Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AR Rahman: Or why shower singers like me detest you.

Composer AR Rahman may be raking in the international awards and accolades but he has a lot to answer to the joyful shower singers of the world like me.

Before he trotted up, the vocals (lyrics and singing) dominated the foreground, and the music accompanied from the background. Thus, the words, diction, and poetry made enough of an impression on our nuerons, for them to effortlessly come tumbling out in the shower. Then came Rahman and inversed the equation: the music overwhelmed the foreground, and the lyrics became helpful mumblings from the back.

But does he realise how incredibly difficult it is to sing his mumbles in the shower? My brain simply doesn't retain enough of them.

Besides, the lyricists have caught on to Rahman. Why bother with logical sequencing of words, give a proper subject and object to your poetry, or lend sense - when the mumbles are barely perceptible anyway.

Take for example, Roobaroo from the film Rang De Basanti (2006). Such fabulous music - my heart dived and rose with Rahman's strokes. But singing it is hell. What cues to use to remember its nonsense lyrics? Take para 2 for example:

jo gumshuda-sa khwaab tha
voh mil gaya voh khil gaya
woh loha tha pighal gaya
kichhaa kichhaa machal gaya
sitaar mein badal gaya

Now I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I still can't understand how Prasoon Joshi, the lyricist, connected the gumshuda khwab (dream) in question to bloody pighla loha (melted iron) or turned it into a sitar (a kind of guitar) or what exactly is getting "khiccha khiccha" out here, and pray why. I suspect, he tacked lots of lovely sounding Urdu words - and I bet even shit sounds lovely in Urdu - together in complete faith that no one would notice. Well, guess what. Shower singers do.

Here's another one to give Lewis Carol a run for his money - Aye Udi Udi from Saathiya (2002).

(Aye Udi Udi Udi Aye Khwaaboon Kii Burii
Aye Aang Rang Khelii Aye Saarii Raat Ho Gayi )...(2)
Halkii Aye Halkii Kal Raat Jo Shabnam Girii
Har Akhiyaan Vakiyaan Bhar Gayi Kal To Haath Par Dab Dab Girii
Pahalii Pahalii Baarish Kii Chhiite Pahalii Baarish Bhiige

A hershey's kiss for anyone who can identify the subject of this stanza!

Grrr.. Mr Rahman... a big boo from all the shower singers of the world.

Correction: In an earlier version, I had written that Gulzar was the lyricist of the song Roobaroo. Sorry for the mistake. He deserves credit for the other jem - Aye Udi Udi.

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