9/20/10

Half-Boiled CWG Theme Song is Now Hard-Boiled!

XIX CWG games has been there in the headlines so far, not for good reasons though. It all started with the news channels started to howl over the delayed progress in developing the infrastructure, which includes the track and field in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the swimming pool complex, and the ITDC towers in the games village. Making the shame more vivid was that most of the completed works many has collapsed and are continuously reworked on; vinyl flooring at the weightlifting venue is peeling off, the shooting range embankments collapsed, water seepage in the boxing stadium, granite pavements in Khan Market are re-paved as it became slippery beyond control and further humiliation happened when the swimming pool flooded!

With all these embarrassments, carried in the backpack, CWG organizing committee still went ahead optimistically towards putting together a full fledged venue for the prestigious event. Then came the shocker, the scam reports that unfolded from nowhere and popped up in TV screens of millions of viewers through a news channel. If it was a tip of the iceberg for the first news channel that aired it, the others came up with numerous facets of scam reports relating to the CWG. There wouldn't be a single news channel that missed out in celebrating this 'glorified' shame for our country. 
Have had enough with the scams, now it is time to talk about the legend of Indian music, AR Rahman. A genius who once stormed the nation with his patriotic album 'Vande Mataram', he became the nation's pride when he won the Oscars. There was a time when even a school child was asked to sing Vande Mataram, our national song, he or she would sing Rahman's Vande Mataram (Maa tujhe salam) song accidentally, that popular was the song. Maybe would be those patriotic instincts within him that prompted him to come up with an album like 'Vande Mataram' during the fiftieth anniversary of Indian Independence, the same which made him accept the responsibility of composing a theme some for CWG 2010, and that too charging only a modest fee of Rs. Five Crores!




Headlines claim that Rahman took six long months to make this theme song, which is not a rare incident as the film industry knows it as a fact that he takes a long time to complete his works, but never fails to come up with marvelous results, most of which top the charts. Unfortunately, here, that all turned out to be wrong. It could not be said that the theme song didn't have the maestro's class or style, but it could only be compared to the pace of any lullaby and obviously an odd choice for the event. A theme song for much awaited and high profile sporting event, should obviously have some fire power in it to inspire both the participants as well as the spectators (including the TV spectators like the sambar men) and most importantly to motivate the Indian participants. So sad that the theme song by Rahman would only make the participants and spectators go zzzzzzz....Recently, a new version of the theme song was launched, on which lyricist Prasoon Joshi has reworked by cropping it down and Rahman also has managed to do his part by making it sound more lively. This was done after huge criticism over the song and especially after the fee paid to him was made public.


However the question that fell like a cockroach into my sambar was - "why the hell did he take up this assignment?." With the endless scam reports on CWG flooding the media and fresh allegations popping up each day, why would an artist of his reputation want to jump into that sewer? If patriotism is what drove him to take it up, then it should have been done for free or at least the 'moderate' fee that he charged, should have been reduced. Many might justify him as being professional, like what Vishal Dadlani did, but sambarmen like me, who are not just serious fans of Rahman but also patriotic to some extend ( just because I've saluted the men in blue at more occasions than the men in military), would say this was not at all patriotic and was professionally unwise as well for AR Rahman! Where were the so called organizing committee? When such huge amounts is paid out to make  the theme music, they didn't even bother to brief Rahman properly or were they not sure that what they really wanted as a theme song?    
For AR Rahman, the sweetheart of millions of Indians and the winner of Oscars, this will remain as a stain in his career and a bad decision, how much ever he remixes and tries to re-tune. Everybody has a bad day, and we the fans will forget and forgive you for this unintentional mistake from your part Mr Rahman, and feel sorry that you also fell into the stinky ditches of the system. 

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