duniya ke sitaare - Interview appeared in 'Is Duniya Ke Sitaare' on
Star Plus 26/01/99 - part 1
Jalal: Welcome to LG 'Is Duniya ke sitaare'. Well your fans and all of
us would like to know everything about you.
Before that I would like to tell you all that I am not fluent in hindi
so...'main angrezi me baat karta hun'(laughs)
Vande Mataram, We would like to know about this album.
The whole thing came when I met Bharatbala my friend in some award
function in Bombay.We just talked and we used to do commercials five
years back and we thought we should do something together.Bala's father
told why dont you do something for the country.We joined together and
bala asked 'why dont we do Vande Mataram?'.I said if we do vande mataram
it should reach out to the young people and bring about a sense of
belonging to all the religions to all the people all around the world
and to feel we have a home and to give a sense of belonging to ourselves
.We combined everything and made the first song,a big song and Mehboobji
wrote the lyrics.
Why did you dedicate it to the youth?
This was a beautiful song that was there for nearly 100 years and todays
youth should relate to it without any bias.The whole thing was to grudge
both.As you guys know it happened very well.It reached out to people.
We were all thrilled and pleasently surprised to see you before the
camera instead of being in your studio or recording room under the sun
and oing a bit of acting.How did you feel?
Initially I said I cant do all this and i'm not used to it and then Bala
said ,You have sung the song and if you dont face the camera people cant
relate to it.He said whatever you have done in the studio you just do it
exept for a little makeup and wear a simple dress like what I wear
normally a T-Shirt and Jeans.
What was your reaction when you were asked to perform Vande Mataram
on India's 50th Anniversary?
I was really hounoured.I called my orchestra and we went to delhi and
they gave us a slot of 10 minutes before the prime minister came and
they said we cant perform after that.By the time the prime minister
came,the previous parties were prolonging and the time was off and they
said 'No everyone is hear do it now!'
I was told that before films you were composing jingles.
From the age of around 11 I started playing as a musician and I wanted
to do something more since evry morning I was doing songs ..songs
..songs.I thought of doing something outside the film industry.I met a
different crowd one that is entirely different from the fiilm
crowd.Thats when I met Mani Ratnamji and got my first break
'Roja'.How did that happen
One of my commercials for Leo Coffee and we had a party in one of the
hotels.Mani Ratnam came for the party and I asked why dont you come to
the studio and listen to my music and exactly after 6 months he had an
oppurunity to come and said we might do a film.In one week's time I gave
him some tunes and he like it and we started 'Roja'.It was a blessing
from lord that I got a very fine director for my Music Dirctorial debut
film.He encouraged me a lot and he listened to my experimenting music
and said this is sounding this is sounding old.He was like a school for
me and it was like an own university and he made me blessed with the
music which I have know .I was into all kinds of music like traditional
music ,Pop music ,Classical music and he is like a brother to me.
The very first song in your very first film .What was it.
I think in 'Roja' it was 'Dil he chot Asha'.It was a simple and
The Director is important to you or the artist is important picturise
hone vala hai.
No.Everything particularly the script and the situations.The sounds are
also important to a film .We feel a traditional sound may be suitable
for this film and all that is decided before composing.
The difference in composing a jingle and a film song.
Everything dependes on that attitude in which you take.If you take a
jingle like joke then it is like that and it sounds like, that but if
you take it seriously and work on it and concentrate every second of the
60 seconds it is going to last it sounds good and thats the same
attitude I take for a song like you have a muqda ,a BGM and then if this
muqda comes again,what surprise can you get?I cant repeat the same thing
so I would like to give a surprise there.I concentrate on each section
of the song.Its an extra burden for you but gives you a joy and when
people hear it they say 'Thats a surprise ,Thats a surprise' and they
keep hearing to it 10 times and discover new things in it.Its not like
once they hear and it is predictable.In a way it helped me to develop a
new style in song making.
People say that your songs are repititive and once they hear it they
can say 'Ah!this is A.R.Rahman combination'.
In a way it is good to have a recognition.What happens when I do a
similar kind of film given the success of a film and when I do a similar
kind of film rematched,thats where I get caught.They want the same kind
of song 'OK give me another Chaiyya Chaiyya or another Muqabla' and it
gets repititive.Even in 'Doli Saja Ke Rakhna' I tried to blend the old
style of music with my style so it would sound different with an old
melody with new music and I think it is slowly reaching out to the
people.When you are into the same kind of things and when you are
composing you should be free and shouldn't be bound by song situations,
like when you are doing only Background scores, ads, art films.Working
with Mr.Govind Nihlani is different from working with Mr.Mani Ratnam or
Mr.Ghai. He is completely into a different kind of world.
Do you feel handicapped by the lack of knowledge of the language
Not anymore because now i'm quite familiar with most words .Even the Bad
Do you think that the director's hassling in your work has an ill
Not Really.If we Music directors start to think lets do what we like and
let the director keep shouting,then the music wont reach the people
quickly.Directors like Shankar will immediately say 'No I want a song
that'll reach out to the people'.He wants every song in his films to
adhere to the serious subjects on which he takes.
What is necessary to make a hit song.
I think the basic thing is to be honest to it.You have to say something
in it,not just to make it come to the charts .When you are honest to it
and when you want to make a simple melody ,simple thought in it a simple
lyric and good orchestrisation and immediately it will be a hit.I think
it is in the way you go about it. You shouldn't get into the song to
make a hit out of it but make it in your style and obtaining a hit from
You always opt for new voices a new kinds of tracks when there are so
many accomplished singers in the south as well as in Mumbai.Why is it
When I was doing commercials I used to get a lot of voices and it was a
very interesting part of my career which I loved using different kind of
voices training them and ofcourse people recognise new talents.When the
composition is new these new singers sing in their own style and
sometimes the mistakes they make sounds good and when they sing
completely or slightly off it is interesting.
How was the experience working with Lataji?
I wanted to give a nice song to Latji and not a normal one and it was
timed perfectly and when Maniji wanted this song 'Jiya Jale', I asked
him 'Why dont we let Lataji sing this one?' and he said Ok.Gulzar Ji
finished and when we offered her she acceoted it immediately and it was
a great honour for us.She stayed for two days and finished the song.
What did she say when she heard you r composition for the first
time.Did she say something.
I was so scared since this was the first time, after finishing I just
kept quite.She said 'Why dont you answer?Is it good or bad?'.(laughs).I
said 'How it be bad if you sing?' and then she went to Bombay and said
'This composer is not talking anything.I dont know whether he likes it
People say when you are composing the music its a one-man show and
its just yours.
I wouldn't say its just mine because first of all there's a director who
gives the thought and there is a tune which is composed and there is a
lyric writer who plays a very important role in making the song good and
respectable and then I put a rough thing on a computer and take the
voice and then I call the musicians .Mostly people dont see that part
since they just come for the voice mixing and they see me taking it on
the computer.After that there is a process where I call all the
musicians with the real part to add life to that and we mix it in such a
way it sounds new.
How would you describe A.R.Rahman in your own words?
A.R.Rahman is a failure and slowly he is trying to reach something
to be continued on 2/2/99 at 8:30 p.m