Happy Birthday AR Rahman: ‘Tu Hi Re’ to ‘Kun Faya Kun’, songs by music maestro that'll heal your broken heart

Updated on Jan 06, 2022 08:36 PM IST  |  245.2K
Happy Birthday AR Rahman: ‘Tu Hi Re’ to ‘Kun Faya Kun’, songs by music maestro that'll heal your broken heart
Happy Birthday AR Rahman: ‘Tu Hi Re’ to ‘Kun Faya Kun’, songs by music maestro that'll heal your broken heart

The end credits of a recently released movie read “A Film by AR Rahman”, even though his role in it was only that of a music composer. But here’s the fact. Every film that AR Rahman composes music for, is equally his creative product, for the stories we so dearly love, would not have realized their full potential sans the legend’s contribution. That’s the solemn power that AR Rahman continues to have throughout his decades-long illustrious career. Today, as he celebrates his 55th birthday, it’s only fitting that we talk about a few songs by the composer that found their places in millions of different lives. 

The Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman, has won people’s hearts again, and again, crossing barriers of language, religion, geography, and culture. Simple, common people, have turned into loyal legions of fans for the musical legend, so much so, that they consider him nothing less than God, and proudly call themselves ‘Rahmaniacs’. 

On his birthday, I have listed down a handful of Rahman’s songs that have stood the test of time. This list is not exclusive; however, it includes only Hindi songs by the artist, solely for categorization’s sake. 

That being said, here are 10 AR Rahman songs that sound like therapy, and heal people’s hearts repeatedly:

1. Kun Faya Kun

“Tune mujhko banaya, main to jagg ko naa bhaya, tu ne gale se lagaya, haq tu hi hain khudaya, ek tu hi hain khudaya”

Honestly, I can write a whole essay on this song, but for the sake of this article, let’s keep it to a few lines. Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar is a hug from God. It’s a prayer, and a love note all at once. Whether you listen to it at 3 am in your bed, or at 3 pm on a crowded train (pre-corona times) it’s always like applying ointment on your bruises. Sufi composition at its marvelous best. 

2. Maahi Ve

“Maahi Ve, mere har baat mein saath tu hain, maahi ve, mere saare halaat tu”

Like most of Imtiaz Ali’s films, Highway too, received polarizing opinions. If there’s something the opinions don’t differ on, it’s the music of the film. With Maahi Ve, Rahman’s voice takes us to a place where unadulterated love is found in abundance. Besides a dozen other things, Rahman’s genius is also in his capability to capture the essence of a story in his music, and Highway was, truly, no exception. 

3. Agar Tum Saath Ho

“Teri nazron mein hain tere sapne, tere sapno mein hain naraazi, mujhe lagta hain ki baatein dil ki, hoti lafzon ki dhoke baazi”

The official heartbreak song of the nation, Agar Tum Saath Ho perfectly captures the throes of a love that struggles to culminate into itself. Complex, yet simple. The duality, and grey shades that we saw in Ved and Tara, in Tamasha, is what Agar Tum Saath Ho is all about. Rahman ensures to blend the sweet calmness in Alka Yagnik’s voice, with the helpless pain that Arijit Singh’s voice has to offer. Uff, what a beauty. 

4. Tu Hi Re

“Chahat hai agar, aake mujhase mil jaa tu, yaa phir aaisa kar, dharti se mila de mujhko”

Bombay released just a few years after AR Rahman started composing music for films, and yet, the album is the perfect dive into his incredible talent. A young Rahman creates timeless magic with the legends that are Hariharan and Kavita Krishnamurthy. The go-to love song for more than one generation.

5. Ay Hairathe 

“Do chaar maheen se lamhon mein, umron ke hisaab bhi hote hain”

A playful conversation between two lovers, made soulfully beautiful by none other than Rahman. The maestro blends several strains of music from Sufi, to semi classical, to western classical in one single song. Combine that with Alka Yagnik and Hariharan’s voices, and you have a piece of art that will go continue to shine throughout countless decades. 

6. Kahin Toh Hogi Wo

“Kahin toh hain nasha teri meri har mulaqat mein, hothon se hothon ko choomte rahe har baat pe”

Life does not always imitate cinema, and so, not every Aditi gets her Jai and vice versa. Hence, we need songs like “Kahin Toh Hogi Wo” to imagine alternate realities in some distant parallel universe. With this song, AR Rahman has made millions of young hearts cry over ‘could have been’s and ‘should have been’s. An enchanting song, composed with tenderness and love. 

7. Yeh Jo Des Hain Tera

“Nayi nayi raahon mein, dabi dabi aahon mein, khoye khoye dilse tere, koyi ye kahega, ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera”

The title song of the 2004 Ashutosh Gowariker film, Swades, will tug at the heartstrings of every skeptical person you know. I kid you not, the rhythmic ‘Hoi’ at the beginning of the song, somehow syncs with your heartbeats. Towards the end of the sound, Rahman unleashes the power of Tabla, and the unmatchable, goosebump-raising sound of the Shehnai. (I could cry)

8. Nahin Saamne Tu

“Tera naam maine liya hain yahaan, mujhe yaad tune kiya hai vahana”

Another one of Rahman’s early albums, which have stood the test of time, is Taal. With Nahin Saamne Tu, the composer blesses listeners with the ability to find peace in a love that has not seen fruition. The musical legend lets the melody simmer on low heat, so it cooks well, and comes out tender. Enchanting. Peaceful. Beautiful. I am clearly running out of adjectives here. 

9. Rehna Tu

“Tu zakhm de gar, marham bhi tu hi lagaye, zakhm pe bhi mujhe pyaar aaye”

Rehna Tu from Delhi 6 is an underrated AR Rahman gem that seems to get better with each passing year. This lively song finds its beauty in Rahman’s full-throated voice at some places, and restrained melody in others. Once again, Rahman reminds you, about the beauty of a love unadorned by worldly decorations: bina sazawat, mila milawat, naa zyaada, naa hi kam.

10. Luka Chhupi 

“Yahaan sab kuch hain maa phir bhi, lage bin tere mujhko akela”

There’s hardly ever a time when I listen to Lata Mangeshkar and AR Rahman’s voices in this song from Rang De Basanti, and don’t end up choking with emotions. Rahman’s fearless rendition, along with Lata Mangeshkar’s voice that hasn’t aged a day, blend like hues of the sky at dusk. It presents a conversation between a mother and her son, who now can’t return to her. Especially, towards the end, when Rahman goes full out, is guaranteed to send chills down the spine. 

This list is of course, not exclusive, and dozens of other songs could be added. But for now, let’s all settle on the fact that AR Rahman is a blessing, who has touched the lives of more than a billion people in some way or the other, and that’s a remarkable feat. 

We wish AR Rahman a very happy birthday! 

ALSO READ: Fans trend AR Rahman on Twitter ahead of musical genius’ 55th birthday, dub him ‘8th wonder of this world’


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