.
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Old 27th December 2013, 16:50   #14
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post
Filmmakers do pressurise Music directors to create music as per their whims and fancies and this certainly creates challenges on the creativity.

Yet, I still feel that a Director on ARR's calibre would not really be bogged down because of this.
Exactly! Just take a look at his episode on Coke Studio - he could have done way better.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...J2SJuiZaofEeue
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Old 28th December 2013, 11:34   #15
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Default Re: Has AR Rahman lost his Midas Touch?

@Sharon

Exactly my point.

Plagiarism is a major drawback in the industry and MM Kreem was one of the most criticized for this.

Of late, Pritam is one who is notorious for the same.

ARR certainly lost that freshness but I beg to differ that there has been an overdose.

Honestly, good music can never be an overdose to your ears!!
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