Yet again, Tamil on All-‘Time’

[Pic – Rahman Fan Club]

Haven’t this happened to most of us ?. Everytime you listen to tutung…tutung..tutung…tutu tung..tik you feel refreshed. I’ve felt it. For me, it opens up the screens of Abirami theatre where I was transfixed watching the camera panning over a villages of Sundarapandipuram with that tutung tutung pacing behind. For someone who was already in state of sweet shock after the intial scenes of ‘Waasim Khan Kaithu’, that was a pleasant start. By then, I knew why people outside the theatre where raving about the new kid playing some ‘different’ music in the movie Roja.

The kid went on score evergreen hits like Kadhal Rojavey, Kannalanae, Pachai Killigal , Vande Matharam, Tanha Tanha and ofcourse the Zikhr to name a few. The kid flew to say a Hello to Webber and now becoming Ring lord. Not just that but also got his name on the Time magazine’s list of Best Soundtracks of All-time. Though Richard Corliss quotes the songs from Hindi version of Roja, I would prefer to believe thats the version he got to see and hence he does.

To cut the controversies, I have to say Roja is certainly not the best of soundtracks in Tamil. It’s one of the best. It’s as revolutionary as Illayaraja’s Annakilli. Roja gave the world a revelation of sorts. It gave A R Rahman to the filmdom. And it took a Mani Ratnam to find the genius in Rahman. I am profoundly happy for what Rahman and Mani Ratnam have done for tamil movies. The world [which reads Time magazine, ofcourse] would start noticing Tamil movies. Though I believe that this should have happened sometime back with the genius of Illayaraja, its better late than never.

Thanks Prabhu and SriKriz aka Rady for passing on the info real quick.

52 responses to “Yet again, Tamil on All-‘Time’”

  1. Srihari Avatar

    Some kinda repetition of the same feeling here after Nayagan’s appearance in Time all-time top 100.
    Great that Roja got chosen!!!

    But I found Rahman much better in quite many other efforts of his. Yes, we ought not to talk about things not chosen, coz then the list is too vast.
    And yeah, me first to comment!


  2. Sureshkumar Avatar

    Though “Roja” is not the best of the lot, it is the best that a debutanate could deliver ever. It is the first film music that bridged the gap between north and south music and crossed all lingual barriers. Roja is nothing short of a revolution in indian film music. Atleast know Richard Corliss has mentioned about Tamil origin of the songs which he missed out in the Rahmantic article. I feel the album fully deserves the mention.



  3. Srihari Avatar

    Roja definitely is a great debut effort. I was just putting in my initial thoughts. I was not making any point about Roja. Just that ARR has so many excellent ones in his kitty. Roja sure deserves the mention!!


  4. Manu Avatar

    Lol.. probably we’ll soon hear Ismail Durbar or Anu Malik claim that the poll was fixed and that one of their numbers should’ve figured in the list.


  5. Sureshkumar Avatar


    I do agree that and my comment was not a reply to yours. After Roja, the next ground breaking effort from ARR was “Dil Se” which again broke barries (to some extent)between East and West in the world music scene. And then follows, “Lagaan” which bridged the gap between folk and modern music. Accroding to me, “Dil Se” and “Lagaan” are the other two albums which desrves to be there in the list.


  6. F e r r a r i Avatar

    One request. By praising AR Rahman, doesnt mean Ilayaraja is not good. And similarly by praising Ilayaraja, doesnt mean AR Rahman is not good.

    So please dont start a war here on ARR vs IR 🙂

    Ippo dhaan Nayagan post la oru periya ragalai nadandhu mudinjadhu 😀


  7. Srihari Avatar

    very right! I would say the Time guys were not all that lucky to have got a chance to hear IR.. 🙂


  8. Chenthil Avatar

    Ferrari, idhu dhan Naradhar Velaingaradhu :-). But I agree, that was the first thought in my mind while reading this post


  9. Nithya Avatar

    Romba jagradhaiya forewarning pottacha!!??? But yeah, it sucks big time, this irrelevant “who is better” war… comparing apples and oranges!!

    Anyway, its a great moment for Tamil cinema… Absolutely glad that in the eyes of the world, Indian cinema != Bollywood:)


  10. brood_mode Avatar

    Why even bother comparing AR Rahman and Ilayaraja. They are both masters and they rule at different times.


  11. Arvind Avatar

    “Everytime you listen to tutung …tutung..tutung…tutu tung..tik you feel refreshed”

    Beautifully written post Lazy….Goosebumps!


