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A.R.Rahman (Fan Club) (Page 83)

dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:05am | IP Logged

Originally posted by Sudha_rn

dayita, sholay is also there in the list..R they remaking it?

Yes Sudha.

dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:07am | IP Logged

rider on the storm

Exchanging notes with A R Rahman, the nation's snappy spice boy. A R Rahman has just completed an album to mark the 50 years of Indian Independence and is now tackling his ever-burgeoning list of film assignments, including Mani Ratnam's first Hindi project.

What kind of tunes are swirling in your mind right now?

(Laughs) I'm blank. But seriously, the tunes totally depend on the story situations given to me, be it a brother-sister kind of song, a Sufi incantation or a boatman type of song. Otherwise, my mind stays on a single track which is the best way to make it work when I actually start composing.

Could you tell me about your album to commemorate the 50 years of Indian Independence? How did it come about?

The project started off when I'd gone for an award function in Bombay. The weekly magazine had told me that I had won the award but at the function, they gave the award to someone else. Well, I told myself that's that. I wasn't depressed but I must admit that I was hurt. Anyway, I let the incident pass. While I was in Bombay, I called up one of my school friends - Bharat Bala, who makes commercials. We had dinner, we talked about music and planned to do something together. A week or so later, Bala suggested the theme of 50 years of Independence. And then Vijay Singh, the managing director of Sony-India, approached me to do the album. So several things seemed to fall into place about a year ago on the project. It started off as three songs on the three colours of the flag. Essentially, the songs are interpretations of Vande Mataram. The peace song was rendered for the album by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in Lahore.

During your visit to Lahore, what did you see of Pakistan?

We were in Lahore very briefly, reaching there at 7:00 p.m. and leaving at 3:00 the next afternoon. The song was recorded in the night. Once that was over, as usual I slept through the morning, waking up to catch the flight. The authorities were very co-operative; there does seem to be a growing atmosphere to encourage cultural inter-exchanges.

Besides the three songs, has the album broadened in scope?

Yes, there's a spiritual feel to the album. For three months, nothing was moving on the album. Then during the month of Ramzan, the tunes started coming to me. Now there are six songs on the album. I think the attempt has been to catch the nafs, the pulse of what is happening around us today.

How free do you feel today to do what you want?

I wouldn't deny the fact that I feel uncomfortable at times. But then during my visits abroad, I ask myself, "Do I really feel free out here?" I don't. On coming back home, I feel a sense of belonging, as if I've returned to where I belong. And I wouldn't exchange this feeling of oneness for anything in the world. So far, I've been to the US, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. But once I've reached these places, I've been suffused by a feeling of restlessness. One day away from Chennai and I'm homesick.

Why're you restless?

Honestly, I don't know the answer. I do try to be cool. Believe me, I've been surprised at myself on the occasions that I've lost my temper with my office guys.

Haven't you taken on too much workload? I believe you're doing eight films right now.

Two or three of them are already complete. So, it's okay. When a film-maker doesn't make unreasonable demands, composing doesn't become a burden. Like I enjoyed working with Rajkumar Santoshi on Pukar because he's a fan of melody and wasn't looking for those 'item' type of songs. I take on an assignment depending on the attitude and the needs of the film-maker. Like Shivendra Sinha had been calling me from time to time since Roja. Finally, his first film (Ittefaq) has taken off, and I'm glad that it has, because he has a feel for music.

At one point, wasn't Aamir Khan snowing you with faxes to do one of his films? Why didn't you?

Simply because I was extremely busy at that point. I think Dharmesh Darshan and he wanted me to do the music for Mela. I liked the script, but I just didn't have the time to spare.

What has been your experience with the Bombay film crowd?

I haven't been very close to the Bombay crowd. It's always been touch and go... hello-how're-you-sort-of-thing. I know a dozen people want to bitch on and on about me. I've been called all sorts of names. But I haven't responded. Like I told you, I try to be cool.

What's the score on Subhash Ghai?

(Laughs) So far, so cool. He's on to Shikhar now that Pardes has been released.

Do you think your music for Daud measures up to Rangeela? And pray whose idea was that Daaaa....uuuuud dog-like howl?

I can't make any judgements on my own music. All I know is that I've done my job on Daud, which is the best way to deal with it. As for Daaaa.....uuud, we wanted a different kind of theme song, a freaky sort of a thing. By the way it's not supposed to sound like a dog, but like a wolf howling.

But Daud doesn't have an immediately catchy number like Tanha tanha or Humma humma. Right?

