IR the genius

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:58 am

^^That was me  Razz. A near-perfect soundtrack and good performances, even if the story was somewhat cliched.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:57 am

crimson king wrote: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.  

That they did  a few out and out commercial films cannot be held against them, especially when they operated in the realm of commercial cinema. That way IR has accepted plenty of trashy films and given middling to eminently forgettable music. If he really lived and breathed music as he claims he should have refused those films and concentrated on giving even more workss like HTNI or NBW which truly inspired him, because according to him "no director rose to his level" or so I can argue, right? why did he chose to work with a bunch of village idiots time and again, leave alone KB or MR? This line of argument wont lead anywhere.

"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".

I have a problem with the bolded part. That seems to be just your opinion at this point.


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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:08 am

fring151 wrote: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).


Lets not take one or two inadequately picturized songs to make general accusations. First of all a director is not just a video song shooter. There is a whole lot more to his films, especially if he is a top drawer director, than just songs. Some times songs are even reluctant compromises. Also, directors like Mani have been widely acclaimed to have been the best at picturizing songs no matter who the MD they worked with. Actually IR himself sometime back singled out  MR and Balu Mahendra as the two directors who could describe exactly what they wanted to him and what they picturized later did not deviate a bit from what they had told him earlier. No wonder Karthik Raja says that his dad is inspired by such directors. And now when  you turn around and say "they didnt rise to my level" doesnt make much sense. I hope he is talking about the other 100+ incompetents he worked with and not these directors. Because the admiration has been mutual between him and these directors. I think it was just a case of the interviewer annoying IR a bit with that question and eliciting such a response. As we all know by now, depending on his mood and circumstances under which the interview was held, IR's answers to the same question could be different on different days of the week.  As much as IR's music helped those directors, their picturizations and their films helped the songs as well.  If the same Dalapathi soundtrack had been composed for a P.Vasu  film just imagine how a song like Sundari kannaal oru seidhi might have been picturized. I rest my case. In fact if the director was P.Vasu IR might not have even been inspired to compose a soundtrack like that (esp. in the early 90s) and go all the way to Bombay to record with that orchestra. The fact that the music for a KB or Mani film was CONSISTENTLY good shows that there was something about them, their films, their narrative style that inspired IR. And they did achieve success even beyond IR, even with other music directors. It shows that they knew their music(even if they might not have had music lessons from Trinity college) and could push MDs to give them what they wanted. 

I think this discussion got veered in a slightly different direction with the "genius" bit but Iam not going there for now. THats a different discussion for another day. This was just intended to be a analysis of what IR said in that interview and whether it made a lot of sense.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:52 am

counterpoint: It may be only my viewpoint, but unless I am offered some persuasive arguments, I don't have to change it, right? An artist may make bad works, that's the law of averages at work. But Punnagai Mannan and Agni are among the iconic films of those directors. It cannot be said of any of IR's iconic soundtracks that they do not demonstrate his genius. So there is a huge difference. When scoring for banal films also, he has tried to create room for musical exploration and never offered the public taste cop out that his decorated successor is fond of saying. I have at least a lot of regard for KB's work but if MR is cerebral anything, then A Clockwork Orange should be viewed only by Phds. You said earlier that a comparison of say MR with FFC is unfair and I disagree for it illustrates well where IR stands. IR can be compared with any successful/influential rock/pop artists. But MR's banality is painfully exposed when compared to Holly greats.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:02 am

counterpoint wrote:Lets not take one or two inadequately picturized songs to make general accusations. First of all a director is not just a video song shooter. There is a whole lot more to his films, especially if he is a top drawer director, than just songs. Some times songs are even reluctant compromises. Also, directors like Mani have been widely acclaimed to have been the best at picturizing songs no matter who the MD they worked with. Actually IR himself sometime back singled out  MR and Balu Mahendra as the two directors who could describe exactly what they wanted to him and what they picturized later did not deviate a bit from what they had told him earlier. 


It is not just one or two songs which were inadequately picturised but most. I don't get what the big deal is about the video of Sundari kannal oru sedhi is. It's pretentious at best. The song that has actually been picturised well in that movie is 'Chinna thaayaval'. And I heartily disagree that the picturisations helped the music in ANY way. A song cannot stand the test of time merely on the strength of its video whereas it can on the strength of the music (and/or lyrics). So whereas picturisation in the larger scheme of things is admittedly of limited importance, it does reveal the limitations of the director.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:30 am

counterpoint wrote:Actually IR himself sometime back singled out  MR and Balu Mahendra as the two directors who could describe exactly what they wanted to him and what they picturized later did not deviate a bit from what they had told him earlier. No wonder Karthik Raja says that his dad is inspired by such directors. And now when  you turn around and say "they didnt rise to my level" doesnt make much sense. 

