Joined: 01 May 2006
A 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:
You have always come up with exceptional scores for Mani Rathnam. Do you personally think that you've given your best for him?
See, 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.
Andrew 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?
He 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.
When 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.
Is 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.
Are 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...
But you are taking a sabbatical from Hindi and regional films, aren't you?
I've 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.
And you are not accepting any other offers right now?
Not yet. I'm just holding them, so that I get some space.
Taal was a very big hit. How come you aren't working with Subhash Ghai again for his new film, Yaadein?
I 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.
There's this allegation that you are a composer who has mastered the gadgets -- how do you react to this?
I 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 artiste.
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.
But 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... without realising.
Do you have some idea about the kind of music you will be doing for Bombay Dreams?
Yes, 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.
Will there be Indian singers involved in the production?
There will be Asian singers, since part of the cast will be Asian.
A 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 song?
Yeah, 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.
source: rediff news - Photographs: Jewella C Miranda
Joined: 01 May 2006
interviewed by shreen, ndtv
Is it true that, when singers come to your studios to record and later when they hear the final of product, there is a huge amount of difference?
The difference is there but not for all the songs. In some of the songs I try to break the conventional way of having a track and ask the singers to sing freely without any inhibitions, and there comes a point when the song elevates and at times by nearly 300 percent. I think we have a couple of songs like that in "Taal" which are slightly wild, singing wise.
There are rumours that you terrorise your singers?
No. I think they are very comfortable with me. Yes, initially when they come in, they think who's this guy but once they start singing, it is very easy for them.
How long do you normally take on a song, for instance how long did it take for the songs in "Taal"?
We started working on the songs for "Taal" in 1995 and the first song took 45 days, the second one took one week, then it became faster. I think it was because I had to compose Hindi lyrics.
So now are you well versed in Urdu?
I wouldn't say well versed but I am nearly at it.
Does that make a great difference to your music?
Definitely, there are much better nuances of Urdu poetry and stuff like that that I understand now.
So would you say this particular album, "Taal" is particularly influenced by that?
In fact, this album has influenced my other films, because working on this I have gained more Hindi knowledge and more North Indian music knowledge because the film required it.
When you talk about North Indian music what is that particular stream that you are hinting at?
It is a Kashmiri and Punjabi mixed kind of a thing with an international kind of background. Moreover, it is folk, classical and western all mixed together, just to suit the film.
After a director comes to you and explains the film to you, do you work independently beyond that?
Usually a director first talks about the script and then he tells me as to what kind of music he wants and I get a fair idea of what he is looking for. The director then tells me about what he liked in my previous work and what he didn't. So I know the Do's and don'ts and once you start working on the first song you realise that it's taking shape.
Do you keep in mind the actress and actors on whom the song is going to be picturised?
It's more important to keep in mind the character, if I think about the actor then it will sound the same for the actor for whichever film I am doing. For instance, in "Taal" Anil Kapoor plays a very different kind of a character and the music is to suit his role.
Since you are working on simultaneous projects, does it sometimes bother you that some of your sounds might overlap?
The director takes care of that, as they are mostly particular of how their films sound.
Do you always listen to the director?
Yes of course. The main thing is that I give them a lot of choices, and when they hear my tunes I am not inside the room with them, so they can choose whichever one they like. I heard some people say that I just give one tune, which is not true.
What has been the biggest influence on your music, through the years?
I think working with Mani Rathnam. Starting with him uplifted my energies because whenever I work with him he wants the best and something international, so you don't sleep for days. It's the same tension when I work with Subhash Ghai. He also wants something original, classy and international.
As you said songs could take 2 days to 45 days, so what is it about a song that convinces you this is it?
Instinct wise you know, it's working even if other people don't agree. On the other hand, if they say its working and I don't feel right then I keep working on it and they feel very irritated. Finally when they realise that yes there was something, which was missing which I found out, they also accept it.
Do you have this reputation of being difficult to work with?
Yes difficult for the product but not as a person.
So what's next after "Taal"?
Film wise, after "Taal" I am doing "Pukar" "Thakshak" and Earth.
Joined: 01 May 2006
Americans without footwear in A R Rehman concert
|Americans attended A R Rehman concert without footwear at Dallas. Americans with barefoot are very rarely seen, because wearing shoes is a way of life there. The climate in America is very cold so without shoes are very difficult. The Americans attended the concert without footwear was a surprise for Rehman, was it compulsory or due to respect for Indian culture|
Agency : Acv News
Joined: 20 October 2005
thanks 4 d articles too
Joined: 01 May 2006
interview - Lisa Tsering, India Abroad News Service - july 2000
a r rahman - on the brink of worldwide acclaim - By
New York, June 5 -- Being roped in by international playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber and director Shekhar Kapur to compose the music for the former's next stage spectacular, "Bombay Dreams," Allah Rakha Rahman, or A.R. Rahman, is today on the brink of being discovered by a Western audience.
