I am a little troubled by AR Rahman’s Jana Gana Mana. Not with the packaging – Times Music has released a beautiful CD+ DVD package, retailing at 399 Rs – but at the fact that the release is actually a RE-release. Everybody, including the Rahman experts seem to be ignoring that. And Rahman himself? The man who cried “foul” when Magnasound rereleased one of his private albums composed for Shubha, touting it as AR Rahman’s first English Language album, the man who went on record and split with a company that had brought out his first albums is happily floating on the publicity machine.
I bought the cassette of Jana Gana Mana in February 2000, in Sangeet Saagar, Hyderabad. Agonised over buying the CD version, which came with a free VCD ( note the technological leap we have taken in the last seven years. VCDs are gone, baby, gone. ), but unfortunately was priced at 500 Rs. Over the years, I would wait for the CD to be released without the VCD, for prices to be slashed, for some kind of sale where I could get it cheaper. But nothing of that sort happened, and I never did get around to buying it.
Will I buy it now? Don’t know really. 399 is still too high, in my opinion. The prices of DVDs are at an all-time low, with Moser-Baer cornering the market, and T-series releasing old favourites at 45 Rs. Even DVD stalwarts like Eros and Shemaroo are offering 99-Rs DVDs in a monsoon-sale offer, although their new offerings are still high-priced. I am betting prices will stabilise at around 150 Rs. Yashraj is the only company that is staying put at 300-plus prices, but who wants to buy YR DVDs anyway?
I believe there have also been a spate of Rahman “singles”. ‘One Love’, which is an ode to the Taj Mahal and features the same song in *shudder* multiple languages, and ‘Pray For Me Brother’, which has a train-wreck of a video. These must be the first ARR albums that I have consciously refused to buy.
I think the best ARR tune in recent times is that new Airtel ad, in which a kid plays in the rain and there is this bouncy melody going on in the background. It lasts for about a minute, but gets me everytime. I am not even sure it’s by ARR, but the voice and the music segue into the familiar Airtel tune and that’s why I think it’s him.
And oh, the DVD of Vishal’s The Blue Umbrella is out. Even before the movie has been released in Hyderabad. Bah!
Also, a fabulous article on 15 Years of AR Rahman.