Mani Ratnam should certainly be taxed for this. It has been my long time grouse on this song and the way it was made. While Andha Arabic Kadaloram isn’t certainly crappy as per Tamil cinema standards, I still think Mani Ratnam didn’t do justice to Rahman’s original number.
We all agree, that there was a good lead to the song, with Arvind Swamy and his beloved wife Manisha, kind-of spending their first time together in an apt after their marriage. As Arvind Swamy starts the heat, Manisha is still artificially shy, from the touch of her husband.
I think that’s a brilliant lead for a music composer and even the director to insert a song(yes, Indian cinema still believes in inserting songs and not making songs happen naturally). As the edit happens from the closed apt to an open location, it transforms smoothly with the shot of Sonali Bendre being unveiled from a translucent silky cloth and Nagendra Prasad shaking his head in a slow-kinda-motion.
Until that very second when Manisha loosens herself and starts to make some silly dance movements, the song sort of wades through easily. Right after this, the shots gets distributed irregularly between the actual dance situation and the apartment. All of a sudden, we see the odd smoke from the room when Arvind Swamy starts to dance, taking away the thrill of that pleasant moment.
Right at the end, when the notes increase to the next level, you see all that flames in front of the camera. What was Mani thinking ?
Even before I saw this song on screen, I was so impressed by the song and was imagining a different picturisation of this song. Probably my expectations weren’t met. I spoke to the Manager of Madras Talkies during the release and he echoed the same thought that the song didn’t come out as expected. They wanted Nagendra Prasad to slim down before the shoot and that didn’t happen. There was also news in the media that Rahman wasn’t so happy about the picturisation of the song, given his effort. Not just in composing but he lent his own voice to the song.
Overall a pretty shabby effort from one of the best directors of Indian Cinema. Not just shabby, it just spoiled a great number of Rahman’s early days. I wish Mani Ratnam reshot the whole song for his future movies.
Trivia : During the initial release of the music album of Bombay, the random rap bits of Rahman like Shighana Pagana Pagana tho tho weren’t included in the song and it was certainly a surprise to see it on screen. Just before 200th day of Bombay in select theatres, the second version of music album was released which had these rap bits and two extra bit songs, Malarodu Malar and Idhu Annai Bhoomi.