Saturday, December 29, 2007
The latest news on this film is that its length, in all probability, will be around three and a half hours. Considering the fact that Ashutosh’s earlier movies Lagan and Swades were about as lengthy, if not lengthier, this is not something new. It was very recently reported that the director had chopped off a Qawali number that was lavishly picturised on Aishwarya as it was hampering the pace of the movie. Ash was so much in love with the song and the visuals that she had asked the director’s permission to use it in her next movie. But sources now have it that her request was turned down by Ashutosh as he had only half-heartedly edited it out of the movie. However, he intends releasing it in the DVD of the movie. Actresses at times have to take these in their stride as films are ultimately a director’s medium and their word is final.
ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER, well known for his versatility, is all set to release his much-awaited movie, Jodha Akbar on February 15, which incidentally is his birthday.
After Lagaan and Swades, the actor’s director, who has brought awards and applauds for all his male stars, aims to make a directorial milestone with Jodha Akbar, flaunting the marriage of two different cultures and religions and highlighting efforts of Akbar to strengthen his relations with the Rajputs.
Every element big or small, from the texture of the clothes to the sets, décor, dialogues and the protocol, even the incidental sounds of birds and animals, have been set to perfection, create a virtual impact of the Mughal era. The Dhoom 2 pair of Hrithik and Aishwarya looks gorgeous in royal outfits.
Jodha Akbar may be one of the potential movies for the Oscars. It seems that Ashutosh has been carefully observing the trend of the movies going for the Oscars. While films like Lagaan and Paheli had the cultural touch of India, Rang De Basanti had the spirit of nationalism instilled in it. The movie’s storyline in the trailers depicts both these elements in plenty.
But Ashutosh, who has been acclaimed for his originality, has inspired himself from movies like ‘Troy’ and ‘Lord Of The Rings’, which have been nominated for the Oscars before. The purdah scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya also seem to have been inspired from a short film ‘Migration’, featuring Sameera Reddy and Shiney Ahuja, where Shiney approaches Sameera but she drops a curtain between them.
A scene showcasing Aishwarya lifting her ghunghat looks similar to a scene in Paheli, where Rani flaunts the same look. Even the colour of the outfit is the same. Aishwarya’s red coloured outfit has sharp resemblance to the clothes worn by Rani in the movie.
The movie release, which was scheduled for January 25, has been delayed due to the fact that he has been advised bed rest for 21 days due a severe back problem, which has delayed the finishing of the background score of the movie.
All in all, Ashutosh is trying his best to mix all spices in a balanced proportion so as to make an impact on the audience. But the originality of the storyline, magnetic delivery of dialogues and songs will have to face the litmus test of the choosy spectators and the choosier selection committee for Oscars. His lead actor of Lagaan, Aamir Khan may be his potential competitor for Oscars, as he is really doing well as the director and producer of Taare Zameen Per.
Friday, December 28, 2007
UTV’s current plans are to release the magnum opus in 1,000 + screens in the domestic market in the three languages [Hindi, Tamil, Telugu]. “Don’t be surprised if the number of screens touch 1,200,” Suniel Wadhwa, Associate Vice President - India Distribution, UTV informs me. The breakdown [as on this date] is as follows:- Hindi version 750, Telugu version 150 and Tamil version 100 screens. Incidentally, Hrithik Roshan’s previous movies, DHOOM 2 and KRRISH, were also dubbed in Telugu and Tamil languages.
The Telugu trailers of JODHA AKBAR were unleashed during Dassera week [18th October] with ATHIDHI, with 248 trailers [352 screens] across Andhra Pradesh, while the Tamil trailers were released during the Diwali week [9th November] with AZHAGIYA TAMIL MAGAN and VEL.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Their next project, Swades, though well received by critics did not find acceptance among the masses. But one aspect of the film that was appreciated by one and all was it’s music, with Rahman’s ‘Yeh Jo Des…’ going on to become one of his best compositions till date.
Ashutosh’s latest venture, Jodhaa Akbar, featuring Hrithik Roshan as the Mughal emperor Akbar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as his love interest Jodha, a Rajput princess, also has Rahman composing the music. This period film is now in its final stages of post-production and Ashutosh who is busy editing it has done the unexpected by axing two songs composed by Rahman, one of which is a Qawwali that was shot in a lavish set erected for the purpose. The director, however, justified it as the song hampered the flow of the film. Further, he explained that Rahman was a mature composer and would understand the reason behind it. We had also earlier reported Aishwarya liking the Qawwali so much that she has asked the director and Rahman for the footage and composition so she could use it in another film of hers.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
What’s common with the stars of Mission Ustaad – Mahalaxmi Iyer, Sunali Rathod, Shweta Pandit and Vasundhara Das? Well, they all have a reason to smile and give their best in this week’s episode of Mission Ustaad. Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod, Naresh Iyer and Mohit Chauhan also join their respective team members to lend their voices to some of the most popular film songs. From the latest hits like ‘Chote Chote Sheheron se’ to the evergreen songs like ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tammanna hai’ and many more, the 8 versatile and talented singers enthralled the judges and audience. Catch the power-packed performance with one mission…. The Mission to salute and spread the message of WOMEN EMPOWERMENT this Friday & Saturday, December 28th & 29th, at 9 pm only on 9X.
Week on week, Mission Ustaad contestants take the responsibility of spreading awareness to make our country and the world a better place. This week too, it will continue its endeavour with yet another wonderful theme of ‘Women Empowerment’. Mission Ustaad will treat viewers with exciting performances by the singers who will enlighten viewers about women empowerment through their soul-rendering songs based on this week’s theme - ‘Nari Shaktishali toh desh Gauravshali’
The episode will kick start with a mind-blowing performance by Roop Kumar Rathod and Sunali Rathod who lend their melodious voices to ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tammanna hai’.’ Vasundhara Das & Mohit Chauhan choose ‘Mann Ke manjire’ to get the message across to the viewers. Naresh Iyer and Shweta Pandit the youngest Jodi, will further enthrall the judges and audiences with their splendid performance. Last but not the least Kailash Kher and Mahalaxmi Iyer sing ‘Mein yaar manana ni’ to spread the message of Women Empowerment.
And if you thought women empowerment is all about serious performance from these stars, all are in for a surprise. Saturday’s episode will start with an engrossing performance from the ‘Chak De’ girls on ‘Baadal per paao hai’ from the most inspirational movie of the year ‘Chak De’. Kailash Kher and Mahalaxmi Iyer will further get audience gyrating to ‘Nachle’ from Lakeer. This will be followed by Naresh’s and Shweta’s stupendous performance on ‘Oolalala’ from Sapney. The remaining two jodis - Roop - Sunali Rathod and Vasundhara Das - Mohit Chauhan will further treat the viewers with foot-tapping compositions.
Amidst all the zeal, emotion and excitement the singers also make some thought provoking statements and voice out some very strong opinions on women empowerment. Will the judges be moved by their opinion? Will Roop & Sunali’s logic to choose the song be justified to the theme? Will Vasundhara Das & Mohit Chauhan impress the judges? Will Naresh & Shweta succeed in spreading the message across the viewers? And who will be the Ustaad Jodi? All this and much more on MISSION ustaad on Friday, December 28 & Saturday, December 29, at 9 pm only on 9X.
A report in Financial Express (25.12.07) reveals that, according to Google, Sivaji - The Boss was the second most searched film among the top searches in India for 2007, only after Spiderman. This clearly shows the unbelievable expectations and excitement the film by the superstar has evoked.
This is probably the first time in the long history of Indian cinema that a South Indian film attracted national and international attention. The film with an unprecedented budget made into the headlines of almost all national television channels.
The dream combination did work. The reputed production house AVM, the most sought after director Shankar, the musical wizard of India A.R. Rahman, and the undisputed king of box office, superstar Rajinikanth – when you have these names in a single venture, it is ought to be a great sensational and it turned out to be exactly the same.
The Swashbuckling release of the film happened on June 15. Sivaji was released in 2 languages, Tamil as well as the dubbed version in Telugu. It opened in 2,900 theatres in 27 countries across the globe. 700 prints were released against 450 prints of Rajani’s earlier movie ‘Chandramukhi’.
