Itâ€™s raining Rahman all over the worldâ€¦and I absolutely love it! If you thought that 2008 was a groundbreaking year for the Madras Mozart (5 Hindi OSTs, 1 Tamil OST, 1 International OST), then youâ€™ll be completely stupefied by how Rahman has lit the blaze of 2009. Last week, Rahman brought glory to the homeland by roping in Hollywoodâ€™s prestigious Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for Slumdog Millionaire. Now, just half a month into the new year, and Rahman picks up right where he left off with another spectacular score in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehraâ€™s much anticipated DELHI-6.
Many believe, myself included, that Rahman will undoubtedly raise the greatest trophy of them all â€“ the Oscar â€“ come February for his unprecedented mastery in Slumdog Millionaire. But even I was skeptical towards Rahmanâ€™s ability to continually work at such an incredibly high level. Heâ€™s quick to put any and all doubts to rest. DELHI-6 is just as rich, just as powerful, and just as awe-inspiring as his work in Slumdog Millionaire. As we take the timeless stroll down the streets of Delhi-6, let us rejoice in the phenomenon that is RAHMANIA.
Bhor Bhaye is classical bliss in the purest of forms. Rahman is in rare form, as he dazzles with his mastery over the mesmerizingly poetic textures of authentic Indian Classical music â€“ a genre that once used to fuel his critics. The piece is poured through a classical lense, laced formidably by the tabla and harmonium. While Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan provides tremendous support, it is Shreya Ghoshal who never fails to amaze. Her classical rendition is flawless in its control, range, and sweetness. Furthermore, her syrupy sweet texture serves as a wholesome foil to the other two more classically-rooted vocal tones. Verdict: The Rahman-Shreya collaboration attains musical nirvana yet again!
Masakali is a musical wonder in respect to its melodic and rhythmic treatment. Rahman is a truly globalized musician. He proves it yet again with the whirlwind of sounds that grace our senses in this composition. Letâ€™s first delve deeper into Rahmanâ€™s diversely arranged rhythm. When we deconstruct it, youâ€™ll find that Rahman utilizes much Arabic percussion â€“ an element that is highly characteristic of Rahmanâ€™s music. Yet, he toys with the tempo, tweaks the structure, uniquely layers the percussion elements, and miraculously we are in the midst of an Arabic sound with a Latin flavor in the rhythm. It is this seamless liquefying of sound that gives Rahman an edge that few, if any, are able to compete with. Staying with the arrangements, Rahman restricts himself from altering them too much as the song unfolds. It makes sense considering how richly animated the melody is above it all. However, the arrangements are beautifully sprinkled by a few highlights of acoustic riffs and the playful strums of the accordion (or slight variation thereof), both of which casually appear throughout this breath-taking number.
Moving up into the melody, Rahman completely reinvents himself yet again! Although extremely fresh and breezy from afar, the melody is addictively wild and free from structure. Of course, this genius is not shy when it comes to breaking traditional musical norms. The more Rahman challenges standards, the more challenging it is for his singers to keep up at the same ridiculously high level of quality. Yet, thatâ€™s exactly what vocalist Mohit Chauhan does! Working last with Rahman in â€śKhoon Chalaâ€ť (Rang De Basanti), Mohit Chauhan proves himself worthy of yet another Rahmantic piece. Lacking a sturdy structure to conform to, Chauhan releases all inhibitions with his free-style rendition. Lyrically, Prasoon Joshi uses his mastery over imagery to convey romance as if it were being discovered for the very first time. Verdict: An absolutely splendid composition from the very depths of its rhythmic makeup to the breezy heights of its colorfully vibrant melody.
Noor is a beautifully written spiritual poem by Prasoon Joshi, rendered powerfully by Amitabh Bachchan. With no musical elements involved, the poem speaks on the all-pervading Supreme Being. One must look within to find comfort in his light. If one loves the Almighty, then he should love every soul. Verdict: This poem only reaffirms Prasoon Joshiâ€™s status as one of the nationâ€™s most talented poets/lyricists.
