Composer: AR Rahman
Melodies from musician AR Rahman’s behemoth repertoire may have been known to take time to grow on the audiences, but they all, somehow, find a unique rise and fall in terms of movement. Despite use of technology and many sounds that are synthetic, Rahman somehow manages to get those fairly basic and relatable sentiments to creep into the notes and the computers he explores. The soundtrack of Craig Gillespie’s just released Million Dollar Arm is a blend of the otherworldly and ordinary. However, even his most average tracks are better than everything usual in the mainstream.
What works in Rahman’s favour though, is that all of it is created and rendered with a phenomenal level of detail. Besides some non-descript tracks, there are masterstrokes of a genius. One such piece is We could be kings. Rahman layers his sargams in this one with KT Tunstall’s fabulous vocals, whose voice comfortably veers between its typical alt-rock style and Indian slides. There is a lot going on in this track with harmonium interludes, an addictive back riff, drums and catchy tabla beats. This one is joyous in an uncompelled sort of way. Another track that elevated our mood was Taa taa tai, an instrumental track that has frantic yet dexterous sitar pieces paired with drums and Rahman’s vocals. Lucknow has Rahman’s voice in aakaar paired with a harmonium and a tabla. The tactile sensation from this one is heavenly. Then there is Keep the hustle, with a middle-eastern interlude playing throughout that turns into an electronic track with rapper Wale’s musical shout-outs. Bobbleheads’s beauty lies in the way Gaayatri Kaundinya’s earthy vocals soar. But a completely out of sync taan here undoes all the goodness of the track.
The album has three Punjabi tracks. One of them is a tweaked version of Rahman’s London Olympics song by Jaspreet Jasz. The composer intelligently blends some female rap with this one, as the dhol makes a dominant appearance. Makhna, which opens with a quintessential tumbi, falls flat. Million dollar dream is slightly better, with Iggy Azalea’s rap paired with Sukhwinder’s voice. But the repetitions in terms of dhol and drums soon make it boring. Unborn children is where Rahman seems to find the groove again. A Tamil song, it may faintly remind one of the Roja soundtrack. The piano and violin interludes make it richer, as does Vairamuthu’s soft voice. Overall the album works, not just as a soundtrack, but also as an audio by triumphing on some meditative moments. What it lacks, on some occasions, is the profundity we were looking for.