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Rahman proves why he is the Godfather of music

“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse”, said Marlon Brando famously in the cult classic movie Godfather. Now, we aren’t going to the extent of comparing K.S. Ravikumar’s upcoming movie of the same name (starring Ajith and Asin) with arguably the greatest movie of all time (let’s reserve judgment after we have actually seen the film). However, as far as Rahman’s music is concerned, he really has given a score you can’t ignore, if not refuse.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves here…
1. Ilamai (Aslam, Tanvi, Shalini)

The album kicks off with arguably the pick of the lot, Ilamai. This is a very feel-good, fast paced track that immediately makes you shake your head and tap your feet to its infectious beats. No doubt, this is the track that the youth will make their own, and I can just foresee it being blasted off loudspeakers in cars and FM stations. Rahman’s vintage style is evident in this track’s catchy rhythms.
As it has almost become a tradition with all his albums, we also get to hear a remix version of the song by Blaaze. However, the rather-too-short remix does not capture the magic of the original – plus Blaaze’s technically “compressed” voice in the background does get rather annoying.
2. Theeyil Vizhundathey (AR Rahman)

The next song features Rahman himself lending his voice to Theeyil Vizhundathey. This very somber piece of music has heavy Arabic influences, and Rahman’s modulating voice appropriately captures the soulful mood required for the song. But after a few listens, you tend to have the nagging feeling that you have heard a similar song in his own Alaipayuthe.

3. Kaatril (SPB, Sadhana Sargam, Bharadwaj)

Kaatril is a track that features Sadhana Sargam in a very polished performance, along the incomparable voice of S.P. Balasubramanium. This is one of those tracks that you might just ignore on the first listen, but as nearly always with most of his albums, this song “grows” on you after a while.

4. Thothapuram (Kalpana, Sonukakar, Leon James, Peer Mohamed, Ranjith)

Somehow, the song Thothapuram, on the flip side, disappoints – it doesn’t quite strike me as anything out of the ordinary. We have heard songs of this nature a lot of times before in Tamil films, and there is nothing much to talk about. Of course, it is fairly good, but you don’t normally expect Rahman to give “fairly good” songs.

5. Innisai (Naresh, Mahathi)

After Ilamai, the other song which is truly worth Rahman’s name is Innisai. This song features beautifully orchestrated Indian classical music, given a Rahman-esque touch – and that is enough to tell you that this track works big time. The very feel of this song is grandiose and extravagant, and I have the feeling that this track would sound even better when watched on the big screen. Innisai also comes with a remix adaptation, and surprisingly, even the remix is wonderful on the ears.

6. Kamma Karaiyil (Naresh, Sowmiya)

We have Kamma Karaiyil as the final track of the album. This is the sort of “street-smart” song that we have seen so often in Vijay-starrers – however, Vijay didn’t have the luxury to have a genius like Rahman scoring his music. Therefore, even though this genre is well-known, the song is pretty nice to hear – familiar, but refreshingly different. A great way to close a memorable album.

The trouble with reviewing a Rahman album is that you always have to redefine what “good” is. Impressive as that may sound, that’s not always a good thing. We have seen the maestro delivering some of the most unforgettable tracks that Indian cinema has ever heard, so even when he lets his guard down just a tiny little bit, you feel the difference immediately.

So even though Godfather is an otherwise superior album, some purists may argue that it does not reach the elite standard that Rahman has set for himself. That may be true, but compared to the kind of film music that is churned out week after week, Rahman is still leagues ahead of them. This year’s super success with the sublimely beautiful Rang de Basanti showed that Rahman has still not lost his touch – and now Godfather proves it once again.

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