AR Rahman’s 99 Songs is easier to admire than love, but there’s a LOT to admire…

Posted on April 2, 2020


This isn’t just a movie’s soundtrack album. It’s a ‘concept album’, like the whoppers that major rock bands used to make when music was more than just something you listened to while doing the dishes.

Spoilers ahead…

Just how many AR Rahmans are there? For starters, there’s the AR Rahman who’s been at the top of the music-industry food chain for 27 years, and counting. (There’s never been a consistently undisputed No.1 after him, at least in Tamil film music.) Then there’s the AR Rahman who’s seen as a spent force. (He’s not the same guy who gave us Delhi-6, some people will whisper.) We also have the AR Rahman who seems to have grown bored with local fodder and seeks greener grass outside the country, with artists like Majid Majidi (Beyond the Clouds) and Gurinder Chadha (Viceroy’s House) and Jeff and Michael Zimbalist (Pelé: Birth of a Legend). And yet, there’s the AR Rahman who still delivers for homies like Mani Ratnam and Shankar, who won’t make a movie without him. Psst! There’s also the AR Rahman who does films that don’t really need an AR Rahman. (Yes, I’m talking about Bigil, Lingaa, Mohenjo what-the-heck-was-that Daro).

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