I have maintained a theory about Rahman’s music for a while – in 7 out of 10 songs from his stable, the first two words (or a short phrase such as Dil Se Re) would be identical or near identical. Starting with Chinna Chinna Aasai to the recent Aaja Aaja Zindagaani (Jai Ho), he has been fairly predictable. Certainly, I wouldn’t limit all his success to just this rule but I would argue it does play a big role in song recall.
I had nearly forgotten this for a while since you don’t hear much of his work any more – Hollywood beckoning him and all that. I was reminded of this today when I was checking out songs from the upcoming movie Paa, with music from Ilayaraja. The songs go Mudhi Mudhi, Hichki Hichki, Gumm Summ Gumm (I have to admit the two other numbers didn’t conform to this rule) – made me wonder whether Ilayaraja finally unlocked Rahman’s secret and even decided to try his luck with it. Didn’t quite work, I have to admit. So, going back to what I said first, I don’t think this is everything there is to Rahman’s music – but two’s certainly a charm….