Is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ A.R.Rahman’s best score?

February 1, 2010

A.R.RahmanWaking up on a Monday morning is so much nicer when you wake up to good news, isn’t it?

A.R.Rahman winning two Grammys for “Slumdog Millionaire” certainly made my day, but as television channels played its theme song “Jai Ho” over and over again, I found myself wanting to hear some of his other compositions.

“Dil Hai Chota Sa” from “Roja” perhaps or “Naina Milaike” from “Saathiya”, “Ay Hairathe” from “Guru” and my favourite — “Arziyan” from “Delhi 6″.

While “Slumdog” and “Jai Ho” have captured the world’s imagination, I wonder if it is his best work.

When Rahman won the Oscar last year, I remember lyricist Gulzar telling me he thought Rahman’s music for Mani Ratnam’s upcoming film “Ravana” was his best.

And while I love the beats of “Jai Ho” and the haunting music of “Latika’s Theme” from the “Slumdog” album, they are not in my top five list of Rahman songs.

But then, how often is it that an artiste wins awards for his or her best work. Director Martin Scorsese won his first Oscar for “The Departed” which is not considered his best work. And just last year, Kate Winslet took home the best actress trophy for “The Reader” but many critics say she deserved it more for “Revolutionary Road”.

What do you think? Is “Jai Ho” A.R. Rahman’s best work?

POLL: Which is your favourite A.R. Rahman song?


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Of course not.. Dil hai chota sa is probably his best; there are so many Tamil songs which are still fresh and liven up the atmosphere. But then, we are all proud of our Mozart of Madras!

Posted by mgvalli | Report as abusive

I, like most Indians, dont feel Jai Ho as AR’s best. We have been listening to him for the last 18 years…and we know that he has produced better in the past…..Those works have not been exposed to the outside world because it was given for Hindi or Tamil movies…The award for Jai ho shows that even average quality compositions in India has the capability to win oscars…and it should also be noted that AR is not regarded as the best in India….there are or there were lot of other musicians who are much better in India….

Posted by Biju4105 | Report as abusive

I know only one thing Shilpa, majority people in India wants to remember those (singers/composers/artisians) who have died or are capable of producing what public in India wan’t to listen(oldies type but not old). If something new happens, some innovation or something else they just ignore it till the fraternity of such ignorant singers/composers/artisians bring them into lime-light and only through media, some of which in India exists on the fate of our great politicians, deliver it to the public as supplied-demanded.

What happened at OSCARS and/or GRAMMY was obvious because when the music of ‘ROJA’ or ‘BOMBAY’ came out in 90’s our economy was just in transition phase. I don’t know about the music of ‘DIL SE..’ whether westerners were in all ears or not.

Also, to cite other example everybody must have listened ‘Dhan te Nan…’ from ‘Kaminey’ by ‘Vishal’. It had rocked India, no second thought on that. But the fact of the matter is that it came into existence in 90’s itself whereby ‘Vishal’ produced a album feat. ‘Sharman Joshi\'[the ‘3 Idiots’-‘Raju’].

Time has changed now and so is our thinking process. Hope, now no other ‘Rahman’ will be waiting to get recognition……

Posted by sumit.wadhwa | Report as abusive

Shilpa, at the risk of getting beaten up by Rahman fans, I do not even think AR Rahman is India’s best talent. He is very very talented, yes. He stands out especially when compared to a mass of very average performers in a over-competitive industry. Who are we comparing Rahman to, SD Burman? Naushad? If these award committees ever cared to research Indian music deeply or seen beyond India’s beaten-to-death poverty, they’d be in for a shock. So, to answer your question, no, Jai Ho is at best a pop song, a very poor one at that.

Posted by Rituparna | Report as abusive

Certainly not. We have heard so many nice songs from Rahman in Tamil. If we compare our native songs Illayaraja is the best.
It is a shame that the Indian Government is giving the award only after he is recognised by the oscars.

Anyways ARRahman made us proud as a Tamilian and as an Indian. Well Done and Congratulations to ARR.

Posted by amma | Report as abusive

The truth is there is a man who is the REAL Guru. But the cruel materalistic world were Madonna and other craps make money in the name of Music, ar rahman getting the awards is nothing. He is only Good sound mixer (technician) NOT a musician to be compared with Mozart.
Indian average is living by Khans and Cricketers where such likes are cheaply available. The values only those make money by selling ethics/whatever without shame. This is the same man who made money by signing “Vande aaaaaMatharam”. CRUEL/FOOLISH world.

Posted by sdata | Report as abusive

a.r.rahman is a good sound technician known for carrying a cd player into his room with lots of western music albums and come out with commercial hits.
He is not a musician. he is a good sound technician.
He knowns how to make the electronic instruments work for him. The worlds majority is below average people, not everyone could enjoy Mozart, Bethovan and Ilayaraja.

Posted by sdata | Report as abusive

There are so many Tamil films he composed which was not come to Limelight. I just say the world even other parts of India not being lucky to hear those master pieces.


Posted by bastpt | Report as abusive

Its interesting to see the blog writer mention only hindi songs… (biggotic eh?) i guess out of his top 10 compositions i wonder if even one hindi song would get into the list… roja, bombay, boys, thiruda thiruda and kannathil muthamital have been the best of ARR… and now watch out for vinaithaandi varuvaaya

Posted by sudersanin | Report as abusive


The Author may be from north India, so obviously she must have heard only Rahman’s Hindi songs, that’s why she is pointing Hindi songs. It is quite nature. According to me, A.R.Rahman’s best song is “Thamizha Thamizha” from Roja. One request to all authors, Please don’t see only Bollywood films beacause in india we have other good industries like Kollywood (2nd best in India)and Tollywood.

Posted by Udumalaihero | Report as abusive

I am sure even AR himself knows that this is just not even from the stack of innovative music that he had done in the past. For better reasons he has got the recognition for something which is not even average best of AR. My guess is he is going to Rock the Hollywood with his at to be explored STAPLE.

Posted by suryapratap | Report as abusive


Shilpa is from North and obviously she has heard ARR’s hindi compositions.She sees him as a pan Indian phenomenon.So time to stop cribbing on bigotry et al.

But I do largely with what you have said.ARR’s regional language compositions have a lot of gems in them which have still not reached the rest of the country at large, kandukondain kandukondain,thiruda thiruda ,indira,why even taxi taxi from sakkarakatti are pretty much better than slumdog…

I guess in the process another music genius and giant called Ilaiyaraja missed out big time.

With Paa and Cheeni Kum earlier he is at least getting a small measure of what he should have…

My take is there are a lot of regional composers other than ARR and Ilaiyaraja(need not necessarily in Tamil) who might have missed out because of the need to be in Bollywood to be recognised.It is time we look at Music beyond languages and not let one rudaali or roja do it for us…

Posted by KreativeShot | Report as abusive