23 November, 2020

Medley Messiah

Mathai, not knowing her music, can’t unravel the ‘mystery’ behind Rahman’s music.

Medley Messiah
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In my sole interaction with A.R. Rahman in his Panchathan studio in 2005, I realised this was a man who would never, ever, discuss how he stitches together his music. After reading Kamini Mathai’s anecdotal biography, I am not wiser. Mathai’s research is extensive: she charts the life of R.K. Sekhar, Rahman’s father, who arranged music for the south’s top music directors; chronicles the impact of Sekhar’s early death on Rahman, who at age nine, armed with a synthesizer, was forced to be the breadwinner and a dropout; she talks to everyone—a watchman at a studio, singers, guitarists, recording engineers, hangers-on at Rahman’s studio. And she quotes the elusive Rahman from cryptic media interviews. The book, in effect, is a string of quotes.

Mathai, not knowing her music, can’t unravel the ‘mystery’ behind Rahman’s music. She wouldn’t know that the song Ottagathai Kattiko (based on Dharmapuri ragam) in Gentleman (1993) is a better-arranged version of...

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