IR the genius

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:06 am

Drunkenmunk wrote:and we as it is have no less an authority than IR himself claiming writing lyrics came as easily to Kannadasan like music did to him
 He has said this a few times and it is a SIGNIFICANT appraisal IMO. One, because IR doesn't mince words in his appreciations or put downs. Two from what I've seen and heard, IR himself is a pretty formidable authority on Tamil literature and poetry.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:09 pm

Started watching Amadeus. Tweeted on this and I already had one pushback scoffing at me. But I simply let links and proof talk.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:



Ilayaraaja (from 3 minutes, 5 seconds):


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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:11 pm

Munk, to thrown in a caveat, Amadaeus is a much romanticised portrayal of Mozart's life and works. There is lot of contemporary and even earlier research that suggests Mozart needed a keyboard to work out his thoughts, made sketches before coming up with the final draft etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart's_compositional_method

http://books.google.com/books?id=bkQzDbeGAlUC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=mozart+compositional+process+in+his+head&source=bl&ots=5bc7_3sWEC&sig=XtQBDvX_zXCK3HJHWwYZCb7t8Ms&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9aWUU6jJMIa6oQTW2IGYDQ&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=mozart%20compositional%20process%20in%20his%20head&f=false

http://www.aproposmozart.com/Konrad%20-%20Schaffensweise.pdf

And there is even more controversial research Laughing 

http://rense.com/general45/mozrt.htm

P.S: Salieri's portrayal is also extremely unfair and one-dimensional. There are several articles, blogposts and discussions on the factual and historical inaccuracies in the movie. You only have to google for it. Here's what wiki says

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Salieri#Historical_interaction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Salieri#Fictional_treatments

A good thumb rule is that if a war or period movie has won an oscar, it is likely to have been a fairly fictionalised treatment of the subject at hand.

Deer hunter, for example is such a brilliantly made film, but look at the propaganda. The only 'natives' we see are the Russian-roulette playing Vietcong mad dogs. Nowhere are we shown the sufferings of the common Vietnamese people. Also Apocalypse now. And Hurt locker in recent times. Anglo-American brothers in arms, WW-ll collaboration based movies are the funniest. They actually have the cheek to show the germans as clueless, miserable bungling dolts. Eg Where eagles dare.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  app_engine on Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:35 am

"no piano, no guitar...and no corrections"  (Attila!)

the clap

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:28 pm

aah Fring Smile I did read stuff on Salieri as I was watching the film and came to know that the rivalry was dramatized almost to the extent of fictionalizing it. But I actually did think this was Mozart's style. Thank you for those articles on Mozart's working style. What is even more incredible now is a romanticized and dramatized portrayal of a WCM Master's working methods matches with the dynamics of a random Indian genius from the hinterlands of India without any training in the WCM style of music writing. Quite speechless to think this. No wonder this is Raaja's favorite film (not for a moment saying that Raaja's music is better than Mozart's, for I've not completely heard both though I have a fair idea of Raaja's genius, but just that the compositional method of Raaja's seems peerless compared to even the great Mozart). And it is quite brilliant taken just as a film. Like P_R was saying over a chat yesterday, பொறாமை மேல மரியாத ஏற்படுத்தற படம் Smile Salieri clearly has the best lines and the social disdain of Mozart's, etc. are so relateable with Raaja.

And btw, it's not just me Razz


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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:10 am

fring151 wrote:
kiru wrote:Good discussion guys.. bringing up interesting anecdotes.. I have lots of respect for Kamal.
It is very difficult to compare people from different functions.
But personally, in the tamil film industry - I consider only 3 people as real greats - IR, Kannadhasan and Sivaji.

That's likely to be a fairly uncontroversial pick in this forum. I would add Kamal and MSV to that list. All pinnacles in TF have involved the contribution of one or more of these 5. Well, except Alaipaayuthey, maybe.

Well, the idea is not to be controversial but build consensus  Smile 
I have lots of respect for many people .. but respect for Adbul Kalam is different than the respect for Subramaniam Chandrasekhar.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:52 am

MSV and Kamal have to be definitely on the list. Peer recognition becomes a factor when identifying greats in a field. It is not just our subjective take but the takes of experts/accomplished artistes in that area which matter. By that token, these two would easily figure in that list. Most singers and musicians worth their salt swear by MSV's music and talk of his versatility, his accomplishments(vis a vis his impoverished background, his rags-to-riches story is no less compelling than that of IR's or any other MD's) and his creativity. With Kamal, he was probably the first noteworthy actor who had the skills/talent to  approach cinema in a wholesome manner, get involved in screenwriting, music, casting and stuff that goes beyond just acting.