India's most sought-after music director, who wants the whole world to hear his music, has been given full artistic freedom for Webber's stage production, based on the Indian film industry. He has set up a studio in London where he will be working on the project in between his Indian film assignments. Rahman discloses he is considering working for another international project, "The Thief of Baghdad," but has not finalized it yet.
Rahman, who has sold an estimated 40 million albums in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, was in New York to accept an award for his score for Subhash Ghai's 1999 musical love story "Taal" at the Zee Gold Bollywood awards presentation. He described the challenges that now lay ahead in an interview with the California newspaper India-West.
Q: First of all, do you prefer to be called Allah Rakha? Or A.R. Rahman?
A: A.R. Rahman...like M.C. Hammer (laughs).
Q: Do you feel a very great responsibility now that you've been named to the "Bombay Dreams" project?
A: There has been a great responsibility when I started, actually. It's not a sudden thing. When I did my first film, "Roja," my main intention was that the music should go beyond the walls of India and should be heard all over. Indian culture should be accessible to everyone, even for young people.
Q: How will composing for the international stage be different for you?
A: See, the main thing that strikes them - the Really Useful group (Webber's production company) - is that it's accessible to them and it's accessible to the Asians too. It's going to be the same way.
Q: What is it? The person goes to Bombay to try to be a star...
A: No, no, no (laughs). You'll get to know when it's ready. There is a lot of traditional stuff, the way they started this originally, but I've been given the liberty to develop this any which way I want. So in fact, I have set up a studio in my flat near the campus of the Really Useful Group in London. So I started to break tradition there.
Q: Once this starts, will you be stopping your Indian projects for a while?
A: I'm not going to stop, because that was the inspiration. That is my inspiration. All the films have been my inspiration to the whole "Bombay Dreams" itself. If I stop that, I will feel unconnected from my roots. So I said I will probably work 20-30 days in the United Kingdom, and then go back to my projects.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: Everything. I feel the whole world is like one. There are different cultures, but you get moved, and even when they listen to a "raag" like in "Vande Mataram" I did, or the Bombay theme or anything, they hear the "raag" and they feel they can tell what the pulse is, I can see tears sometimes and I can see joy sometimes. So it doesn't have any language.
Q: I heard that you like to work all night and sleep all day.
A: Mostly (laughs). When I work during the day, I get a lot of phone calls, and a lot of decisions need to be made. I have to come out of my trance. So nights are better for me. Mainly when I do overdubs and things it's during the day. My own work, whenever I write and do creative work, though, is mostly at night.
Q: Let's talk about the singing. You have the ability to coax these incredible performances out of incredible singers, be it a Sonu Nigam, Kavita Krishnamurty, or Udit Narayan, or in "Dil Se," making Lata Mangeshkar sound like she was 20 years old. What is your secret for pushing them?
A: See, the main thing is for them to get comfortable. When they come to sing a track, it shouldn't be like an exam, they should have fun. First of all, you set up an environment for them. The vibes are much better than if they are thinking, "I have to go in one hour." So they come to Madras and it's almost like a holiday for them. They come to the studio and they have endless time. There's no other artists waiting. Once they start singing, I just keep recording all the candid performances. Whatever they sing.
Q: The demands of singing on the Broadway stage require a whole different set of pipes than the studio singing and the Indian classical singing. You are going to be working with a completely different breed of singer entirely.
A: That is quite a difficult task, to find talent like that. But we have time to train them, as long as the compositions work. That's a very tough task, and we'll probably come to that stage in a couple of months so we'll know then. But there are so many equally talented people coming up, we may be surprised to find someone excellent and good-looking.
Q: Why don't you work with Kumar Sanu?
A: I did work with Kumar Sanu once, in "Kabhi Na Kabhi," but he sings in a different, traditional Bollywood kind of style. Most of my stuff is ... freaky, you know? (laughs) I mean, my school is slightly different. Maybe it's how you reach people rather than having any type of type-casting in mind.
Q: What are your current projects?
A: "Lagaan" with Amir Khan and "Zubeida" with Shyam Benegal, and "One Two ka Four" with Shah Rukh Khan. The playback singers will be Lata, Asha Bhosle, the pop singer Raageshwari, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik, plus a couple of new singers - Poonam and Mahalakshmi.
Q: Besides Webber are there any Western collaborators in the wings?
A: There is The "Thief of Baghdad," a film which is a co-production between Hollywood and Madras, which we might collaborate on but we still haven't done it.
Joined: 01 May 2006
Joined: 01 May 2006
rahman burnt out?
