ARR Birthday: Revisiting some musical gems by the 'Mozart of Madras'

In the true sense of its techno-pop avatar, Rahman has fuelled the idea of a modern India, global in its ambition.
A.R. Rahman
A.R. RahmanReuters

CHENNAI: A.R. Rahman, the Indian musical maestro known for his soulful music and plethora of awards and honours turned 56 years old on Friday.The 'Mozart of Madras' has been an inspiration to many and his work is a window of his roller coaster journey.

Unusual in more ways than one Rahman has given us albums and melodies that will be etched in everyone's hearts forever. This Avant Grande musician changed not only how music was conceived, but also its practices.

In the true sense of its techno-pop avatar, Rahman has fuelled the idea of a modern India, global in its ambition. As Rahman touched 57 today, let's take a look back at some of his musical gems:

'Chotti Si Aasha' From 'Roja' (1992)

'Roja' is one of Rahman's insanely popular and well-received albums to date. He made a thunderous statement and announced himself into the film music world with a total bang.

Rahman was clearly carving out his space, but he did not dissociate himself from the melodic tradition. The unique style and sound captured the aspiration of India's new music audience.

'Aathangare Marame' From 'Kizhakku Cheemaiyile' (1993)

A. R. Rahman proved with this song that one can be modern but still produce folk songs by using beautiful strums of guitars and flutes. This unbelievable folk and pop fusion song transports the listener to another world beyond words.

The flute and strings before the last verse of this song feel like an almost psychedelic experience in a broader sense.

The Entire Album of Minsaara Kanavu (1997)

Rahman won a National Award for this album and one can't truly describe how extravagant this album sounds. This album is a music lover's delight. This whole album has songs varying from classical to romantic ballads this album is truly an enchanting piece of music.

'Chaiyya Chaiyya'/ 'Dil Se Re' From 'Dil Se' (1998)

These two songs are immensely popular and almost everyone has at least listened to them once. They vary so much in their respective genres. While 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' is a joyous and fun song, 'Dil Se Re' is a song by an infatuated lover-boy and is as haunting as its visuals. Guy Pratt, a member of the band, 'Pink Floyd', played the bass guitar for this song.

The entire album of 'Rang De Basanti' (2006)

To start off, 'Khalbali' is a mind-blowing song from this album with Arabic lyrics to top it all. This album created massive waves at the time of its release and to date remains immensely popular! The entire album must be given a listen to at least once.

'Kun Faya Kun' From 'Rockstar' (2011)

This song is a fusion of Sufi and pop genre music clubbed with marvelous use of guitar. It stands out because it starts as a ghazal and transitions into a ghazal/pop fusion with Mohit Chauhan leading the way and a touch of Rahman's soulful voice in some places.

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