  12. Arvind Avatar

    “But yeah, it sucks big time, this irrelevant “who is better” war… comparing apples and oranges!!
    Anyway, its a great moment for Tamil cinema… Absolutely glad that in the eyes of the world, Indian cinema != Bollywood:) ”

    lol!thats a paradox…U said it suc big time comparing Apples and Oranges and you are exactly doing the same… IndianCinema != Bollywood …Apples and Oranges again….

    So,please accept that it is human nature to compare things,to search for patterns among different things and other associated ego stroking exercises. holier-than-thou ,eh??

    Yea it is not fair comparing Apples and Oranges .Agreed.Thats why i dint compare a Cheran with a Mani or a SatyajithRay with Mani cos they r from different schools.Thats why i compared ppl from the same school of movie-making -the likes of BaluMahendra, Kamal etc…And that , i believe is a fair exercise….No one is such a priggish snob who finds some sensual pleasures indulging in these comparison exercise!!

    And one big sorry for bringing back the topic again…i cant help it!!!Hope no one brings it back further.


  13. Nithya Avatar

    Wonder what I conveyed, though what I meant was something else… I said I am glad that they have looked at a regional language movie in both cases (Nayakan and Roja), and in the eyes of the world, Indian cinema is not jus what comes out of Bollywood… There was no element of comparison at all!!:) LOL!


  14. prabz Avatar

    Wow.. thatz exciting!! ARR deserves it. And its a great news for Tamil Cinema!! But wish they dont get miffed by Vijay starrers which will just make it worse and make it the worst!

    But as you said.. Illayaraja is not highlighted. Probably because at his time, the media was not that patronizing and reachable like what happens now.


  15. iyengarkatz Avatar


    boys was not an honest try of shankar, it was a masala try despite touting it to be a realistic portrayal of teenagers. it failed at so many levels because he couldn’t strike the decent balance between reality and cinematic cliches that he did in his serious movies.



  16. aNTi Avatar

    Roja was one of the first soundtracks that I owned. I got a dual casette recorded – Roja and Annamalai, in the neighborhood cassette store for my school excursion to Kodai. Andha trip and these songs will be forever linked in my mind. ARR rocks!
    Aaana, nethu dhaan I was playing “Elephunk theme” to a couple of my Northie friends and they were amazed that someone could find such a obscure song to remix. For once, I wished that BEP had incl. the song in their album. It would have created a ruckus, but, Raja’s Raajangham would have spread much much more! IR vaazhga!
    Comparisons are irrelevant, but they are natural too. Sometimes, marketukku poi namma apple romba costly a irruku nu orange vaangaradhu illaya enna? Adhe maadhiri dhaan idhum 😉 Comparions will be done for eons to come, but I doubt whether any sane person with the full grip of his mental faculties would be able to say for sure that one of them is better.


  17. deepak Avatar

    Ha!.. Time mentions ARR’s debut was in Hindi. Thats crap.


  18. arun Avatar

    mere pyari hasino!
    this is the biggest load of bull i have heared in the recent past-the entire load of harp or whatever rahman was strumming- was lifted from evangelis-CHARIOTS OF FIRE-even netru illatha matrum-people don’t go by the mag-somebody must be fooling us.


  19. Muthuvel Avatar

    It seems yet another war is due here. Someone has thrown a seed above…’Chariots of fire’ opening of ‘Pudhu vezhai’ just resembles it and that’s it,and to slap that as an allegation on Rahman is silly. With ur logic..i guess we can go on and on, i personally think composing a tune and sound modelling it into a track are different phases of creating a song…resemblances are bound to be there in the latter.

    Lazy..a good post indeed…saying ‘Roja is one of the best’ must shy away some fruitless,mindless wars here. F e r r a r i, i know you are fed up with such wars. We have seen a lot of them somewhere else…and i have always hated this ‘Support one hate other’ policy as I love them both.


  20. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Katz, I should have put it this way. Boys was an earnest try by Shankar. Despite his awareness for commercial cinema was at the back of his mind, he did potray the pim’ple[put that apostrophe because my commenting system wouldn’t take the word pim’p!!] age as it was. Thanks to Sujatha for those earthy dialogues.

    There are exaggerations at places. Ithu padam naina. athaan first 14 reels appidini podarangala 😉


  21. arun Avatar

    mr. muthuvel
    the entire rhythm loop of the fore mentioned song, of not only that of many songs that mr.arr
    composes sounds plagiarised-then merku paruva katru-dr.alban, malargale-paul young, ayyaiyo (rangella)-peter gabriel. before conferring greatness there are qualities of genuine creation should be looked into-just my views.


  22. Lazy Geek Avatar

    Arun, It’s a known fact that Rahman bought looping of Dr.Alban and has used it in some songs. This is again like saying Nayakan wasn’t great because it was based on Godfather.