Many films were withdrawn from the fray after the unprecedented opening of Sivaji - The Boss. The film even had a good run in north India. Mind you, there was no dubbing and no sub titles. Finally it went on to become a blockbuster.
In UK, the movie entered the box-office earned about £14 thousand per screen and the first South Indian movie to enter UK Top 10, a real big recognition for Tamil movies in international market. In USA, Sivaji was released in 24 theaters with 19 more added subsequently for the Tamil version and 21 theaters ran the Telugu version.
What made Sivaji so special? The above mentioned combination was ably supported by write Sujatha’s sharp dialogues and amazing stunt choreography of Peter Heinz. To add colour to the fare Shankar has roped in the likes of Prabhudeva, Raju Sundaram, Lawrence, and Brinda to make the song sequences as unique experience. Thota Tharani’s sets for the songs were breathtaking. Vivek provided sensible support by his comical sense. And you had sensual Shriya to put the screen on fire.
The way Shankar presented Sivaji is undoubtedly one of the highpoints of Sivaji. We are not mentioning about the 'fair' Rajini alone. The way he looked in the entire movie was something special. Shankar has also portrayed him as a modern day educated youth and worked out his style and dialogues accordingly. The ‘cool’ way of talking and the ease with which he handled modern gadgets added colour to the character.
As a result of all such ingredients, Sivaji triumphed like anything and emerged as a front runner in all aspects. Rajini proved his mettle even after 30 years of his entry into filmdom.
So, Rajini emerges winner of 2007 with his inimitable style.
And heeding to the advice, Ashutosh has postponed his visit to Chennai to be with Rahman during the composition of the background score for the film.
However, the producers, UTV, who had recently decided to start their own record label, have set January 9, 2008 as the audio release date. It has also been reported that the date of worldwide release of the movie will be on February 15, 2008. With expectations for this film growing manifold with its promos being aired across TV channels and cinemas around the world, you just have to wait for the good piece of work to take shape.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Hrithik Roshan returned to Mumbai from Singapore, cutting short his treatment for a torn knee ligament, amidst rumors of another delay in the release of his film Jodhaa Akbar.
The actor had left for Singapore Thursday, December 6, for aggressive physiotherapy sessions spanning 6 weeks. His wife, Sussane, was to join him later. He was due to return early January to promote Jodhaa Akbar which is slotted for a January 25 release.
Following his return Hrithik was once again facing cameras on Saturday, December 23, to film The making of Jodhaa Akbar. It is not known if that was the imperative for his return or the schedule for the treatment of his knee was revised.
Hrithik's early return means he will get to attend the launch of the film's music.
Usually the music of a film is launched 2-3 months ahead of the film, in order to establish its market presence. However, no date has yet been announced for the release of Jodhaa Akbar's music, which has been scored by AR Rehman. Some reports suggest that the background score has yet to be fully recorded.
The delay has fueled rumors that the film's release date is likely to be pushed back once again.
The film was originally slotted to hit the marquee on October 23 but its release date was pushed back to January 25 to absorb a schedule overrun during filming.
Post production for the film is now also taking longer than envisaged. One of the problems being faced is the length of the film. It is being reported that a lot of footage, shot at considerable costs, will have to be discarded in order to keep the film under 3 hours, something that is proving to be a challenge for director Ashutosh Gowariker who has put his heart into the project.
To make matters worst, Gowariker is down with a bad back.
A source from Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions Pvt Ltd (AGPPL) told Mumbai Mirror, "Ashutosh has been unwell for a while and advised complete bed rest. We are yet to do the color correction of the film."
UTV, which is footing most of the production costs for the film, remains tight lipped about reports of another delay.
"I cannot comment on anything right now. Please wait for the official announcement," Siddharth Roy Kapoor, COO, told Mumbai Mirror.
Some sources suggest that the film's release may be pushed as far back as March.
Monday, December 24, 2007
He later made a request to filmmakers, which he corrected with a note of caution that music launches should hitherto be called Songs launch which alone would be appropriate as it is only songs that are being launched at audio release functions and the lyricists would only then feel duly honored alongside the composers. He even had a word of advice for upcoming music composers who sport long tresses that it is not tresses that make a person a great composer like Rahman but one’s compositions. He was all praise for the lyrics of Pon.Murugesan who had penned the other songs in the album and said that such music albums are going to be the future of Tamil music as they tend to retain the quality of the lyrics and they do not have to bank on visuals, as in he case of movies, to give it the necessary appeal.
The movie was earlier slated to release on 28 January, 2008. The change of release date is due to the fact that Gowariker has been advised bed rest for 21 days with a severe back problem.
The director was scheduled to be in Chennai for this entire week to finish the background score of Jodhaa Akbar but could not move out because of strict instructions from his doctors not to travel.
Gowariker stated, "I am sad that this had to happen in the thick of post production; it is unfortunate, but it has to be dealt with."
Jodhaa Akbar is a sixteenth century story about a marriage of alliance that brought two diverse souls together to find true love between the greatest Mughal emperor that ruled Hindustan, Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, and the fiery young Rajput princess, Jodhaa.
The film is produced by UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The actor, who was here to launch the Nakshatra New Winter Wedding Collection of diamond jewellery here, told reporters after the launch that movies like Jodha Akbar, were very "tricky" with regard to audiences accepting it.
Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan are playing the leadroles in the movie.
Responding to a query that films like 'Asoka' have not gone onto become hits in recent times, she said "At certain times certain films do well...certain films do not do that well. It's a very tricky thing."
The daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan, said working for the Hollywood movie 'Pink Panther' was a 'fantastic experience'. "There were so many stars...it was really anamazing experience," the actress said.
Aishwarya, who is married to Abhishek Bachchan, said "I am enjoying my current phase in life. Being married...it's an incredible thing in life."
Asked about one memorable moment during the shooting of the song 'Tere Bina' in Maniratnam's 'Guru' here, she said the whole song was shot at night. "We shot the song all night. Mani wanted to shoot songs at day break and he wanted the song to be taken in one-take," she said.
She also said she would love to do more Tamil films. "There's a lot of talent here that I would love to work with. But the possibility of accepting projects is time defined."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Typically music for big films is composed well in advance of shooting and audio released 2-3 months in advance of theatrical release. However in the case of this Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Bachchan starrer, that has not happened when the release date is scheduled only less than 5 weeks away.
Infact the film's original music promoter, the BIG label, has now backed out of the film, stating that the producers were not giving enough time for them to promote the music properly. UTV, the film's producer, is now left having the promote the film on it's own.
As such, speculations are high that Jodha Akbar is not coming on January 25th as scheduled. And may even get postponed further down to February or March.
This will be the first time that Rahman will lend his voice to tunes composed by someone else. The film also marks the debut of the trio Kailash-Paresh-Naresh of the band Kailasa as composers.
“He has already heard the tune and the lyrics of the song and was impressed with it when we went to meet him last month. He asked us to complete the song. We will go to Chennai next week,” says an excited Kher.
Is Rahman going to sing the song finally?
“I hope so, because I share a special bonding with him. After hearing the tune he said Insha Allah and I know what these words mean when it comes from someone of the stature of Rahmansaab. I am like his brother and he has never turned me down,” says Kher.
The song has been written and composed by Kher and will be picturised on the band and Rahman, along with 1,000 children. “Rahmansaab has given me an informal assurance, as we share a relationship that is different from the one he has with others,” he says. The film directed by Faruque Kabir deals with juvenile crime and has Atul Kulkarni as the male lead.
After hearing the tune he said Insha Allah and I know what these words mean when it comes from someone of the stature of Rahmansaab-Kailash Kher
Kher who has sung for Rahman in films such as Swades, Mangal Pandey-The Rising and Kisna and is also a regular member of Rahman’s group, sees his dreams coming full circle.
“That’s why I have kept the title track for him. It’s a positive song, almost like a prayer to God but has the folk-rock flavour for which Kailasa is known,” he says.
However, this is not the only film that the composer trio has in its kitty. It is also scoring the music for Nikhil Advani’s Made In China, which has Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone in the lead. “It’s an inspirational song,” says Kher.
The trio will also start recording for Mahesh Bhatt’s assistant Hirdesh Kamble’s directorial debut, Pranali, which is based on devdasis. The choreography will be done by Birju Maharaj. “It’s an offbeat subject,” he says.
As of now, after the success of their last private album Kailasa Jhoomo Re, the band plans to focus on films. Kher will be heard singing in movies such as Crazy 4, Sarkar Raj, Mittal vs Mittal and a couple of untitled projects that will release next year.
He was brushed off by most music directors in Bollywood when Sukhwinder Singh approached them with the composition ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’, a Punjabi poem by Sufi poet Bulle Shah. He finally arrived at composer AR Rahman’s doorstep and it was the beginning of a bright future for the singer/ composer. Sukhwinder Singh, who weaves his rustic voice with melody, recollects the struggle he went through before he was appreciated.
The singer has scored for the yet to be released film ‘Halla Bol’. “I still remember some of the top music composers telling me that the poem ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’ was boring and poking fun at me (of course with no bad intentions); but that’s what they thought. Rahman is imaginative and was thoroughly impressed. In half an hour the song was finalised with the Hindi translation written by Gulzar,” says the musician.
As for Sukhwinder’s compositions in ‘Halla Bol’, apparently director Raj Kumar Santoshi was so impressed by the music that he hugged Sukhwinder. “It was a new experience but not difficult at all. It shouldn’t be difficult for a musician to compose and write lyrics. I have also done the background score,” he says adding that he has written the lyrics for a lot of films including Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’.
After an unsuccessful attempt with his album ‘Nasha Hi Nasha Hai’, the singer is now working on an album with AR Rahman. The two are working closely on something experimental and are exploring various musical landscapes. “It’s just me and him and we will be trying out some new concepts,” says Sukhwinder who started his career with Rahman. “I used to write lyrics for him,” he adds.
Quiz him about the surge of reality shows and what he thinks of the budding talent that is entering the industry and he says, “It might be a platform but I don’t like the drama and the fights that are inserted to pump up the show. Besides, I have never believed in competitions when it comes to music; it should only apply to sports. Music is expression, not competition,” he sums up
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Produced by UTV pictures, Jodhaa Akbar’s music rights were earlier sold to BIG Music. However, quoting lack of time for the promotion of the music and blaming producers UTV for the same, BIG Music recently withdrew from their contract. Music of Jodhaa Akbar will now be promoted by UTV, who for this sole purpose is launching a music label on their own. Higher officials at UTV swear that there is no better launchpad for their music label than releasing Rahman’s music.
Rahman’s music for Jodhaa Akbar has already raised the bar among critics and music lovers alike with its trailer, which had some great music by the maestro. Sources close to Rahman say that the music is very contemporary and one of his best.
Confirming the news, Siddharth Roy Kapur, the COO of UTV Motion Pictures, said that UTV along with AGPPL (Ashutosh Gowaikar Productions Private Limited) came down to this conclusion that UTV music would not have gotten a better launch than the perfect combination of A.R Rahman, Javed Akhtar, Ashutosh Gowaikar, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. He also added that Jodhaa Akbar was the apt platform for UTV to launch its music company.
Also, Kulmeet Makkar, the head Honcho of Big Music, admitted about their back out from the project since UTV was not providing enough time for the promotions. UTV will now promote the music with their own label.
Nevertheless, the music director of the film, A.R Rahman, does not stop raving about the music and said the music of Jodhaa Akbar is contemporary so that it satisfies both critics and music lovers.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Al-Risalah is the story of Islam from its birth, evolution and to its triumph with the best Hollywood production values full of grandeur and emotion. Oasis Enterprises owned by Yamshi Ahmed and Saad Ahmed will be releasing the dubbed Hindi version of the film. Al-Risalah is being disturbed by Anuj Saxena's Maverick Productions.
The Urdu adaptation has been done by eminent lyricist and writer Hasan Kamaal. Al Risalah releases in Mumbai later this month.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Mass voting through mobile SMS is a common practice in reality and talent hunt shows. However, the system has often been criticised for not being foolproof. Hence, Gajendrra Singh (producer of ‘Chhote Ustaad’, Star Plus) has decided to change the system in his new show.
According to the new system, viewers will vote for their favourite contestants as they were doing earlier. However, the four contestants with the lowest scores will enter the danger zone. These four contestants will then be asked by the judges to sing a song and will be evaluated accordingly. The one who scores the lowest will be out of the show.
Gajendrra says, “It has often been said that SMS isn’t a foolproof system. The votes tend to reflect the bias of viewers towards contestants on various grounds. Hence, I am introducing this system, which ensures that both the judges and viewers have 50 per cent control over the contestant’s fate.”
While Gajendrra says that he is optimistic about the system working, he also insists, “I am not challenging the judgement of viewers. I respect their opinions as much as that of the judges. For, no matter how hard we work, if the viewers don’t like it, it serves no purpose.”
Just as the controversy about Gajendrra having copied ‘Challenge’ (Zee) was dying down, the producer has eyebrows raised by launching ‘Chhote Ustaad’ (similar to Zee’s ‘Li’l Champs’).
“Well, it hurts when I am alleged of copying. How can someone, who started reality shows in India, be accused of copying? And as far as similarities are concerned, viewers could even group ‘Mission Ustaad’ (9X) and ‘Indian Idol’ together,” he explains.
He adds, “Honestly, I have had enough of such controversies. I had started my work with them and I have no differences with them. I am actually hoping to work again with Zee.”
The dubbed Hindi version has been produced by Oasis Enterprises, which is owned by partners Yamshi Ahmed and Saad Ahmed. Oasis Enterprises has acquired the rights for the film. Al-Risalah is being distributed by Anuj Saxena's Maverick Productions who has distributed Om Shanti Om in Rajasthan and Cash in Mysore.
Maverick Production CEO Anuj Saxena says, "It is an interesting different film with a unique subject, so when the offer of distribution came we found it to be a good praposition. The song sung by A. R. Rehman is also outstanding. Maverick is considering a couple of more mainstream films for distribution in 2008."
"We always wanted to bring this film to Indian audiences because perhaps no other film presents a more balanced, more nuanced image of Islam," said Yamshi Ahmed, co-producer of Al-Risalah (dubbed version).
"No doubt, watching this Oscar nominated film will surely be a unique and enriching experience for the audience for a better understanding of Islam and the times of Prophet Mohammad," says Saad Ahmed, co-producer (dubbed version) of the film.
Al-Risalah is the story of Islam from its birth and evolution to its triumph, with the best Hollywood production values full of grandeur and emotion. The film has been approved by Al Azhar University, Egypt, the ulemas of the sub-continent and Mufakkir –e –Islam, Maulana Dr Syed Kalbe Sadiq Sahab Qibla who is the vice prsident of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
The producers held a private screening at an Andheri theatre recently where many eminent Muslims, including some ulemas, watched it. "We deliberately invited the ulemas because it deals with a sensitive issue," informed Urdu poet and columnist Hasan Kamal who dubbed the movie in Urdu.
The film releases first in Mumbai on 28 December.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
On 14-15 December at 9 pm on 9X, the theme is Khwaaish, which symbolizes the desire to reduce disparity. Starting the episode in the patriotic spirit, feature writer and poet extraordinaire Javed Akhtar will recite a poem which he recited on the occasion of India's 60 th year of Independence.
Kick starting the Friday episode will be winner of last week- Roop Kumar and Sunali, who will belt Ruk Jaana Nahin Tu from the movie Imtehaan, followed by the next jodi comprising of Kailash Kher and Mahalaxmi Iyer who will lend their voices to sing Tere Mere Sapne. Naresh Iyer and Shweta Pandit , who make up the third jodi, will together croon Dil Chahata Hai and the fourth Jodi comprising of Vasundhara Das and Mohit Chauhan of Silk Route fame will end the evening with Adnan Sami's hit number Lift Karade.
