As you revisit Vasanth’s Rhythm, it is tough to imagine that it was made twenty years ago. A sensitive, moving portrait about two people who lose their partners in an accident, Rhythm’s charm is intact. 2020 also marks the completion of 30 years as a filmmaker for Vasanth. I ask him about his evolution as a filmmaker, and he replies, “Have I evolved?” with a laugh. “With age, I notice that I understand the same story differently. Life experiences have opened doors to new perspectives. Human being a evolve aana thaan correct.”
Sid Sriram, Kollywood’s current singing sensation, began his career with the breathtaking Adiye, composed by AR Rahman for Mani Ratnam’s Kadal (2013). And now, six years later, the young musician is all set to make his composer debut with a Mani Ratnam production, Vaanam Kottatum. It seems Sid’s career has come full circle. “A small circle,” he says, with a quiet laugh. “At the start, I was just excited to be working on this project and about interacting with Mani sir in the capacity that I am now. I later realised the significance of my first song and it really feels like it has all come full circle,” Sid.
National award-winning Shashaa Tirupati is back in the news for her portions in Singapenney, composed by AR Rahman for Vijay’s Bigil, which has been making waves on the internet. No stranger to Tamil music or Rahman, Shashaa says that the love Singapenney has fetched her is quite gratifying. “More than the solos, when someone appreciates the small things you do, it is a huge form of appreciation. Overnight, I had two-three thousand more followers on social media,” she says with a happy laugh.
It might have been a year and a half since we last heard Darshana KT in Meyaadha Maan (Nee Mattum Podhum) and Mom (Maufi Mushkil), but the Madhuraiku Pogathadi singer is poised to make a comeback with a song in Suriya’s Kaappaan, which has music by Harris Jeyaraj. “It is my first song with Harris sir,” begins Darshana, her excitement quite evident in her sweet voice. Quite comfortable singing songs and harmonies for AR Rahman and chorus for Ilaiyaraaja, the singer says the call from Harris Jeyaraj’s office was quite a surprise.
As Rajiv Menon talks, it is fascinating to see how he seamlessly eases into a tune or two in between the silences. “There is Thaalam in everything. Sita Kalyanam, a song sung at Brahmin weddings, is the same raaga as Kuttanadan Punjaiyile, a song sung by men at boat races,” he explains. This omnipresence of music is what he wishes to bring out with his new film, Sarvam Thaala Mayam. The film documents the life journey of an aspirant mridangist who wishes to break communal hurdles. “All of us have an innate sense of rhythm. Only if I kindle that emotion will the film not get stuck within an instrument. It’s meant to appeal to the sense of music in us,” he explains.
Read the entire conversation here…
The interview in video:
Rajiv Menon’s Sarvam Thaala Mayam is one film that I had been waiting to see for quite some time. Not just because I like Rajiv’s body of work, (Kandukondein Kandukondein is one of my favourite films, period.) but also due to the nature of the film. It follows the story of Peter Johnson (GV Prakash Kumar), a Dalit Christian who aspires to become a Mridangist and break into the ranks of sabha artists. The storyline was of immediate interest, not just due to the casteism angle, but also due to the choice of instrument that it puts under the spotlight.
2.0, on many counts, has broken the standards for Indian film production. The film promised us a marvel that unfolds on screen, based on the vision of Indian minds. By and far, 2.0 fulfills that promise. The visuals are, at several points, breathtaking. But what makes it fascinating is that the ideas are so Indian and the mix, is intriguing. For example, Nila (Amy Jackson), a robot, is in love with Chitti, another robot (Rajinikanth). But how are we shown this? A soft breeze cradles her face, gently pushing her hair away — a trope that is so ‘us’. It is this infusion of our film culture and ethos into on-screen tech (Shankar is credited for ‘imagining the VFX sequences’) that makes 2.0 an entertaining watch. Continue reading “2.0 review: A fascinating celluloid experience”
When I decided I was going to revisit a Mani Ratnam film and write about it, I was sure I didn’t want to go for the usual suspects. That immediately took Nayagan, Mouna Ragam, Thalapathy, Iruvar, Bombay, Roja, Agni Natchathiram and all the films that easily crop-up in a conversation about Mani Ratnam off my list. The idea was to pick a film that wasn’t celebrated as much and recalibrate my perception of Mani Ratnam’s body of work. So when a cinephile friend suggested Thiruda Thiruda, I was sold. Continue reading “Happy birthday Mani Ratnam: Re-visiting the ace filmmaker’s love for experimentation and the madness of Thiruda Thiruda”
The earliest usage of the nickname ‘Mozart of Madras’ I could find was in 2004 — a TIME magazine article titled the same. A rather short piece about AR Rahman’s Bombay Dreams that said ARR’s name stood in unison with “melody, quality, energy, instant hummability — a sound both personal and universal, devouring many older forms and transforming them into something gorgeously new.” The description of Rahman’s brand of music is perfect, except for the phrase ‘instant hummability’. In fact, there is a three-step penance to savouring the legend’s music; the phase of dissatisfactory shock (the what is this phase), the phase of the indulgent listener (I know I don’t like it but let me hit the play button one more time.) and then, epiphanic addiction (Why didn’t I like this before?). The penance has become so customary that we don’t instantly reject a song that has the AR Rahman tag. Take the 2.0 album for instance. The unanimous verdict was ‘Give it time, we will see it’. Continue reading “Happy birthday AR Rahman: The ‘Isai Puyal’ which still blows strong”
Shashaa Tirupati must have been around five when she sang her first song. In Canada, sitting on the floor playing with the race cars of her brother, Shashaa hummed the run (a fast sequence of musical notes) from Lata Mangeshkar’s “Jao Re Jogi Tum Jao Re” from the film Amrapali. The young Shashaa had heard the song in one of the multitudes of cassettes that her mom had played of Lata Mangeshkar. Listening to their five-year-old daughter sing a run, Shashaa’s parents were astonished. There began a journey that after several twists, turns and countries would end up in giving us National Award winner Shashaa Tirupati. Continue reading “AR Rahman has pushed me beyond what I thought I could do: National-award winner Shashaa Tirupati”