But beyond all this it is silly to compare artistes and their accomplishments from 2 different fields such as direction and music direction and argue about who didnt rise to another's level. Someone like KB, can easily turn around and say that MDs barely rose to his level of expectation. After all over the course of making 100 films(he was prolific too) he has managed to have success with over half a dozen MDs and did not have to depend on any one MD to bail him out. He was sure of what he wanted and he had  a strong music sense of his own. And his films, atleast a handful of them were highly acclaimed and considered path-breakers. The alumni list from his school reads like a who's who list of Tamil film industry, from Rajni/Kamal to Prakashraj/Vivek. So it doesnt make much sense  beyond satisfying our own egos/tastes.
And recently even Karthik Raja had mentioned that his father gets really "inspired" when working with directors like Mani rathnam when somebody quizzed him on whether he wanted to see his dad work with Mani again. It works both ways.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:44 am

Sometime back we had a small discussion in twitter (Arul Selvan, Roza Vasanth and I). Using the word genius in a very strict sense, all three of us agreed that in the 20th century and 21st century (till now) Tamil Nadu has seen only two people who can be termed genius: Srinivasa Ramanujan and Illayaraja. No one else !!! You have to be very liberal in the definition of genius to bring anyone else into this rarefied circle.

Contributions to Tamil film world is a different thing altogether. There will be many people who have contributed to Tamil films and I not an avid watcher of films to debate on who made the greatest contribution. I am sure Raja is one. Beyond that I honestly don't care much. Only thing I can say from my limited viewing, which I have already stated earlier, is that no one has risen to the level of Raja in their own area.

About K Balachandar: No one can dispute his contribution to Tamil cinema but can he be considered a 'great' in the All India context. The answer is a resounding NO. You just need to watch Ghatak's 'Megha Dhake Tara' and then watch Balachander's tepid reworking of it as 'Aval Oru Thodarkadhai' to realize the difference in class. KB can never be considered to be in the same league as Ghatak or Ray. Whereas, you can throw up any music director of India and Raja would have done far better than that music director. Therein lies the difference. (I would say Raja matches up to whatever the best music directors of the world have to give)

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:04 am

Raaga_Suresh wrote:Sometime back we had a small discussion in twitter (Arul Selvan, Roza Vasanth and I). Using the word genius in a very strict sense, all three of us agreed that in the 20th century and 21st century (till now) Tamil Nadu has seen only two people who can be termed genius: Srinivasa Ramanujan and Illayaraja. No one else !!! You have to be very liberal in the definition of genius to bring anyone else into this rarefied circle.

While I agree Ilayaraja and Ramanujan tower over everyone else, there is no way you cannot, for example, consider Viswanathan Anand or S Chandrasekhar (whose name Kiru brought up) geniuses, especially after reading about them. Anand can divine his way through the most complex variations in a heartbeat. Even among super grandmasters, his speed and tactical prowess in complicated positions  are the stuff of legend. He was also largely self-taught in the initial stages of his career That is very much genius - by definition in fact. To restrict the application of the genius adjective to only two people is a disservice to many other eminent personalities IMO.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:13 pm

Comparing KB who operated in mainstream cinema with a Ghatak or Ray doesnt make sense. See, this is why I say these kind of comparisons are tricky. Would you compare IR directly with GNB/Ariyakudi or L. Subramaniam or Paul Mariat? They all were musicians but they operated in different mediums and under different constraints. Within the constraints of mainstream cinema what did KB achieve/contribute is what matters. Iam not about to compare Sivaji Ganesan with even Dilip Kumar leave alone De Niro.

