Raja of the mid 90s

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:19 am

app,

True. SJ was unbeatable in this aspect though I think Swarnalatha does a nice job. Probably a level less than Janaki but still a worthy contender. Chitra stands somewhere between SJ and Vani Smile I think in some cases your 'chechi' bias may be at work, because I think she does it well. Whereas in some songs you do miss SJ or SL.

L R Eshwari would have been interesting in Raja songs. Unfortunately we don't have many examples here.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  V_S on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:22 pm

Sureshji
Wow! the clap Nice dig into the history, enjoyed reading it. Excellent song and yes Raja is a marvel in this category (what else he is not! Wink).

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  kiru on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:53 pm

Raaga_Suresh wrote:Song No: 40
Song: Thathi Thathi Thavidum
Film: Periya Kudumbam
Singers:SPB, Chitra
Lyricist: R V Udaykumar


Orchestration consulting/services provided by KR (my guess). Will sound like Enya/Vangelis. KR wanted to go the source of ARR's inspiration - Vangelis and hence he did this style for IR for a while (Ref - Vangelis - Themes - Chariots of Fire).

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:10 am

Thanks V_S.

kiru: I guess what you say is true about the Vangelis influence. 'pudhu vellai mazhai' is the example you are looking for I guess.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  app_engine on Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:54 pm

OK, this album is 1991 but may still qualify for this thread -"thandhu vittEn ennai" (Directed by Sridhar, Vikram's TF debut movie I think)

http://www.thiraipaadal.com/album.php?ALBID=ALBIRR00641&lang=en

I'm prompted to post about this after reading this funny blog post :

http://www.crankscorner.com/2013/03/28/a-diy-maestro-fan-guide/

(I've already alerted Sureshji, V_Sji & jaiganesh - the CAT 1 fans of CSR category - in the NEPV thread about this blog)

Smile

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  V_S on Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:09 pm

app_engine wrote:I'm prompted to post about this after reading this funny blog post :

http://www.crankscorner.com/2013/03/28/a-diy-maestro-fan-guide/
There were hot discussions on twitter about this. I felt this was an insult to all Raja fans. Sad This was not at all necessary, 'look-ma-i-can-also-kaLaichufhy' kind of post. Creates distaste in me.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  layman10 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:47 am

V_S wrote:
app_engine wrote:I'm prompted to post about this after reading this funny blog post :

http://www.crankscorner.com/2013/03/28/a-diy-maestro-fan-guide/
There were hot discussions on twitter about this. I felt this was an insult to all Raja fans. Sad This was not at all necessary, 'look-ma-i-can-also-kaLaichufhy' kind of post. Creates distaste in me.

Saar has big furture as hu-rambamist like BossKey..

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:39 pm

The Year 1995: A review
I have posted songs from most of the movies Raja did in 1995. I have left out the famous ones deliberately. Before we go and analyse Raja’s output in 1995, let us take a look at the overall music scene during that year.

Let’s start with Rahman, who was in his ascendancy and was the hot shot MD during that time. He had ‘Bombay’, ‘Indira’,'Manitha Manitha’, ‘Muthu’ and dubbed from Telugu ‘Super Police’ (as per thiraipaadal). ‘Bombay’ consolidated Rahman’s image in Bollywood as the songs of this movie were hit in the North. ‘Tu Hi Re’ and ‘Kehna Hai Kya’ are popular even now. It was also a major hit in Chennai as well and the success of the film pushed ManiRatnam to North, to try his hands in Hindi films. ‘Indira’ with its ‘Nila Kaaigiradhu’, which is even now popular in many singing shows, was musically a hit but the film didn’t do too well at the box office. ‘Muthu’ was the first Rajni movie Rahman was doing and the expectations were high. I must say that the songs were upto the expectation and ‘oruvan oruvan mudhalali’ and ‘thilana thilana’ were big hits. ‘Manidha Manidha’ was a washout and so was ‘Super Police’, the first Telugu movie that Rahman did. (It is interesting to note that while Rahman was able to break through easily into Hindi, he was unable to do the same in regional languages. While his Hindi and Tamil songs were/are famous in southern states, the music he did for local language films was never a hit. ‘Super Police’, ‘Komram Puli’ (Telugu). ‘Sajni’ (Kannada) were all failures.)

