Tuesday, February 24, 2009

AR. Rahman’s choice between love and hate.

We were waiting for the reaction from AR Rahman to the outrage expressed by persons from Amitabh to Arindham and others like me …

that the movie Slumdog Millionaire was a blot on Indian pride.

Not because it showcased the worst ills of our country.. We have had movies on much worse side of India in 'Pithaamagan' and more recently in 'Naan KadavuL' in Tamil that will shake our sensibilities besides shaking us from our slumber.

But those movies were not scripted on a theme nor did they promote a theme

that 'we are better than you'.

This message that 'we are better than you' was delivered openly in the scene

where Jamal showed the American tourists

what the Real India was –

inviting a response from them

who the Real American is!

Slumdog succeeded in the West, in the US

because it went to them at the right moment in history

when the entire American public was at a shock

at the fall of their Economic empire.

When the mass American psychology was so shocked

at their crumbling lives and life-styles,

not really knowing where they are heading for in the wake of 'melt-down',

Slumdog with its craftily placed dialogues gave

a tremendous 'feel-good'

that there is another side of the globe with all ills

which they can hardly imagine even in dreams and

they must be fortunate for what they are now.

The Real American is humanitarian to the core,

helps the fellow next to him,

can not stand someone suffer in front of eyes …

and blah blah…

all those feel-good sensibilities are re-ensured to them

on seeing this movie!

There is a verse in Tamil,

"Thammin meliyaarai nOkki, thamadudaimai

'amma; peridu endru agam magizhga" which means

"be happy with what you have by comparing yourself

with those who possess less than you".

This is the basis for "feel-good".

Every American who praised the movie,

praised it because it gave him a feel-good watching this movie.

The American pride is more than satisfied by the open dialogue that said

what it means to be an American.

We see this expressed in most of the blogs written by Americans.

I came across blog-post by an American mother

how she rushed home after seeing this movie

to hug her child that they are indeed lucky to have the safety of the home!

I came across many posts by Americans

who unanimously said that

it definitely gave a feel-good,

a sense of 'things will be ok for me' after seeing this film.

Is Slumdog Millionaire a film offering solutions to American economic problems?

No not at all.

All that this movie gives is just a 'feel-good'

that they are far better off than the kids in the movie.

This is reinforced by the psychological and mental superiority

given by the "Real American" identity

promoted powerfully in contrast to a negative portrayal of life

in another part of the world, for the entire stretch of the movie.

This is the message that can not escape the eyes of any thinking Indian.

Unfortunately we have the contrary type in the majority in India –

a majority who can be simply hyped and hijacked emotionally by clever talks.

And AR Rahamn, a well meaning person is a thinking Indian!

Then why did he work for this movie?

He must have been one of the very few who would have actually known

the message of the movie when he sat to compose music to it.

No one else including Anil Kapoor would have understood the message

and what the tactful dialogues had conveyed until he saw it

after it was completely made.

The un-asked question in the minds of most of us was

why didn't Rahman object to it.

There was a denigration of Amitabh image also.

Didn't he think that they were too much on the Indian pride?

I think he must have felt so…

this is confirmed in his acceptance speech at the Oscars.

But he would not have thought that this film

would even make it to the Oscars, if at all screened in India!

This is affirmed by the very little time he devoted for this movie

compared to the pains and long time he used to take for any movie.

And the winning number was already a discarded one.. just inserted by him.

This is another indication of how he was not serious about the success of the movie,

though I am sure he was not so in his work on music.

But the movie clicked with the American audience,

mainly with the Hollywoodiers

who were looking for a phoenix rise from the falling sate of affairs.

But at the cost of Indian pride!

Rahman opened his mind on why he did this movie,

and he did say why he was in this film.

He had to answer his conscience if he were to accept the Oscars.

He said, "The film is about optimism and the power of hope...

All my life I had a choice of hate and love.

I chose love and I'm here."

The film had a note of optimism in spite of the denigration of the Indian psyche.

He clinged to the optimism part of the story.

That was the justification to do work for that film.

The choice of Jai ho – inserting this discarded one - will say it all.

That is why he was there receiving the award!

Many readers will think that I am spinning some justification.

May be….

but not without support from him.

In his interview to the TV later,

he recalled how they expected this award

for Lagaan,

for Border

and they didn't get.

But now they have got it.

It's ok. Lets us accept it, he said.

The choking voice that said this to the interviewer make me feel sorry for him.

God could have crafted some other movie – there are many –

to give him recognition globally.

But he got the recognition for this movie…

Rahman himself is a stickler of values

when it comes to the message of the songs he composed music for.

Speaking on the lyrics of Jai Ho, he said,

"Words have the power.

Words formed action and intention of life.

I often argue with lyricists not to use words that have negative impact."

He took care of the verses of the songs for which he composed music.

But such a Rahman had no control on the words delivered in the movie

for which he composed the music.

