In my sole interaction with A.R. Rahman in his Panchathan studio in 2005, I realised this was a man who would never, ever, discuss how he stitches together his music. After reading Kamini Mathai’s anecdotal biography, I am not wiser. Mathai’s research is extensive: she charts the life of R.K. Sekhar, Rahman’s father, who arranged music for the south’s top music directors; chronicles the impact of Sekhar’s early death on Rahman, who at age nine, armed with a synthesizer, was forced to be the breadwinner and a dropout; she talks to everyone—a watchman at a studio, singers, guitarists, recording engineers, hangers-on at Rahman’s studio. And she quotes the elusive Rahman from cryptic media interviews. The book, in effect, is a string of quotes.
Mathai, not knowing her music, can’t unravel the ‘mystery’ behind Rahman’s music. She wouldn’t know that the song Ottagathai Kattiko (based on Dharmapuri ragam) in Gentleman (1993) is a better-arranged version of Telugu composers Raj-Koti’s Malgudi Shubha number Eddam Ante Teddam Antav (1991). She does, however, say Rahman arranged music for the duo. Rahman, like hip-hop artists, uses digital samplers. Sampling is the using of a snippet of recorded music in a composition of one’s own. Music becomes manipulable. Songs become compilations. Rahman has a great appetite for manipulation of audio fragments. For him, embellishments matter more than the tune—creating a bricolage of unique sounds. Mathai does not know how to unspool this Rahman.
In your review of Kamini Mathai’s book on A.R. Rahman (Books, Aug 3), it has been stated that the song Ottagathai Kattiko in Gentleman was based on Raag Dharmapuri. To the best of my knowledge, the number has shades of Dharmavathi, popularly known as Madhuwanti in Hindustani classical.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT