Monday, November 5, 2012

MUSIC REVIEW : MTV UNPLUGGED (A.R RAHMAN)



Rahman begins the episode with “YE JO DES HAI TERA”. That was a smart move to ensure the audience get goosebumps right from the moment the shehnais start. the way ranjit barot changes the song (Deconstructs and reconstructs it, in Rahman’s words) is awesome. The “mitti ki hai jo khushboo” chorus is out of this world. Rahman’s rendition is near perfect. He sings the song with aplomb. The chorus before the second antara again gives you goosebumps. And Rahman escalates the song with his PERFECT tamil rendition. Although I didn’t understand a word of it, it is obvious that Rahman is much more at ease singing tamil lyrics compared to hindi ones. Overall, this was 5 minutes and 14 seconds of pure hair – raising stuff. Special credit to the shehnai players – Omkar dhumal, Raju dhumal, Sunil dhumal, Sanjeev shankar and Ashwani shankar.



“REHNA TU” starts off with an addictive piano loop, the one which was heard even in the behind the scenes video released prior to the episode. With Harmeet Manseta on the piano, Rahman starts the song with a totally new tune and accompanying lyrics. The way he finishes that initial portion with a long aalaap was brilliant. And then he begins with “Rehna tu”. With perfect rendition, Rahman makes extra variations (Especially the one from 3.07 to 3.20 minutes) which sound heavenly. The chorus here needed to be perfect and it does just what was needed. The icing on the cake was the mind blowing violin played by that beautiful lady Ann Marie Simpson which was just goosebumps inducing.  As I was slowly drifting into heaven, the song got over. That was the only complain – it was too short. It would have been more magical had Rahman included the second antara (Haath thaam chalna ho) and the carnatic tune which played in the end of the original song. Nevertheless, this one was superlative, as long as it lasted.


“PHIR SE UDD CHALA” was a killer. Infact I found it better than even the original. With Rahman on the piano and some fabulous guitarsbyKeba Jeremiah, the song is superb from the first second. And then Arun H.K starts – and he totally owns it. I totally forgive him for all the overacting he did in “Ye jo des hai tera” while conducting the orchestra.
The chorus once again is beautiful and mesmerizing, and Rahman’s renditions in between are beautifully done. Arun gets every single note bang on – his modifications, the way he sings with a super smiling face, and the final “Tu tu du” portion which he sings in two scales. This one was outstanding. Plus Ranjit Barot does a superb job playing the  Caj√ɳn (That cuboidal box which Ranjit was playing Click HERE to know more about it)
A special mention to the awesome violin chorus – they do a fab job.



“JAANE TU YA JAANE NA” is Neeti Mohan’s show all the way. After crooning the super “Jiya re” from Jab tak hai jaan, she again enchants you with her vocals and range. She is a joy to listen to. Rahman effectively sings his portions, coordinating with neeti. That portion where he sings “Tu hai, main hoon, bas” along with neeti while smiling at her, instantly brings a smile on our face. And the brilliant jugalbandi between the piano and the violin is just superb. The double bass used seems just apt. That said I didn’t quite love the chorus portions in between. They could have been better. Compared to the remaining episode, this one fares slightly less. Just slightly.


 
“NENJUKULLE” is a song from Mani ratnam’s upcoming tamil film “Kadal”. It is clear that Rahman saves his best for his mentor. While he plays the accordion, Shakthisree Gopalan does the vocals. Together they create MAGIC, literally. This song is vintage Rahman stuff. It is soothing, very melodious and just perfect. Everything seems right about it, even though not a word is understood by me. Maybe that is what Rahman is all about – when he creates music; languages are not taken into account. Only the melody is.


“AAJ JAANE KI ZID NA KARO” is already a classic, as Rahman puts it. This one was a surprise package. No one knew this song was going to be a part of the show. Now I am a big fan of this song. I love both its versions – by Farida Khannum and Asha bhonsle. This one is at par with the other two versions. What probably does the trick is the fact that this is the first male version of the song. And most importantly, Rahman showcases his prowess as a singer superbly. He is flawless be it the low notes or the slightly higher ones in the antara. Here again he plays the accordion and is magnificently assisted by the violin chorus (Again fantastic) and the double bass.

Performing a classic sung by two great people is no easy job, as you have to live upto the standard of the song. And Rahman does just that. I am so GLAD he sung this one. It proves that not only he is the greatest composer of all times, but he is equally great a singer.



 
“DIL SE” was clearly included to showcase Rahman’s deftness and expertise at playing the piano. Maybe that is why we are treated to a two minute piano piece by him after which the original song starts. Infact there is absolutely no connection between this piano beginning and the song – they appear totally disjointed. BUT WHO THE HELL IS COMPLAINING?
There is one more piano piece between the mukhda and antara, which is even better. And this one builds up the climax brilliantly before Rahman begins the antara with “Do pattein pat jhad ke”. Again we see some outstanding instrumentation as the guitar (Keba Jeremiah), double bass (Bidyut Kayal) and piano (Rahman himself) create sheer magic, leading to a rousing finish.



As the final song finishes, we see a visibly delighted Rahman walking up to the centre shyly and concluding the show, thanking and introducing his musicians. It is clear that he has had a great time on the show. The maestro who rarely smiles was in such splendid form that he left us all amazed. It was sheer joy seeing him enjoy every song so much. Maybe that is what made them even better. In fact, I’ve never seen him smile so much ever till now.


But let me tell you sir. You made even us smile. By putting up a fantastic display of your works, and a brilliant new song, you just reminded us why there can be no one like you ever. I lost count of the number of times I got goosebumps during the episode. These songs will be a worthy addition to my post of "Songs which give me goosebumps" 
I have only one thing to say  -


Rehna tu, hai jaise tu…


(A special mention to the entire choir from KM conservatory. You guys were brilliant. And of course that one man who made this episode so magical - Ranjit Barot.)
  

9 comments:

  1. Mind blowing blog .. well compiled!! Rahman Sir thres no 1 like u..

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  2. super duper blog. Thank you

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  3. Hey.. I was looking for something like this.. I actually wanted someone to explain each song with its vast grandeur..i'm such a big arr fan! Blessed r those who got to be a part of such hypnotic event..

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  4. Thanks man . I was looking for this . will look out for u .

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  5. Thanks man . I was looking for this . will look out for u .

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  6. beautiful review brother.... can u ple tell me about the lyrics that ARR sang as the first part in Rehna tu song?

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  7. Nice Blog :)
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    ReplyDelete