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Tuesday, September 7

A.R. Rahman, CWG Anthem and some little facts

People dwelling in the mystic affluent seats-of-power in South Delhi possess some unique proficiencies. They have an incandescent knack of displacing their depressing shortcomings and failures to the ones around them. We all know that for a fact, and A.R. Rahman the last person to learn the lesson the hard way.

image courtesy

The brewing issue is around the Anthem created for the imminent practical-joke-of-the-decade Common Wealth Games, composed by the Academy Award winning music-genius, has been panned and ridiculed by some quarters, most of the noise made by ailing politicians and organizers associated with the CWG. The media pronounced their verdict next moment the song was released and the twitter-facebook freaks also released themselves for free.

Some TV Channel even went on to say "After Kalmadi, now A.R. Rahman lets us down with the CWG Anthem". Well, wtf!

Ok agree. 'Jiyo, utho, bado, jeeto' is not the best of the best from Rahman. But it is nevertheless a hugely inspiring and enjoyable song, which would very well symphonize with the audience, participants and the atmosphere at CWG.

CWG Theme Song by arrahman

The knee-jerk reactions from some of the 'fans' have shocked me. I think many have watched the video through one eye and listened to the song with one ear and then jumped into the social networks. Well, everyone has an opinion. The question is how fair is the general review on aggregates?

We badly need a Rotten Tomato for our Indian songs.

Some of the 'noteworthy' criticisms are:

The tune fails to lift up the 'sagging' spirits of Common Wealth Games. V.K. Malhotra, the CWG Organising Committee member & IOA Vice-Resident (Newslink)

Well, a big lol to that! As if its all Rahman's fault that the spirits are sagged. I'm sure the music has enough in  it to create and sustain the air at CWG; I'm not talking about clearing the ppm levels of New Delhi atmosphere. Those still 'sagged' can go around looking at the stadia, Games Village, roads, footpaths, toilets, press venues, athletes failing dope-tests et al to lift up the spirits.

This CWG anthem and the New Delhi International Airport are the ONLY two things which are/ will be ready before the opening ceremony. Isn't that in itself a huge achievement? :D  Sorry, but I think sardonic criticisms deserve similar responses.

Rahman charged Rs. 50million (5 crore) for the music. It took Rahman and Mehboob (the lyricist) 6 moths to create the anthem

A.R. Rahman is a professional. He lives on his music and this is not a free world. He pockets a paycheck of a cool 10 crores for a film work and spends months on a job. Its not a surprise secret only known outside yesterday. The CWG organizers knew all about it when they approached him.

And I'd like to know from the 5-crore-6-month whiners if this is the only hefty bill the taxpayer has been burdened with. Don't get me started on Kalmadi and his poppycock 1000 crore airhouses which will probably be completed just before Planet Nibiru arrives in 2012.

At least Rahman will pay income tax on that 5 crores goddamnit!

Rahman has churned out a rather mediocre score, a far cry from the Bollywood masala stuff he is used to creating.

To be very honest, the song didn't fully catch my imagination when I first heard it last week. But you know this one thing about A.R.Rahman. His songs are not instantly likeable. You hear it, then you listen to it, then you listen to it again and without even you knowing it you start liking it and the next day morning you're humming it already!

As per my understanding a Bollywood hip-shaker for Shah Rukh, Deepika and co is not what something like a Commonwealth Anthem needs. The song's main catchy-phrase foot-tapper jiyo-uto is good enough to elevate the adrenaline and create a feel of the competitions.

I'm reminded of the clueless Rajnikanth fans who attacked Rahman's house when 'Padayappa' songs were released, accusing him of creating sub-standard tunes unfitting the 'superhero'. It made headlines all over India. 'Padayappa' went on to break all chart records.

Rahman has plagiarized his own song 'Ramta Jogi' from Taal for the CWG Song. The lines as well as the composition are stolen from another context.   - Sadanad Menon on Outlook India

Mr. Menon finds the lyrics too 'bollywood-ish' and 'fake', which could be an argument for another day. But about the 'Ramta jogi' citation, did he? I watched the classic hit-score again. Am I the only one who can't find any obvious similarities?

Rahman is not the kind of person who'd take the country for a ride by not putting 100% into the song. Surely someone who created 'Maa tujhe salaam', 'yeh jo desh hai tera' and 'vande maataram' needn't prove himself over and over again. And to accuse him of overcharging and letting down the nation by just lifting his own score is not a minor accusation.

The song is not upto mark compared with Shakira's "waka-waka" for FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Some people even brought in the Final Countdown -Europe for 'analysis'!

Well wtf fellas. Seriously, Shakira's song became more popular than any other official theme song is another thing but when did we start comparing music at different levels? I've never heard anyone comparing a Mohammad Rafi song to an Elvis Presley number or an R.D Burman score to an MJ rap. Comparing music of different genres is just utter comic.

Isn't it insulting for a globally recognized composer to be suggested that he kill his creativity and morph out something from what a Western performer dished out a few months back? Where is the national identity and pride we boast about?

And hold it there. Just go on and see how much flak Shakira has gathered for 'waka waka' in the beginning. Go. 'waka waka' wasn't a 10/10 from Minute #1 but you developed a liking for it over time. Jiyo, utho isn't a tenner either (in my opinion) but pretty much close to it.

And those who wanted 'waka-waka' in its exact form and style may please wait a few months. I'm sure Pritam will bring it to Bollywood, with credits due forgotten.

[Post Edit] That 'waka waka' itself is an old Cameroon band may be a minor detail for Rahman bashers. Shakira has made it global, credits to her! Click to hear the original 'waka waka'. (Thanks to Deepak for bringing it to our attention)

Out of pure curiosity, how much would the critics give the 'Slumdog Millionaire' songs which brought 2 Oscars and Grammy to India and brought the whole world singing behind Rahman? Nobody in their right senses would ever rate it above Iruvar, Rangeela, Roja, Swades, Vande Maataram et al. Same way, we may not be too impressed by the score but this is for the good part of 63 nations to listen to.

We're all entitled to our opinions but here the politicians and press have just blown the trivial downside of the song, right out of proportion. Some clever propaganda has succeeded in shifting the focus from the real losers of CWG to A.R. Rahman.

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