    We can even write stories and direct movies but creating music is just godly. Any original musician has qualities of supernatural. And Rahman is original though he was inspired by a dozen pioneers of music. He was swept away by The Carpenters, Peter Gabriel, Abba and so on. But that doesn’t stop him from attaining greatness.


  23. aNTi Avatar

    Thanks for your “views” Arun!


  24. Vijay Avatar

    The wars on quality, and on who is technically better etc. would go on. I am not as much a fan of Rahman as I am of Raja. But what’s indisputable is, Rahman, unlike his predecessors, managed to break the North-South barrier overnight with just his debut album. Roja, without doubt, is the best debut album ever in terms of impact and success. Annakili is not even close. Rahman might benefit from current day trends/technology/hype/forms of media which were not there in the 80s and before, but the flip side is every album of his is scrutinized thoroughly and even a semblance of similiarity to any of his previous compositions is pointed out and criticized. Raja didnt have this type of scrutiny and got away with a lot of rank-bad albums in the 80s alongside his good ones. Rahman has widened his frontiers and seems honest about taking Indian music to an international stage. For someone who does very few films in Hindi, he bags all the prestigious and big projects and can pick and choose what he wants, much to the envy of his Bombay counterparts. That, by itself, is no mean achievment.

    By the way, For some reason when I think of Rahman I tend to think of Sachin too and vice-versa. I am not sure if anybody here shares the same thoughts. Maybe their achievment at a young age, their modesty/dedication, their nation-wide appeal, their media-friendly personality etc. and the fact that they both did all this around the same time plays around in my mind.


  25. Vijay Avatar

    Hey Arun, if I were to list Raja’s inspirations(in spite of being a fan of his) it would run to several pages. I assume you are a Raja fan too judging by your comment.Did you know even his debut song”annakili onna theduthe” wasnt completely original? A lot of his earlier compositions were inspired from village/ffolk songs that he grew up with. Apart from that are his western inspirations that you can check out here

    especially, “akkarai seemai” from Priya is as clean a lift as it can be. As for Raja recycling his own songs and presenting them in different format the list would run to hundreds. In fact he has been doing mostly that for the last few years.

    The point is every great musician has been inspired. Even Bach and Mozart weere inspired from their contemporaries and predecessors. But the quality of adaptation, the volume/quality of their original works and the impact that their music has had on future generations is what will be remmebered.


  26. Kingsley Avatar

    The world [which reads Time magazine, ofcourse] would start noticing Tamil movies

    I am not trying to start anything here (god forbid ;), but why is it important that the world start noticing Tamil Cinema? Is the idea to “yaam petra inbam peruga ivvaiyagam” or “bow to us now, puny mortals, and respect us” ? Just curious.


  27. aNTi Avatar

    This is one reason, TFMpage forums do not figure in my daily visit list. Vettiya sandai. Even last week, in a group that I am a member of, some guy said ARR plaigarizes from, hold your breath, from Carnatic music – because of the traces of various raagas or something to that effect. Summa sandai podaruthla point illa. And there is no point making a inflammatory post and not following it up.

    Arun: I am not saying specifically that YOU are ignorant, but most people who make such “claims” of plaigarization, finally upon questioning, say that whatever they said was from second hand info. And when YOU make such a statement in a forum (this is not exactly one, but nevertheless) among a group of ppl who dont know you, you will be branded. Would you want that? And unless everybody here KNOWS that you can differentiate Vangelis’s work from say, John Barry’s or Henry Mancini’s, most of us will continue to think of you as another loudmouth who just talks/types because he has the space to do so. Pretty strong words, but I guess that is one of my pet peeves – ppl accusing other ppl of plaigarism using second hand information. And those are just my views.

    LG: Sorry Thalaiva. Please do delete this post if you want to.

    P.S I can’t make head or tail of Western music, be it classical or otherwise. My knowledge is limited to the usual suspects that I have come in contact in the form of audio visual questions in various quizzing events. But then I make sure i practice what i preach…..


  28. Muthuvel Avatar

    //.., but the flip side is every album of his is scrutinized thoroughly and even a semblance of similiarity to any of his previous compositions is pointed out and criticized..//

    Vijay,Nice comments.

    Arun..why not add this… ‘Enrendrum punnagai’ is looted from ‘Backstreet’s back’.BTW Dr.Alban himself buys loops for his songs…i guess loops are there to buy and use.


  29. Muthuvel Avatar

    Sorry…if somehow my last post sounds like some tfmpage fight. Won’t continue this way.