This was the time that Deva was consolidating his position in TFM. ‘Aasai’ was his biggest hit of the year. ‘Konjanaal Poru Thalaiva’ gave tough competition for Rahman songs. ‘pulveli’, ‘thilothama’ were also major hits. Then there was the mega hit ‘Baasha’. Songs like ‘Autokaran’, ‘thanga magan’ were chartbusters. The movie is considered by hard core Rajni fans as one of his best movies ever. Deva also had movies like ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Gokulathil Seethai’ that year. Vidaysagar got noticed that year for his ‘malare mounama’ from ‘Karna’ and ‘thamrai poovukkum’ from ‘Pasumpon’. Yuvan made his entry with ‘Aravindhan’ that year. Karna’ was a big hit for Vidyasagar. Not sure how Pasumpon performed at the box office. Neither do I know much about ‘Aravindan’s fate at box office.

Inspite of Rahman, Deva and Vidyasagar having lot of hits I feel this was the year of Raja. I will explain my rationale in the next post.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  app_engine on Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:03 am

Raaga_Suresh wrote:

Inspite of Rahman, Deva and Vidyasagar having lot of hits I feel this was the year of Raja. I will explain my rationale in the next post.

Great recap of the year 1995!

Eagerly looking forward to next post!

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:29 pm

1995: The musical year of Raja – Part 1

In the last post we saw how music directors other than Raja fared. Now let us see how Raja’s films and music fared this year. First I will make some objective conclusion about the performance of the movies and movies that Raja worked in. Later we will move to the subjective analysis of his music for the perspective of a Raja fan.

Raja worked in 22 movies in 1995 as per thiraipaadal (Thiraipaadal actually says 24 but all other sources say ‘Siraichalai’ was a 1996 movie. So I have not included it in the list. Also ‘Thaikulame Thaikulame’ is Deva and not Raja) The list of movies as per thiraipaadal is here: http://www.thiraipaadal.com/year.php?schYear=1995&lang=en . Let me divide these movies into Hits, Moderate Success and Flops. (I don’t have intimate knowledge of box office so I could be wrong. Please let me know if you don’t agree with any assessment here. I will change it. Since I was staying in Chennai during that time the view may well be very Chennai focused.)

Hits: Sathi Leelavathi, Rasayya

Moderate: Avatharam, Makka Aatchi, Ellame En Rasathaan (was it a hit?), Makkal Aatchi

Below Expectations / Flop : Saathu, Aan Azhagan. Moga Mul, Chandralekha, Chinna Vathiyaar, Ilayaragam, Kolangal, Paatu Paadava, Nandavan Theru, Oru Orile Oru Rajakumari, Raja Enga Raja, Raja Muthirai, Rajavin Paarvaiyile, Thedivandha Rasa, Paatu Vaadhiyar

I am not sure about Periya Kudumbam, whether it was moderate success or a failure.

As you can see, the number of below expectation and flop movies outnumber the hits. The major hits of 1995 went to Deva and Rahman. ‘Baasha’ was probably the biggest hit of the year, the score of which was Deva’s. Next in line would be ‘Muthu’ for which Rahman scored. ‘Aasai’ was another major hit this year, which went to Deva while ‘Bombay’ was by Rahman. I don’t think either Sathu Leelavathi or Rasayya reached the same level of success.

Another thing to observe here is that producers / directors who were making movie with good production values were moving away from Raja. ‘Bombay’ was technically brilliant with Rajeev Menon’s superb cinematography capturing the south as well as Bombay very well. In ‘Muthu’ Ravikumar came with a very eye catching background design for ‘Thilana Thilana’ which helped the song reach high levels of popularity. Unfortunately many of the productions that Raja worked with did not have the same level of technical finesse and that probably was responsible for some of the good songs not reaching the audience, which was now more interested in ‘seeing’ the songs than just listening to it.

Let us now see how the music was received by the public. Here I will categorize this as movies in which multiple songs were well known, movies in which maybe one song caught the audience attention and movies which not many were interested in musically.