And regarding this genius business thats a different discussion altogether.I personally feel that to proclaim somebody as a genius I need to be qualified enough to understand the said person's genius  and be able to comprehend their work at a high level of depth. Otherwise the term "genius" is being loosely bandied about here. You think Einsten or Ramanujam are geniuses not because you understood their works inside out and placed it in perspective w.r.t. to other achievers, but mostly because people who were already experts in the field think so, told you so and you believe them. So when we rely on peer recognition to form our own opinion it cannot be a black-or-white type of listing. If you are going by any objective definition of what genius is then list it here and lets see who qualifies for that moniker.Even then, how many of us are qualified to adjudge who is a genius and who is not is something Iam not very sure of. Most of us use theterm to praise our own idols skyhigh, we use it bestow ultimate praise upon whoever we like the most, rather than as an outcome of serious comparitive evaluation of their works

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:27 pm

^^ A GNB or a Paul Mariat did not involve in films where a Ghatak and Ray did. So we are comparing film directors vs film directors where one has remade the other's work (legitimate comparison hence IMHO) while your analogy of a film music director with a classical musician seems fallacious. Without me getting into comparing people from different departments, I will take it wholly if Raaja judges from his level of genius about no director having risen to his level (that includes KB) because I trust his genius and judgement.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:56 pm

I find this discussion on 'genius' fascinating. 

When I started writing my blog several years ago, I tried to explain the simplest way to identify a genius.

What ordinary people cannot do is done by the 'skilled'

What skilled people cannot do is done by the 'talented'

What talented people cannot even think of is done by 'genius'

Most of the arguments I see here is a mixup between the talented and the genius.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:01 pm

Another little self plug that has been quoted in several places:

In the Indian context, genius must be distant or dead.

Even in these discussions, I see the above to be true.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:46 pm

fring151 wrote:While I agree Ilayaraja and Ramanujan tower over everyone else, there is no way you cannot, for example, consider Viswanathan Anand or S Chandrasekhar (whose name Kiru brought up) geniuses, especially after reading about them. Anand can divine his way through the most complex variations in a heartbeat. Even among super grandmasters, his speed and tactical prowess in complicated positions  are the stuff of legend. He was also largely self-taught in the initial stages of his career That is very much genius - by definition in fact. To restrict the application of the genius adjective to only two people is a disservice to many other eminent personalities IMO.

Anand, yes, a genius no doubt but not at the Raja / Ramanujan level mainly because he couldn't reach the heights of Kasparov. BTW, I had a bitter fight with lot of people on twitter that Anand must have been the Bharath Ratna much ahead of Sachin. So I do understand what Anand has done and have great respect for him. Chandrashekar's case is different because he didn't operate from India and I don't think he was an Indian when he was awarded the Nobel.

As far restricting the genius, yes it does disservice to many others but that is what happens when you have strict rules. For example in the whole of Physics which mankind has been involved in till now, Stephen Hawking claims there are only a handful whom he claims were genius. I don't have the book in front of me but the names he took were Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Bohr. Just 5 in the whole history of mankind. All others are at the next level including people like Fermi, Dirac, Feyman etc. 

It doesn't mean that people haven't served their field if they were not geniuses. That is a different thing altogether. Not applying the term genius to someone is not a disservice as long as you recognize what they have done in their field

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:49 pm

counterpoint wrote:Comparing KB who operated in mainstream cinema with a Ghatak or Ray doesnt make sense. See, this is why I say these kind of comparisons are tricky. Would you compare IR directly with GNB/Ariyakudi or L. Subramaniam or Paul Mariat? They all were musicians but they operated in different mediums and under different constraints. Within the constraints of mainstream cinema what did KB achieve/contribute is what matters. Iam not about to compare Sivaji Ganesan with even Dilip Kumar leave alone De Niro.

And regarding this genius business thats a different discussion altogether.I personally feel that to proclaim somebody as a genius I need to be qualified enough to understand the said person's genius  and be able to comprehend their work at a high level of depth. Otherwise the term "genius" is being loosely bandied about here. You think Einsten or Ramanujam are geniuses not because you understood their works inside out and placed it in perspective w.r.t. to other achievers, but mostly because people who were already experts in the field think so, told you so and you believe them. So when we rely on peer recognition to form our own opinion it cannot be a black-or-white type of listing. If you are going by any objective definition of what genius is then list it here and lets see who qualifies for that moniker.Even then, how many of us are qualified to adjudge who is a genius and who is not is something Iam not very sure of. Most of us use theterm to praise our own idols skyhigh, we use it bestow ultimate praise upon whoever we like the most, rather than as an outcome of serious comparitive evaluation of their works
 As D_M pointed out, all of them made films. And KB remade a film. So that comparison is fairly apples to apples.