Nadeem of the famous Nadeem-Shravan team said, "Yes, today Rahman's music has got so repetitive that each song of his sounds the same. Most of his songs sound like they are an extension of the original few numbers which he had created in movies like Bombay or Roja. Technically, Rahman is a genius but as a composer of late he has not been able to sustain himself. Also, since most of his songs are dubbed, people have great difficulty in following the lyrics. Ratan Jain of Venus who had marketed A.R.Rahman's Hum Se Hai Muqabla from the original Tamil film Kaadalan commented, "Of late it has become very easy to identify A.R. Rahman's songs. All his songs bear similarities with his previous numbers. The best thing about Rahman is that he uses an orchestra in his songs, and he blends it so well. But the music market being competitive he should realise that every song can't be orchestrated in a similar way. To this adds Mr.Bohra of Polygram India who has marketed the hit film Bombay and also one flop album called Love Birds, "Yes, definitely A.R.Rahman's songs all sound the same and of late it's just become too much. If I am allowed to, I'll say that the songs from Rangeela were different. Here, it looked like he had taken some special interest and done it quite differently. Also what happens is, since most of them are later dubbed, a lot of their charm is lost like the songs of Priyanka or Thiruda Thiruda or Love Birds. Another charge against Rahman is that his style of working has irked many a director. Apparently, he takes a very long time to create music and, according to filmmakers, he is very selective about whom he works for. Is this attitude correct? Nadeem doesn't find anything wrong with the working policy of his rival. "See, there's nothing wrong if he works in this manner. This is a correct attitude and that's how all the members of my fraternity should be working. If he chooses to do a few films...I think such a style of working can enable him to give his best. If Rahman uses an orchestra for his songs he also uses different and rather unusual singers for his songs, which works pretty well, like Remo Fernandes for Bombay or a pop singer like Shweta Shetty for Rangeela, which has worked in his favour. Nadeem nods in affirmation, "Yes, he is very good with such gimmicks and they have paid off. Also he has to his advantage a well equipped studio with modern amenities. But what's so great if he is doing well here?" asks Nadeem and then continues, "If he is doing well here it's probably because he is a bit different from the North music directors. But in the South, Rahman is no great shakes. His style resembles Ilayaraja's and many others." "The recently released music of Hindustani isn't much to talk about. Save for one number the album is quite thanda", says Bohra. "Our company marketed two of his films, Bombay and Love Birds and the sales of Love Birds was a disaster. Later on we realised that the original Tamil version of the film itself was no great shakes, so obviously the dubbed one wouldn't do well. Again the major problem we foresee is that those dubbed movies do well which have stars from north, like Bombay has Manisha Koirala or even Hindustani can since it has Manisha and Urmila and Kamal Haasan who is not an out-and-out South star. But Nadeem contradicts Bohra, "There is not much to hear in Hindustani. These songs last till their publicity lasts, after that they eventually fade out unlike our songs like Aashiqui etc, which one still hums even after 5 years." All three universally maintained that Rahman's songs lack melody. Bohra stressed, "The age group between 18-25 go for Rahman's type of music but the majority of them prefer to have soft melody songs. So his market is restricted only to the teenagers. And how long can that go on for? Ultimately where does one see Rahman after 5 years? Nadeem was quick to add, "See, there is no doubt that given a right kind of an environment and with his potential he can do much more, but for that he mustn't restrict himself. Also the instant fame he has got, I can only say, it's because he is such a Namaazi fellow that God has bestowed his good wishes on him.
Otherwise he is nothing exceptional. Ratan Jain was more diplomatic, "I don't know what will happen 5 years from now but Rahman will not fade out this soon. While Bohra says, "It's all a matter of time, luck and perseverance. Also one has the ability to see his faults in time and take reasonable steps to rectify them. If all this is there than there can be nothing which can stop Rahman from ruling the roost!"
A R Rahman fans, don't worry all these stupid people here are talking like this because they are unable to produce good music so why not try a hand on talking?!Our Genius will be the No.1 always and he will always remain the best music director in the history of motion pictures!
Joined: 01 May 2006
Music has been a major attraction in all Yash Chopra films, so it is no surprise to know that "Fanaa", too, has struck the right note and that its "Chand Sifarish" is number one song of the week.
The top 10 Hindi songs are:
2. "Ya Ali" - Film: "Gangster - A Love Story"; Singer: Zubeen; Music: Pritam. Sufi songs are a craze these days and "Ya Ali" is the latest to join the list.
3. "Aashiqui meri" - Film: "36 China Town"; Singers: Himesh Reshammiya, Sunidhi Chauhan; Music: Himesh Reshammiya. Demand for this seductive number has soared since the film hit the screens.
4. "Jhoom jhoom" - Film: "Tom Dick And Harry"; Singer: Himesh Reshammiya; Music: Himesh Reshammiya. Another feel-good song from Reshammiya that is going places.
6 "It's a beautiful day" - Film: "Aryan"; Singers: Shreya Ghoshal and Hamza; Music: Anand Raj Anand. A sentimental romantic song for lovebirds!
7. "Mundya aa bhi jaa" - Film: "Shaadi Se Pehle"; Singer: Sunidhi Chauhan; Music: Himesh Reshammiya. A foot-tapping naughty number just for time pass!
9. "Right here right now" - Film: "Bluffmaster"; Singers: Abhishek Bachchan and Sunidhi Chauhan; Music: Vishal-Shekhar. Its popularity has slipped with other newer numbers making the grade, but this still finds place on the charts.
10 "Pyaar ki ek kahani" - Film: "Krrish"; Singers: Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal; Music: Rajesh Roshan. The romantic number rendered beautifully by the two talented artistes is eminently hummable.
A R Rahman’s Enjoyable music
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