A.R.Rahman. His name has several meanings. And there are more synonyms being added. Right when music composers were being stereotyped for using the same soundscape, Rahman made a dashing entry with Roja and changed the entire music scenario. From then, there was no looking back for this genius. Each and every album of his became a chartbuster and broke all the records of the music industry. However, when I question someone about their favorite Rahman number, pat comes the reply, ‘Kaadhal Rojave’, ‘Uyire Uyire’, ‘Thaiyya Thaiyya’, ‘Urvasi Urvasi’, ‘Mustafa Mustafa’, ‘Sandhana Thendralai’ and all such. I would wonder why don’t they mention a song that was beautifully composed by Rahman, yet stayed underrated. Maybe, I should refresh people with a bunch of wonderful songs by Rahman that had potential to become chartbusters, but sadly categorized as ‘underrated’.
Every Rahmaniac (and non-Rahmaniac) must listen to these numbers:
20.Thee Thee Thithikkum (Thiruda Thiruda)
While songs like ‘Chandralekha’, ‘Veerapandi Kotaiyile’ and ‘Kannum Kannum’ created waves, this one was rather left out. You must definitely listen to this song for its innovative rhythm and the sweet voice of Chinese singer Caroline.
19.Aadi Paaru Mangatha (May Madham)
May Madham was famous for its heartwarming melodies like ‘Minnale Nee’, ‘En Mel Vizhundha’ and ‘Margazhi Poove’. Even the peppy number ‘Madras Ah Suthi Paaka’ became a huge hit with youngsters. But Rahman’s funkiness is unambiguous only in this song.
18.Poovukenna Pootu (Bombay)
A mere mention of this film’s title would bring ‘Uyire Uyire’, ‘Kannalane’, ‘Antha Arabic Kadaloram’ and ‘Kuchi Kuchi Rakkamma’ to mind. Unfortunately, the spotlight never came upon this number, until recently when dance reality shows adopted it for performances. Watch out for Rahman’s mesmerizing flute sections and Vairamuthu’s inspirational lyrics.
17.Vennila Vennila (Iruvar)
While ‘Hello Mister Edhirkatchi’ hogged all the limelight, this jazzy number in the beautiful voice of Asha Bhosle still remains to be enjoyed completely. One of Rahman’s finest compositions.
16.Kanava Illai Kaatra (Ratchagan)
This song is popular among all the romantics over there. But why do the other people skip this in their Rahman playlist? It’s such a poetic and mellifluous number that EVERY human being must listen to. Especially Srinivas’ honey-dipping voice is a treat to hear.
15.En Swasa Kaatre (En Swasa Kaatre)
‘Thirakkadha Kaatukulla’, ‘Jumbalakka’ and ‘Theendai’ are still mesmerizing whenever we listen to them. But this title song is even more mesmerizing, when you listen to it on a serene night. I am sure it’d give you goosebumps. Especially the extended aalaap towards the end is the cherry on the cake.
14.Nenaichapadi Nenaichapadi (Kadhalar Dhinam)
All the other songs in this album were runaway hits. Who can forget the ethereal ‘Enna Vilai Azhage’, the quirky ‘Oh Maria’ and the Dhandia-based ‘Thandiya Aatamum Aada’? Compared to these numbers, this song scored a notch lower, because listeners weren’t that much attracted to the melodramatic flow of the song. But this is also a gem, especially the heartrending lyrics and the ebullient chorus.
13.Mudhal Murai (Sangamam)
Rahman surprised his fans with this out-of-the-world album which was completely Carnatic based. Not even a single number from this album was the run-of-the-mill kind. While ‘Mazhai Thuli’, ‘Varaaga Nadhikarai’ and ‘Maargazhi Thingal’ won laurels, this beautiful melody remained in the backstage. No more words to tell. Just listen to it and revel in its resplendence.
12.Karisal Tharasil (Taj Mahal)
I was utterly surprised when many people didn’t even know that this song existed. While they were familiar with ‘Chotta Chotta’, ‘Thirupaachi’ and ‘Eechi Elumichi’, this song was far behind from even basic acknowledgement. The intricacies found in this song are way beyond explanation. It turns heavenly when the line ‘Megathu moolaiyile…’ begins.