Also, the viewers will see the jodis perform on popular. The youngest singer duo - Naresh Iyer and Shweta Pandit will kick start with Lagaan's Mitwa, followed by Vasundhara Das and Mohit Chauhan's Do Deewane Sheher Mein. Kailash Kher and Mahalaxmi Iyer will sing Yuhi Chala Chal Rahi from Swadesh while Roop and Sunali will sing the track Aa Bhi Ja from the movie Sur.
The four jodis will be judged by A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar and Lara Dutta to vie for the 'Ustaad Jodi' title.
Even though A.R. Rahman may look different with the new hairstyle that he sports, yet he is the same music director who is always lost in the world of his tunes. When asked about his new look he says that he went to Haj and had to shave off his head. Besides, his wife liked it and he didn't have any album to release, so he has let it be as it is. Regarding his two movies this year - Shekhar Kapoor's Elizabeth and Ashutosh Gowarikar's Jodhaa Akbar - Rahman says that though both are period films, yet they are all about human beings. Summing it up he says, "Music has to reveal the basic human emotions. At the end of the day, it is the human feelings that matter."
When we sought his views on the loud music of Elizabeth, the music director admits it and explains: It is co-composed by me. When we started the film it was arty. When I saw the film, I felt it was dragging. We wanted the music to be pulsating and throbbing to make the film better." Isn't the music like that of Roja? Rahman quips, "Yes, and from there on I decided that I should not go below that benchmark. It was complementary because Roja also got several international awards. Haven't Tamil films taken a back seat since he got busy with international ventures? The music director admits it, too. "There was a time when I used to do six films a year. Now, I do one or two Tamil and three to four Hindi films a year." Rahman believes in God and asserts that He controls his life otherwise he wonders if he would have been able to continue working from midnight till morning.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
UTV's mega venture "Jodha Akbar", which is based on a romance between the 16th century Muslim Mughal emperor Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan, and a Hindu princess, Jodha Bai, played by Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai, will rock the box office early next year.
Jodha Akbar, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, will also be dubbed in Tamil and Telugu languages.
UTV's current plans are to release the magnum opus in 1,000 plus screens in the domestic market in the three languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu).
The rushes of the highly anticipated film has already generated interest among the movie-goers across the country.
Music of the eagerly awaited Jodha Akbar has not released yet.
However, word has leaked around the industry that A.R. Rehman has scored a fantastic composition for the film's soundtrack.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
When it comes to his respect for A R Rahman, Sukhwinder maintains that he still considers Rahman his mentor. Then why did he stop working with him ? “Rahman gave me a platform to showcase my talent. But when I was working with him, everyone said it was me who was composing majority of the tracks, not Rahman. That’s when I moved out of his camp without telling him, since I wanted people to realise that Rahman is the same even without me. But I’m working with him again in Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraj and we’ve just finished a world tour.
So there’s no issue with him,” he confirms.
Friday, December 07, 2007
He had a brief affair with Channel V’s Super Singer as judge. And then A.R. Rahman didn’t bite the bait for any of the reality TV shows that followed. Though
music is his passion, he always made it clear he had nothing to do with those on the small screen. But then 9X made it possible as it roped in the music maestro to be on the jury of their recently started Mission Ustaad.
Mission Ustaad, an Endemol-UN-9X collaboration brings together four singer jodis – Sunali and Roopkumar Rathod, Mahalaxmi Iyer and Kailash Kher, Shreya Pandit and Naresh Iyer, Vasundhara Das and Mohit Chauhan – who will make their own songs. But since the UN is involved, the songs will have an inherent message too. Each week,the jodi will get judges’ marks and audience votes, but there won’t be any elimination. At the end of 13 weeks, the scores of each pair would be accumulated and those with the highest marks will be declared the Ustaads.
Ask the reticent Rahman why he chose to take up this particular show when he might have been offered others in the past and he says, “Yes, I was, but a few months ago I had composed an anti-poverty anthem for the UN. The video had been appreciated and that’s when the concept of doing something more musically came up to talk about their millennium development goals. India had pledged with the UN to fulfill the goals of removing poverty, ensuring education to each and every child and other such issues by 2015. Since we haven’t had too much progress on that front, it was time to remind everyone about those goals."
"Just talking about them would have been boring, preachy stuff, but when you combine them with music and turn into an entertaining show, we just might get the people to listen in”, adds Rahman..
Unlike other music shows, in Mission Ustaad the ratings of the jury will matter more than the voting public. So was that another reason to accept it? “Yes, that too. I haven’t watched other reality shows, but I have heard that when the judging is left to the viewers, the judges’ position doesn’t hold any importance, the good singers tend to get affected and voted out and everything becomes a mess.”
Reality shows are often marked by heated arguments among the jury. Has he had any differences with the other judges, Javed Akhtar and Lara Dutta? (Laughs) “Yes, I believe they do, but in our show though we have different opinions, there are no pretensions to get the TRPs.” Does he think reality TV shows do any good to talent especially when it tends to get overshadowed by judges, gimmicks and controversies? “To me, more these shows, the merrier. When we see so much of violence, hatred and negativity around, in our everyday lives we can definitely watch shows with new talent, and which do music a lot of good. That alone is the saving factor, not the bickering judges or the unfair audience vote.”
Today’s films have hardly any music. Hasn’t it then become a case of too many singers and too less to sing? “I agree with you completely. There’s too much of a clutter there but at the same time, it’s no longer about anybody just making it. You have the talent, you will go far. Nothing more than that.”
His presence on the show was touted to be his grand debut by the channel. Has he enjoyed all the attention? Will he take up more television? “(Laughs) I enjoyed it more than I expected. Actually, if it’s music then I definitely feel excited. I will take up other shows if it’s going to be any good for music or if it takes music to the next level.” He says he liked “a couple of songs from Om Shanti Om and Saawariya and I liked them…though I didn’t sit and analyse what was right or wrong with them, I enjoyed listening to them.” Coming up next is Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar, “Jaane Tu Jaane Na which Aamir Khan is producing, it’s a young love story and a film called Ada. They all should come out in the next three four months,” he signs off.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
A R Rahman
In fact, in Kollywood, veteran composers like M.S. Viswanathan and Shankar (Shankar-Ganesh) have sung for other composers.
Of late, such trends haven’t been witnessed in the film industry. The reasons attributed, by the insiders, include ego clashes that might arise and erosion of fan base.
But composers themselves have never opined on those lines. News is that ‘Isai Gnani’ Ilayaraja had recently offered to sing for other composers. Rahman is now becoming hot property as a singer in Bollywood after his hit numbers in Guru, Swades and Dil Se. Himmesh Reshammiya, a self-confessed fan of Rahman, had announced that if ever wanted to sing for another composer it would be only be for Rahman. This composer/singer, known for his nasal twang, has asked Rahman to sing for him and close on his heels is Adnan Sami who has also made a similar request. Rahman when questioned on this said, “It’s extremely kind of them to think of me, but I can’t just sing like that. When I render a track, I cut myself off from other things. Even for a concert, a couple of days before it I don’t pursue my other music stuff, but just concentrate on the singing.” He also added that he hadn’t turned down their request but as he is working on an album, he can consider these offers only after completing it. Is he trying to be politically correct or is he just politely turning down these offers?
A R Rahman is known to be a man of few words. But the singer-composer is putting that behind him as he takes over as the judge of the reality show on TV (‘Mission Ustaad, 9X).
So what got the reclusive Rahman to get himself to judge a reality show? “It was the format,” he explains adding, “The show will have singers competing against each other to achieve the goals set by the United Nations for our nation. I have been associated with the UN before—I had composed and sung ‘Pray for me Brother’, the UN’s anthem for the Millennium Development Goals campaign. So when I got to know that this show was in association with the UN, I had all the more reason to be on this show.”
Quiz him on what basis will he be judging the contestants and Rahman states, “Art has no parameters. But here, it will be pushing the limits to judge their choice as a singer and composer; to see how their songs send a message to people and how their tunes become popular with the masses.”
Rahman, who has composed music in various genres, shares that music is peace for him.
“Music should be such that it transports you to another hemisphere. While composing music, I feel connected to God,” he says.
