And now the world is Rahman's stage
By Nikhat Kazmi
NEW DELHI: Time for the Indian musical note to go global with music whiz kid A R Rahman all set to do a Shekhar Kapur to popular Indian music. Even as Kapur continues to create a niche for the Indian filmmaker in the west, Rahman is fast becoming the global face of Indi-pop. For close on the heels of Ekam Satyam, his duet with Michael Jackson last year, comes Bombay Dreams, a musical jugalbandi with Andrew Lloyd Weber, which will hit the UK stage later this year.
According to Rahman, it is the increasing popularity of Indian film music in the overseas market which has forced the west to sit up and take note of the `richness' and `diversity' of Indian notes. ``There is a whole new movement of Indian music happening all over the world today,'' says the singer-musician. ``Madonna is singing our songs, Michael Jackson is crooning Ekam Satyam. Even Stanley Kubrick incorporated Indian notes in Eyes Wide Shut.
Yes, the world seems to be opening up for Indian music.'' And why not? Specially, when ``there is a whole new community - Indian and not yet Indian - which wants something cool, yet Indian,'' he explains. And the
new-fangled brand of techno-savvy fusion music, unspooling from the burgeoning Indian studios is catering to this need of the new listener with his desire for hip and soul together.
Weber's attention, however, turned to Indian music after the success of the music album of Taal in the overseas market, feels Rahman. ``The fact that Taal entered the top 20 of the UK audio charts has encouraged people like Weber to explore more and experiment with Indian music too. I was lucky to be able to meet him,'' enthuses the music composer who is all set to leave for the UK after
completing his film commitments here. Of course, with two maestros working together, the notes aren't going to be smooth and easy all the way, specially if they hail from two different cultures. ``I know it's not going to be easy, but
both of us are determined to give it a shot,'' he adds optimistically.
In the Capital to release his latest `patriotic' music video Jana Gana Mana 2000 - a Bharatbala and Kanika production - Rahman expressed his discomfiture with the increasing `noise' in Indian music. ``It is very easy to produce noise today. To take a medley of instruments and go
dhak-chik-dhak-ch ik. All this may seem very cool when you listen to it the first time. But then it gets irritating and
nobody wants to buy,'' he laments.
``Today, there is a need to infuse a soul in the technically savvy Indian pop music,'' he explains. But for that musicians need to work much harder. ``It is fairly simple to compose a thumri on a raga but to combine a technological
arrangement into a composition that is both soulful and longer living takes more time and patience. Even when I do a song, it seems like noise first. But then, I remove things, add so many new elements and don't let it go out of the
studios unless it gets a soul,'' he explains.
Needless to say, that's the secret of his success. For tunes like Choti si aasha (Roja), Humma Humma (Bombay), Tanha Tanha (Rangeela), Ishq bina (Taal) and Chaiyya Chaiyya (Dil Se) are all soul. With a shelf-life too.