My Autobiography: Growing up with A.R.Rehman’s Music in the ’90s

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A.R. Rehman’s Oorvasi, Oorvasi… from Kadhalan (Watch it ALSO for the DANCE)

How can anyone (of my generation) even attempt to shortlist the best/top 10 songs composed by the Musical Genius A. R. Rehman? That’s what I am going to attempt in this post. However, as each one of us have varying taste in music, this list should be treated as myย ‘favorite songs list’ย only. Listen on – you should at least like the songs that shook the very foundation I was safely standing on, and made me fall in love with music again and again ๐Ÿ™‚

These songs are ordered according to the release date of their movies. All of them were released during the ’90s.

1. Chinna chinna aasai (Tamil)/Dil hai chhota saย (Hindi) from Roja.

How many musicians can create this kind of impact with their debut song? I was going out of my home when I happened to listen to this song for the first time on TV. I stopped mid-way, was transfixed to the screen/music, and thought – let me see how others don’t like this song (At that time, I thought others didn’t like what I liked and vice-versa).

2. Konjam nilavu, konjam neruppu… Chandralekha (Tamil) from Thiruda Thiruda.

I know, you think there are better songs in this movie. But ACCORDING TO ME, this is the BEST Song. I am SORRY if I have a DIFFERENT opinion – but I just LOVE dis SONG too much ๐Ÿ˜€

3. Tanha tanha (Hindi) from Rangeela.

I still remember the first time I saw/listened to this song, in the Superhit Muquabla countdown show on DD channel. I also remember listening to this song during our field-trip to MGM. Western beats was not my favorite (back then) – Iย preferredย Indian instruments and deep/solid vocals – but this one just BLEW ME AWAY.

4. Hai rama yeh kya hua (Hindi) from Rangeela.

What kind of fusion is this? How can anyone even think of such a drastic deviation and intermixing? Is this song composed with slow vocals or fast beats or both or neither? How can there be any interconnection between the various elements of this song? Genius-stuff.

5. Kannalane (Tamil)/Kehna hai kya (Hindi) from Bombay.

How can a tease get better than this? Slow, fantastical and gripping. Another song like this can EVER be composed ONLY in YOUR dreams. Yeah, humma humma is a great song, but over-exposure killed it. Over-exposure can never kill this one, in contrast.

6. Mustafa mustafa don’t worry mustafa (Tamil) from Kadhal Desam.

When this song was played in our school culturals, NO ONE could refrain from shedding a tear or two. O.K., I did ๐Ÿ™‚ .In glee. Although, I should admit thatย Yennai kaanavillaye neetrodu song from the same movie was looped in my playlist more frequently. I like slow, melodious & deep songs more, u c… ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Chaiyya chaiyya (Hindi) from Dil Se.

Whoever thought that the sound of a moving train could be so romantic? Only a mastero could take such common sounds and weave it into pure bliss. O.K., it was a close call between this,ย satrangi reย (and others in this movie).ย Whoever suggestedย Thaiyya thaiyya in the Tamil version should know that those two words effectively killed the song there.ย 

8. Kissa hum likhenge (Hindi) from Doli Sajake Rahna.

How many of you are even aware of this song/movie? For some reason, I found myself listening to this song again, again and again… What a solid voice (female lead)!

9. Roja roja (Tamil) from Kadhalar Dhinam.

This is one song that has been enhanced by the visuals. I have probably listened to this song more than all other songs in this list – the timing of the release and my age back then might have been a huge factor. I just LOVE it even TODAY ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Marghazhi Thingalallava (Tamil) from Sangamam.

I know, you like the other one –ย ‘Varaga nadhi karai ooram’ song more, but I find it too loud. This one has finesse and class – it is my absolute favorite. How can classical music be adapted for a movie, better than this one? Even people who have no clue about classical music will start liking it, if they listen to this. AWESOME.

I have written this post more for my convenience – to find the links quickly at any time in future, when I am in a mood to listen to these songs. You listen to it if you want or don’t – who cares? ๐Ÿ˜›

Destination Infinity


    • Rajesh K

      Aisa hai kya? Even though I can listen to Hindi songs endlessly, my Hindi comprehension and writing is still weak! I’ll change it… ๐Ÿ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  • kirtivasan

    Chinna chinna aasai is a classic song. Endrendrum punnagai, I felt has been unfairly left out. Endrendrum punnagai comes second in my list.
    A R Rehman by his own admission felt that ad jingles is what he likes the most. I liked his background pieces more.
    I might be termed a hypocrite by many for my music comments. Part of it may be due to the fact that I know two languages very well. Hindi and Tamil. But I am not.
    Roja roja, if my memory serves me right is a great song. Shall listen to this song again to confirm that this is the same song that I am thinking.
    Margazhi thingalallava, you say is a carnatic type song. I will listen to it.
    Great post, Destination Infinity.

    • Rajesh K

      ‘Endrendrum punnagai’, if I remember, was a part of Alaipayudhe, released slightly after the ’90s – in the early 2000s. That’s the reason why no songs from that movie were featured here.

      Background music is something that I miss noticing, because they are so much intertwined with the stories and I concentrate on the latter! But I did notice a few outstanding background scores by ARR in movies like Slumdog Millionaire, etc.

      It’s interesting to know that A.R. Rehman likes composing Ad jingles more – perhaps it allows him more creative freedom?

      Destination Infinity

  • Kismitoffeebar

    Loved this list – I loved all the songs – I love ARR , so I can be biased bigtime ๐Ÿ˜›

    I know Kissa hum likhenge and was so so happy to see it here – I love that song! ๐Ÿ™‚

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