  30. Ajay Avatar

    Santosh Sivan’s cinematography was excellent! in that and matched with ARR’s super-debut tune, esp. that sunrise from the greenish fields and the boat swinging b/w the rocks in the bit “yellelo..” of that song Chinna chinna Aasai.

    Talking about ARR’s debut, I used wait for that title tune of “Spirit of Unity concert” that was played every Sunday morning by 11, that goes like “Tinta tinta tin, tada tinta tin…”.
    Later noticed that it was the “Roja-guy” 🙂


  31. mutRupuLLi Avatar

    LG’s post has justified my earlier accusation.
    The Times guy knows of Tamil movies only through
    Bollywood. So obviously he has heard only about
    Rahman, Mani and indirectly Kamal.
    I am sure he knows very little of the Maestro from Pannayapuram,who produced gems in Nizhalgal,
    UnnalMudiyumThambi,Johny, Sindhu Bhairavi,SagaraSangamam,Mahanadi, Anthimantharai, MudhalMariyadhai,Payanangal Mudivathillai,
    Guru( the Malyalam one and not the Kamal starrer),Thalapthi, swathi Muthyam, Idhaya Kovil,Hey Ram, MMKR( this had a great BGM in the Kameshwaran section) and a few hundred other movies.
    For Times..Indian film is Bollywood and the only music diro Rahman. A big pity that.


  32. bharani Avatar

    definitely, rehman is one of the best things to happen to indian films…


  33. ioiio Avatar

    Neraiya Dinathanthi influence.. I bet u can make a gud Page-3 editor for any magazine in this world..


  34. Ganesh Avatar

    Lazy few years back I wrote about ARR in an online magazine called .
    I have reproduced the article in my blog
    you can also go to their site and check it out


  35. Lazy Geek Avatar


    by looking at that nehru /mountbatten blogpost in your blog i should request to reconsider the decision of making me a page 3 editor 😉


  36. iyengarkatz Avatar

    totally off this post kinda question:

    when people review the songs of any movie, are you basically reviewing the music or are you actually reviewing the song? if the latter, how much importance does lyrics carry in that assessment?



  37. Keerthivasan Avatar

    Katz, there was an interesting read in Aananda Vikatan’s Interview with Thangar Bachan, that almost relates to your question.

    He says, we can take off any KUTHU song from Vijay’s movie, and put the same music, lyrics, dance crew and dance step into a Ajith’s movie. Will not make a difference.

    That seeemed right to me. We cannot have “Oru Theivam Thandha Poove” of Kannaththil Muththamittal in some other movie. It is important, that the song relates to the movie and the story atleast a bit.

    Yet, the measure has become very simple.
    Pleasure the song delivers.
    “San Jane Thone Thane Thanthaano !
    Ava Thumbaka Thane Ambi Lambaano”
    from Anniyan has very ordinary lyrics, but yet Shankar Mahadevan’s beauty and Harris Jeyaraj’s magic keeps the song peppy. “Kumari” song won many good remarks, in most of the reviews i went through.

    Song reviews no more care the Lyrics. If it does, did anybody hear the “Poo Poothadhu” from Mumbai Xpress, its amusing.


  38. iyengarkatz Avatar


    that is precisely my point. why have we come to a point, where pedestrian lyrics is condoned only because of a peppy tune? why call someone kavignar and perarasu and pettai-arasu when they end up writing such stuff? do lyrics matter at all then? why can’t we just have the music and dance bits? and im sure this will follow the same argument voiced in indian: because the audience listens, we give. the audience will say, because the filmmakers give, we listen.

    no doubt, some songs with good lyrics have come in the recent past, but predominantly it is this crap only. is that why people always go back to the past for their most favourite song such as a kanne kalaimane?



  39. Muthuvel Avatar


    //..why call someone kavignar and perarasu and pettai-arasu when they end up writing such stuff? ..//
    I have no clues why u wanna suddenly heap sarcasm over Vairamuthu…I suppose such tags went for him beacause of his brilliant works in the past..don’t just go for this ‘Sanjae thone’ stuff..with a Shankar’s film..what else one xcan write anyway.Have u heard Vellai pookal or Vidai kodu from KM?…that may justify.our songs can’t go totally instrumental.


  40. thennavan Avatar

    Hi Guru:

    You are on camera at Chennai Central’s weekend post (sorry to use a canned comment for all the bloggers for informing about that post since I don’t have time to write individually to each). That post itself was many hours in the making 🙂


  41. iyengarkatz Avatar


    that was not supposed to cast shadows on vairamuthu, i think he can deliver some of the brilliant songs when utilized properly. the title was just to show how ppl have a penchant for honouring themselves with titles when they are willing to deliver sub-par quality because that is what is being asked of them.

    and i do think we can go instrumental, not completely but in parts for two of my most favoured pieces are instrumental and one of them worked so well that no song could have replaced it. that one is the punnagai mannan dance theme when kamal professes his love to revathy. the other is the fusion intro piece in raja parvai.