Though he admits that there have been times when his imaginative mind fails to create tunes, he owes his creations to the Almighty. “God has been kind. On a new day, there is new inspiration,” he smiles.
And who are his contemporary favourites? Rahman says he likes them all. “Most of them have unique styles. M M Kreem, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, Pritam and Vishal-Shekhar give good music,” he remarks.
Lastly, ask if the man behind some of the most romantic numbers is as romantic in real life and Rahman smiles, “I am romantic.”
And has he dedicated any song to his wife Saira? He laughs and says, “My wife doesn’t expect it. Plus, there is enough to work on in films”.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The film starring Arvind Ramaswamy and Madhu made Rahman the darling of Bollywood. He was already a star in South India, but Roja marked his debut and led to a long-lasting impact on the Hindi film industry.
Urmila Matondkar redefined fashion for heroines with her gorgeous costumes in Rangeela. Aamir Khan was at his best, and Rahman's music was outstanding. Unfortunately, the film lost most awards that year to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Mani Ratnam and Rahman paired up once again after Roja. Unfortunately, this film was mired in controversy as it explored the relationship between a Hindu boy and Muslim girl. Sonali Bendre, despite her brief appearance, will always be remembered for her Humma Humma.
Lyricist Gulzar and Rahman teamed up for this, one of the best albums of the 90s. The train song, Chhaiya Chhaiya, rendered by Sukhwinder, established him as a singer overnight. Unfortunately, the film was a disaster at the box office despite the music and Shah Rukh Khan playing the lead role.
It was an association between a Bollywood showman and the Mozart of the East. Subhash Ghai was riding high on the success of Pardes and paired up with Rahman instead of Nadeem-Shravan, who had composed songs for the earlier hit. The songs were huge, but the film did average business.
It was a marriage between Bollywood heroines and Kollywood. The film had Aishwarya Rai, Tabu, Ajith and Mammooty. It was directed by Rajiv Menon and the songs were outstanding.
Directed by Shyam Benegal, this film yielded actress Karishma Kapoor's best performance to date. It was soon forgotten by audiences, but the songs continue to mesmerise.
The only Indian film to be nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in recent memory. Lyricist Javed Akhtar and Rahman gave it their best.
Rang De Basanti
Only a genius like Rahman, coming from Chennai, can make singer Daler Mehendi sound the way he did in Rang De Basanti. A slow track from Lata Mangeshkar, Lukka Chuppi Bahut Hui, was also soothing.
In November 2006, when Aishwarya did Umrao Jaan with Abhishek Bachchan, there was no obvious chemistry between them. Three months later, when Guru was released, the couple performed a miracle at the box office. Guru became the first big hit of 2007, and the song Tere Bina sung by Rahman went on and on during the Abhi-Ash wedding.
14 years after Roja, Rahman proved once again there was no one quite like him.
Adding to that is BIG Music, which has now got associated with the film. According to reliable sources, it is learnt that BIG Music has acquired the music rights for UTV’s Jodhaa Akbar.
Jodhaa Akbar is based on the life of Emperor Akbar and his wife Jodhaa. The film is all set to release on January 25, 2008.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
But the music maestro, who will seen be in Mission Ustaad on 9X, is quite excited about this show, even though he admits that music reality shows have lost their charm on television. "I agree that music shows aren’t what they used to be, but this show will be different because here the singers are not being judged. It’s the song and the thought that goes behind the song that’s being judged," says Rahman.
The four jodis on the show will sing popular and especially composed songs based on a theme linked to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Speaking more about the show, which will also see Javed Akhtar and Lara Dutta giving him company on the judges’ panel, Rahman says that he has been approached for a number of reality shows earlier too, but he didn’t want to take part in any run of the mill kind of show. "I have done Super Singer some years back and another show in the South but this is my biggest music show in the North since then," he says. Rahman believes that music can’t be judged but believes that even one song can have the ability to provide hope and encouragement to a person. "We want to see how effective a song can be to promote a cause. I get loads of e-mails from people telling me that they have at times come out of depression and misery after listening to some song. I hope the opposite doesn’t happen when they listen to any of my compositions!" he chuckles.
He shares a good chemistry with the other two judges as well. "I’m the silent one on the show. Javedji is a very learned man and Lara has been associated with UN since long, so she’s always bang on target about her facts," he says.
Considering that he’s busy with Bollywood as well as South projects, will he be willing to do another show on the small screen if he’s approached for it? "If it’s really interesting and innovative, why not?" he adds with a smile. And he’s willing to compromise on other projects as well if that happens. "Even for this show, I had to compromise on some other things, but that’s okay," he says.
Bollywood will get to hear a lot of Rahman in the coming few months, what with three of his Hindi film albums releasing in the next four months or so.
Friday, November 30, 2007
And vice versa, there are sizeable number of singers who established themselves as music composers. The latest among them is singer Kailash Kher who turned composer with his first album Kailasa and his more recent Kailasa Jhoomore soon after reaping popularity with his number Allah Ke Bande … from the film Waisa Bhi Hota Hai part II .
Now, Kailash Kher has been signed up by debutant filmmaker Farooqe Kabir for the film, aptly titled, Allah Ke Bande. This singer, whose inclination towards Sufi music is evident in his compositions, intends to rope in the ‘Mozart of Madras’ A. R. Rahman to sing a Sufi number. Kher says 'I share a special bond with Rahman and I never miss a chance to work with him. He is blessed by God. His spirituality and simplicity attracts everyone.' Kailash works as a trio with Paresh Kamath and Naresh Kamath, who call themselves Kailash-Paresh-Naresh. They are presently working on this Sufi composition. The trio says they have already spoken to Rahman who has expressed his liking towards the idea and are confident that he would sing for them. It is interesting to note that Kailash will be a part of Mission Ustaad show on the new entertainment channel 9X. The show is a part of the propaganda by the United Nations on spreading awareness on its Millennium Development goals."
Thursday, November 29, 2007
9X and the United Nations are ready to deliver the universal message of progress and development through their joint-venture Mission Ustad
X the new general entertainment channel from INX Media can take pride in its new musical competition show, Mission Ustad. Indrani Mukerjea, CEO, INX Media has joined forces with the United Nations (UN) and come up with a noble concept for their new musical show. Mission Ustad(MU), pairs eight professional singers from the Indian film industry as they compete against each other for the title of Ustad jodi. But, as clichéd as it may sound, the good thing about 9X’s new show is it’s for a noble cause. The prize money and generated revenue at the end of the show will be forwarded to the UN Millennium Development Fund and subsequently used for the development of India’s needy population.
In 2000, United Nations members pledged to eradicate poverty and usher development all around the world under the UN Millennium Development Goals programme. Their objective was to achieve their goals by 2015 and the resident coordinator UN in India, Maxine Olson revealed MU was a big step in achieving their target. “Mission Ustad is the perfect way to speak to millions of people and deliver our message of development and prosperity,” said Olson. Indrani Mukerjea, said the show would use entertainment as a vehicle of spreading awareness about this UN programme.
Developed by Endemol, a company which has worked on shows like Big Boss, Deal Ya No Deal and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge Dwitiya, MU has all the key elements of a singing competition. It’s got established singing pairs like Roop Kumar and Sunali Rathod, Kailash Kher and Mahalaxmi Iyer, Vasundhara Das and Mohit Chauhan and Naresh Iyer with Shweta Pandit. These jodis, who have already established themselves as successful singers, will compose original music for selected themes related to the UN Millennium fund and the best scores will make it to the Mission Ustad album. The couple that contributes the maximum number of songs will be the eventual winner. The show like any other reality based programme has a panel of judges. AR Rahman, Javed Akhtar and Lara Dutta form that panel. Rahman particular to judge the music of the compositions, Akhtar for the lyrics and Lara represents the UN as she is the official UNFPA ambassador.
It’s all too familiar for a viewer to see reality shows going overboard with emotional angles and contestant conflicts, but as AR Rahman said “MU is devoid of any histrionics. The contestants will have verbal debates about their opinions and issues, but end of the day it will all be dignified and in the country’s interest”. As a part of the show’s format the contestants will be given a chance to justify their choice of song with respect to the theme involved. Javed Akhtar added to the same saying, “The camaraderie on the show sets apart any cynicism and bitterness of the competition. MU will be a great source of inspirational programming”.
