A R Rahman, above all awards…

Sometimes even the highest of awards both nationally and internationally are not enough to appreciate a person’s achievements and contributions, Rahman is one such man. When he gives interviews, his humility sounds like music, his tone is softer than the lowest key-note that he strikes on his keyboard and his determination resonates powerfully. He has been accorded with many titles one of them being “Mozart of Madras” which I find extremely restrictive as his wings have spread to all corners of this world. He was awarded the CNN IBN Indian of the year award yesterday by our Prime Minister and is richly deserving of it.

Rahman is without a doubt a genius and he credits it to his utmost faith in the almighty and belief in himself. Rahman has struggled in his childhood days to make ends meet for his family and joined the maestro Illayaraja as a keyboardist and obtained a scholarship at the prestigious Trinity college of music.It was Rahman’s work in Roja and Mani Ratnam’s belief in his work that opened up a spunky new magical world of music for all of us. He is proficient in carnatic, hindustani , western and quawalli styles of music.I consider his work in “Roja” as his best and it is a pity that his music in Roja was not recognized beyond Indian shores other than finding a place in Time’s ten best soundtracks of all times in 2005. His music in Roja was delightfully fresh and created a benchmark for his own unique style which has been copied in the later years by Harris Jayaraj and GV Prakash. His work in ” Slumdog Millionaire ” is not as splendid as what he had created in “Roja” and “Bombay” and despite it, the soundtracks won him two Oscars, a Golden globe, a BAFTA and is  nominated for two awards at the Grammy’s.

The Oscar acceptance speech of Rahman in his mother tongue tamil “Ella Pugalum Iraivannuke” was a moment of triumph for every Indian who always hoped that one day an Indian could stand tall and proud and win the hallowed award.This speech was also an indication of a man who did not forget his God and his roots in his moment of glory. He stated that the choices he made in life were instrumental for who he has gone on to become. This is what he said at that triumphant moment”I just want to thank again the whole crew of Slumdog Millionaire, especially Danny Boyle for giving such a great opportunity. And the whole, all the people from Mumbai. The essence of the film which is about optimism and the power of hope in the lives, and all my life I had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I’m here. God bless.”

May Rahman continue to spread his love and music and may we always remain under his spell. Here are a few favorite music videos of his. The first one is our national anthem where he has brought together scores of musicians to create an absolute masterpiece and when the nightingale Latha Mangeshkar utters the first line, there is nothing one can do but surrender with pride.

Click here for ARR official site 


9 Responses to “A R Rahman, above all awards…”

  1. Anand Khare Says:

    I have been a fan of Rehmaan also. Tu hee re of Roja and kehna hi kya of Bombay (Mumbai lest MNS takes notice of it) remains my all time favouite.

    Dont you feel he has become repeatitive of late.

    Love & regards,


    • Thanks for your comment Anand, I think he has his own style which becomes a trademark of all great musicians, sometimes the style comes through very sharply and one feels there is not much change in the score. My limited knowledge though.

  2. From a music whiz kid to a maestro, Rahman has indeed come a long, long way. You are absolutely right; he is music great even if you discount all those awards.

  3. Dear Sharmila,

    Thank you for posting AR Rahman’s Jan Gan Man – it was simply beautiful !

    Surprisingly I rcvd the flwg in an email today
    IS THIS TRUE FACTS??? Please tell me

    ‘Jana Gana Mana’ – Just a thought for the National Anthem! How well do you know it?

    Our national anthem, ‘Jana Gana Mana’, is sung throughout the country. Did you know the following about it? I didn’t. I have always wondered who is the ‘Adhinayak’and ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’, whose praise we are singing. I have always thought it might be Motherland India!

    To begin with, Jana Gana Mana, was written by Rabindranath Tagore in honor of King George V and the Queen of England when they visited India in 1919. To honour their visit, Pandit Motilal Nehru had five stanzas included that are in praise of the King and Queen. (And most of us think it is in praise of our great motherland.)

    In the original Bengali verses only those provinces that were under
    British rule, i.e., Punjab, Sindh,Gujarat, Maratha, were mentioned. None of the princely states, which are integral parts of India now, such as Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra, Mysore and Kerala, were recognized.

    Neither the Indian Ocean nor the Arabian Sea were included because they were directly under Portuguese rule at that time.
    Jana Gana Mana implies that King George V is the lord of the masses and Bharata Bhagya Vidhata, or ‘the bestower of good fortune’.

    Here is a translation of the five stanzas that glorify the King.
    Stanza 1: The (Indian) people wake up remembering your good name and ask for your blessings and they sing your glories (Tava shubha name jaage; tava shubha aashish maage, gaaye tava jaya gaatha)

    Stanza 2: Around your throne, people of all religions come and give their love and anxiously wait to hear your kind words.

    Stanza 3: Praise to the King for being the charioteer, for leading the
    ancient travellers beyond misery.

    Stanza 4: Drowned in deep ignorance and suffering, this poverty stricken, unconscious country? Waiting for the wink of your eye and our mother’s (the Queen’s) true protection.

    Stanza 5: In your compassionate plans, the sleeping Bharat (India) will wake up. We bow down to your feet, O Queen, and glory to Rajeshwara
    (the King).

    This whole poem does not indicate any love for the Motherland, but depicts a bleak picture of it. When you sing Jana Gana Mana, whom are you
    glorifying? Certainly not the Motherland. Is it God? The poem does not
    indicate that. It is time now to understand the original purpose and the
    implication of this, rather than blindly sing as has been done the past
    60 years.

    Maybe we should shift to Vande Mataram or Saare Jahan Se Achcha,
    which are far better compositions in praise of India.

    What are your views pls ??


  4. Veekay – Thanks for this comment, I have heard about this story doing the rounds a few years back. Frankly, no body besides Tagore knew the meaning in 1911 when he was first said to have composed it. Whether he referred certain words to the motherland , God or King George V / Queen Victoria ( prior ) is something only he knows and took it with him to his grave in 1941. What is more important is the interpretation we as citizens of this democracy have accorded it in 1950 .To us it remains our highest form of tribute to this motherland.

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