  42. sat Avatar

    Oh yes. Rojas Soundtrack is quite good.

    Rehman has always been innovative in his music. And it requires listening to it twice or thrice before you actually start to appreciate it…


  43. F e r r a r i Avatar

    I think lyricists dont have that much freedom to think freely when it comes to penning songs.
    After Kannadasan, Vairamuthu and Vali(evergreen) are the best.
    Off topic, but I heard somewhere that Vali was on the verge of commiting suicide due to lack of chances. Then he wrote one song and it was super duper hit. Does anyone remember that song?
    He has given us wonderful songs and also some trash songs!!
    I would blame the director. For example, if someone wants to show the naval of heroine and some sensual scenes in a song, we cant expect the lyrics writer to come up with something damn good!

    Not everyone is an expert in telling things ilaimarai kaai!


  44. curses Avatar



  45. Sunil Avatar

    People love to bring ARR down, even in his moments of glory! For once, stand up and acknowledge the genius for his achievements…


  46. Dragun Avatar

    Roja is a great album but I would replace it on the list with Dil Se.

    BTW, I read somewhere that it was Balachandar who insisted that ARR be the MD for Roja, but I’ve also heard that it was Mani Ratnam who discovered him. Which is correct?


  47. come_to_the_point Avatar

    super guys and geeks- tell me one number which was a complicated number by arr. When talking so much of Rahman can you compare Ninavellam Nithya songs to any song of arr? That is our Maestro Mottai


  48. Somu Avatar

    @ Ferrari”if someone wants to show the naval of heroine and some sensual scenes in a song, we cant expect the lyrics writer to come up with something damn good!”

    Ever heard of this song ? “sindhiya Venmani sipiyil Muthaachu en kannamaa”… Explore the situation of this song and you would realize what is being suggested… I think out lyricists have the potential to be creative, and can come out with damn good songs. But I guess they end up giving what the directors wants…

    Btw, was that Vaali song “laalaaku Dole dappi maa?”

    Come to the point : My mom still believes “Paasa Malar” has the best music ever, so does it undermine Mastero’s musicals ? ARR and Mastero are different in their own ways that it is criminal to even compare them.I am an ardent fan of Illayaraja, but then that does not make ARR any worse ! And can you define complicated “Panivizhum malarvanam” and “Neethaaney en pon vasantham” from NN were songs that carried simple lyrics and pleasing music… So how does it become complicated ?

    Heard “raasaathi” from Thiruda Thiruda??… That was unique, innovative and complicated.


  49. Desingu Raja Avatar
    Desingu Raja

    Who gave the right to Mr.Prabz to throw dirt on Vijay starrers. Here we talking about Music, ARR and movies. Why the need to talk bollocks about Vijay for? I hope Prabs keeps his stinky opinions to himself.


  50. whocares Avatar

    you guys are completely jobless movie freaks. grow up.


  51. arun jerry Avatar
    arun jerry

    please stop comparing someone like A R Rahman with the greatest music composer the music world has ever seen and will never see that’s ILLAYARAAJA… A R Rahman is a good music director no one can take it away from him, ok fine but comparing him with someone as gr8 as ILLAYARAAJA is so stupid… you also take into account the number of years ILLAYARAAJA has been in the cine industry and still able make wonders like Hey Ram, Virumandi, Sethu, Pithamagan and many other movies, he has been in this industry for the past 25 yrs and is able to make wonders like this, whereas you see A R Rehman polishing the tunes his done for his tamil movies and doing it in his hindi movies (vice versa) and his so called bombay dreams he is just 15 years old in this industry… PLEASE STOP COMPARING THE GREAT WITH THE GREATEST…..


  52. Krithika Avatar

    hey arun
    Ever since the day Rahman stormed into the filmdom, people have had great pleasure writing him off that he will disappear without a trace soon enough. He has completed 15 years and is still going strong.
    One reason that endears me to Rahman is his modesty. I remember the furore Gangai Amaran & Co created after Roja was released.I don’t know how a lesser mortal would have reacted to all that. He has not spoken a word against anyone and is focussed only on his music.
    Rahman is not only a good music director but a great human being.He deserves all the accolades and more! If Ilayaraja hadn’t rubbed Maniratnam the wrong way after Thalapati’s success, Rahman would still be composing jingles!So tons of thanks to Ilayaraja.


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