I do have some respect for both these directors (more for BM than MR) but they both have/had many limitations. 


  • Neither Agni natchathiram nor Mouna ragam nor Thalapathi will stand up to serious scrutiny as wholesome creations whereas the soundtracks will easily pass the strictest assessments. And these are supposedly Mani's landmark movies. Whereas they are just another soundtrack from IR's vast oeuvre. 
  • The themes and subjects they dealt with were restricted to romance, infidelity, family drama, the works. This is not to say Veedu or Moondram pirai were not good films (they were great!), but neither of the directors truly challenged IR to come up with something unique by conceiving and executing a script like say 'Sleuth' or 'Lives of others' to quote 2 random examples that come to mind. IR meanwhile has explored and experimented with countless musical idioms and ideas even within the restrictive stultifying medium that is Tamil cinema of the 80s. 
  • As I said earlier, I am guessing this is possibly one of IR's big varuthhams- not having had the chance to stretch his creativity even more, being genuinely inspired by an equally versatile and 'genius' director to come up with an opulent symphonic score for a well-made epic or sci-fi or even slick action thriller (or more movies like even Salangai oli or Guna ). Now I am hoping no one jumps to defend Ponnar Sankar as a well made epic movie.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:41 pm

crimson king wrote: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.
First para, exactly my point. Well articulated, komblit agreement.

Second para. Fair enough. Point taken.

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IR the genius

Post  app_engine on Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:55 pm

Nice discussion on IR / genius topic!

I don't want these interesting posts to get buried in this "anything" thread, will try to pick & move them into a separate "IR the genius" thread when I have bandwidth Smile
=====================================================================
EDIT : The move is completed, now the discussion can continue in this new thread...

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Re: IR the genius

Post  V_S on Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:48 pm

DM,
Apologies. I removed one post by you by mistake during the split and merger. That's was the reply/response/appreciation by you to fring151's post. If you don't mind, can you please respond to that post again? Sorry again  Embarassed 

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:02 pm

fring151 wrote:

  • As I said earlier, I am guessing this is possibly one of IR's big varuthhams- not having had the chance to stretch his creativity even more, being genuinely inspired by an equally versatile and 'genius' director to come up with an opulent symphonic score for a well-made epic or sci-fi or even slick action thriller (or more movies like even Salangai oli or Guna ). Now I am hoping no one jumps to defend Ponnar Sankar as a well made epic movie.

 applause sOkkA sonna ba.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  V_S on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:07 pm

Thanks DM Smile

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:56 am

People, please do not split hairs on "they did not rise to my level" statement by IR. In my opinion he has said that more out of annoyance.
Frankly, I dont think anybody else in the tamil film industry has done quality work like IR - except for Kannadhasan and SIvaji (my top 3 picks). Anybody else starts at #4 atleast for me .. :-)
I can defend whenever I have time.
Meanwhile, Suresh, brought up the topic of genius .. because we were already analyzing people from different functions.
On the genius topic as well, I completely agree with Suresh's picks - IR and Ramanujam. Note, I brought in Chandra vis-a-vis Abdul Kalam.
Chandra is a fine example of systematic studying and professionalism - and one major contribution (Chandrashekar Limit) is probably not at the level ..
But as I am not a physicist and dont know his full contribution.. I would not vehemently argue that he is not a genius. Dont know chess.. no idea about Anand.
But IR and Ramanujam are very similar in how they function/functioned .. lacking formal training .. but creating artefacts in less time (which are considered impossible by normal human standards).
To be genius level - you are not talking about professional quality/standards. It is way beyond that

BTW, yes IR has been handicapped by lack of a good director/script all along (just like Sivaji). Kannadhasan fortunately can be 'standalone' . Note again, there are equally good lyrics from somebody else but not at the speed and body like him (parallel to IR).

