Sunday, January 17, 2010

Indian of the Year 2009 - A R Rahman!

The verdict is out. Indian of the Year 2009 poll I conducted in my blog ended today. To my disbelief, over 600 people cast their votes. The winner with 203 votes is none other than Oscar award winning music director from our country AR Rahman. He polled 33% of the total votes. Sachin Tendulkar came second with 121 votes (20%). The former chairman of ISRO Dr G Madhavan Nair came third with 82 votes (13%). The three politicians in the list Sonia Gandhi (12%), Dr Manmohan Singh (11%) and Dr Shashi Tharoor (11%) came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. Here are the final results.

I asked few of the ardent fans of AR Rahman to write about him and here is a compilation of their thoughts…


A PhD student in Electrical Engineering in Arizona State University, he is one of the ardent fans of AR Rahman I have ever seen.

The album 'Taal' was what made me a Rahman fan. His earlier songs like Roja, Chikku bukku from Gentleman or Humma Humma from Bombay did have an impact too. I remember waiting for that evening program in DD Malayalam which used to show Tamil songs...just to see these songs...forgot the name of the program. But that time, I was just too young to really take note of Music composers and all, I just enjoyed those songs. When 'Taal' released in uncle bought the cassette and I used to play it almost every day after coming from school in the stereo we had at home. Around that time we bought our first computer at home and I somehow convinced my parents to buy the Audio CD of Taal. Audio CD's costed around Rs. 200-250 back then ! That was my first Audio CD ever!! I still have it at home in Kannur inside what used to be my study table :P. During that time, there was one shop in Kannur which used to rent out audio CD's from where I got hold of most of his previous hits like Dilse, Vande Mataram etc. I ripped the CD's into MP3's and slowly built my collection (yes, ripping CD's to Mp3's did exist then in India, thanks to this computer magazine called CHIP which I used to subscribe). At some point during my Undergrad I decided not to copy or download any Rahman albums. From that point I used to buy the CD's and of course almost always that used to be the first source for Rahman's music in my college hostel. Within few hours the Mp3's would have spread through the hostel LAN. My justification for buying Rahman CD's but downloading songs by any other composers was that Rahman is the only composer who deserves my money :P. I stuck to that ideal for many years...however, I admit that I have opened up to buying CD's by other composers now.

Now...about Rahman. I would say its pure innovation and an ability to reinvent himself that puts him way above any other music composers. That is one reason why he is still at the top and still able to compose something new. If you listen starting from Roja in a chronological order to the latest 'Blue' , you will find that his style has evolved a lot. One example would be the melodies he compose, he started of with very simple yet catchy melodies in Roja, Pudhiya Mugham etc. and now his melodies have evolved into way more complex compositions that actually takes few listening to grow on you. The fact the many of his compositions take time to grow on you is another interesting aspect. Some of his albums, there will be couple of numbers which will be catchy and in my case, I like them from the very beginning and there will be few others which I find interesting or new but not very likeable in the first few listening. But eventually, those tend to grow on me and become my favorites in that album for a long time to come. Example would be Boys. I liked the song 'Girlfriend' and 'Boom Boom' in the very first listening as they were catchy on the other hand 'Secret of Success' didn't really strike me at first. But over time, 'Secret of Success' became my favorite and I rate it has one his best compositions. I think it’s because if something is really new your mind takes some time to comprehend the melodies and nuances of it, whereas something more predictable will be instantly catchy. Same reason why the instantly catchy ones doesn't stay in your mind for a long time. It holds true for all those formula type item numbers many composers churn out !

Comparisons to other composers won't do justice to someone like Rahman because I believe there can be only one such composer in a particular period of time and he is just beyond comparison. I do consider Ilaiyaraja, Raveendran etc as great composers too but just that they belong to a different era 'before' Rahman, so its unfair to them and to Rahman to do any comparison. People like Rahman don't follow any particular current trend, but instead they make their style the trend and other just follow that trend.

Venkata Jeetender

A Civil Engineer by profession and working as an Environmental Engineer in Phoenix, Arizona. Good knowledge of music and dreams of himself becoming an actor one day.

