Top 10 Tamil songs by AR Rahman you should have on your playlist

Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByKarthik Kumar
Jul 18, 2017 04:10 PM IST

AR Rahman performed in Wembley on July 8, disappointing his Hindi fans for performing more of his Tamil hits. Here’s a list of evergreen Tamil songs.

When Tamil film music was completely monopolized by the earthy compositions of musical genius Ilayaraja in the 70’s and 80’s, AR Rahman, who made his national award-winning composing debut with Mani Ratnam’s Roja, rejuvenated the industry, enlivened the spirits of music listeners and ruled the roost in the ‘90s with his vibrant sounds and scintillating compositions that citified the taste of music lovers.

AR Rahman performed at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 8. many Hindi fans were disappointed that he sang more Tamil hits.
AR Rahman performed at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 8. many Hindi fans were disappointed that he sang more Tamil hits.

Rahman continued his remarkable form with back-to-back hits in his career and went on to win three more national awards for Minsara Kanavu, Lagaan and Kannathil Muthamittal. He scaled new heights with Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which landed him two Academy awards and a Golden Globe award.

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Here are some of evergreen Tamil songs that you must know:

Kadhal Rojave

Kadhal Rojave from Rahman’s path-breaking album Roja is a soul-soothing melody with the ever-gorgeous vocals of veteran singers SP Balasubrahmanyam (SPB) and Sujatha Mohan. The aching lonesomeness of the protagonist, who yearns to see his wife, is beautifully conveyed with Vairamuthu’s lyrics and Rahman’s mellifluous tune.

Pettai Rap

When discerning music pundits took a dim view of Rahman’s ability to churn out folk compositions, he delivered a smashing regional track in Pettai Rap for the movie Kadhalan and silenced his critics. Surprisingly, the song’s utterly colloquial lyrics are penned by director Shankar.

Veerapandi Kottaiyile

This song remains as one of Rahman’s most eclectic compositions ever. Be it the majestic arrangement of instruments or the energetic vocals of Mano, Chithra and Unni Menon, Veerapandi Kottaiyile from Thiruda Thiruda is a standout achievement of Rahman’s extraordinary skill for rhythm progression.

Anjali Anjali

In his first collaboration with late legendary director K Balachander for the film Duet, Rahman brought to successful conclusion an Original Soundtrack (OST) centred majorly on the saxophone. The delectable vocals of SPB and his pitch-perfect wizardry combined with Rahman’s enchanting tune make Anjali Anjali one of the most captivating melodies of all-time.

Uyire Uyire

The album of Bombay fetched Rahman global recognition that was long due. It made it to The Guardian’s list of ‘1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die’. Uyire Uyire, which comes at a crucial juncture of the film, blew away music connoisseurs with Rahman’s simplistic harmonics. The song also added a new dimension to Hariharan, who was, hitherto, weighed as a flawless ghazal singer.

Mustafa Mustafa

No annual cultural festival or farewell addresses in the colleges of Tamil Nadu can escape the awesomeness of Mustafa Mustafa from the film Kadhal Desam. Sung by Rahman himself, the track has been a regular entry in Rahman’s concerts. The song is an ode to friendship and continues to be the anthem of college students even today.

Strawberry Kanne

Rahman was honoured with his second national award for the film Minsara Kanavu. The song Strawberry Kanne, sung by Kay Kay and Febi Mani, has to be one of the most engaging tracks Rahman has ever composed. He employed to fabulous use a motley assortment of instruments in the song that drove the story forward in the movie.

Thaiyya Thaiyya

Rahman was in top-notch form by the time the album of Mani Ratnam’s Uyire hit the racks. With this OST, he pushed his boundaries like never before and demonstrated his proficiency to conceive innovative soundscapes. Thaiyya Thaiyya set a benchmark for voice modulation and Palakkad Sriram rose to overnight fame with the track, which went on to be listed in BBC World Service’s international poll for top 10 songs of all-time.

Vidai Kodu Engal Naade

Vidai Kodu Engal Naade is a stirring composition by AR Rahman for the film Kannathil Muthamittal and it fittingly garnered his fourth national award for Best Music Direction. The rich meaningful lyrics of Vairamuthu and Rahman’s soulful tune set to the haunting vocals of MS Viswananthan, Manikka Vinayagam and others perfectly depicted the agony of Sri Lankan Tamils during the civil war.

New York Nagaram

Rahman sprang a surprise by signing on the dotted line for a debutant director after a long time to compose music for Suriya’s Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. The delightful vocals and pleasing tune of Rahman made the song a clean chart-buster. Once the film hit screens, audiences insanely fell in love with the song thanks to the exciting visual style adopted by editor Anthony.

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