A. R. Rahman turns 51; Underrated work of the maestro that you must listen

A. R. Rahman turns 51 today. The journey that started with Roja has been a gift to the millions of listeners worldwide. In his 25 years of his journey, Rahman has always experimented and composed music well ahead of his time.

We look back at A.R. Rahman’s most underrated work of all time.

Marhaba Ya Mustafa

A. R. Rahman composed this song for a 2008 multilingual film Al Risalah. It is referred to as a Na’at which means a poetry in praise of Islamic prophet Muhammad. Rahman composed and sung this beautiful Na’at himself. After listening to this you are sure to get into a spiritual feeling.

Naina Neer

In 2005, Deepa Mehta approached A. R. Rahman for her movie named Water. This movie was set in 1930s and showed lives of widows (Daasi) during that period. Rahman had his genius written over all the songs that he composed for this movie. Already lyrically rich Naina Neer song is beautifully composed with a Sitar, synth flute and on the top of that sweet voice of Sadhana Sargam adds a magic.

Piya Ho

Rahman almost brought the tempo down to minimum for this song. Piya ho is rendered by Sadhana Sargam with a backdrop of slow and soft rhythm. When you feel you have transported to a different world with Sadhna’s voice, Sukhwinder Singh makes an entry at the end of the song which makes you crave for more.

Shaam Rang

A. R. Rahman has always managed to get the best out of even the new voices. Richa Sharma, even before she became famous with the Maahi Ve and Jag Soona Laage, she recorded this song alongside Naqeeb Alam and Surjo Bhattacharya. Rahman brought the festive colors of Holi in his music relying predominantly on Indian classical instruments

Ye Jo Zindagi Hai

Deepa Mehta might be the only director for whom Rahman has given his best yet underrated songs. 1947 Earth had some brilliant compositions by the maestro. This song has that mystic feeling thanks to the melodious voice of Sujata Trivedi, soft beats and brilliant chorus.


There seems to be some kind of spiritual connection A. R. Rahman has with god which makes him compose such magical songs. This Aarti of Goddess is hardly over 3 minute piece but leaves a lasting impression on the mind even after it finishes.

Ay Hairathe

As always Rahman saves his best for Mani Ratnam. This song starts with a Rahman’s voice and then Tabla, Strings take over the song with a beautiful poetry of Gulzar. Hariharan and Alka yagnik renders this song beautifully.

Bombay Theme

In 1995, in his third film with Mani Ratnam, Rahman gave the world this piece of art which touches your soul so deep that would surely bring tears in your eyes. Backdrop of Strings with rhythms of constant bells ring, magical flute and orchestra giving it a magnificent feel. Just close your eyes and listen to this pure magic.


It’s just so hard to describe this song. It has Rahman’s own version of psychedelic feel to it. Lyrics have been blended with a Malayalam word “Aaromale” (beloved). No matter how your mood is, this songs is just perfect for any mood.

Jaage Hai

Chithra starts of this song in her melodious voice and Rahman keeps the instrumentation to the minimal. Chithra is then joined by Rahman himself before reaching crescendo when the whole orchestration reaches to higher level. Pure genius at work.

Liquid Dance

Liquid Dance is a testament of Rahman’s genius of creating and experimenting with blending eastern and western musical sensibilities. Who would have thought a hip-hop rhythm can be blended so perfectly with Classical Sargam. Listen this with your headphones on!

Mausam and Escape

Rahman, once again blends east and west in Mausam and Escape. Sitar, flute, Guitar, piano, violin programmed together in a musical piece which is 4-minute long but leaves an ever lasting impact.


Harshdeep Kaur, does a brilliant job in this background piece of Rahman for 127 hours movie. Humming piece of Harshdeep with a brilliant orchestration by Rahman which gets even more psychedelic in the end is so soothing for the ears.

Dil Gira Dafatan

Rahman ropes in Ash King who sang this as his first song in the Bollywood. Continuous strumming of guitar and keyboard violin gives the feeling of ultimate joy to the listener.

Shauk Hai

Most underrated song of Guru which wasn’t even listed in CD. Song builds up in a slow strumming of guitar and piano backdrop with a beautiful poetry rendered by Sowmya Raoh so beautifully. Just sit back and soak this song in.

Dil Se Background Score

Dil Se is undoubtedly one of Rahman’s top scores of all time. All songs of Dil se were top notch. But even on top of that, Dil Se’s background score was certainly one of the best. Sukhwinder Singh reciting Allama Iqbal’s poetry with ethereal arrangements by Rahman is not only a treat to listen but also it transcends you to surreal world.

Warriors In Peace

Rahman in his maiden Chinese film composed for film score and featured Jolin Tsai, a popular Taiwanese singer. Though the song is made in Mandarin language, it has Rahman’s stamp all over it. Rahman experimented with Armenian Duduk, Japanese Taiko Drums, Chinese Erhu (Fiddle) and Dizi (Flute) for this song and the result is nothing short of brilliance.

There are many more underrated works of A. R. Rahman which can be added to this list. Please let us know in comments if you know any work of Rahman which is underrated.


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