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Getting to know Raavan better through these songs

Last updated on: June 11, 2010 14:15 IST

Getting to know Raavan better through these songs

Arthur J Pais in New York

At the beginning of their new collaboration Raavan, director Mani Ratnam told composer A R Rahman and writer Gulzar the theme song for the movie ought to reflect the way he would interpret the film's central character, Rahman recalled the other day.


The song Beera beera is sung by Vijay Prakash with an African singer Mustafa Kutone providing the chanting. "Like the character in the Ramayana, the key character in the film is a complex and brilliant character," Rahman recalled recently.


"But Mani Sir also said that it will be portrayed different from the usual image." There will be more of an exploration of the character than a judgmental portrait, the composer said.


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Image: The Making of Raavan


Getting to know Raavan better through these songs

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The bilingual movie (Hindi and Tamil) has songs reflecting various moods the characters undergo. "Each song, like in Mani Sir's previous film is situational," Rahman said.


The romantic number Ranjah Ranjah has a second version, he said. "I don't know which one Mani wants to use," he said two weeks ago. "The second version is wilder," he added with a chuckle. It is sung by Ila Arun and Richa Sharma.


The music of Raavan has commanded a lot of attention because of its unusual sounds (like African chants) and tunes some of which are catchy and some tunes that will slowly grow.


Of course, there are fans and critics who will measure the album against other Rahman-Ratnam collaborations including Bombay and Dil Se. Some of them might find it wanting. But Rahman asserts it is one of the most wide-ranging scores he has ever composed.


Many critics agree with him.

'On the whole, the album is a musical treat and impresses thoroughly,' wrote The Hindustan Times. 'Away from the usual psychedelic beats and run-of-the-mill compositions, the music of Raavan shows that Rahman is truly a maestro and when he teams up with Gulzar and Mani Ratnam, the result is pure magic.'

Image: Ranjah Ranjah

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Getting to know Raavan better through these songs

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Rahman has worked for Raavan with half dozen singers ranging from Javed Ali, who is one of the highlights of the new Rahman concerts) to Vijay Prakash who gets a bigger break here than in Yuvraaj and Reena Bharadwaj who sings a very soft song.

Among the better known songs she has sung for Rahman is the number Yeh Rishtey for the MF Husain directed Meenaxi. Though the film tanked, the song caught on.


According to journalist Taran Adarsh, Rahman had heard Reena's voice on a tape and called her for an audition to his studio apartment in London and recorded the scratch version in his kitchen' Adarsh adds: 'Although this might sound a little amateurish it's not!'


Rahman says Reena Bharadwaj has been grossly neglected by the movie industry.


"She is a very talented singer but since she was living in London, many people here assumed she is not easily available for their films," he said. "People did not even an idea she has been spending most of her time in Mumbai." This song should give her a new  profile, he said.


Not many producers want songs like Khilli re, he continued. "It is a soft number," he said. "These days you don't hear many songs like that. I had offered Mani over a dozen tunes. He had the courage to pick up this tune."

Image: Khilli re

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Getting to know Raavan better through these songs

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The Tamil version of Raavan has the same tunes sung by such singers as Benny Dayal and Shreya Ghosal.

Ranjha Ranjha which has a sensuous air is sung by Javed Ali and Rekha Bharadwaj. The former, who has been struggling to get good assignments for over a decade, has sung a handful of awesome songs for Rahman in the hit movies Jodhaa Akbar, Delhi 6 and Ghajini.

And Bharadwaj's Genda Phool in Delhi 6 was yet another off-beat song by the composer that was superbly rendered. The lyrics of the opening lines of the song Ranjah Ranjha is adapted from Sufi saint and poet Bulleh Shah's Ranjha Ranjha Kardi

"There is rich and thoughtful poetry in Sufi literature," Rahman said. "I draw a lot inspiration from Sufi poetry and I love the lyricists who write inspired by Sufi poetry."   

Kata Kata is one of those numbers in the film that will not seduce the listeners immediately. However, the number by Ila Arun, Sapna Awasthi and Kunal Ganjawala.has a lot of energy and is reportedly used with a spirited dance as the backdrop.

Image: Kata Kata

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