Ramu (Ramgopal Varma) is generally clear about what he wants. He's into R and D (research and development), finding out what appeals to the public. So I leave catches and hooks to him.

Whose idea was it to use the voices of Remo Fernandes and Usha Uthup?

Ramu thought Remo would sound different in an Indian kind of song and he did. Usha Uthup was used unconventionally for the Punjabi version of the title song of Daud.

What do you mean by calling the instrumental track, The Thump of Daud? What does 'thump' mean?

Ha! Ask Ramu the meaning of thump, because he thought of it. Like he thought of The Spirit of Rangeela.

Okay, tell me, do you feel your new batch of songs are also being plagiarised by the Bombaywallahs? Or have they stopped after being criticised constantly?

I would say, there's a definite competitive spirit among the Hindi film music composers. Whether they admit that they are 'copying' or say that they are 'influenced' or 'inspired', is their problem. Not mine. On my part, I've just stopped listening to the numbers whenever I'm told that they've been plagiarised from one of my songs.

What's your reaction to Nadeem-Shravan calling you "a mere jingle composer"?

I leave such statements dangling in the air. There's no point in reacting, because that's just what they want probably. Silence is the best answer. It's better to shut up and keep quiet. Mr Nadeem is all sugar and honey to me at parties. A couple of years ago, we were at the same function, and both Nadeem and Shravan kept giving me broad smiles.

Are you getting more religious nowadays?

I need a base. Otherwise, I'm the most horrible creature on earth. The base keeps me humble. I feel the teachings of Abdul Qadar Jilani have brought about the right attitude in me. While praying you attain a certain position, telling the lord that you are the most horrendous sinner in the world, that you must be granted forgiveness and mercy.

I get this feeling that you don't like yourself.

I felt that way for a long, long time. Now I have a purpose in life, a single-minded purpose. But don't ask me what this purpose is because it's personal.

Are you at peace with yourself?

NO! (After a marathon pause) Because there are secrets within every one of us. So please, let my secrets remain within me. (Laughs uncontrollably) Because without mystery there can be no music.

What is the first word spoken by your daughter, Khatija?


And the second?

Aiya - her grandmother. She hasn't said abba yet. Whenever she hears my music, she starts dancing. She's very loyal.

Do you see any interesting new trends in music?

After a point, I feel there should be a sense of purpose in music - it shouldn't be there just for dance and romance. I'm attempting to bring about that sense of purpose in my music. Which is not to say that I want to reform the world or anything as profound as that. I'd rather let my music speak for itself. And the clue to what I'm saying is in the Independence album.

How do your peers and the rest of the film industry in Chennai take your music?

It's the same everywhere, whether in Bombay or Chennai. They think I'm a fool. Maybe I am. I admit that I've a lot to learn. I feel I'm doing well perhaps because I'm blessed. If you think you're a know-all, then you get hurt. I do get hurt when personal attacks are made on me. Now that's another clue for you, to know why I want my music to have more purpose and meaning.

It's widely believed that you've overpriced yourself by charging an enormous fee.

I didn't initiate this intentionally. My price was suggested by the directors I was working with. They told me to work less, concentrate more, to ask for remuneration that would allow me to do my own thing. In any case, I share 50 per cent of the expenses of a song recording. Comparatively, my style of working is different. I can't churn out songs overnight. At times, it has taken me six to eight months to arrive at the appropriate tune for a song situation.

Have you ever hit a creative block?

Yes, to an extent. For the Sai ai ya song in Daud, we were trying out a new set-up of computer programming. And the system crashed 26 times during the recording. I was at my wit's end. Finally, we were satisfied with the song after grappling with it for 20 days. Relatively, the Zahreela zahreela song was a breeze. I met an old friend - Deena Chandradas - at a party Mani had hosted for his technicians; we started talking and something rung a bell. Usually my songs touch the high notes. But Deena's voice was just right for the lower notes in the song. Both Asha Bhosle and he could grasp the feeling what I wanted right away.

What has happened to the non-film album that you were to record with Asha Bhosle?

I'm working on it. I must come up with something that'll do justice to her calibre.

How come you allowed snatches of your music from Mani Ratnam's Bombay to be used in Deepa Mehta's Fire?

I saw nothing wrong with that. It made the music reach an international audience. I did compose some fresh pieces for Fire. For her next film, Earth, I'll be doing an absolutely brand-new score.

Do you think you'll ever cut an album for the international market?

