Imtiaz Ali is in my opinion one of the most interesting filmmakers working in India today. If there is one quality that sets him apart, it is his unique way of looking at people and their perceptions. All of his films so far deal with love but they look at different kinds of love. Some modern, some traditional and a few somewhere in between. Today, I’d like to take a look at a scene from Tamasha: the one that leads up to the “Agar Tum Saath Ho” song.
If you were to convince someone to watch this film, show them this scene. What Deepika and Ranbir bring to the screen transcends acting. They become Tara and Ved and all traces of the star in them vanishes. The setup is that Tara has come to apologize to Ved and Ved does not really know how to express his emotions. There’s one particular line that sums up the whole scene. Tara says:
‘Koi complex hoga tumhaare andar, jisko maine touch kar diya…’
This acts as the trigger point as it angers Ved. His tone changes and the anger is visible in Ranbir’s eyes. It all comes to a boil when Ved says this:
‘Mujhena is waqt bilkul bharosa nahin hai ki main kaise react karoonga…’
Here is a man who is unsure of what he feels it comes out as anger and frustration. On the other hand we have a woman who is sure of what she wants to say and feel. She is concerned, worried about this man but also in love with him. It is a cocktail of emotions that is tough to deal with for her as well. She doesn’t want to let him go but he has to escape this situation as he himself says. Tara just wants to be with him but it is not possible at that moment. The shot of them lying head down with tears on their faces is one of the most soul crushing shots I’ve seen in recent times.
The perfect bookend to this scene arrives in the form a classic track by AR Rahman. “Agar Tum Saath Ho” is such a beautiful song on it’s own and when it gets added to the visuals, it becomes an unforgettable treat. This is the power of Imtiaz Ali, someone who takes a look at a situation and sees how different people would approach it. Tamasha was an under performing film at the box office when it released and that is a shame. We deserve to see more diverse love stories and as long as Imtiaz Ali is around, we have hope.
The third collaboration between Imtiaz Ali and AR Rahman ended up producing what may be an underrated album. Compared to the reception that Rockstar and Highway got, it was a little less euphoric for Tamasha. But this doesn’t do justice to the magic of this soundtrack. There are 8 songs and 1 instrumental track and all of them are just brilliant. They complement the story as well as accentuate what happens. Whether it is the breezy feel of Matargashti or the devastating impact of Agar Tum Saath Ho, Rahman keeps making us feel things that we didn’t know were possible. We are lucky to be witnessing music of this quality so all I can say is thank you Mr. Rahman and happy birthday.
Imtiaz Ali and AR Rahman, these two names evoke a sense of mysticism in you. But the soundtrack of their first collaboration Rockstar is mystic and so much more than that. There are 14 songs in the soundtrack and that may sound like a lot, but when the quality of the songs is so high, you’ll be left wanting more. Think of the soundtrack as a buffet with the difference being that every dish is amazing. This is easily among the best work that Rahman has done in his illustrious career and that is some accomplishment.
The first time Gautham Menon and AR Rahman got together, we got one of the best albums to come out this century. It is perfect for a romantic film such as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya. From the love at first sight in Hosanna to the growing intimacy in Omana Penne, Rahman is at the top of his game. These songs work on their own but the visuals make it even more memorable. A big reason for this is the staging and framing that Gautham Menon excels in. It is a film that made all of us wish we were in love and for that, I would like to thank the maestro for giving us songs that are evergreen, emotional and most of all excellent.
Sometimes you have a film that works without songs but is so much more memorable with them. This is the exact case with Rhythm. There are five songs in the film and each one represents a particular element. They are: fire, water, earth, sky, wind. The sheer beauty of the songs makes it is worth listening to but the visuals take it to the next level. What you see is a combination of audio and video that tugs at your heartstrings and also puts a smile on your face.
When we talk about AR Rahman, one of the keywords we use is variety. He is someone who has straddled many genres. Whether it is Carnatic music or folk, he has produced the goods on a consistent basis. There have been instances where people have gone to see a film just because of the songs made by Rahman. Sangamam is one such example and all the songs are testament to his skill and variety. This was also a combination of one legendary composer with another in the form of MS Viswananthan who also sang two songs. And what they produce is sheer bliss. It is sure to make you tap your feet.
Whenever AR Rahman and Mani Ratnam get together, the expectations are understandably high. A big reason for this is their track record that has produced countless classics. Dil Se which was their fifth collaboration ended up producing some absolutely iconic songs. The best part of this soundtrack is that the tunes feel fresh to this day. Whether it is the joyous nature of Chaiyya Chaiyya or the longing we feel in Ae Ajnabi, Rahman manages to bring out different shades in him that ultimately make us connect with the characters. In a film that deals with the seven stages of love, Rahman takes us through a few of them and what a ride it proved to be.
Today, I am looking at an album that can be described in one word. That would be unforgettable. The songs were a big part of this film becoming successful. Whether it was the breezy nature of Poo Pookum Osai or the now legendary dance in Vennilave, there was something for everyone. Rahman crafts a series of tunes that range from devotional to romantic and in Ooh La La La, a song that is just fun. There is not a single song that shows a dip in quality. The entire album is proof of the maestro working at the peak of his powers. This was the first time he worked with Rajiv Menon and every time they get together, we get some magical songs.
In the second part of the AR Rahman series, I will be highlighting what is definitely one of his more underrated soundtracks. When we talk about the 90s and the maestro, we tend to overlook Karuthamma. It showed that he is equally comfortable dealing with folk tunes as he is with anything urban or modern. Variety has long been the hallmark of Rahman’s career and this album is a fantastic example of just that. The film was important as it dealt with the real problem of female foeticide and is made memorable due to the songs that it had. Two of the songs from the film, Thenmerku Paruva Kaatru and Poraale Ponnuthayi remain popular to this day. The enduring quality of his music is something that we have come to associate with the master. If you haven’t heard this album yet, you should give it a try.
The idea for this series: pick ten albums that reflect the genius that is AR Rahman. With 10 days left for his birthday, here are 10 of his best, in my opinion of course. We start with the one that began this legendary career. Roja was a phenomenal debut for the then 25 year old composer. He produced a landmark soundtrack for a landmark film. We got glimpses of the man’s mastery of melody; his ability to create magic with the simplest tunes was and is a joy to listen to. The visuals and the music combine to bring out the feelings of innocence, love, longing and patriotism in an unforgettable manner. The best part about all this was that Roja was just a hint of what was to come. And for that, we are so happy and thankful.