Incidentally, the show that will be hosted by Simone Singh has a rocking theme song Jaago India. The song in a sense embodies the idea behind Mission Ustad, which is to let the Indian masses know about an International programme that will help the nation’s development. And all that nobility will be delivered on 9X from December 1 in the form of an entertaining and refreshing new show.
The buzz has been around for long. Amitabh Bachchan has been toying with the idea of a sequel to Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Abhimaan.
Now it is learnt that Pawan Kumar Jain will be making Abhimaan 2 with the Bachchan clan. The sequel reportedly will have Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan playing parents to Abhishek Bachchan. Aishwarya Bachchan will be the bahu.
When Pawan Kumar Jain approached Bachchan Sr with the idea, the actor agreed that the producer should find a director who is good with family dramas.
Vipul Amrutal Shah is being cited as the first choice. Pawan Kumar, former secretary to Shatrughan Sinha, had co-produced the original Abhimaan in 1973.
Sunil, Jain's son, was taken aback when quizzed on the project.
"Who told you this?, Nothing has been confirmed yet. We're planning something but don't want to reveal any detail."
On being prodded, he asserted that he was busy with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that's up for release.
"Only after the film hits the theatres, will I start thinking about my next project," he said.
However, our source maintains that Jain is on the lookout for a suitable director for Abhimaan 2.
Oddly enough, a sequel to Abhimaan was also being planned by Rakeysh Mehra.. some three years ago. AR Rahman had even been contacted for the music score. Rahman had opted out then, because of other work commitments.
A R Rahman
After stamping their mark in the music industry with two successful albums, the composer trio of popular band Kailasa are now expanding their domain into Bollywood and are in talks with the Mozart of Madras, A R Rahman, who may sing for them.
Band leader Kailash Kher, together with Mumbai-based Kamath brothers, Paresh and Naresh, are set to compose music for two Bollywood films.
"Yes, me and my colleagues of my band Kailasa, Paresh Kamath and Naresh Kamath, will be composing music for upcoming films Made In China and Allah Ke Bande," said Kher during a telephonic conversation with PTI.
"Together we will be known as Kailash-Paresh-Naresh" he added. The trio who joined hands together in 2006 had brought a whiff of fresh music and regaled audiences with Sufi elements in their first album 'Kailasa' followed by Kailasa Jhoomore a few months ago.
The songs Teri Deewani and Tauba Tauba from the album Kailasa, and Bam Lahari and Saiyaan from Kailasa Jhoomore turned out to be huge hits.
Made in China directed by Nikhil Advani and produced by Ramesh Sippy stars Akshay Kumar [Images] and model-turned-actress Deepika Padukone [Images]. This multicomposer film will also have musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as well as veteran Bappi Lahiri.
The title track will be done by Kailash-Paresh-Naresh.
"Shankar Mahadevan [Images], who is the main composer in the movie will also sing a track tuned by us," said Kher.
Kailash, who rose to popularity with Allah Ke Bande in the film Aise Bhi Hota Hai, is excited about the possibility of getting A R Rahman to sing for his composition in the upcoming Allah Ke Bande, by debut filmmaker Farooqe Kabir.
"I share a special bond with Rahman and I never miss a chance to work with him. He is blessed by God. His spirituality and simplicity attracts everyone," says Kailash.
The trio is working on a Sufi song and have already discussed it with Rahman.
"Rahman likes the idea and if things fall in line he will be singing this song," adds Kher.
Kher, who is an admirer of late sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, says Khan has a great influence on his life.
"I liked his (Nusrat's) selection of songs. All his songs have a philosophical touch. There was an yearning to reach the almighty," said Kher.
Kailash Kher is also associated with a television show titled Mission Ustaad, which will be aired on the new entertainment channel 9X.
"This programme we will entertain people for a cause," said Kailash about the programme which envisages propagating the message of United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
"I'm very excited to be a part of this show. I'll sing, make people happy and ask them to help people in need," said the singer.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Bulgarian singer and goodwill ambassador of UN’s World Refugee Organisation Dyana Dafova will team up with Indian music legend A.R. Rahman for her next album. Dyana met Rahman during a press conference at Houston in USA last February.
“The meeting was quite accidental. The organisers said that Rahman was in the same hall and invited me to meet him,” Dyana, who is in the city for Ayurveda treatment, said.
Dyana is planning a joint production. “Both of us are composers of world music. Both of us connect across cultures. Rahman is also excited,” Dyana said. The two stalwarts will come together for a creative session this May at Houston.
Dyana said she easily blends “four to five cultures” in a single song of hers. “I employ a whole range of genres from classical and modern to folk, just like Rahman. You can call both of us world musicians,” she said.
Rahman is only her latest link to India. Her American husband Michael Butterfield, who is also her manager, was born in Kolkata. Butterfield, who speaks fluent Hindi, has accompanied her to the city. This is Dyana’s second visit to the State. “We are seriously planning to have a holiday home in Kovalam,” Butterfield said.
What’s more, Dyana is the only European artist ever to be invited by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for a live performance in the country. The year was 1999, the year her most popular album ‘Charisma’ was released.
‘Charisma’, again, was the only European album to be produced by the Indian company Times Music.
This Bulgarian songwriter/singer is also the only performer in the world who sings in 11 different languages. This includes even Sanskrit. Others are Latin, Celtic, Italian, Japanese, North American Indian, Bulgarian, Arabic and English. “I don’t speak all these languages. But I pick specific words and phrases from these languages and sprinkle them in my lyrics,” she said.
The lyrics of the song ‘Ahadyah’, for instance, is a fusion of Sanskrit, English and Arabic. Incidentally, ‘Ahadyah’ (pronounced ‘aadhya’) was the song selected by NASA, from among thousands of entries, to be played for the astronauts when they reached space in the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia.
“Ahadyah means universe. Sanskrit and Arabic words gave the music a cosmic feel. That could be why NASA selected my song for the astronauts,” Dyana said. “I use language as a connection between cultures. It spreads love, happiness and tolerance,” she said.
Perhaps why Dyana is popularly known as the ‘spiritual voice of Bulgaria’. Her concerts are full of colour and are peppered with dances, just like a Bollywood musical.
It was this contagion of happiness that she spreads which led the United Nations make her the goodwill ambassador of the World Refugee Organisation UNHCR. Dyana is the only European singer to be so recognised. In America too, her popularity is on the rise.
One of her biggest fans is Democratic front runner for the American presidency Hillary Clinton, no less. Dyana keeps correspondence with Hillary ever since she visited Bulgaria as America’s First Lady. Courtesy: Newindpress.com
Monday, November 26, 2007
A good story idea and its distinct depiction on screen are more important than filming technique, director Mani Rathnam said.
“I believe that audience comes to watch a film for its story and not for its look on screen”, Mani Rathnam said while taking part in the International Festival currently on at Goa.
“It is more important for me to tell the story convincingly, backed by good performances from actors. A good story without the support of good acting will have no impact on people. However, story is bigger than stars”, he said.
The director, who gave us films like 'Nayakan', 'Roja', 'Bombay', 'Dil Se, Dalapathi', 'Anjali', 'Yuva' and 'Guru', said, “When one is writing he has to take inspiration from everyday incidents to get better story ideas. One must also read as much as possible to be able to give contemporary touch for audience to relate with the subject”.
Mani Rathnam introduced A R Rahman in the film industry as a composer. All his films starting from Roja in 1992 have music compositions of Rahman and the director now shares a special bonding with him.
“I have worked with two very classy composers - Ilayaraja and Rahman. Both are from two different schools of music composition. While Ilayaraja is more spontaneous in his response, Rahman takes time to think over tunes and story situation and labours over it”, he said.
According to him, Rahman, if pushed a little, is willing to think laterally.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Last Saturday, he rocked New Delhi, absolutely ‘live' at an HT concert.. even as he maintains his position of the No 1 music whiz of the nation. What keeps him bettering himself? What are the pleasures and the pains encountered on his beat route? So, here's AR Rahman in a freespinning interview with V Ananth
Whatever happened to your unruly locks?