Inshallah. I have been a bit choosy about this. I was supposed to do Mira Nair's Kama Sutra. But I didn't want to be branded in the west as the composer of Kama Sutra fame. I met Mira Nair and liked her a lot. I'd love to do some other film with her.

Would you compose music for film-makers you don't "like a lot" immediately?

I used to be on that trip. I used to like films which were out of the rut. Like Govind Nihalani's Tamas. But then so many unusual films don't reach enough people, the common man doesn't understand them. So, I'm trying to do both - films that are out of the rut and the regular stuff as well.

Would you be able to conjure up a music score for an absolutely abstract film?

That would depend on what the film is trying to convey. There was a time when I'd close my eyes and see far-out images, and so many crazy colours. At the outset, my music was quite abstract and experimental. (Laughs) But then I didn't meet any abstract people. %20storm.htm

dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:10am | IP Logged


rahman's tv interview - There was a news segment profiling Rahman in the news magazine India this week which was telecast over channel 56 in Washington DC here (in 1995). 

Here are some snippets from the interview.

So sayeth ARR (verbatim): "Directors - they want more music...People - they want more is getting difficult to balance the quality and the quantity...But (smiles) as long as the fight continues and quality wins...its ok. "
ARR's chief inspiration is his father Shekar (a music director too, who died when ARR was very young). ARR took to music when he was very young, played keyboard and guitar for "local rock groups" before joining Ilayaraja's troup and later turning to score ad jingles. Thus spoke ARR: "It is not a good past...(adds quickly) but that's ok. At the end of it all...during the when I was losing interest in life, you can say....everything started happening. - "Nobody can be completely original...because the notes are already there...from the notes we form a raag and from the raag a is a process. As far as possible, to my conscience, I try to be original...' The reporter quoted ARR's main musical inspirations as Ilayaraja and RD Burman
dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:12am | IP Logged

rediff interview

Rahman, hidden behind a stubble, was only recognisable because of his innumerable rings, talismans and ever present cheeky smile. He has become savvier, more Bollywood-ish. "What do you mean by Bollywood-ish?" he asks innocently. How does one tell him that his creativity seems to have diminished? That he is lifting tunes from Beethoven and Mozart once too often? That he is recycling old tunes? That the man who never copied himself is now copying others? One seems to have touched a raw nerve -- the Rahman who smiled away accusations of having lifted his own tunes two years ago now frowns and tries to justify himself. He has come a long way from the struggling Dilip Sekhar whose only assets were the musical instruments willed to him by his father. A conversion to Islam and a reputation as the music director who created the craziest ad jingles transformed his life forever. It did not take long for Mani Ratnam to offer him Roja. After which phenomenal success, there was no looking back. As he moved on to super-duper hits like Bombay, Gentleman, Kadalan, Minsaara Kanavu, Pudhiya Mugam, Rangeela, Duet, Thiruda Thiruda, Hindustani and Sapnay. Lately, of course, there has been the occasional flop like Daud, Love Birds and Kabhi Na Kabhi. But they have been offset by the phenomenal success of Vande Mataram -- Maa Tujhe Salaam. And Dil Se.. which was released across the country on Friday, has received rave reviews for its music.

How would you rate the music of Dil Se..?

I have tried to be different from what I have composed earlier. At the same time, I have followed Mani Ratnam's instructions and concept. Mani is very happy with the final product.

Mani Ratnam has been very influential in shaping your career...

I owe my success to Mani's Roja. He had asked me to create music that would appeal to the nation, which is exactly what I did. And it worked. Success and failure are but two sides of the same coin. I had scored good music earlier too, but Roja got me the fame. It is all the will of Allah. Bombay followed, as did Rangeela, Gentleman, Hindustani, Chor Chor, Hum Se Hain Muqabla and Jeans.

Then why do you copy music?

Uhh! Copy? I don't copy. Music from the same raga always sounds similar.

Doesn't Roop suhana lagta hai from Gentleman and Dil hua hai deewana from Bombay sound similar? Moreover, isn't Verapandya kottayile from Thiruda Thiruda (Chor Chor) the same tune on a higher octave?

Oh, is it? (He shrugs.) They may be the same, but I haven't realised it. I am not here to try and copy anyone. I try and give different music.

Do you think your music sounds similar because you work in loops?

Oh! You seem to know my style well. I always try and compose more youthful music, music that could lend a lot of meaning to the film. Music is an integral part of the film. You can tell the story just by using music. Don't you feel I have changed my style of music after Rangeela?

Many of the Bombay-based music directors think so. They also feel you have become predictable.

