A great Hindi song from AR Rahman has been due for a long time, and Ruby Ruby is well worth the wait. Making a ‘skip-a-track-and-miss’ appearance in the album for Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, the composer has turned back time. Tracks like Agar Tum Saath Ho and Enna Sona (fantastic songs in their own right, but comparatively ‘safe’ by Rahman’s standards) didn’t have the edge his songs are known for.
Ruby Ruby begins with a raspy voice repeating ‘Rrrrrrrrruby’ accompanied with bass and synth elements – reminiscent of the prelude in the Chandralekha song in Mani Ratnam’s Thiruda Thiruda. There’s a slight difference though: where that 1993 song was trying to sound futuristic, this one feels like a deliberate throwback to the 1980s. Rahman even includes a synth portion from Michael Jackson’s Thriller, that acts like a bridge to the main song.
It’s a well-known fact by now, that the composer was approached by director Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra at the last minute, and this song is something he composed by looking at the visuals. And from the sound of it, it might be during Dutt’s drug phase in the early 80s showcasing his ‘wild ride’. The words dushman duniya/uljhan duniya/laanchan duniya describe Dutt’s days as a rebel, yearning for intoxicating love (or drugs?). Is Ruby a metaphor for something else? We’ll have to wait and watch.
More importantly, the song reminds us of the Rahman behind the unconventional songs of Rangeela and Daud – when the man showed scant respect for melody progression. In Ruby Ruby, the same old Rahman is back with his unpredictable graph for melodies, like the way he ends mujhe raas rahi hai yeh/faans rahi hai yeh duniya.
You can listen to the whole song here:
Ruby Ruby has been sung by Shashwat Singh and Poorvi Koutish (who La-Las her way into the song, which is also a such a Rahman trait). It’s so nice to have you back maestro!