Multiple songs hit: Rasayya, Avatharam, Sathi Leelavathi, Ellam En Rasathaan

Single Hit Song: Chandralekha (‘alla un aasaipadi’), Chinna Vathiyar (‘kanmaniye kanmaniye’), Kolangal (‘oru kootil’), Nandavana Theru (‘velli nilave’), Oru Orile Oru Rajakumari (‘vandhal vandhal’), Paatu Vaadhiyar, Makal Aatchi, Katumarkkaran, Paatu Paadava

Flops: Aan Azhagan, Rajavin Paarvaiyile, Thedivantha Rasa, Saathu, Moga Mul, Ilayavan

This gives us a fair idea that the equations in Tamil film industry was changing. Rajni was no longer making movies with Raja. Veera in 1994 would be his last. Mani Ratnam had shifted fully to Rahman. Shankar was using only Rahman. Deva was now giving hit music and the movies he worked in were also turning out to be successful. So in a way the box office trend was not going Raja’s way. In earlier days, all the songs of a movie scored by Raja used to be hits but now only some were successful and in some movies only one song was heard by the public.

And yet I say, the year musically belonged to Raja. Wait for the next part …

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:29 pm

1995: The musical year of Raja – Part 2
Now that we have got the objective data out of the day (which clearly proves that 1995 belonged to Rahman and Deva commercially) let us analyse the musical output of Raja and also compare it with the output of other composers. In terms of the % of hits, Rahman stood head and shoulder above others with most of the songs from ‘Bombay’, ‘Indira’ and ‘Muthu’ being major hits. Deva was not that consistent but he did have runaway hits like the Badsah songs and songs from ‘Aasai’. But if you look at the number of songs of top quality we will realise that Raja has given us more outstanding songs than all the other composers put together!!

Since we have clearly seen how the general public received, let us now see how Raja fans received his music in that year. Since I was in Chennai during that time and I was in touch with a few more Raja fans and also observing Raja forums, I can confidently say that most fans during those times were a disappointed lot. They expected that Raja’s music would demolish everything in its way and show the world who the boss was. Unfortunately that did not happen. Movie after movie would come but the public acceptance was not as high as for other songs and it was rare to see Raja songs in the top spot in any one of those countdown programs. Infact I remember that even ‘Avatharam’ songs probably were at 4 or 5 in the countdown scale. Such was the instant disappointment that many of us neglected most of the albums saying that they did not measure upto Raja standards. It took us probably a decade or more to realize the mistake that we had made.

When I now look at the 1995 output, I am astonished. Let us take a few albums first and analyze them. Then we will take up some songs and analyze them to understand how much we had missed during those times.

First, ‘Avatharam’. As I said none of the songs of “Avatharam’ appeared in the top spot in the countdown. Now, can you think of Raja without the prelude of ‘themral vandhu theendum podhu’? That whole album will occupy a very high rank in Raja’s oeuvre. Next we come to ‘Mogamul’. The film was a washout. The direction very amateurish and the general consensus is that the film did not do justice to the famous novel of Thi.Janakiraman. The music did more than justice for this movie. The Ramapriya based ‘Kamalam Pada Kamalam’ was probably the first time the raga was being used in films. Then there was the viraha soaked ‘sollayo vaai thirandhu’ in Shanmukhapriya followed by ‘nenje gurnatharin’ in Natakapriya, again the first time the raga was appearing in films. Then there was Raj Kiran’s ‘Ellame En Rasathaan’ with the outstanding ‘veenaikku veenai kunju’, ‘oru sandhana kaatukulle’ and ‘azhagaana manja pura’. (The songs are now so well known by Raja fans that I had not written about them.) Even in just these three movies, observe the range. One was a film based on therukuthu to which Raja provides some amazing WCM without diluting the essence of the movie. Another is a Carnatic based movie and another a village tale.

Now let us look at the films which many Raja fans let go those days but they have slowly got into their favorite play list now. First of these ‘Rajavin Paarvaiyile’, the only film which had Vijay and Ajit acting together. Unfortunately it was a major flop but each of the song in this movie is a gem. Then we have ‘Kolangal’. I have seen so many ‘Oh my god, how did I miss this movie. Amazing songs’ kind of reaction in various Raja forums. ‘Kolangal’ is an album in which the experimental part of Raja runs riot and he also delivers some superb melodies. ‘Chandralekha’ was another such film whose awesomeness Raja fans discovered slowly. ‘Paatu Paadavaa’ is now an eternal favorite with Raja fans, especially ‘vazhi vidu’ and ‘nil nil nil’. Though this movie did not get any attention when it was released, nowadays it will be difficult to find hard core Raja fan who doesn’t know about this album. Similarly the high quality of albums like ‘Nandavana Theru’ and ‘Oru Oorile Oru Rajakumari’ was discovered a bit late I must say.