Such a Rahman must have truly cried when the film made it big -

and when the sections of the society whose reaction had mattered to him most,

didn't approve the film.

Rahman kept a silence all along,

may be he was looking for a justification for him to accept the award.

And he did have a justification which he bluntly delivered on the stage

where he received the award.

The Indian public expected some rapturous words from him.

But his speech was unclear to most – even Pookutty seemed to convey a mood.

But this man seemed to speak something not suitable for the occasion.

But he really did convey.

The internal heat that he must have been undergoing

from the time this movie was tipped for the Oscars,

must be wiped off.

He gave his justification for why he did the movie.

He looked at the positive message of it

and that was why he was there at the Oscars.

Had he seen the negative message alone,

he would have refused to work for the movie.

That means he would not have been there at the Oscars.

Rahman, we understand you.

We have only seen you as a gentle good man for whom work is God.

You can not have faltered

and you can not be faulted for your love of your mother land and its Pride.

I understand you Mr Rahman!

Jai ho to you,

for your determination to see only positive words in your works.

Another Jai Ho to you for having taken Indian Music to the international audience!

God be with you!


Related posts from this blog :-




Some reactions for the Oscars:-







Sakthi said...

Which one is hate and which one is love, Dilip Kumar Mudaliar@A R Rahman?
S V Badri
25 Feb 2009

This is not to belittle the genius and success of A R Rahman. This is just to connect his recent statement at the Oscars to his background, and to reveal the unknown face Rahman was so clever as to keep under wraps. This is to bring to surface the second Rahman – one who took to hating his natal religion the moment he took to Islam.

To the entire world, he is humility personified. He is pious, religious, genius, the very best. So be it.

Let us also read this to know the full story.

Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thank you Sakthi for the link to Vijayavaani.

There was something about Rahman's speech. It was not as how it used to be with anyone standing there. And it also sounded out of context in that place. And that makes us all see what is that he is conveying.

He definitely stands suspect on two counts - as a Nationalist and in his Faith.

He disappointed one and all in failing to think about his nation and its billion at that hour of receiving the award. He remembered only the few who were with him for the film. He did not think about or thank the entire nation without whose patronage who could not have come this far.

And about his Faith – if it means identifying Islam with Love and Hinduism with hate….

It sounds hypocritical if he means that love of Islam came from hatred of Hinduism. That is a worst insult to Islam – worser than what he chose to do to Hinduism.

Islam did not put him in the pedestal. It is ‘Time’ that put him up there. How one reacts to ‘Time’ is the real test that Destiny gives. If he does not understand the supremacy of Time, the day may not be far off when Time throws up another test – cancer, death, difficulties and fall from fame may rear up their heads anytime.

What will save him in those tests?

Islam or love?


Only equanimity to pleasure and pain, to love and hate – can save him.
That is the message of Hinduism, which he quoted in Tamil.

“ella pugazhum iraivanukkE”

This is not translated as “God is great” as many think.

This means ‘All glory to God” –
this is ‘Surrender’ or sharanagathi of Hinduism –
a Universal tenet that will raise one to the level of Supreme Consciousness
when one keeps equi-distance in everything,
between success and failure,
between love and hate,
between pain and pleasure.

This is done by surrendering to God everything,
success and failure,
love and hate,
and pain and pleasure.

Thus the choice should not be between love and hate,
It must be about going beyond them.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first

comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep

visiting this blog very often.



Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thanks for visiting. Your comments are most welcome.

Nandana said...

What is the birth time of A.R Rahman ??

Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

I dont know. Can someone provide AR Rahman's birth details? I am curious to see his horoscope.

Nandana said...

2 birth dates on net
one 6th jan 1966 and next is 6th jan 1967
the former looks more rosy with good possible Gajakesari yoga

Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

time of birth?

Anonymous said...

Muslims will translate “ella pugazhum iraivanukkE” as "all glory belongs to god(subahanallah)"and not as "god is great (allahu akbar)".

when you are awarded and recognised,these words remind you of where all the glory belong and helps to keep you grounded.

And the meaning of the word islam is "surrender(~submission) to god" or sharanagathi.

Just proves that all relegious thoughts sprang from the same source.

Dr Jayasree Saranathan said...

>>And the meaning of the word islam is "surrender(~submission) to god" or sharanagathi.<<<

So be it.
But Surrender to god makes one equidistant from love and hate. Then why did ARR harp on choice between love and hate?

>>>Just proves that all religious thoughts sprang from the same source.<<

Can there be any doubt from which one source all the other Thoughts sprang up??

some thoughts:- If only ARR has not talked about the choice all his life, this controversy would not have come up. He has not understood what the mother religion he was born in tells on various situations of distress in life. His pithrus have lost their dues from him. Pray that his departed father through whom he has inherited music in its finest form, guide him in time.

Anonymous said...

ella pugazhum iraivanukke means 'All glory and honour to god'

Any query