When I went for Haj, I shaved off my long hair. Fortunately or unfortunately, my wife liked my new look.. she insisted that I should keep it. (Laughs) I had no other alternative but to listen to my wife.
Does your style of composing music change when you do an international project like Elizabeth: The Golden Age?
The music for Elizabeth.. has been co-composed by me. When Shekhar started the project, he wanted to make it very artistic and dark. But then, he decided to make the film more entertaining.. and the music more pulsating.
As a composer, I'd say music stems from one's emotions. So, there's absolutely no difference in my approach, whether I'm composing for Jodhaa Akbar or Elizabeth.
When you look back, how do you assess your music?
"As a composer, I'd say music stems from one's emotions. So, there's absolutely no difference in my approach, whether I'm composing for Jodhaa Akbar or Elizabeth"Roja set the standard for me as a composer. And frankly, I can't guage where to go after Elizabeth. Let's see.. at this very point of time, I'm very excited about my next international album - The Lord of The Rings which will be released on December 10. It has many as 15 tracks. As much as 20,000 pounds would be spent a day on the orchestration.
I believe you have started your own music company.
Yes. It's called K M Musiq. I'm really kicked about it. All these years, I was being commissioned by others.. now I can commission others.
But it seems you now insist on royalty for every music score..which is why you couldn't compose for Om Shanti Om.
In life, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You have to take certain risks to reach your goal.
Which have been your most vital steps ahead?
Undoubtedly Vande Mataram and the score for the stage musical Bombay Dreams.
What do you find wrong with the Indian film music industry?
There are several problems. The saddest thing is that no one takes acoustic instruments seriously. Most musicians just prefer to work on keyboards. But I've stopped getting angry. One should be true to one's own self.. because one candle can light a million.
"I work at night, occasionally , whenever I'm dealing with a jet lag situation, not otherwise."Do you still work like an owl all night and sleep by day?
That's rubbish! If that was true, I wouldn't be sitting here with you doing an inteview in the afternoon. I work at night, occasionally , whenever I'm dealing with a jet lag situation, not otherwise.
How busy are you as a music director right now?
I'm into a somewhat more relaxed pace now. There was a time when I'd be doing six Tamil and two to three Hindi films a year.
How many Tamil films are you working on at this point of time?
(Laughs) Ha! That's a good question. I wish I knew the answer. I'm doing two Tamil films – Sultan, the animation film being made by Rajnikant's daughter Soundarya and Prabhu's Sakkarakkatti.
And Hindi films?
Well, let me see. Gajini, Ada, Jaane Tu Naa Jaane Naa, Delhi 6, the Hindi dubbed version of the Rajnikant movie Sivaji, Subhash Ghai's Main Hoon Yuvraj and Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar.
You were against the idea of composing for dubbed films. So, how did you make an exception for Sivaji?
You're right there.I don't encourage the dubbing of my songs in other languages.
Yes, so Sivaji is an exception.
It has beaty foot-tapping music which should connect on an all-India level.
You are often accused of working for big production banners at the cost of small films.
Sorry, that isn't true at all. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing Sakkarakkatti which is a small film.
Are you composing the music for an animation film called Cockroach being planned by Shekhar Kapur?
Yes. I'm excited about that. Animation films allow your imagination to take flight.
What do you like about your music?
That's a tricky question. If I say I like my music, I'll be blowing my own trumpet. And if I say I don't like my music, I'll sound disgruntled.
"Some people have unfairly jumped to the conclusion that Aamir and I've had a fight because I haven't done Taare Zameen Par. The fact is that I was committed to several films when Aamir asked me."
Some film producers in the South have accused you of recruiting Hindi singers to do the playback for your Tamil films at their cost.
I will gladly plead guilty of that because I don't believe in parochialism. On the other hand, if I feel that a Tamil singer suits the need of a Hindi film song, I'll take that route without thinking twice.
Why have you cut down on giving breaks to new singers of late?
Let me make this very clear -today, new singers aren't of much use. We need great new singers. I haven't come across any new singer who's above average.
How do you prevent yourself from becoming complacent about your music?
(Pause.. looks away) I was clear right from the moment when I started out, some 16-17 years ago, as a beginner called Dilip Shankar. I was clear that I'm just an instrument in the hands of God. I believe that God up there controls me in whatever I am doing. If don't work in accordance to what God ordains, then I'll be washed out.
"I wouldn't hesitate to pick my top 10: Roja, Rangeela, Bombay, Dil Se, Taal, Kandukonden Kandukonden, Zubeidaa, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti and Guru." After composing major hit songs for Aamir Khan in Rangeela, Lagaan and Rang De Basanti, how come you haven't done his Taare Zameen Par? Have you fallen out with him?
Who says so? I am composing for his film Gajini. Some people have unfairly jumped to the conclusion that Aamir and I've had a fight because I haven't done Taare Zameen Par. The fact is that I was committed to several other films when Aamir asked me to be a part of the project.
Finally, top of the head, can you pick your 10 best movie music scores?
It's very difficult to play favourites. Still.. I wouldn't hesitate to pick my top 10: Roja, Rangeela, Bombay, Dil Se, Taal, Kandukonden Kandukonden, Zubeidaa, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti and Guru.
Friday, November 23, 2007
AR Rahman made an impact with his debut in 1992, although not many believed he would be around for too long. Today, he has become the heartbeat of the nation. He chats about his past, present and future.
Q. What is it about the music industry that makes you angry?
A. I have stopped getting angry. There is no point blaming others. I believe in being the change, not the observer. One person can inspire others, just like one candle can light a million candles. Just be true to yourself. The Internet helps people to focus on their objectives, and to consolidate elements to make a difference.
Q. The Internet is a boon and a bane, what with free downloads.
A. The Internet is like your mind. It can be filled with either good thoughts, or bad thoughts, or both. The Internet is a personal thing.
Q. How do you strike a balance between South Indian films and Bollywood, when it comes to your work?
A. It is terrifying, trying to maintain in both. I am working in a team, the director helps. If I were to work alone, then it would have been difficult.
Q. Do you still work at night?
A. Not anymore, no.
Q. What are your forthcoming Tamil releases?
A. There is one film named 'Sakarkatti', and an animated film named 'Sultan' that Rajnikanth's daughter, Saundarya, is making.
Q. It must be more difficult to compose music for an animation film.
A. Not really. It is the same thing, in fact, you can use your imagination more freely.
Q. Now that you have Hollywood films, have Tamil and Hindi films taken a back seat?
A. In a way, yes. I used to do six to seven Tamil movies, and three to four Hindi films, annually. I have reduced my work by half, and am taking things easier. There is much less stress.
Q. The dubbed version of 'Sivaji' will have Hindi songs with Tamil tunes.
A. Yes, because the Tamil culture should be obvious. We are not trying to set it in a North Indian environment. It is dubbed only so that people can understand.
Q. What are the other releases that you are looking forward to?
A. The album, 'The Lord of the Rings'. It is releasing on December 10, and it is going to be a huge event.
Q. Whom do you like better, Rahman the music director, or Rahman, the singer?
A. That is a difficult question. If you like yourself too much, then you get into trouble, and if you don't, then you get into trouble anyway. So, I am critical.
Q. How do you prevent yourself from getting too complacent?
A. I have always been clear about one thing – I am just an instrument, and God controls me. If I am lazy, just sitting in one place, then I am like a battery that has not been charged. There has to be excitement, which is why I take up projects that are exciting.
Q. How do you deal with critics?
A. The Internet has helped a lot – we can check blogs, and see what people have written, what the negatives and positives are. When we make a film with a big star, we have to make sure the music is in his favour. We cannot then experiment.
Q. How do you adjust to the different environments that you work in?
A. When you are an adult, you speak in varied tones to your child, wife, or intellectual. You become a different person within each situation. That is a simple analogy for the way I work.
Q. Tell us about 'The Lord of the Rings'.
A. It is probably one of the most complex projects that I have been involved in. It is good composition. The whole team was in Chennai recently to complete the mixing. It has more than 15 tracks.