In essence these are the albums that lot of Raja fans listen to and appreciate regularly:

1. Avatharam 2. Chandralekha 3. Ellam En Rasathaan 4. Kolangal 5. Nandavan Theru 5. Oru Oorile Oru Rajakumari 6. Mogamul 7. Paatu Paadava 8. Rajavin Paarvaiyile 9. Sathi Leelavathi 10. Rasayya (So even at a rate of 3 good songs per films, we are talking 30 good songs here)

Additionally let us look at some lovely songs from albums where the whole album is still not a hit with Raja fans. Here are some songs which I feel are superb songs and which are being heard by Raja fans even till this date or must be immediately discovered by Raja fans. :

1. ‘nilladha vennila’ – Aan Azhagan

2. ‘kanmaniye kanmaniye’ , ‘love pannathaan’- Chinna Vadhiyar

3. ‘marudhani charu’ – Illayaragam

4. ‘nee dhane naan padum’ – Paatu Vadhiyar

5. ‘thathi thathi’ – Periya Kudumbam

6. ‘yaru rambavai’ – Raja Muthirai

7. ‘ooru vittu’ – Raja Enga Raja

8. ‘policunna enna mattama’, ‘chinnan siru’ – Thedi Vandha Rasa

9. ‘ammama unnai’ – Sadhu

10. ‘kottu melangal’ and ‘meluru maaman’ – ‘Makkal Aatchi’

11. ‘kaethudhai’, ‘vetri vetri’ and ‘chinna poove’ – Kattumarakkaran

So we are talking about atleast 50 top quality songs in that year from Raja. (I think I have been fairly stringent here in my assessment. Else the numbers could go up.) None of the music directors gave these many songs. Rahman had only 3 films whereas Deva had double that number. So the total number of songs they were able to deliver that year was less than the number of good songs that Raja gave!!! Is that not reason enough to say that 1995 was the year of Raja?

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  V_S on Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:53 pm

Sureshji,
Wonderful summary of events in 1995. the clap the clap I can't agree more. Yes I agree you are being stringent but fair to come with 50 top songs, otherwise it would have easily crossed 75 and more. I think the main reason many songs being dismissed summarily (and got later acceptance) is because the listeners got used to Raja's songs quite more than what they deserved to hear for the past 2 decades. Since they got in abundant quantities they didn't realize its value. That's the reason even many songs in 80s we are still discovering which were summarily rejected then. After the advent of Rahman and Co. they thought it is very different (it is!) and since Raja couldn't come with those kind of songs (thank God he didn't!), they kind of over-judged that it is his limitation without even listening to him (or listening just for the sake to dismiss). Almost like a prejudice. Listeners were very harsh on Raja, but Raja was never. Otherwise they (we) would not have discovered gems like Naan poranthu vanthathu (Maaya Bazaar) so late while immediately appreciating songs like senthamizh naattu thamizhachiyE. Now since the air has been cleared and settled, thanks to internet and lot of fans rediscovering and sharing these songs, they are gaining prominence now deservingly. Now they have slowly started realizing the truth. My two cents. Smile

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:49 am

V_S,

Very true words. The air has indeed cleared for the Raja fan and now I don't see how _any_ song of 1995 by other composers can match something like 'therke veesum' from 'Kolangal'. We must be happy that atleast now we are able to discern the beauty of these compositions Smile

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:30 am

And for those interested, here is a 50 song playlist of Raja songs from 1995: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSv5Q60S5dwSCAt7zcnpyiwQPryWJO81U&feature=view_all

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1995 TFM

Post  mythila on Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:27 pm

1995- Well analysed, Sureshji. But whre is Mayabazaar 1995?
How can we miss "naan porandhu vandhadhu", esp after it got refurbished , all spruced up after IR's USA and Toronto concerts? :Qustion:
I fully agree with the IR's creativity and innovations during 1994/1995 period . I personally loved this very brief 94-95 duration even if the common Raja fan was disappointed with Raja not keeping up with his 80's style of lush orchestration and flowing melody lines that pleased one and all. The 94-95 phase Raja's music became a niche music IMO. Apart from Raja's movies faring badly, I stronly feel the choice of C and D grade singers like Mano, Arunmozhi and horror of all horrors, BhavathArini conributed big time in ppl shunning Raja. SPB's collaboration with Raja dwindled and the ageing of KJY,PJ,SJ added to the woes.
I stiil vividly remember the scathing remark in the Hindu review of Nambirajanin Chandralekha-1995 song, "Anal thanil vaadidum poovai" as a decent song going to dust due to the immature voice and off key singing by BhavathArini :embarassed:

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  app_engine on Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:28 pm

Great work, Sureshji!

