An Indian movie song from the '80s is touted to be a part of the London Olympics inaugural ceremony. Does it mean that non-synth music, devoid of any technology, is still holding its ground?
BANGALORE, INDIA: A strange coincidence proved symphony to the ears of Indians on Thursday.
It was World Music Day, observed every June 21, and the country with rich musical tradition got to hear that a song by an Indian musician might be a part of the London Olympics 2012 inaugural ceremony on July 27.
A leaked playlist of the music vision by Trainspotting director Danny Boyle, an Englishman who also helmed Slumdog Millionaire (SDM) focused around India, includes a venerable musician's album single. Boyle is the Artistic Director of this edition of the Olympics.
Presumably a medley, a Scottish bhangra group from Glasgow with a British-Punjabi background, Tigerstyle will belt out the blended-genre music. Nachna Onda Nei, as the performance is called, includes King of Pop Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, Queen & David Bowie's Under Pressure and the veteran Indian musician's 1981 solo.
The name is Ilaiyaraaja, renowned among and revered by south Indians, and more than recognizable by north Indians, at least, by those who have watched Sadma and Paa. His song, Naanthaan Ungappanda, roughly translated into I am Your Dad, from Kamal Haasan-starrer Ram Lakshman, is the inconspicuous single from the Maestro's versatile oeuvre that has, apparently, made it to the Olympic elite list of 90 compositions.
Even as there is mystery still shrouding the news, The Telegraph, U.K., went a step further by making official the leaked list. Check out the Olympic playlist here: http://bit.ly/MnXDBf.
The missing link
While it seems incredible, if you connect the dots, it would get unscrambled.
As is common knowledge, Boyle had worked with A.R. Rahman on SDM. Many wouldn't be aware that Ilaiyaraaja mentored Rahman, when the latter was Dileep and used to play the keyboard on the former's troupe.
It might be the protege's tribute to the master. We can't also discard the fact that Boyle himself would have got to know many things Indian, during the shooting schedule of SDM in India, and might have got inspired by a few.
No tech, just magic
That said, there is something really intriguing about the selection. What made the team of the Artistic Director of London Olympics pick up an Indian movie tune from the early-'80s, predominantly technologically-deprived era of our film music? As for the song, not many south Indians, even Tamils, can recollect hearing about, leave aside listening to, the nondescript number anywhere, anytime.
For starters, Ilaiyaraaja, till well into the '90s, didn't employ much of sythesizer (synth) music, whereas A.R. Rahman thrived in reality also due to technological advancements in music.
Nobody can dispute the advantages of technology in any discipline, as the Academy Award serves as a standing proof of Rahman's genius. At the same time, it amazes that a composition, devoid of any tech aid, can also stand its ground in this age of techno beats and electric guitar-toting punks.
Which side do you take?