(Rahman frowns for the first time and shrugs again.) Many of these so-called music directors keep on copying from me. I cannot take them to court for that. They lift my music from a Tamil film and use it in a Hindi film. That's what is called lifting a song. If you feel that my songs sound similar, that's because it is my style.

Which means that Rahman has become predictable.

That's exactly my point. You call it predictable, I term it as my style. They are ways of looking at it. If you call my style predictable, that means you have understood that Rahman has been dealing with a particular brand of music alone. Once you hear the music, you know it is has been composed by Rahman. That is what I am all about. That is my identity; that is the identity of my music. But, then, as I told you earlier, I am trying to change all that. I have much bigger critics in the south who rip me apart whenever they get the slightest opportunity. After all, I am creating music for the common people. So I have to give them my best. As long as they are happy with what I am giving them, fine. If they feel that they deserve something different, I will give it to them. After all, they have a right to listen to what they want.

How did Vande Mataram happen?

Bharat Bala and I are schoolmates and have worked together in over a hundred jingles. Bharat was earlier making small films. One day, he approached me with the idea of Vande Mataram. I liked the idea very much. I accepted it because it gave me an opportunity to work with a great musician like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. We worked very hard on the music and the concept and the effort paid off. Bharat and Kanika's idea clicked well. We got a great response. I was happy because I got to do something that was different.

And we got to see the other side of Rahman -- the actor who posed in front of the camera.

(Smiles) It was a different experience for me. It was fun. Initially, I was nervous and refused to go before the camera. Bharat told me not to be childish and I had to go ahead. All in all, it worked out very well.

What is your opinion about the current trend of pop music and of actors who are trying to sing their own songs?

Pop music is an international phenomenon. If the right people enter this field, it will certainly be good. As for actors singing their own songs, I would say it is essential that every actor know to sing. If he does, then he can do a much better job on camera when he is acting the song out. But I don't think actors should sing too many songs unless they are very good at it as we have many good singers in Indian cinema.

The music of Priyadarshan's Kabhi Na Kabhi was more of a letdown except for the title song which, finally, was not seen in the theatres.

Yeah, I was told that the song wasn't shown in some theatres. But, then, one can never get 100 out of 100 from the audiences. The audience is, as Kamal Haasan often says, a multi-headed creature. We have to feed every mouth with a different item. Finding something that will appease all the heads simultaneously is very difficult. Still, I try and give music that will make everyone happy at all times. I am just a human being and my keyboard is just a machine. Insha Allah (if god wills), I will continue to give good music that will make everyone happy including you, my dear critic.

You charge a lot for every film. It is said you charge Rs 10 million for a non-Mani Ratnam film.

(Goes on the defensive again) No, no, not Rs 10 million. But I do charge what I am worth. I give quality stuff and if people want me, and they want my kind of music, they pay for it. So what's so wrong about my fees?

What makes Rahman click?

It is all the will of Allah. I just do my bit and leave the rest to Him. It is He who decides the fate of us mortals (smiles
). ew.htm

Sudha_rn Goldie

Joined: 22 March 2006
Posts: 1840

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:18am | IP Logged

He is considered India's most respected musicians. He has been credited with giving Indian film music a global, a more original, more unique sound. He is also one of the highest selling artists in the world, having sold more than 50 million albums in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English. He has also made a very successful crossover to the West, while his roots, his first love, continues to be Indian music. He is A R Rahman.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-IBN's Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand, A R Rahman talks about Rang De Basanti, his music and some of his outstanding works.

Rajeev Masand: The most obvious question first: Where did the dreadlocks go?

A R Rahman: I went for Haj, so I had to get them off. Or you can say, to washed my sins, I got my hair chopped off.

Rajeev Masand:That was your most marked characteristic. Do you miss them?

A R Rahman: I know, but my wife likes me better now.

Rajeev Masand:Rang De Basanti, your most recent work, is a film which really marked a milestone. Isn't it? Apart from the fact that it has great music and it's a great album, it is one of those rare soundtracks where the theme is blended perfectly with the music. Your earlier work Bombay and Taal were also examples of that. Do you agree?

A R Rahman: Yes, I think so. The process with Rang De Basanti started when Rakeysh (Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, the film's director) told me the story, which had freedom fighters in it. I was working on Legend of Bhagat Singh with Santoshji at that time. So, I said that I would not do another film like this. Of course Rang De Basanti happened four years later.

When I started on this film last year, what we decided to do was not to have anything which is preachy and going to bring people down. We wanted to go abstract and go counter-point, like people and children are dying there and we have a happy soundtrack, which is Ru Ba Ru and going to the light and there is more positivity rather than going along with the film.

