This year’s Bacardi NH7 Weekender might just turn out to be the best one yet, with arguably India’s biggest composer A. R. Rahman as the headliner. And we have a little wishlist.
A. R. Rahman’s inclusion in the Weekender lineup sent waves of excitement across the length and breadth of music fans in India. After all, the Oscar winner can be credited to having revolutionised sound in, not just Indian cinema, but Indian music. His genius compositions and musical ingenuity notwithstanding, Rahman is also one of the most popular live performers in the country. And while The Sherp is tizzy with excitement, we decided to create a mini wishlist – 10 songs that we hope the composer would perform at Bacardi NH7 Weekender.
Trust us, if we could have it our way, we’d sit through his discography with glee! But until you’re done waiting for him to take the stage, enjoy this mini playlist, if you will.
Tu Bole Main Boloon
This jazzy, zippy number perfectly establishes Rahman as a singer of a wide vocal range. From belting over-the-top octave numbers to one as understatedly simple as this, the man can truly sing it all. The smooth, breezy number could prove the perfect start for what will be a rather energy fueled performance.
We’d like to establish one thing, as non-threateningly as possible. The Sherp will stage a riot if the legend doesn’t get to this song during this set. Dil Se is probably one of the most conclusive soundtracks, testament to Rahman’s brilliance. And the title track, which features Pink Floyd bassist Guy Pratt on the bassline no less, gets us emotional, pumped up, forlorn, and every other emotion there is in the text book.
It will take only the introductory, characteristic note of the song to get the crowd buzzing with enthusiasm, such is the popularity of the song Hamma Hamma from Bombay. The easy-to-dance-to number is both, rhythmically buoyant, and dynamic, making it the perfect song to sit in tandem with Weekender’s vibe. Oh Rahman, you wouldn’t even have to sing this one. The crowd will sing it for you.
This sprightly number, that will.i.am unjustly adapted as the hardly deserving ‘It’s my Birthday’, is as iconic for Prabhudeva’s moves as it is for signature Rahman’s zany synth beats. The song is typical Rahman, blessed with beats that urge you to get your feet moving, and vocals that see Rahman hit the high notes with little difficulty.
What better a song to get a bunch of twenty-somethings excited than one that literally represents the excitement of young, aggressive, ready-to-take-on-the-world blood. Khalbali is the song of India itself, still young, still nascent, eager to prove its worth. Quite arguably, the default theme song to all our lives.
Mangta Hai Kya
The most underrated Rahman song, according to this author, deserves a stage as grand as Weekender itself to prove its inventiveness. Mangta Hai Kya from Rangeela is a fusion anthem that is one of the most original tracks to have ever been composed in Indian cinema, itself. Marked by Indian percussion superimposed with dub beats, and those combative Rahman vocals we love, this song is all kinds of awesome.
This rather robust Punjabi anthem from Highway has Rahman channeling his inner North-Indian all the way. Thereby, you get a Rahman double energetic, and doubly vigorous, perfect for the lively audience that Weekender will bring together. The dhol beats will get the crowd moving in the most imaginative manner.
There is ample possibility that Rahman might bring out some of the more famous Tamil tunes from his kitty. But The Sherp would really like to see him perform his latest youth-chant Mental Manadhil. From Mani Ratnam’s latest offing OK Kanmani, the electronica-fused Mental Manadhil carries the independent dance music vibe that Weekender fans are so familiar with. If they haven’t heard this song before, they will definitely love it now.
Ye Jo Des Hai Tera
No Rahman performance is complete without his tugging at our patriotic strings, and urging us to shed a few tears for this country of ours. The signature shehnai tune of Ye Jo Des Hai Tera is enough to propel us to bawl in nationalistic sentiment. Coupled with Rahman’s soul-heavy vocals, this song is an ode to the motherland like no other.
Vande Mataram would be a perfect send-off to Weekender audience. Taking the patriotic emotion from Ye Jo Des Hai Tera, Vande Mataram would exalt it to levels of vigour, hitherto unnoticed. We are heady just thinking about an audience of thousands singing along to our beloved national song.
Catch A. R. Rahman LIVE at the Pune, Delhi and Bangalore editions of Bacardi NH7 Weekender. Score your tix here!