A typical grudge or grouse against ARR is – Oh he was so great in the 90s! But later lost his touch. This comment perplexes me every single time I see or hear it! Well how and why would a dynamic and creative person keep doing the same thing again and again for over three decades! People grow, they evolve, they see new horizons… their role changes! With every successful climb a new pinnacle beckons them.
The sound technology has changed and the filmmaking landscape has changed too. ARR has grown beyond just doing soundtracks for films. He has done singles, anthems, theme tracks. He has invested in creating a world class music conservatory and he is now producing creative content in the audio-visual world. Yes ARR of 90s had a distinctly melodious touch… Some called it repetitive too. Has he lost that touch? Did everything he composed in the 90s was mellifluous? One needs to understand that he composes music for films and every story has different rasas and myriad of emotional expressions. So lets have a quick scan at some of the most melodious tracks he created beyond 90s
Pachai Nirame – Alaipayuthey 2000 -Amazing tune … divine flute … an arrangement that creates an ambiance
O Palanhare – Lagan 2001 – prayer song – calm and soothing track with Lata Mangeshkar, Sadhana Sargam, Udit Narayan singing with depth … bells tinkle and rhythm builds up …
Mera Rang De Basanti – The Legend of Bhagat Singh 2002 – not a romantic song but a melody that brings out eclectic mix of emotions … Manmohan Waris and Sonu Nigam deliver a powerful rendition – perfect to celebrate the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh ji
Apko Mujhe Gila – Tehzeeb 2003 – A film that perhaps did not do very well but the music was very well crafted … flute, piano backing and Madhushree singing a soulful song penned by Javed Akhtar
Ye jo des hai tera – Swades 2004 – Beautiful Shehnai that paints beautiful Indian landscape and the longing for being with the motherland has touched many hearts. ARR’s rustic singing … deep … evocative
Ayo re sakhi – Water 2005 – Another film that perhaps should have done better on the box office but ARR has given his 200% in composing this track. Sukhwinder sings unusually soft along with beautiful santoor by Pt Ulhas Bapat and Sadhana Sargam is pitch perfect as usual. Effectively arranged strings, side rhythms, piano backing and the tempo on Khol makes this a perfectly produced song
Lukka Chhupi – Rang De Basanti 2006 – One of the most memorable mother-son duet of the recent times … ARR sings along with Latadidi … very simple song but difficult not to have moist eyes while listening!
Aye hairathe ashiqui – Guru 2007 – ARR Maniratnam combo is a different flavour of music. A playful song with conversational lyrics and amazing accordion make this one my favourite.
Kahne ko jashn-e-bahara – Jodhaa Akbar 2008 – Power packed music for a biopic of big scale but this romantic track is melodious and again simple in character. Javed Ali sings this one with almost a romantic smile.
Dil gira dafatan – Delhi6 2009 – Ash King sings this unusual song! amazing guitars
Behne De – Raavan 2010 – Gulzar+ARR+Maniratnam combo … I love this song for amazing arrangements … how the amplitude levels change … and of course Santosh Sivan’s cinematography
Some more tracks! in part 2 …. all the way to 2019