In fact, everything is in opposites -- like the song Khalbali, which has the word 'ziddi (stubborn)', and it came because of the tune. And then the way after the song was recorded, which Rakeysh used in the film, when Bhagat Singh refuses to take any food and becomes 'ziddi'. Now that is the stroke of a genius. And that's how things should be done, more interactively, not by having a per se idea and defining it. If you want to break and go on to the next level, you need to take a chance. Sometimes, it works out this way. And in this film, it all worked out, I guess.

Rajeev Masand: One of my favourite songs in Rang De Basanti soundtrack is Lukka Chhupi. I have read a fair bit of criticism about the song, largely perhaps because it is a collaboration with Lata Mangeshkar. I could be wrong, but I guess the reason should have been Lata Mangeshkar. The song is really a mother's call and a mother's song.

A R Rahman: See, the song was not designed to be in the film at all. I was doing the film and I was doing Ru Ba Ru and Khalbali and Pathshaala. I felt it was all upbeat and modern. What was the film about? It is about a call of a mother. It is how the characters in the film change. I was actually hearing a song from Born On The Fourth Of July soundtrack and there is a song, which goes this way: 'Where have you been my blue-eyed son'.

I thought why not do a similar song for the film. It is very abstract, it takes the inner feeling of the film into a soundtrack. So I was telling Zaria, and Rakeysh was saying, "Mmm... OK." And Prasoon, of course, said it won't work. We then came up with Lukka Chhupi. I said why don't we have an answer for the mother who calls. And in a way, I was trying to do a duet with Lata Mangeshkar, which I had wanted to do for a long time, because whenever I had approached, it never happened. The plan got cancelled for almost six times, until it finally happened.

So, in which scene will this song fit in is the next question, right? When we tried to spot the scenes, it fitted exactly with Waheedaji and the death. But then the reverberation of the song is within the film and outside the film also. So, I feel doing a song is taking me from the clich' of situation which films have. And working outside it and then fitting it in. So all these things fitted in.

Rajeev Masand: You have just signed up as world ambassador for World Space. This is not the first time that you have endorsed a brand. How long does it take or how do you decide as to what is it that you want to get attached to and don't ?

A R Rahman: I probably was the first one to get the radio of World Space. I just wanted to check it out first. I was really impressed with the variety and the manner World Space had put up their advertisements. I did not know that here was a policy of not having any hassle in it, which is brilliant. I remember 20 years back, I used to go all the way to Bangalore to pick up my favourite music, and here we have everything on the touch-move-button --jazz, classical, pop. So when they ask me, I said: "Yes, let's do it!"

Rajeev Masand:You were in Toronto recently for the opening of the Lord Of The Rings musical. Tell me, was that a daunting task, for doing a score for that? Especially, because the comparisons between the musical and Lord Of The Rings film series were almost inevitable and especially because those films have gone on to become cult films.

A R Rahman: I think people very well know what is possible on stage and what is not. In films, you can add a lot of special effects and get away with. But to do something like this on stage is an incredible task. We have to give it to them the way they produce it and direct it and how they have put up this whole thing. It was a big gamble and they have succeeded in it. And being a part of it is a nice feeling.

Rajeev Masand: You have composed music for a musical before, including Bombay Dreams. Was Bombay Dreams perhaps a little easier, especially because you were familiar with the milieu. It was a story of a boy who wants to become an actor in Bollywood?

A R Rahman: One more thing is Bombay Dreams is a musical, which was written around the music of life. So we already knew that Ayesha was going to be in it. Taal's music was going to be in it. The music was written around it. But here it was vice-versa, we have script and the successful movies and they said do not derive inspiration from the movies. No music should come out of the movie, but it should be original from the book. So this is more difficult, this is really difficult. And I worked with Bartana, who is from Finland. Ultimately, when the music was put together, you could only see the scene and the episode there and get excited rather than trying to research which music is whose and cannot find that out.

Rajeev Masand: Your music is quite a rage among Chinese filmmakers. Your score in Warriors of Heaven and Earth became immensely popular. You have apparently been getting lots of offers from Chinese filmmakers. Is that true?

A R Rahman: Yes, there were a couple of offers which came in, but then I was busy on this side.

Rajeev Masand: Is it difficult doing a Chinese score? What's the challenge there?