In case of Ramanujan, the reason I put rozavasanth's name there is because he is a Mathematician himself and he knows exactly what Ramanujan had done and why he is termed as a genius.

If you still feel that KB as a director is at the same level as Raja as a music director, we don't have anything to argue about.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:54 pm

counterpoint wrote:Most of us use theterm to praise our own idols skyhigh, we use it bestow ultimate praise upon whoever we like the most, rather than as an outcome of serious comparitive evaluation of their works

We don't do serious comparative evaluation because we don't want the fans of Tamil directors and other music directors to cry and feel bad.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:17 pm

counterpoint wrote:Would you compare IR directly with GNB/Ariyakudi or L. Subramaniam or Paul Mariat? They all were musicians but they operated in different mediums and under different constraints. Within the constraints of mainstream cinema what did KB achieve/contribute is what matters. Iam not about to compare Sivaji Ganesan with even Dilip Kumar leave alone De Niro.
Yes, I can compare Raja with the names you mentioned. A honest evaluation will reveal that all the names you mentioned will come second best to Raja.

A note which I will not followup : Dilip Kumar was the most overrated non-actor in the history of Indian cinema.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:26 pm

counterpoint wrote:Comparing KB who operated in mainstream cinema with a Ghatak or Ray doesnt make sense. See, this is why I say these kind of comparisons are tricky. Would you compare IR directly with GNB/Ariyakudi or L. Subramaniam or Paul Mariat? They all were musicians but they operated in different mediums and under different constraints. Within the constraints of mainstream cinema what did KB achieve/contribute is what matters. Iam not about to compare Sivaji Ganesan with even Dilip Kumar leave alone De Niro.

And regarding this genius business thats a different discussion altogether.I personally feel that to proclaim somebody as a genius I need to be qualified enough to understand the said person's genius  and be able to comprehend their work at a high level of depth. Otherwise the term "genius" is being loosely bandied about here. You think Einsten or Ramanujam are geniuses not because you understood their works inside out and placed it in perspective w.r.t. to other achievers, but mostly because people who were already experts in the field think so, told you so and you believe them. So when we rely on peer recognition to form our own opinion it cannot be a black-or-white type of listing. If you are going by any objective definition of what genius is then list it here and lets see who qualifies for that moniker.Even then, how many of us are qualified to adjudge who is a genius and who is not is something Iam not very sure of. Most of us use theterm to praise our own idols skyhigh, we use it bestow ultimate praise upon whoever we like the most, rather than as an outcome of serious comparitive evaluation of their works

There's not much to argue with this.  But the point is that it is then equally inappropriate of people to pass snap judgments on Raja's ego if they themselves do not possess achievements that are even worth mentioning in the same sentence that describes Raja's.  Because as DM said, he is a genius, undoubtedly, and fully entitled to judge the people he worked with if he so wishes.  Yes, KB may say that if he likes too.  There's nothing wrong with that.  As I said earlier, this has a lot to do with the compulsion of Indians to keep up the pretense that artists are humble sage like creatures.  I find that Western personalities often don't have these hang ups.  Because the very act of articulating one's emotions into some artistic form and displaying it for the public to appreciate is necessiated by ego.  Why should one want to flaunt his or her handiwork?  The very act of doing so in some way satisfies the ego, so to expect the artist to then mouth politically correct inanities to look suitably humble is either naive or hypocritical or both.  As a casual singer, I have often found that people, once they get off stage after their performance, just can't stop asking all and sundry how they sung because they want to hear praise (they also know that most people would be too polite to tell them they were awful, if that was the case).  I find it extremely amusing that self-same people will then hound public figures and admonish them for being arrogant.  Maybe somebody forgot to buy them a mirror.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:18 pm

Raaga_Suresh wrote:
Yes, I can compare Raja with the names you mentioned. A honest evaluation will reveal that all the names you mentioned will come second best to Raja.

A note which I will not followup : Dilip Kumar was the most overrated non-actor in the history of Indian cinema.