I was one of those who was pained to see rAsA not scoring for biggies. However, rAsaiyA & ellAmE en rAsA dhAn got continuously played at my home Smile

I didn't recognize then that this monster 'thenRal vandhu theeNdumpOthu' arrived Embarassed The only song I heard on radio was 'aridhAraththai' and I didn't care to get the cassette.

That song can be compared to the 1996 kAlApAni & 1997 guru - two finest Malayalam albums of rAsA.

Of course, there's no comparison with the works of any other MD possible! (1995 or otherwise) Smile

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:38 pm

Thanks Mythila and yes, Mayabazar is indeed missing. Didn't see it in the thiraipaadal listing. Will check it out. If it was indeed 1995 it is a bad miss by me.

I agree with you on the choice of singers. Unfortunately this happened at a very inappropriate time. Just when Rahman was introducing new and fresh voices, Raja was giving more chances to Mano, Arunmozhi and Bhavatharini. Recently on twitter I wrote about the 'anal thanil' song. I said, 'This song deserves a singer who has lot of bhava, instead he gave us Bhava'. That song's tune is outstanding. And yes, others were aging. If you listen to Janaki's voice in 'Kolangal' you can hear the strain clearly.

app,

Yes, even for me initially 'oru gundumani' and 'aridharaththa' were the favorites. Only later did I sense the awesomeness of 'thenral vandhu'. And yes, this song can be compared with any other great song that Raja has composed.


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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  kamalaakarsh on Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:21 am

Suresh,

I just remembered that your analysis of 1995 is missing one particular commentary. When you covered 1993 and 1994, you did write a bit about the changes in raaja's music. Did raaja do anything specific in his music, that is aimed at tackling the emerging changes in the industry? Did his tunes change? or arrangements change? I remember that for 1993 or for 1994, you concluded that Raaja did not do anything 'different' or 'new' compared to what he was doing earlier, to deal with the new changes. It will be nice to analyze 1995 output based on such questions/themes because even though he did not do anything different in 1993 or 1994, we can spot some changes in his style, music, tunes and arrangements from 1995. A song like "Arumbu thalire" was a totally different Raaja that was never heard earlier. The emergence of synth dominance in some of Raaja's songs in 1995 is very pronounced. It worked amazingly well in some songs while I think it didnt work that much, in some.

Looking forward to your take on this, before we proceed to 1996.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:51 am

Kamal,

Very valid feedback. I missed out on that. I will write a part 3 soon. Maybe next week. After that we can go to 1996.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:49 am

1995: The musical Year of Raja – Part 3

As Kamal has pointed out, it will be pertinent to try and analyze what changes Raja did in 1995.

I feel that 1995 was the year when it became evident to everyone that Rahman was here to stay and the ‘sound’ he had pioneered in TFM was also here to stay. Additionally new voices were entering TFM at regular intervals and people were looking forward to the ‘Rahman sound’, atleast in the major cities. Other music directors like Deva, Vidyasagar and the upcoming Yuvan Shankar Raja understood this and recorded accordingly. All of them started using loops, samples and ensured that the songs were recorded in high quality.

These changes did have an impact on Raja’s music this year. On one hand, albums like ‘Avatharam’, ‘Moga Mull’, ‘Ellame En Rasathan’ did not show any influence of these trends, whereas in albums like ‘Chandralekha’ and ‘Rajavin Paarvaiyile’ you can see that synthsizer has started dominating. It must again be emphasized that Raja had been using synthesizers from a long time but it was always as a support to the main orchestration which was predominantly live. Now, the synthesizer became the main orchestra!! I had in my posts pointed to songs like ‘vitta moochile’ which had a predominance of synth. There were other songs this year, in which synth played an important role, songs like ‘maharajanodu raani’ (Sathi Leelavathi), ‘oru sudar iru sudar’ (Rasavin Paarvaiyile), ‘alla un aanaipadi’ (Chandralekha) and some more. The synthesizer usage by Raja was quite different from how Rahman and others used it. In many cases Raja was trying to recreate the manual orchestra using the synthesizer. Additionally the rhythm programming did not have the ‘cool’ factor that Rahman’s loops had. They did not find favor with the city youth and many of his fans were also disappointed during that time.