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:25 am

Wikipedia is not bad at all -

A genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight. This may refer to a particular aspect of an individual, or the individual in his or her entirety; to a scholar in many subjects (e.g. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz or Leonardo da Vinci)[1] or a scholar in a single subject (e.g., Albert Einstein or Charles Darwin). There is no scientifically precise definition of genius, and the question of whether the notion itself has any real meaning has long been a subject of debate.

I like the unprecedented leap of insight part - I guess that is why we call him gnani . He has insight into the swara - emotion connection very much . He has demonstrated the same tune in different genre. different moods etc.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  plum on Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:19 am

munirathnam is a genius

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:18 pm

This is a topic that I have written about in several other forums. I have the nasty habit of achieving all my serious writings. When I had to first come out with a name for my blog, I carefully chose it - it was not by accident.

I will reproduce some of my posts in this topic here - it is no effort for me, only for you  Smile

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:26 pm

The word 'genius' has been misused by all civilizations in various times. We are no exception. Most film musicians are geniuses if you take into consideration the duration of a magazine article. The way the world of arts look at geniuses are very different from the way the world of science or technology view it. When Steve Woz designs that clever circuitry of the Apple II in record time, he was the electronics genius for some time. When Jobs pulls his shiny little iPod from his front jeans pocket, he is the marketing genius for some time. Most cultures mistake startlers as 'geniuses' for a short period of time. 

Even Mozart was considered a 'prodigy' when he composed his first symphony at 11. Bach, just a church musician and instrument repairman. Not geniuses during their time. For a long time, America confused 'inventors' as geniuses as Edison was their greatest icon and he was an inventor. In America, even today, if can't create anything flashy that can startle an audience, you cannot be a genius.

 Most artists get recognized as a genius way past their time. That's due to the fact that it takes some time for the controversies to die down and accept their contributions. Unlike 'flashy' inventors, they normally do not ride on a big dollar bill. It is important to step back and really think why this happens. As they say technology when developed beyond a point becomes magic. Magic is what makes you think that the magician is a genius. What are we getting mixed up here?

Let's start from the bottom of the pyramid. Most people are consumers of music than contributors. There are some who dedicate substantial amount of time in training themselves with the nuances of music formally.

Some of the folks who go through this training process emerge as skilled ones. This is like someone who has taken some ten years of training in mechanical engineering. Some of them develop an excellent faculty for interpreting engineering drawings more than others. They can not only draw and solve problems faster, but also think of new ways of problem solving because of their visualization abilities. 

To be an instrument player or a composer, you need this basic ability, which I call skill. You are several notches above normal folks. You can not only play instruments very well, but also understand musical
notations because of your training. 

What's very striking about skilled musicians is that, while they have great training, visualization, they have some limitations. New things come hard to them and you can see a reflection of some of their training in their everyday work. In other words, the training has not mixed with their bloodstream and taken a form of its own. 

The trouble with most keyboard based composers today, who do a couple of movies and disappear is just that: they are very skilled and that's it. They neither have the natural faculties to change conventional wisdom, nor do they have the experience. All musical geniuses are skilled; the reverse is however not true. The Chetpet Chopen and Warangal Wagners fall into this category.

More later...

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:39 am

ravinat wrote:This is a topic that I have written about in several other forums. I have the nasty habit of achieving all my serious writings. When I had to first come out with a name for my blog, I carefully chose it - it was not by accident.

I will reproduce some of my posts in this topic here - it is no effort for me, only for you  Smile

Keep it coming, Ravi. I am interested in cognitive sciences kind of stuff .. (and data science too :-) athaan thozhil )

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:52 am

fring151 wrote:


  • Neither Agni natchathiram nor Mouna ragam nor Thalapathi will stand up to serious scrutiny as wholesome creations whereas the soundtracks will easily pass the strictest assessments. And these are supposedly Mani's landmark movies. Whereas they are just another soundtrack from IR's vast oeuvre. 


why are you making the mistakes of comparing those movies directly with those songs in that films? They were not Mani's best movies or landmark movies BTW. Nayakan, Iruvar and Kannathil Muthamittal are considered so, according to serious film buffs and 2 out of those 3 films did not even have music by IR. We cannot go to the extent of dragging in movies like Idhayakovil, PagalNilavu to make a case for IR and one against Mani. Like I said Mani operated in the commercial realm and had his own constraints. If IR thinks no one rose to his level then he should have done more movies with Adoor, Padmarajan, Ketan Mehta, Bharathan and so on. Some of their movies would have not have needed songs at all. Would IR have been as popular as he is now if he limited himself to doing only offbeat movies or parallel cinema where his services were required only for background scopres and not songs? Highly doubtful. IR rose to prominence mainly because of his songs first, lets not forget that. If our cinema had only backgrounnd music and no songs somebody like L.Subra(who did a fine job for Salaam Bombay) or his siblings would also have been more than adequate for the job. Even Jerry Amaldev the WCM trained Mallu composer would have done a competent job.

