Swades and thoughts on Rahman
On a slightly different note, does A R Rahman produce his best music when it is a patriotic or India-related theme ? Recently, I was listening to the music of Bose (a Shyam Benegal movie on the life of Subhas Chandra Bose, whose release has unfortunately been held up for a long time), where once again, Rahman is in top form. A few compositions from Bose stand out
– Apne Desh ki Mitti, like Yeh Jo Desh, is an evocative number and you cannot help but conjure nostalgic images in your mind while listening to it. In particular, I was touched by the following two lines: “Beete pal chhoone lage hain dil ko aise… Dost rakkhe haath – kandhe pe jaise”
– brilliant use of the orchestra and millitary drums to enhance the patriotic effect in Kadam Kadam Barhay Ja (the unofficial anthem of Bose’s Indian National Army originally composed by Ram Singh) and Hum Dilli Dilli Jayenge (based on Bose’s famous call ‘Delhi-chalo’).
– the orchestral version of Jana Gana Mana in Bose is perhaps one of the most soulful and heartfelt rendering of our national anthem.
While I did not start out this post with the idea of a detailed commentary on the music of Bose as well, I must mention that there are two drawbacks in the sountrack – first is the composition called Durga Puja – it sounded more like a ‘Ganpati-bappa’ procession in Bombay than any Durga puja I have been to. In fact, the drums (‘dhaak’) played during Durga puja is one of the most melodious rhythms you can hear – why Rahman chose to destroy it with a high pitched shehnai is beyond me. Secondly, the use of the lines ‘jodi tor daak shune keu’ written by Tagore in freedom-fighting era Hindi movies has become cliched. It is used in Bose during the song “Tanha Rahee” – but I have to say it blended in nicely with the rest of the song. What irked me though was the use of Nachiketa for singing those lines – was he the only one they could find among vast number of Bengali singers, most with much better voice than this guy ? I would have thought that someone like Srikanta Acharya or Suman would have suited the song much better. Well, thats two Bong-related nitpicking from an otherwise brilliant album for you.
Getting back to my original point, if you consider the songs in the album VandeMataram along with Swades and especially Bose – it does seem that patriotism or perhaps a love for the country inspires Rahman produce great music.