The second happening which showed that Raja was fully aware of what was happening in TFM was his trying to use new voices like Unni Krishnan and Preeti Uttam Singh. Unni was introduced to films by Rahman and he started singing for Raja in 1995 and was involved in a few nice numbers like ‘maharajanodu’ and ‘alla un aanaipadi’. Preeti Uttam Singh was involved in ‘kadhal vaanile’. Bhavatharini also made her debut this year. Yet, Raja was still relying on his old team of singers: SPB, Janaki, Chitra, Mano and Arunmozhi. As we had earlier discussed, voices like Mano and Arunmozhi were not able to withstand the onslaught of newer and fresher voices. Both Mano and Arunmozhi were competent singers at best and did not bring anything unique in terms of voice. Whereas the ‘new’ voices Rahman introduced had something unique and new about them. How many of them were competent singers is a different question but the fact that they got something fresh to the table cannot be denied.

Another aspect, which Kamal pointed out, is worth looking into. There were newer tunes, of type which you have not heard from Raja earlier. (This is a very difficult statement to make because Raja has done so much and we may not have heard all of it.) Some tunes which definitely were unique from a tuning perspective include ‘poonkatrile’ (Paatu Paadava), ‘arumbu thalire’ (Chandralekha), ‘niladha vennila’(Aan Azhagan), ‘anal thanil vaadidum’ (Chandralekha), ‘oru kootil’, ‘therke veesum’ (Kolangal). They had Raja’s signature alright but they were different as well. They did not remind us of any earlier style of Raja. Once you get this perspective, it is not surprising that these songs did not make a great impact, for it took some time for even Raja fans to understand his signature in these songs and appreciate these outstanding compositions. In retrospect, these songs show me a facet of Raja that I had completely ignored. The competitor in Raja was meeting the challenge of those time musically and not through external glitz and glamour. He was changing his music and this would in due course lead to some outstanding albums in latter days like ‘Time’ all the way to ‘Nee Dhane En Ponvasantham’. As an outstanding musician, the only way he could react was through music and not through sound and that is what Raja was doing. Unfortunately his musical best was ignored largely by the public. To his credit Raja kept at it and never gave up. That is why we now have that monster album in NEPV.

In 1995, Raja was working at various levels: on one hand the older format for Rajkiran movies, newer sounds for Vijay and Prabhu Deva movies, traditional sounds in Mogamull, some lovely WCM work in Avatharam and new age music in ‘Kolangal’. And added to it were the newer kind of tunes that were emerging. Unfortunately 1996 did not afford him enough films to expand his boundaries but were jumping the gun here. We will start looking at 1996 soon.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:56 am

I added this later in the writeup:

"An aspect which has puzzled many a Raja fan is that of recording quality. Given that anyone and everyone was recording songs at very good quality, many recordings of Raja left a lot to be desired when it came to quality. Even today I find that the recordings of ‘maharajanodu’ or ‘allah un aanai padi’ do no justice to the beauty of the tune. For some reason, Raja’s recordings were below par in many movies compared to the standard of those days. I still don’t know why that happened."

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  V_S on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:51 am

Amazing analysis Suresh ji on the trending in 1995. the clap I agree with your views. Regarding the recording quality, I also heard from many of my friends the same complaint, but when I listened I don't have much complaints, except it is do with the way Maestro structures a composition (orchestration) compared to others; it appears smudged, but it actually it is not.

Not many other music directors use such a complex structuring like the way Maestro does. Since they operate on sounds of one or at the most two instruments (or loops) in parallel, it appears clean. It is also easy to do that way. Also when we listen to songs which were predominantly composed using synth, we don't find any complaints as there is no loss in quality as it connected to systems directly (for example we can have that effect in Mahadev), but only when he records live instruments or when he records live instruments combined with synth, it might appear smudged because of the complexity, but when I listen in some high quality systems, I can clearly listen to every layer Maestro has structured and every instrument he has used. That's when the wow factor comes in which cannot be even compared to others. That's when we come to know that we have not listen to his compositions in fullest quality at all. Having said that, another thing which is a personal preference to me is, if it the recording is of supreme crystal clear quality with no issues, I feel it is more plastic and not much life injected into it (more of electronics and toy stuff), as it was not played by the musicians.