Genda Phool is a stylish track that features some WICKED beats in the arrangements! I said in the previous track that â€śI was disappointedâ€ť by the fact that Rekha Bharadwajâ€™s vocals werenâ€™t highlighted by Rahman. Now honestly speaking, how often does Rahman disappoint? Exactly. Rekha Bharadwaj DOES feature in Genda Phool, a number that is unlike anything youâ€™ve ever heard in your life! Despite an intriguingly catchy melody, it is the heavy and deep techno beats in the arrangements that get your soul thumping and body bouncing. Bharadwajâ€™s lead vocals provide a rustic feel that adds to the songâ€™s unconventional sound. Interestingly enough, I should also note that Rajat Dholakia is co-credited with the music of this song. Verdict: GROUNDBREAKING!
Dil Gira Dafatan is a soul-stirring musical masterpiece! Iâ€™m at a complete loss for words to describe the ravishing nature of this spectacular work of art. First off, letâ€™s look at the sensational surprise â€“ vocalist Ash King, who makes a stunning film debut with Dil Gira Dafatan. This UK born singer has been breaking new ground for the Indian Music Community and has collaborated with such esteemed International artists as R. Kelly (USA), rapper Flawless (UK), and singer Ramzi Sleiman (Lebanon). However, his vocal brilliance has never glistened more than it has in Dil Gira Dafatan (a phenomenon most Rahman singers undergo). Although similar in texture to Javed Ali, Kingâ€™s style is miles apart â€“ which he impressively proves in the opening minute alone.
Now moving over to the Geniusâ€¦Rahmanâ€™s treatment is awe-inspiring. Be it the timidly crafted romantic melody, the tender vocal interludes by Chinmayee, or the riveting acoustic riffs, Dil Gira Dafatan is a musical miracle. Soon enough, the composition explodes with the synergistic blend of bagpipes, violins, strings, and percussion. Prasoon Joshiâ€™s lyrical ingenuity matches Rahmanâ€™s invincibility surprisingly well. Verdict: Itâ€™s as if Iâ€™m hearing music for the very first timeâ€¦
Hey Kaala Bandar picks up where much of Ghajiniâ€™s OST left off. Heavy on the techno beats and strong bass lines, this song leans heavily on attitude and style. Rendered by Karthik, Naresh, Srinivas, and Bonny Chakravarthy, the music is fairly one-dimensional in the arrangements. Flooded with rap interludes, it provides little satisfaction for lovers of highly melodic music. Verdict: Itâ€™s a great song that fits its genre, but will be highly over-shadowed by all the other more poetic and distinctive compositions that decorate the soundtrack of Delhi 6.
The title song, Delhi 6, is another song filled with attitude, flair, and style. Structured along the lines of a techno/synth hip-hop composition, Delhi 6 is highly enjoyable. Flooded with heart-pounding synths, vintage guitar, and other innovative sounds, the situational number should really blossom on screen. Blaaze and Benny Dayal infuse the song with high-octane vocals, while Vivienne Pocha, Tanvi, and Claire add a variety of vocal flavors to this intense piece. Verdict: A heavy track that will keep you on the edge of your seatâ€¦
Arziyan is a humbling close to an extraordinary soundtrack by Indiaâ€™s greatest composer of all-time. Rahman blesses us with yet another personal take on the qawwali. The composition is appropriately very simple in the arrangements â€“ tabla, harmonium, and light guitar laces. It is the emotionally liberating melody and the stunning chemistry between vocalists Javed Ali and Kailash Kher that make this song a true masterpiece. Rahmanâ€™s melody is easily the greatest asset of this song - filling your heart with such calmness and euphoria. Prasoon Joshiâ€™s ode to God is a spiritual awakening of sorts. Verdict: The touching beauty of this qawwali will bring tears to your eyesâ€¦
The aural splendor of DELHI-6â€™s score is one that escapes superlatives. Rahmanâ€™s varied approach and stylized compositions provide rare insight into the deepest corners of musical nirvana. Yet at the same time, they all carry that special Rahmantic touch that cannot be seen, nor heardâ€¦it must be felt. From the classically enlightened ambiance of Bhor Bhaye to the globalized rhythms of Masakali, from the sultry smooth treatment of Dil Gira Dafatan to the beautifully reinvigorated qawwali of Arziyan â€“ Rahmanâ€™s Delhi 6 is a potpourri of shimmering brilliance that emerges amidst a milieu of vibrating sensations.
One can only marvel at this gifted manâ€™s musical wizardry. But the scary part isâ€¦after two decades, it is still just the beginning.