11.Athini Sithini (Thenali)
The video of this song was popular during those days (well, if it is Kamal Hassan, it’s supposed to be a hit, right?). But soon the number couldn’t retain its charm like its counterparts ‘Swaasame Swaasame’, ‘Porkalam Ange’ and ‘Injirungo’. In terms of composition, this is quiet an innovative number by Rahman.
10.Thom Karuvil Irundhom (Star)
Yes, the entire album is mildly underrated, though it had super-hits like ‘Manasukul Oru Puyal’ and ‘Rasika Rasika’. This heartwrenching song is one of Rahman’s mindblowing classical compositions that is still being used for Bharatanatyam performances. But the sad fact is, many don’t even know who the composer of this song is or what movie it is from, making it the most underrated song of the album.
9.Nee Thaan En Desiya Geetham (Paarthale Paravasam)
This album is not even being recognized as Rahman’s by many listeners. Many other Rahman albums which released during that time overshadowed this wonderful soundtrack which had songs of different genres. This number is a honey-dipping melody in the effervescent voices of Balram and K.S.Chithra.
8.Endhan Nenjil (Alli Arjuna)
Many think that ‘Sollayo Solaikili’ was the only saving factor of this album, since Rahman made the mistake of rehashing his Hindi tunes. But, have you ever listened to this beautiful number? Crooned by Janaki and Srinivas, it is a wonderful classical number that everyone must listen to.
7.Signore Signore (Kannathil Muthamittal)
Who can ever deny the fact that this album is one of the evergreen gems of Rahman? Leave ‘Oru Dheivam Thandha’ or ‘Vellai Pookal’, even ‘Vidaikodu Engal’ became sooo popular. Unfortunately, this Sinhalese number wasn’t even properly noticed by many. And hence, here it is.
6.Sonnalum Ketpadhillai (Kadhal Virus)
The movie fared poorly at the box office and the album was hugely considered to be a let-down. But only a true-blue Rahmaniac would understand the intensified emotions of this song. Of course, even a casual listener can understand, if they begin to add it to their playlist. You’d never regret listening to this pure classical duet (please don’t bother about the picturization).
5.Theekuruvi (Kangalal Kaidhu Sei)
There are no words to describe the beauty or the creativity of this song. If you thought that only ‘Azhagiya Cinderella’ had the potential to enthrall you, just listen to this number.
4.Varugiraai Thodugiraai (Ah Aah)
This is one rocking pathos composed by the Isaipuyal. While the album had a few gems like ‘Mayiliragae’, ‘Maramkothiye’ and ‘Anbe Aaruyire’, this song is the only one which displays the brilliant orchestration of Rahman. Hariharan and K.S.Chithra elevate it to another level with their rendition.
3.Sahana Saral- Sad Version (Sivaji)
The entire album was a chartbuster. Why? The original version of ‘Sahana Saral’ has not lost its charm even now. But, have you listened to this version of the number? Go ahead. Give it a listen. It’s as charming as the original one.
2.Kaatu Sirukki (Raavanan)
This number was not used in the movie. Hence, it never received the recognition that it was supposed to. There is much to this number than the magnificent voices of Shankar Mahadevan & Anuradha Sriram and the interesting interludes of Rahman. Emotions overloaded!
1.Malargal Kaetten (OK Kanmani)
A recent offering from A.R.Rahman. OK Kanmani’s soundtrack was the most successful album of the year 2015. It also won the Best Tamil Album Of The Year award. According to me, this less popular classical number is the most resplendent song of the album. Be it the poetic lyrics or the pitch perfect rendition by K.S.Chithra – everything is so magical about this song.
So, what are you waiting for? C’mon! Add these fantastic Rahman numbers to your playlist. Sometimes underrated songs contain the best in them. 🙂
P.S: Will come back with a list of underrated Hindi songs composed by ARR.