He should evaluate those directors whom he worked with within the context of commercial cinema, while putting their works in the context of what commercial directors/cinema before them achieved. While Mani was'nt in parallel cinema, he did do his bit to push up the standards of commercial cinema. Iruvar is a milestone in Tamil cinema and as "parallel" as Mani could get. IR wanted to be in mainstream cinema and was content with doing music for 20-30 crappy movies every year, with the music for such films getting less and less appealing over the years. So where does he get off complaining? Even for Balu Mahendra he could do music for Raman Crapdullah but not Sandhya raagam. Anyway this discussion does not belong in this thread. "IR is a genius" is a seperate topic. Somewhere it got mixed up. Lets not digress here any further.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:01 am

kiru wrote:
On the genius topic as well, I completely agree with Suresh's picks  - IR and Ramanujam. Note, I brought in Chandra vis-a-vis Abdul Kalam.
Chandra is a fine example of systematic studying and professionalism - and one major contribution (Chandrashekar Limit) is probably not at the level ..
But as I am not a physicist and dont know his full contribution.. I would not vehemently argue that he is not a genius.

But you know everything about music and hence are in a position to fully evaluate IR's genius vis a vis, say a Salil or MSV or Anil Biswas or a G. Ramanathan?After all some of these guys have used western classical and harmony aspects in their songs long before IR did even if their emphasis was more on melody.
See,this is why I said earlier that this is tricky business. We loosely use the term genius based on somebody else throwing around the word in popular media and soon it ends up being matter-of-fact not something that was arrived at after profound scrutiny/analysis. Even musicians in our country use this term loosely to describe their favourite musician as if "genius" to them just meant somebody whose music they immensely liked. So if they like SDB songs a lot he is a "genius".,To some, RDB is a genius and an innovator par none. And so on. I wouldnt venture into this business too much because of above said limitations. Even the definitioin of genius sometimes varies depending on the source. And then the metrics. And then the knowledge(not just of music but a sense of history as well so that you can place accomplishments in proper context). It is not an easy job even for learned muscians leave alone a bunch of fans whiling away their time in discussion forums like this. what makes this even more tricky is that IR operated mostly in the unique genre of "Tamil film music" not in classical music or carnatic music or pure Jazz where there are atleast some established standards/metric to evaluate what is generally regarded as genius-level accomplishment.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:57 am

counterpoint wrote:
fring151 wrote:


  • Neither Agni natchathiram nor Mouna ragam nor Thalapathi will stand up to serious scrutiny as wholesome creations whereas the soundtracks will easily pass the strictest assessments. And these are supposedly Mani's landmark movies. Whereas they are just another soundtrack from IR's vast oeuvre. 


why are you making the mistakes of comparing those movies directly with those songs in that films? They were not Mani's best movies or landmark movies BTW. Nayakan, Iruvar and Kannathil Muthamittal are considered so, according to serious film buffs and 2 out of those 3 films did not even have music by IR. We cannot go to the extent of dragging in movies like Idhayakovil, PagalNilavu to make a case for IR and one against Mani. Like I said Mani operated in the commercial realm and had his own constraints. If IR thinks no one rose to his level then he should have done more movies with Adoor, Padmarajan, Ketan Mehta, Bharathan and so on. Some of their movies would have not have needed songs at all. Would IR have been as popular as he is now if he limited himself to doing only offbeat movies or parallel cinema where his services were required only for background scopres and not songs? Highly doubtful. IR rose to prominence mainly because of his songs first, lets not forget that. If our cinema had only backgrounnd music and no songs somebody like L.Subra(who did a fine job for Salaam Bombay) or his siblings would also have been more than adequate for the job. Even Jerry Amaldev the WCM trained Mallu composer would have done a competent job.

