Sunday, October 02, 2011
As Suresh had put so beautifully in his review of Rockstar, Rahman's melodies are so shockingly radical in their structure, that your brain tries to find a hook, a groove, a pattern from the previous line, anything to cling on to. Something to provide stability to your musical orientation as you blindly bump into unexpected instruments, sudden silences or the last note you'd expect at that point.
Your brain frantically searches for something familiar to regain equilibrium. And that is probably why the first listening of a Rahman soundtrack is usually an exercise in trying to find out if you've heard that tune in any of his songs before. Once you recognise a similarity, your mind is instantly at ease. You venture into discovering the song with renewed courage. Five listenings or so later, you forget you'd even established a similarity with a previous song. And that it is actually quite different from the previous song.
"Discovery of a Rahman song" should be scientifically studied some day :) But let me not digress any further.
What I'd mentioned above is exactly what I went through with Aur Ho too. The 30 second promo had my ears prickling. After about 5-6 seconds of apprehension, my brain attempted to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Could it be "Mudhalum mudhalum nee mudivum mudivum nee" from Thaiyya thaiyya? No wait.. Bhanjar hai sab bhanjar hai from Mera Yaar Milade Saiyyan (Saathiya)", it said, "Yes yes, that's what it sounds like". And almost instantly my mind felt lighter. 30 second teasers are the best gifts you could give a Rahmaniac, it's almost like net practice!
The full version is an absolute treat. As Alma Ferovic's hum/chant twists and glides its way in, the stage is set for Mohit Chauhan to exhibit his versatality yet again. There's a quality in his voice that lends itself beautifully to express pain. In Khoon Chala (RDB) it felt like a helpless lament. In Aur Ho, it fluctuates between a numb acceptance of pain and a determined cry to break away from it.
The trance-like quality of the Aur Ho chant sends a shiver down your spine. Well, at least it did to mine! The line "Meri bebasi... ka bayaan hai" assumes an anthemic nature as Alma's humming steps up a notch in fervour. Sufi Rock, it may be, but that doesn't stop Rahman from making a flute weave in and out to accentuate the emotion.
You wouldn't want to listen to this as a single in isolation. The haunting soundscape and the brooding menace in the vocals fill you with disquiet. But the pensive silence that would follow could be even more unnerving.