man of few words, A R Rahman has always preferred his music to do the
talking. And how! From being touted as the most exciting composer in
India, he is now on the verge of receiving international acclaim, with no
less than sir Andrew Lloyd Webber rooting for him.
We caught up with Rahman when he was in Bombay recently. Excerpts from the
conversation, in Real Audio as well:
have always come up with exceptional scores for Mani Rathnam. Do you
personally think that you've given your best for him?
the main thing is the concept that the director has. He (Mani Rathnam) has
always given me things which I have not done before. He has been quite an
important person in my career, and he always wants me to excel, whether
they are for his films or others' films. When challenging things are given
to you, then you devote all your energy to it. He never tells you that 'I
want a song like this or that,' but he always has a fresh idea. That's the
reason why different scores come up for his films.
Lloyd Webber thinks that Chaiyya chaiyya is a great number, one of the
greatest songs he has ever heard. What do you think about it?
said it's one of the greatest numbers, yes. I think it's a very commercial
song. He (Webber) finds the whole genre of music -- the production,
picturisation of the song in Dil Se -- very interesting. Hopefully, we'll
do more exciting stuff now.
we talk about film music, we talk chiefly about how the masses appreciate
it. Now, do you think your music will be more critically examined, simply
because it will be heard by a different strata of society?
See, I always live with a song, sometimes for a week, sometimes for six
months, to try and fix whatever is wrong with it. Because, if I don't like
something, people will not like it either. I've gone by that rule and so
far, it's been working. God was kind. That's how I'm going to do this
(Bombay Dreams) also. I'm not going to try something I don't know about. I
assume they will like it.
there going to be something elitist about a musical?
The only difference is that it's going to be in English. I'm yet to know
(laughs) -- about any other differences, because this is a completely new
direction for me. But on the whole, I think -- hopefully, God-willing --
it will be successful.
you looking at Hollywood as well?
Not now. I don't have the energy to do too many things at the same time.
I'll probably finish this first...
you are taking a sabbatical from Hindi and regional films, aren't you?
done my homework on the films which are yet to be released. So there's not
going to be a vacuum. It's not like you are not going to hear A R Rahman's
music for one year. I've almost completed Lagaan, Zubeida, Kandu
Konden..., alai ptyuthey Rhythm. All these films will be coming now,
filling up the gap.
you are not accepting any other offers right now?
yet. I'm just holding them, so that I get some space.
was a very big hit. How come you aren't working with Subhash Ghai again
for his new film, Yaadein?
was supposed to, but then this project came up. So I told him about it and
we agreed that we'll find time in future and work together.
this allegation that you are a composer who has mastered the gadgets --
how do you react to this?
think it's just an extra attribute or whatever (laughs). But it's not the
only thing. Because without tunes, without happening tunes, it will not
work. Only if you have a happening tune, then everything else can support
it. Knowing the computer actually helps to perfect things. If somebody has
gone off-key but delivered a good line with the right feel, you don't have
to sacrifice the take. You can just cut it at the pitch and use it. These
are what I have learnt to make things easier, to get the best out of an
Some people have accused you of being repetitive...
I don't think they will say that now, because I have been into too many
wild things. Hopefully, they won't say it again in future.
was there a phase when you felt you were being repetitive?
Well, yes. Following the success of Kadalan (or Hum Se Muqabla in Hindi),
a kind of dance culture developed. Suddenly, there were proposals with
Prabhu Deva and me together, because that helped sell the films. I was
forced to do only dance music. But then I got out of it and accepted films
which demanded melody. You know sometimes, you kind of get into it...
you have some idea about the kind of music you will be doing for Bombay
we do have some scratches ready. If I tell you more about it, then there
won't be any surprise left. But it is going to be Indian. It should be
exciting, that's all I can say now.
there be Indian singers involved in the production?
will be Asian singers, since part of the cast will be Asian.
lot has been said about Chaiyya chaiyya. People attribute the song to you,
but it has been inspired by something else... what made you choose this
it's a Sufi song. Any great love song, when attributed to a divine source,
gets an extra dimension. People say any love which is immortal is divine
love. Chaiyya chaiyya is something like that. The inspiration, therefore,
is a divine one.
rediff news - Photographs:
Jewella C Miranda