Another fact is when we go back often to listen to some old classics in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada we don't have much issues with their recording techniques as they are more melody driven rather than orchestration driven. With Maestro even if melody trumps, it is the orchestration which is so unique to Maestro which none other can match him and that's when our expectation go so high, but this is a kind of of blessing in disguise and we need to live with that. Wink Having said that I also desperately need the copyright owners to remaster his original tracks which deserved to be listened in a better quality. No question about that.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:24 am

V_S,

I understand where you are coming from and my opinion is very similar in most cases. Tp paraphrase what I said, a 'maharajanodu' or 'alla un aanai padi' deserves a 'Cheeni Kum' or 'Paa' level recording. I mean, no soul is lost in these recordings and at the same time the clarity does make people listen to these songs. The volume, the clarity etc in 'maharajanodu' is a problem. Same with say 'vitta moochile' type of song.

Earlier Kiru had written about why Raja's albums don't have the same clarity that others had and he had also mentioned about 'closed mic' etc. So while I agree that there were technical issues that could have given less than optimal quality, I also have a feeling that the technicians either didn't have the latest equipment or were not fully educated in the latest recording techniques. Whatever be the reason, as you say, we should get the owners of these albums to remaster these songs.

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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  kamalaakarsh on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:21 am

My observation of 1995 raaja was that the melodies were slowly getting diverse. As suresh rightly pointed out, there were typical 'older format' type of music and there were also newer forays such as poonkaatrile etc.
Arrangements-wise, I feel that the older-format types did not grab enough ears because they sounded dated compared to what other composers were giving. And the raaja songs that were really 'innovative' failed to reach the people because the interest levels to try 'new raaja' was not there. Rahman's new style pervaded the industry and the listeners choices to a large extent. Added to that, Raaja's synth did not impress people as much as Rahman's synth did. While I admire the synth usage by both composers, i have my own reservations about some of raaja's synth percussions - which were changing in 1995. His previous synth usage (percussions) did not jar much but the kind of sounds he started using from 1995 were slightly 1. out of his style 2. were jarring. Loops were used by Raaja also (though he himself cribbed about loops usage sometimes) - for example - munnam seidha. The whole song does not have any variety or modulation in terms of synth percussions. I can now imagine that back in 1995, a munnam seidha did not get its limelight because the percussions and the quality of recording were no great shakes. Of course, today, after listening to all kinds of percussions and with greater exposure to synth sounds - we can now objectively ignore the loop in that song and can concentrate more on melody. That is because we listener also have traversed a maturity curve in terms of arrangements and our own likes. At least thats what is applicable to me. I am sure I might have dismissed Munnam seidha if I heard it in 1995. And today, the melody of the song takes all my attention, and the percussive loop takes a backseat (i just ignore the fact that it lacks variety). Raaja shift to new synth percussions started in 1995 and his output till 2000 had a good measure of such synth elements thrown in. Probably he was also traversing a maturity curve in this particular aspect. because I feel his synth elements today sound much better and balanced than that late-90s period. Anyway, 1995 is just the start, we can discuss this more when we cover subsequent years.

In my opinion, a combination of factors have impacted the less exposure of Raaja's output in mid-90s. While I agree that he was not complacent in terms of tune and arrangements to some extent, his deliberate shift to some new styles of arrangements has hit some of his fan base for sure. I say deliberate because somewhere I feel that Raaja himself was uncomfortable with those kind of sounds. He still went ahead and to make things worse, the quality of recordings was reaching an all-time low. I am planning to compile a list of songs where I felt his arrangements just did not stick well with the tune and more importantly, with the whole aura called ilaiyaraaja. Plus the choice of singers! Raaja unleashed arun mozhi, preeti uttam etc - whose singing style was so bland and expression-less that it further did the damage.

But 1995 was unique because it was a very interesting mixed bag. There was something for each and every kind of fan. for old timers, he was still doing older-format songs and he was trying some new stuff too - with some success and with some failure. In a broad sense, probably music listeners felt his music to be neither here nor there. I am just guessing. On one hand, old format melodies were not deemed cool. His new style songs were not showcased that much or were probably written off because there were not in his usual style. On the other hand, audience did not have any expectations from composers such as Rahman and Deva because they were new to the field and were surprising them with every album. Raaja had a huge expectation baggage. I might be wrong, but I am just guessing what might have happened.


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Re: Raja of the mid 90s

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:02 am

3 and a half months without activity. 1996 must start soon Basketball bounce

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