It was the year 1997, a very special year for every Indian on the planet. India was celebrating its 50th year of being independent. Being an Indian, I would say I knew the significance of Vande Maataram, meaning "Homage to you O Mother", the Indian national song. In an era when people began forgetting its significance, along came A R Rahman with his own homage to our motherland, the album named Vande Maataram. Sure he had bigger commercial hits as a musician by then such as Roja, Gentleman etc., but Vande Maataram needs a special mention. It changed the thinking of the many a person, mine included, towards patriotism and of course highlighted the anniversary. It is a great ode to a great country.

What surprised me the most in the album was the singer hidden in him. Since then, I have followed his music with great respect and admiration. One of my most favorite Rahman songs is the one Lukka Chuppi. Notice the ease with which Rahman scores level with Lataji, one of the all time greats of Indian Cinema, and then does one better when he veers off into a solo at about 5 minutes into the song. Another one is Yeh Jo Des from Swades, speaking of which it is one of the movies with a great background score, one which really tugs at your heart.

Speaking of his international fame Slumdog .. received many a accolade for the song Jai Ho. No disrespect to Rahman but I wouldn’t certainly rate that as his best composure. Saying that the Oscar can be presumed to be a recognition of his work in the 15 years of music. And to make things better it did bring the nation the most awaited recognition, one which we were never able to achieve even with the works of the famous Satyajit Ray, For m no doubt he is the Indian of the Year for 2009.


Bhavya is in her senior year at ASU pursuing her undergrad in Chemical Engineering. She herself is a blessed singer.

I remember watching Roja when I was five or six, and amidst all the terrorism, and violence in the movie, all I could really comprehend and take out, was the heavenly music! The music, even appealed to a young me, and I kept humming 'chinna chinna aasai' for days to come. I think that is the power of Rahman's music. That it can solicit both, young and old, men and women, alike. The youth usually think of Rahman as their favorite party music, dance music, the upbeat tunes are very catchy. His other melodious works are appreciated by the older crowd, although I think, Rahman is majorly a youth icon. But still, I can say that his music is universal, proved by his recent Oscar win. His tunes are very uplifting...I always go back to some Rahman, when I am down, and I am instantly elated. Time and again he has proved his brilliance, and I think he really is a musical genius, as he really knows to touch people's hearts with his work.


A friend of mine through twitter. His bio in twitter reads - I live @present and enjoy this beautiful life every second of it, reader, dreamer, thinker, humanitarian, loves history, News and Movies.

“All my life I had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I'm here. God bless”. These were the exact words used by the great musician, in his Oscar acceptance speech which shows how humble he is. Every song composed by him carries unconditional love and some magic in it - People call him Mozart of Chennai. I listen to Mozart compositions too; some times I feel Rahman is a better composer.

I listen to wide range of music and all kinds of genre of music but while I listen to Rahman’s composition it makes me feel very special. I even thanked God many occasions for giving me gift of listening to Rahman’s compositions, all he knows is music and nothing else, for a person whose life is music and nothing else matters Oscars are just a milestones. Above all he stays in Peoples heart forever and ever and Expressing in word why I like him is just impossible for me..


An Avid blogger, music buff, film student, dramatist, writer and an activist - this is what his twitter profile says about him. He works as a software engineer in India for a living. He dreams of becoming a world renowned director one day.

There can be no Man or Women

Who might try to abjure Rahman

There is not even a single layman

Who misses the breeze produced by the Shenoy from the Shaman (More of Raghu on AR Rahman)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A R Rahman Oru THAMIZHAN Enbethil Perumai Adaikiren.

January 17, 2010 2:54 PM  
Blogger opsudrania said...

This shows you the average IQ of people in India. If you go to a city or town, it is easy to locate a spot if you relate it to a Cinema Hall. They are totally oblivious of the outside world.

Unfortunately, the filming of the whole picture itself was, and quite rightly, embroiled in the controversy from the very inception. I am not against the film or its theme; but who filmed it and 'Why', is the big question mark, needing to be discussed.

Had Rahman refused it, I would have called him the biggest hero of the millenium. But our brand Macaulay clouds our intellect.

Dr. O. P. Sudrania

January 18, 2010 11:19 AM  
Blogger Vinoo said...

...program in DD Malayalam which used to show Tamil songs... - is Thirai Malar

January 19, 2010 1:39 AM  
Anonymous AC Shophi said...

A R Rahman is greast man ,he is hero of the millenium

great blog. this blog is really amazing.
nice post. keep updating!

January 20, 2010 5:17 AM  

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