A R Rahman: The challenge for me was not just doing a Chinese film. It was about the Silk Route, the Turkish and the Russian influence, and all those stuff. Working of the film was really good. For the first time, I got to work with the Prague Orchestra and the orchestral experience was really something.

Rajeev Masand:Which you used again in Mangal Pandey…

A R Rahman: Yes.

Rajeev Masand:If I ask you to pick your most under-rated film score out of 1947 Earth, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Bose... which one do you think had the most under-rated score which could have perhaps done well, but didn't ?

A R Rahman: I want every film score I do to do well. But some don't, because there are a lot of actors involved. Yet, it adds to the repertoire because someday people might listen to it in a different frame of mind. Like when I did Mani Ratnam's Iruvar, I literally had a person asking me why did I do a score which looked so old-fashioned. He didn't know that it was a period film. There are so many elements and when people come to know about them, then after a year they buy the same music.

Rajeev Masand: You are dodging the question. Which is that one score that you were disappointed with, perhaps because of its failure?

A R Rahman: Yes, sometimes you get disappointed, but then its not just you, it's the entire team that gets disappointed because it did not succeed. Bose, I know that most people wouldn't have listened to it at all. Most people won't be having a cassette or a CD of it. I hope it gets released soon as I have heard it was finally getting released some time (soon). I hope that gets done.

Rajeev Masand: Have you ever been embarrassed by the way a song has been filmed?

A R Rahman: Yes, a lot of times. But, I guess the people are intelligent enough now to know all that, what is personal and what is not, and what is done for the movie.

Rajeev Masand: You won't take any names?

A R Rahman: No.

Rajeev Masand: We know that Mani Ratnam has been an influence and a mentor. While you were doing ad films, he offered you Roja and most of your best work has been with him. Tell us as to what kind of relationship do you share with him. Is it something apart from just the director-composer relationship? Are you two friends? Do you hang out outside the studio?

A R Rahman: We don't hang out much (laughs). What is really a relationship? A relationship means the first good experiences, like first love and you always remember that. He picked up the best out of my work and said, "This is you." He was the first one who gave me a good work. For us, it's been a challenge to cross each thing from Bombay to Iruvar. Whenever we sit, we don't talk about old things, rather we try sharing a new frequency to create the same magic again.

Rajeev Masand: Your score for Roja was ranked by the Time magazine as one of the 10 best scores in the world. How do you look back at it now, since so many years have passed since Roja? Is that flattering?

A R Rahman: Yes, it's quite flattering. It's a small world, isn't it? You see Inside Man using Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan, Lord of War using Bombay theme.

Rajeev Masand:Do you think Roja is your best work?

A R Rahman: It's probably my first good work. Like I said about Mani Ratnam, who gave me my first good work. It brings back all those memories. It gave me the urge to go further and maintain quality work, crossing over to the North Indian audience with the film, lyrics which were never imagined before.

Rajeev Masand:Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan is one song that you've always been remembered for. People continue to love this one song. It was used in Bombay Dreams, in Hollywood films, Spike Lee's Inside Man… Do you ever feel like telling people to get over with it and look at your new work? Do you ever feel that it is a like a double-edged sword?

A R Rahman: It was very strange how Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan was done. I wanted a Punjabi singer for Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan, while I had Nusrat's voice in my head. I asked my friend Brijbhushan in Bombay if he knew anybody like that. He suggested me three names. Finally he said 'Mr Singh' will be coming in.

I had expected somebody with a turban . That's when Sukhwinder Singh landed in Chennai. He was working on Govind Nihlani's Thakshak and I asked him if he knew any Sufi lyrics because his voice has that Sufi touch. He said, "Yes, I know this." We went to a room and then did Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan. It was lying there for one year. I wanted to use it for my album Vande Mataram, but it didn't fit in. Then Mani asked me if I had a tune for his next film. I said something is ready and he immediately liked it. Then Gulzar sahib wrote the lyrics. It was first Thaiyan Thaiyan and then it was changed to Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan. At that time, I realised that it had the potential. The intention of doing this song was not to make it into a film song. It had that Sufi aspect.

Rajeev Masand: Gulzar sahib once said, "A R Rahman's greatest achievement is that he didn't mess around with my lyrics." Is that something you like to elaborate on?

A R Rahman: Yes, I do. And where is the need to mess around with the lyrics when somebody writes them so perfectly?

Rajeev Masand:You have often confessed that you are not so familiar with Hindi.

A R Rahman: (Laughs) Yes, I can't talk but my vocabulary is better than what it used to be. I have been learning Urdu. I can't talk but I can read now and I can understand most of the vocabulary. The thing about words, certain words give you a sound and meaning, if you get the right kind of balance, the song becomes a hit and everybody takes pride in it.

