JUST HOW much of a difference does it make when a Tamil (or any other language for that matter) music album is made into Hindi? There are enough instances, such as AR Rahman’s Roja and Bombay, where it is good enough. But it’s also never as good as the original. Case in point Rahman’s very own Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya, a terrific film music album in all aspects, that made a mess of lyrics and singers when it became Ek Deewana Tha. A Hindi version can never substitute the ethos of the original — conceived in a language that dictates the way lyrics, music and phonetics come together. You feel the words are fitted into a skeleton, which in turn affects the way the singer sings it, and a lot is lost in translation.
We are in similar territory with Kochadaiiyaan, which is crippled by the same problem. It doesn’t matter in an all-pervasive, anthemic number like Aye jawaan, which is more universal in spirit. Sung effectively by Rahman and his sister Reihana — who has a singing style similar to her brother.
The singers, especially Arijit Singh lend so much personality to Dil chaspiya, — Singh’s rendition is almost like a ghazal, it works despite a chorus synonymous with Tamil film music. Things go awry in Bol de, which opens with the booming voice of Rajinikanth and desperately tries to push Hindi through a song of a different mould. Ditto with Bol re, an old-fashioned, almost devotional song where the tune, lyrics, chorus are all terribly out of place or Tandav, the title song that seems so rooted in Tamil folk sounds that it just doesn’t work here —although musically it has its moments, especially the distorted electric guitar riff that takes you by surprise.
Vaada vaada, both male (sung nicely by Karthik) and female versions, somehow survive the Hindi horror because of the nature of the song itself. Rahman is invincible with instrumental pieces, and Rana’s dream is just as good. While it transports you to an epic fairytale universe it also feels like a spiritual breeze, with its calming flute over an understated orchestral track. I would prefer listening to the original than the Hindi Kochadaiiyaan, regardless of my understanding of the lyrics. It just sounds so much better, as it is meant to be.
Composer: AR Rahman
Lyricist: Irshad Kamil