It might be a honest evaluation but it is still YOUR evaluation and hence comes with a lot of subjectivity and maybe less than an expert level take. Dilip Kumar might be over/under rated but the point am making is that just because two artistes are in cinema doesnt make the comparison between them apples to apples. You have mainstream cinema, parallel cinema and their different operating constraints, and so much difference in culture/expectations itself across languages/films from different states of India which makes comparisons like that tedious. In fact I might even add that comparison between even two TFM MDs but from different eras has its own limitations beyond a point. We do it just for kicks and timepass most of the time. Beyond a certain point comparing a G.Ramanathan with say Rahman could start getting ridiculous. Even if you take Hollywood where culture is a lot more homogeneous people in forums might give you a weird look if you seriously try a comparison of say Spielberg's works with that of  Bergman or Truffaut.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:34 pm

Raaga_Suresh wrote: As D_M pointed out, all of them made films. And KB remade a film. So that comparison is fairly apples to apples.

If I were to extend that logic a bit, then comparing Kurosowa with Kamal might be apples to apples for you too since Roshomon inspired Virumandi quite a bit. Or Coppola and Manirathnam because of latter's Godfather influences. And I dont subscribe to that view. Yes they all made films. They might have even got inspired or remade a film of another. But no, they are in different universes when it comes to the kind of films they make, the audiences they make for, the expectations they live up to and subsequently the constraints they impose on themselves. I have found even a Kamal vs Naseeruddin Shah  comparison amusing at times because the former is a star who pushed boundaries as much as a star can while the latter was a non-star actor who could so any film he wanted without having to bear the burden of a million expectations. That way, An Adoor Gopalakrishnan vs Ray may make more sense to me than a KB vs Ray discussion. An IR vs RDB comparison would make more sense to me than an IR vs L.VaidyanathanL/L.Subramaniam,even if the latter have scored for some films as well

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:45 pm

Raaga_Suresh wrote:Anand, yes, a genius no doubt

That's exactly what I said.

Raaga_Suresh wrote:but not at the Raja / Ramanujan level 

I acknowledged as much in the first line of my post. My objection is to your blanket statement that in 20th century TN only R&R can be called geniuses.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:19 am

counterpoint wrote:In fact I might even add that comparison between even two TFM MDs but from different eras has its own limitations beyond a point. We do it just for kicks and timepass most of the time. Beyond a certain point comparing a G.Ramanathan with say Rahman could start getting ridiculous. 

That's a slippery slope. One needs to draw the line somewhere. What about Anirudh Vs MSV then? Is it not possible by an objective analysis of their music to assess who merits more respect as a composer? Of course it is. You only need to define suitable metrics. Well, not for this particular example - you don't need to go to so much trouble. But in general you can.


Last edited by fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:01 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:48 am

And regarding direct comparison of IR and directors he worked with, it is possible, as CK pointed out earlier to ascertain for oneself where they stand wrt IR by viewing the song picturisations (see below). Also, the weakest link principle. It is a fairly obvious remark by IR that no director has risen to his level, so obvious, it shouldn't even be a matter of discussion. Rajkiran Vs IR might be an apples Vs oranges comparison, but it is the finest Kashmir apple Vs a rotten, putrid half-eaten orange picked from the garbage dump. 

Exhibit 1 - Bharathiraja

Highlight - First 15 seconds of this video



Exhibit 2- Balachander. Highlight - 3:50 to 3:55.


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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:03 am

If a movie aficionado could tell me what is the one thing that a KB or MR did from the point of view of technique or style without which the WORLD of movie making would have lost something substantial, I could then begin to evaluate them as genius.  Because in IR's case, what he achieved is truly without precedent and we should not downplay it just because some other movie personalities also achieved a lot of popularity in their heyday.  The same constraints applied to him as KB or MR so how is it that he alone found a way to infuse something cerebral within essentially commercial music.  Why did KB or MR have to make out and out commercial potboilers (Punnagai Mannan and Agni Natchatram) and rely on IR to enrich these films instead of simply refusing such projects if they were so great.  

We cannot confuse popularity with genius.  Kamal Haasan is not a genius, just a multi-talented artist.  If we call all highly talented artists genius, then we use the word too lightly.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Nerd on Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:29 am

And did I read Alaipayuthey being mentioned as some sort of pinnacle? Well may be I digress, so let me stop.  Very Happy

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