Rajeev Masand:So many actors, especially in Hindi films, have been singing their own songs and you have said that it is good for actors to know how to sing so that they can act as if they are singing themselves.

A R Rahman: Yes, like in the West, actors never practise to use someone else's voice. Nicole Kidman used her own voice in Moulin Rouge. I think that should happen in India too. It will be good if actors learn music because it will make our industry more credible. It will be good if these things could happen simultaneously.

Rajeev Masand: Let me put you in a tough situation. What do you think of Aamir, Shah Rukh or Amitabh, who've been singing their own songs? What do you think of them as singers?

A R Rahman: I think they are intelligent enough to choose songs, which go along their own voice. You can't expect classical songs being sung by kind of actors like Shah Rukh. They don't want to torture people like that.

Rajeev Masand:You said some of your songs were composed in two days while some of them took up to 45 days. How do you know when a song is ready?

A R Rahman: It's based on one's instinct. Sometimes, when you overwork on something you go back and sometimes abruptness is the best.

Rajeev Masand: Over the years, you've sung many songs yourself. Like, Ye jo des hai mera, in Swades, Chale Chalo from Lagaan, or Ru Ba Ru from Rang De Basanti. How do you know when a song requires your own voice?

A R Rahman: Sometimes I've worked from the scratch using my own voice. Like in Dil Se, Mani said why don't you sing it in your own voice. Or when I did Ye Jo Des…Ashutosh Gowarikar suggested that I should be singing this song. Initially, I was supposed to sing Ek Taara but it didn't match Shah Rukh's voice.

Rajeev Masand: Has it ever happened that you recorded a song in your voice and the director told you that someone could have sung this better? Sukhwinder Singh or Shankar Mahadevan? Has it ever happened to you?

A R Rahman: I would be the first one to suggest such a thing (laughs). The last thing I want to do is put my voice in a song. There are so many lovely singers out there and I would love to get their contribution in my music.

Rajeev Masand: You daughters are learning music as well. In fact, they are on the soundtrack of Mangal Pandey...

A R Rahman: They are getting trained, but they have not been singing so much. It's just to give them a choice that they can take up music if they want to.

Rajeev Masand:So in many ways, it's like a legacy you want to give them.

A R Rahman: Yes. That's true.

Rajeev Masand: Talking about Mangal Pandey, apparently you've still not been paid entirely for your work in the film. Does that upset you since the actor and the producer of the film have gone on record saying that the movie was highly successful. Not only did they recover the entire investment in the first week, but that they made a lot of money.

A R Rahman: That's a very delicate question. Mr Bedi came the day an article on it was published. He promised me that everything will be settled sometime in July. I didn't want to go the legal way. He is a nice man and I trust his word. Besides, everybody has been watching everything. All these things were not intentional I guess.

Rajeev Masand: Please tell us what do you like to do when you are not working? What kind of a husband are you? What kind of a father are you?

A R Rahman: Good question (laughs). I think you should be asking this to my wife and children. My mother, my kids are very supportive of me. They always know what I'm going through. I also try to play my role as best as I can within the limitations of my schedule.

Rajeev Masand: Let's hope you have lots of time for them. Let's also hope we can see lots of interesting work from you in India and outside it. Thank you very much.

Source : /9722-3-single.html


Edited by Sudha_rn - 18 May 2006 at 4:29am
dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:27am | IP Logged
Thanks Sudha for the interview.

Edited by dayita - 18 May 2006 at 4:31am
dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:30am | IP Logged

interesting parts from the interview with a r rahman


Q:what are the jingles u have done

arr:john umbrellas,MRF,boost,titan,leo coffee, and i dont remember (giggles) (ofourse how can he remember 300 ads!)

Q:did u expect roja to be a national hit

arr:we did roja with a lot of conviction that it will reach internationally
and by god's grace it happened.

Q:How was the feeling getting a national award for the  debut film roja

arr:i dont have time to cherish the joys and repent the failures in life .i
go on with my work not caring
about the response i have got of my previous works(pretty cooool!)

