One of the chords that integrates India is A.R. Rahman’s music, however we nonetheless don’t know the way the creations of a shy Tamil boy discovered a faithful viewers internationally. Everybody appears to have a favorite Rahman tune however the reticent composer stays an enigma.

Celebrating three many years of his journey, National Film Award-winning director Umesh Aggarwal launched on August 26, a year-long sequence Rahman Music Sheets on his YouTube channel O2india, which not solely profiles Rahman by in-depth interviews together with his collaborators but additionally brings collectively younger artistes from throughout the globe to recreate his music.

“I wanted to convey that Rahman’s music transcends boundaries. We have school students in Japan, who don’t speak Hindi or English, recreating the music of his Tamil films. There are students from the Berklee College of Music and Stanford University,” says Aggarwal, who’s remembered for his documentary Jai Ho, that had chronicled the rise of Rahman as a world icon. The new sequence showcases artistes from the U.S., the U.Okay., the Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, U.A.E. and Australia speaking about Rahman. There are different off-beat moments, just like the four-year-old Mizo woman singing ‘Vande Mataram’ and a Mizo group singing a choir model of ‘Maa Tujhe Salam’.

Reflecting on the second when Rahman turned a world star, Shridhar Subramaniam, president, Corporate Strategy and Market Development, Asia and Middle East, at Sony Music Entertainment says, “When they presented ‘Vande Mataram’ at the Global Sony Music Conference in Manila, the fear was if it would work in an audience that’s not Indian. “Nobody understood the words, but they understood the quality of the sound.” Today, he says, Rahman means as a lot to Sony as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen or Celine Dion.

A.R. Rahman with Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart

Music collaborations

While a lot of his collaborators imagine that Rahman’s compositions have a lot emotion that they don’t require lyrics to brighten them, Rahman himself says he imbibed the significance of language from Subhash Ghai who would say, “If you don’t learn the language, you cannot compose.” The two collaborated on Taal, arguably the most important hit in Rahman’s Hindi movie profession. “Earlier, I used to think that my music would survive anywhere… but after his advice, I started learning Hindi, reading couplets and poems in Urdu.” It launched him to the historical past of Hindi movie music. Coming from the South, he says his data was restricted to a couple soundtracks. “Then I discovered Naushad, Madan Mohan, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, S.D. Burman… it was amazing.”

Looking again, Shekhar Kapur, who collaborated with Rahman on Elizabeth, says that historically, in Indian songs, you’d say “here are the lyrics, here is the tune, and here is the orchestration to it. But in a Rahman number, they are all tightly knit together. That he has mastery over all of it was very new to us.”

Ram Gopal Varma, who launched Rahman to Hindi movies with Rangeela, remembers that Rahman didn’t have “creative arrogance.” “He would never ever defend something he made. If for some reason the director didn’t like the tune, he would make another tune, but never defend or explain it, which is fascinating.”uAshutosh Gowarikar feels that Rahman, at coronary heart, could be very business in his likes and dislikes. “But in his mind, he wants to create a new kind of sound; may be a new deviation within the melodic track, and that’s unusual.”

A.R. Rahman with Ghulam Mustafa Khan, L .Subramaniam and Randolph Giles

He cites the instance of Swades, the place Rahman used shehnai to a mesmerising impact within the climax. “The idea was to show how Mohan Bhargav (the main character played by Shah Rukh Khan) is once again wedded to the country, and a marriage is incomplete without the shehnai. But never in my imagination did I think that he would use the shehnai in this manner — he used it as a refrain and created such an emotional track out of it.”

On Rahman singing ‘Ye jo des hai tera’, Gowarikar says, there’s a soulful high quality to his voice that provides one other dimension to the songs he renders. Varma says Rahman expands the horizons for the filmmaker; and remembers how utilizing his voice for Aamir Khan in ‘Mangta hai kya’ was “pathbreaking”. “Aamir felt that people would laugh as they were used to Udit Narayan as his playback but Rahman completely destroyed the concept of one singer singing for an actor. The unconventional approach challenges the director to think differently about song picturisation and choreography.”

Kapur describes Rahman as “pretty international”. “He understands the resonance of sarod as much as that of an aboriginal instrument. He understands Indian ragas but has also studied Western classical. To say that he has combined Eastern compositions with Western technology actually belittles his ability. It’s far more than that.”

Commenting on the longevity of Rahman as a world musician, Danny Boyle factors out that one of many curses of being a tune composer within the West is that regardless of how expert your work is, it’s usually unacknowledged. “Normally, the public doesn’t really notice it. But Rahman is so gifted that he does that job as well as gives you tunes that, like great pop tunes and musical motifs, you carry with you.”

On his religious aspect giving energy to his music, Kapur says it’s like when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel as a result of he believed he bought his energy from his religious and spiritual beliefs. “With Rahman, I feel, it is more religious. If that is what works for him, then god be with him, because wherever it comes from, it is amazing.”


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