He should evaluate those directors whom he worked with within the context of commercial cinema, while putting their works in the context of what commercial directors/cinema before them achieved. While Mani was'nt in parallel cinema, he did do his bit to push up the standards of commercial cinema. Iruvar is a milestone in Tamil cinema and as "parallel" as Mani could get. IR wanted to be in mainstream cinema and was content with doing music for 20-30 crappy movies every year, with the music for such films getting less and less appealing over the years. So where does he get off complaining? Even for Balu Mahendra he could do music for Raman Crapdullah but not Sandhya raagam. Anyway this discussion does not belong in this thread. "IR is a genius" is a seperate topic. Somewhere it got mixed up. Lets not digress here any further.

Soundtrack can refer to both songs or BGM depending on context, so I am not sure what gave you the impression I am comparing the movies directly or only with the songs. But Mani needed songs for his movies to work - he knew that, he milked it in movies like Agni, so even that would not be an entirely inappropriate comparison, but anyway. So now let's  accept Nayakan, Iruvar and Kannathil muthamittal were Mani's serious movies, though using your own reasoning, I can also claim that defining who a serious film buff is equally a tricky business, but I'll let that pass for now. And the fact that 2 out of those 3 movies (and Sandhya ragam by BM) didn't have music by IR is rather irrelevant if what we are trying to discuss here is whether IR's statement that these directors didn't rise up to his level is justifiable. I hope that's what we are still discussing and not Mani's merits as a filmmaker per-se - for that's not a discussion I'd be terribly keen on getting involved in.

So Mani had constraints - sure I accept that. My simple question then is, in the movies he worked with IR (let's stick to those), what are the novelties in his approach to movie making that you can glean? Did he conjure up any unconventional plots or set up gripping dialogues? If you feel so, do provide youtube links to memorable sequences or dialogues from his movies and we can discuss them here and see how far IR's score helped (or didn't) in elevating those scenes. In my opinion, we wouldn't even be talking about Nayagan in this breath if Kamal hadn't essayed the lead role, which is not to say that makes it a great movie. Good is probably the most appropriate adjective here.
IR wanted to be in mainstream cinema and was content with doing music for 20-30 crappy movies every year, with the music for such films getting less and less appealing over the years. So where does he get off complaining?

Complaining? I thought he was just stating a truism in a slightly unpalatable way. "Less and less appealing over the years" is a topic for another thread.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:01 pm

counterpoint wrote:
kiru wrote:
On the genius topic as well, I completely agree with Suresh's picks  - IR and Ramanujam. Note, I brought in Chandra vis-a-vis Abdul Kalam.
Chandra is a fine example of systematic studying and professionalism - and one major contribution (Chandrashekar Limit) is probably not at the level ..
But as I am not a physicist and dont know his full contribution.. I would not vehemently argue that he is not a genius.

But you know everything about music and hence are in a position to fully evaluate IR's genius vis a vis, say a Salil or MSV or Anil Biswas or a G. Ramanathan?After all some of these guys have used western classical and harmony aspects in their songs long before IR did even if their emphasis was more on melody.
See,this is why I said earlier that this is tricky business. We loosely use the term genius based on somebody else throwing around the word in popular media and soon it ends up being matter-of-fact not something that was arrived at after profound scrutiny/analysis. Even musicians in our country use this term loosely to describe their favourite musician as if "genius" to them just meant somebody whose music they immensely liked. So if they like SDB songs a lot he is a "genius".,To some, RDB is a genius and an innovator par none. And so on. I wouldnt venture into this business too much because of above said limitations. Even the definitioin of genius sometimes varies depending on the source. And then the metrics. And then the knowledge(not just of music but a sense of history as well so that you can place accomplishments in proper context). It is not an easy job even for learned muscians leave alone a bunch of fans whiling away their time in discussion forums like this. what makes this even more tricky is that IR operated mostly in the unique genre of "Tamil film music" not in classical music or carnatic music or pure Jazz where there are atleast some established standards/metric to evaluate what is generally regarded as genius-level accomplishment.

ha .. you must be a genius :-)
I agree to the "IR operated mostly in the unique genre of "Tamil film music" not in classical music or carnatic music or pure Jazz where there are atleast some established standards/metric to evaluate what is generally regarded as genius-level accomplishment" part. But I have based my opinion on others's analysis of structure/system/formalism in his works (eg. % of songs based on a raagam without any adulteration etc)
I dont think you need to be a physicist to appreciate relativity etc and hence appreciate Einstein -the genius will be easily obvious. Same goes for Picasso ..and probably for music or movies as well..dont take my 'am not a physicist' literally quite a lot of science/math non-fiction figure in NYT best seller.. I am sure all those people have some opinion on fantastic concepts/theories by physicists/mathematicians/geneticists.
Your comment about other MDs capable of doing background score seems very facetious .. with a moniker like yours you know that not many people in India or even in other western countries bring in that concept so easily .. it is difficult to think like that ..



