On a cold saturday evening, just before going to the University, my friend and I were shuffling with the IPod hoping to hear some good music. The speakers came to life with one of Rahman's greatest muscial Pudhu vellai mazhai from Roja. That's when we had the discussion - Can Rahman ever recreate the magic of Roja? Roja was his first musical and this prodigious talent was identified by another versatile genius - Mani Ratnam. The combination has worked magic ever since, but inspite of a host of other movies for which they joined together - Iruvar, Thiruda Thiruda, Dil Se, Kannathil Muthamittal, Alai Payuthey and Ayutha Ezhuthu, none could come upto the expectations of Roja. Of course, these movies have fantastic music compositions and some of my favourites. Rahman has always delivered the best for Mani Ratnam, but the problem is that his first movie has surged ahead in such dynamic proportions that anything else from Rahman is only considered not even a close but a distant second best.
Roja had the freshness of life. Be it the jingles of Chinna Chinna aasai, or the foot tapping Rukumani Rukumani, or SPB's Kadhal Rojave, Rahman had broken the myth of conservative music. Undoubtedly the best song of the album, Pudhu vellai mazhai, people never knew that such good music could be juxtaposed in cinematic sequences. The music was an instant hit amidst the masses. Rahman had brought out the highest quality of music one could imagine. The cinematography accompanying the musical was nothing short of exemplary.
No wonder, my friend, when he talks of the latest Rahman compositions, he says, Come on! This is nowhere near Roja! That was the first Tamil movie I had seen in the theatre with family and friends simply because of the music. Today Rahman's standards have declined. He is not able to come anywhere close to what he was before.
In a way, my friend may be right, but then you can't get a Roja out of every movie. Definitely, some of Rahman's latest musical have been forgettable. There was a time when only one song in Rahman's album would not be upto the standards but today such songs are increasing in his album. The problem today is everybody is trying to emulate Rahman and that's making Rahman look as if he is getting repetitive. Every person has a Once in a lifetime experience, and Rahman had it in the first instant. Going by my friend, Rahman was at his best for only a single movie in that case!!
Lastly to quote my friend, If Rahman can come up with a composition of Roja's stature atleast once in ten movies, that would be great!
Obviously that would be great, but can Rahman do it?