Q:How did you come into films?

arr:My father, R K Shekar was a music director in Malayalam films. He assisted Salil Chowdary, Devrajan and others. He died when I was nine. At eleven I came into the field, playing on the keyboards and later as an accompanist. I worked under various music directors in Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam- Ramesh Naidu, MS Vishwanathan and Illayaraja. It started becoming a bit monotonous. I thought advertising would be a good alternative. This went on for three years. I built my studio and took to different forms of music- pop, rock and so on. It was then that I met producer Tirlok Shardha, cousin of Mani Rathnam at a party. He (Mani) came to my studio and heard some of my tunes. We agreed to work together though we did not decide on which movie. Only later he told me it was to be Roja, which he was directing for K. Balachander.

Q:Despite your success you do not seem to be working on a lot of films?

Rather than making money I believe in making people happy, all other things are secondary. That is why I am not interested in a lot of movies but only in one at a time. I like directors whom I can vibe with. Ten years of experience in this field has made me quite frustrated. I've evolved a technique, which requires a lot of time. Other music directors record a song in 7-8 hours. But I am different. We do a basic sitting and we record it. We record the voice and I add instrument by instrument to improve the quality.

Q:Do you use computers in your film tracks?

arr:No, not computers. The technique is different. In fact they say the music in Roja was computerized. As I said earlier the recording takes time. You can hear the same flute in a different way. It is not computerized music. Nearly 40% "Veerapandi Kottayily" (a song from "Thiruda Thiruda") that does not sound like computer music and "Vellai Mazhai (from Roja) is synthesizer oriented. I do not restrict the musicians but ask them to play whatever they feel. Then I record what I want. I spend a lot of time on lyrics too. It takes around 4 days. We write something in the first instance and then improve. So it take about a week to complete a song. rts.htm

dayita Goldie

Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 1896

Posted: 18 May 2006 at 4:33am | IP Logged

n t e r v i e w

india talkies interview

Why is it that you shy away from public appearance? You have also restricted exposure in 'Vande Mataram'. Why so?

In five years of my film career, by doing a non-filmy song -'Vande Mataram', I could reach out to the Indian heart, irrespective of religious differences. All barriers were overcome by this song, which was appreciated by all. That, I consider, is the best compliment. As for public appearance, our country is so wide and demands come from every corner. You can't be everywhere and that way you end up offending some people. It is not just the physical presence. It is more of a mental thing. Even if it is a small meeting, things like what I'm going talk there, keeps worrying me. So I'd rather not accept to be there at all. As for appearing in my album, I don't feel I'm cut out for it.

Did Ram Gopal's constant dig at music directors in 'Rangeela' influence your lax in scoring good music for 'Daud'?

'Daud' was more of a shallow kind of a film. It would have clicked if some magic was there. Music is always a reflection of the script.

People say you give your best only to a select few.

People who understand what I'm going through will know how it works with me. Like, I took one and half months to score the background music for 'Kabhi-na-Kabhi' and they released it in mono. If I were told that it will be released in mono, I would have spent about 10 days on it. I spent a month to give better imaging and finally when it was released in mono, it fell flat, and all the energy I'd spent on it went waste. I get better inspiration to work for directors with whom I have a better rapport, like Mani Rathnam. Every film maker wants to work with me, but I am incapable of doing 30 films a year. I can work only in 5 films, and therefore I displease them. Suppose, I am involved with some cassette company like Venus or Tips, they will back me up. If I don't accept their films, they don't have reason to promote me at all. Why should they promote me if I am not involved with them? That is the way the industry runs, favours-and-favours-in-turn, the link is like that! But I'm just an individual who goes by my own instincts. People won't like that. I don't want to be in a position which is volatile. I want to work in my characteristic independent style, and though I feel uneasy, I can't help it. I have never turned down offers because of my ego. I have done so out of my incapability of delivering it. I can't hide it. I work 18 hours a day. I can't do any more!

Where do you rate yourself in comparison to Ilayaraja?

He is a genius by himself and is completely self-contained.

People say your entry washed him away and he holds you responsible for his lack of opportunity. Is there any cold war between you both?

I wouldn't say he was washed away. A new trend had come, and the whole set of directors that existed then, also receded. The entire scenario changed in every field of film making in the South: music, direction, cinematography, everything changed together. It was not a single element. So, I got to the right people. The right young directors who made films in a different way. The change in the trend was welcomed and so was I. There is no such cold war.

Which among your recent work is your favourite?

I liked my work in 'Dil Se' and 'Doli Sajake Rakhna'. It is more on the lines of tumri. I have also scored a different kind of music for 'Fire' which is more thematic than melody based.

How do you rate your standing in the industry today?

I have managed to appeal to the younger lot in the country. One can't cater to everybody. Mostly, I try to keep away from vulgarity in my songs and try to touch the purer side of one's heart. erview.htm

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