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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:15 pm


I agree to the "IR operated mostly in the unique genre of "Tamil film music" not in classical music or carnatic music or pure Jazz where there are atleast some established standards/metric to evaluate what is generally regarded as genius-level accomplishment" part

What are those established metrics? Please share here, we could see how IR measures up. And who are the Carnatic or jazz geniuses according to these metrics?

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:55 pm

fring151 wrote:

I agree to the "IR operated mostly in the unique genre of "Tamil film music" not in classical music or carnatic music or pure Jazz where there are atleast some established standards/metric to evaluate what is generally regarded as genius-level accomplishment" part

What are those established metrics? Please share here, we could see how IR measures up. And who are the Carnatic or jazz geniuses according to these metrics?

I am not answering for counterpoint as he is a genius and can take care of himself

Since I agreed with that point here is my take - to analyse we need metrics/measurements of a fact - we have to defiine what these facts are - say symphony, concerto, keerthanai etc. The we can assign some quality/dimension etc to this.
For IR, I'd say, one song == keerthanai Lite :-) we can assign some popularity/hit count, complexity, beauty ... and now we can do some aggregates on this .. (dont ask me for yardstick to measure all these).
Then again, as the greedy IR fan am, will assign a count of two movement to the two interludes etc .. now you know where I am going :-)
That is how I claim IR as a genius (all made up after Mr counterpoint challenged :-) )

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:14 pm

Let's move up the pyramid. We started off with the 'skilled' and that was easy. The next level is what I call the 'talented'. Put simply, talented musicians do what the skilled musicians cannot. However, the definition does not help much as this is an area of too much confusion. The most misunderstanding in this hierarchy exists at this level. Most popular media confuse 'talent' and 'genius'.

Before the cheap keyboards and electronics, you needed to be 'talented' to be a music composer. If you go back to our old (60s/70s) literature on film music, nobody talks about geniuses. Only words like efficient (திறமைசாலி), imaginative or adaptive were used to describe MSV or KVM or their predecessors.

So, how do you tell a talented music composer? Here is my take with an example. They have taken their training into their bloodstream, but carefully experiment. They stay away from any controversy and they are quite imaginative. They have a good grasp of all necessary genres required for film music composition. Occasionally, they do show some flashes of brilliance which makes you sit up and take notice. They are not someone who can shift the paradigm. (I know this is a very misused word, but I truly mean it here). They are not leaders but followers musically, not by popularity.

A good example is Vidyasagar. The man is very talented with composing popular film music, classical ones (you have to hear Swarabishekam in Telugu) and different tastes (his Malayalam compositions are several notches above his Tamil). He stays out of controversy. He has good western music fundamentals and does experiment. There are some views about his inconsistency but it is hard to relate that to his talent. Though his success has been limited, there are other overrated talented composers that I would throw into the same bucket. Several talented composers are wildly successful and popular but still lack some genius traits.

Examples of Vidyasagar's work -  listen to Krishnagudiyil Oru Pranayakalathu (1997 Malayalam). Outstanding melody work. You need to hear his experimentation with Raadhai Manadhil from Snehidhiye(2001). Finally, if you hear the music of Ilaignan (2010 Tamil), which he did with Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, you can get a good understanding of his WCM abilities.

I would throw several composers into this bucket such as AR. They have internalized their training and have showcased their talent with various musical genres used in film music. However, while this is great talent, it cannot be still considered genius. The mind of the genius sees things that the talented do not. All musical composing geniuses are talented but the opposite is not true.

Next, we will not only cover the traits of a genius in this area, with some examples, but also try and classify different types of geniuses.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:57 pm

Great series ravinat. Thoroughly enjoying it. Just a quick question here. Why do you say a talented musician stays out of controversy? What has that got to do with his musical talent? Or do you mean musical controversy? (like a Mari Mari Ninne which created an uproar) If you could clarify if your statement was for the character of the musician or the profession, it would be clearer to me.

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