Q. There are rumours of differences between Aamir Khan and you.
A. Just because I am not composing his next film does not mean we have fallen out.
Q. The music of 'Elizabeth – The Golden Age' seems deliberately loud.
A. When we began, the music sounded very arty, and I felt that the film would drag if we continued with the same music. The film itself is artistic, so the pulsating, throbbing music is in contrast to the feel of the music. It was a creative decision to make the film enjoyable.
Q. What are your other forthcoming films, besides 'Ghajini'?
A. There are a few – 'Jane Tu Jane Na', 'Jodha Akbar', 'Yuvraj', 'Aadab', 'Dilli 6', and the Hindi version of 'Sivaji'.
Q. What are your favourite top 10 projects?
A. Very difficult to choose, when it is your own work, but here goes – 'Roza', 'Bombay', 'Taal', 'Lagaan', 'Zubeida', 'Rang De Basanti', 'Dil Se', and 'Rangeela'
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Last Sunday, Delhi witnessed a concert by none other than the Mozart of Madras, A R Rahman. About 25,000 strong audiences thronged the open-air venue at Rajouri Garden to listen to their favorite composer churn out one hit after the other. Rahman, dressed in a white sherwani, dominated the grand stage, which had LCD screens flanking both wings, scores of steps leading up to a tiny balcony on one side, which was lit up by multi-colored lights.
Rahman, after the concert, addressed the press where he said it was his long time dream to perform in the national capital. When some reporters quizzed him on the use of north Indian singers for his Tamil numbers, he said that he chose singers whose voices he felt would be most appropriate for the song and had no regional biases as such. Reporters asked him if he overlooked small budget films, to which Rahman replied: “I am presently working on a Tamil film titled Sakkarakatti, which is a low budget film.” Apparently what interest him are the story and the passion of the filmmaker and not the budget of the film. He also expressed his satisfaction over the response he received for his composition in Shekar Kapur’s Elizabeth 2: The Golden Age, which is releasing across the country tomorrow. Rahman’s fans in Delhi seemed all excited as he rolled out hit after hit from his Hindi and Tamil films and even enthralled them with songs from the yet-to-be released Jodha Akbar. Definitely a concert to remember for Delhiites!
Music of the eagerly awaited Jodha Akbar has not released yet however word has leaked aound the industry that AR Rehman has scored a fantastic composition for the film's soundtrack.
Rehman, recently in concert in Delhi, even previewed the theme track of Azeem-O-Shaan-Shahenshah, which was immediately received with a rave response.
For throughout the first half of this year, the dominant soundtrack of Bollywood was AR Rehman's score in Guru, with tracks like 'Barso Re', 'Maiya Maiya', and 'Tere Bina' dominating the charts months after the film had emerged a super hit at the box office. It is now expected the music of Jodha Akbar will create a spectacular run on the audio billboards as well.
Jodha Akbar the film is set to release in January. It stars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in primary roles.
A.R. Rahman, the music wizard of India, has denied the charge that he has been declining the offers for small budget movies. "Chakkara Katti is a small budget movie with full of new comers. I am doing music for the movie", said Rahman while meeting the media persons at the end of his concert held in New Delhi last week. The criterion is the time involved in each project, clarified the genius.
He also defended the choice of singers. Some critics use to blame Rahman for his "excessive usage" of north Indian singers for Tamil songs. All that he had to say was, "I go by the need of the song. I choose singers accordingly".
He shared his concern over the depth of the knowledge of the newcomers. "We see many newcomers but some of them think that it is enough if they know to play the keyboard. They don’t know how to play other instruments. This situation is a cause for concern and this should change", was his reflection of the current scenario.
We hope that the aspirants would pay heed to the advice by the maestro.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Although he hasn't slept for nearly 40 hours, he wears a his trademark smile. Over to the Chennai maestro.. A R Rahman:
Are you ready to select new talent in the Fever 104 FM Voice Hunt?
I'm not selecting them. I feel bad when you say that. I love to hear fresh voices. I'm sure even people will be excited. It'll be great to have Delhi's talent while we perform there. We did that in the US too, and it worked very well.
You're accustomed to working late in the night. What makes you look tired now?
I'm jet lagged. I'm coming straight from a flight from the UK. I just finished recording the album of The Lord Of The Rings. Working on a stage musical is time and energy consuming.
Are films better than musicals?
I like the instinct of films. You finish them and move on. In musicals, you do your thing, you rewrite and do it till it's perfect.
Any recent movies you've worked on?
Elizabeth II and Jodhaa Akbar. Come to think of it, it's strange but both are 15th century historicals. They're not dry subjects though. Jodhaa sounds fine to me. There are lots of songs in it.
Weren't you approached to compose the songs of Om Shanti Om?
I love to hear fresh voices. I'm sure even people will be excited. It'll be great to have Delhi's talent while we perform there. We did that in the US too, and it worked very well.Farah (Khan) came to me but something went wrong in the contract. I appreciate what Vishal Shekhar have done.
Of late, you've also made an informal foray into some aspects of filmmaking. True?
Oh! Who spilled the beans? Well, it's a great responsibility. Initially, I used to leave a song to its fate. But now, I feel a sense of responsibility. People trust you and you have to live up to their expectations. A song's placement or treatment means a lot to the composers.. you can't let it go wrong. So, I've become an alarmist. But, I've no plans to act. I just can't do it.
Any angst regarding the industry?
Sometimes we are pushed. People want to release films on a festival day or on a particular date. Then your creativity gets affected. I don't compromise, nor do I stop working with them because I can under stand their situation too.
A lot of artistes complain about the way you make them record on a dummy track.
(Laughs) Who told you that? You have to tell me. Actually, I know some of them are angry with me. I think, I don't know what I'm doing. It all comes together in the end. But that process works for in a pop situation, not in the classical. When there is melody, you need to have everything done traditionally.
Do you ensure that there is no room for controversies?
Every problem has easy solutions. Why do we need make them controversial? I tell my people take the bad energy out of their minds and keep working.
Are you happy with the technical growth of the music industry?
Yes.. quite. It's changing at break neck speed. Some recent albums of are certainly of international standard. But we can't be complacent. We always listen to songs from the West and exclaim, "What a song!" But do they ever say that for us?
We also speak in English.Why don't we sing in it and have them say, "Wow, this is from the East?" We need anthems like John Lennon's Imagine. Even the West doesn't have too many today.
What after Pray for Me?
It wasn't about being on the charts. Recording companies in the West were interested in releasing it, but as a part of an English album by me. I had a lot to do back home. There is a lot of potential in that song, it's not over yet.
I'm also looking forward to launching my label. I wish I get more time for that. I'm working on two-three albums already. So, I'm cutting down on work.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The music wizard A.R. Rahman was at his magical best. His first ever live concert held in the capital city on last Saturday (November 17), was a grand success in terms of its mesmerizing effect on the audiences.
Music maestro A.R. Rahman cast a magical spell over his audiences, as he sang some of his all-time popular compositions, including "Khalbali" and "Pathshala".
The grand stage had LCD screens flanking both wings, scores of steps leading up to a tiny balcony on one side, and was lit up by colourful lights.
Rahman captivated the audience with a rare musical fare that had songs ranging from ‘Roja Jaaneman’ (from the film Roja) and ‘Kehna hi kya’ (Bombay) to more recent hits like ‘Khalbali’ (Rang de Basanti), and ‘Barso re Megha’ (Guru). The hit numbers of the latest blockbuster 'Sivaji' and a musical score from the yet-to-be-released 'Jodha Akbar', too were sung to the delight of the audience.
The pony-tailed Hariharan, Chitra, Madhushree, Sadhna Sargam and Delhi's own boy Kailash Kher, accompanying Rahman in the concert. Ace drummer Sivamani enthralled the audience with his incredible marathon-drumming spell.
The sets changing with each song, and the dancers performing alongside the crooning maestros provided some spectacular visual treat to the musical show.
Rahman, who was dressed in a white sherwani, changed into a dull purple kurta mid way through the concert and sat on the piano to perform his English number ‘Pray for me brother’. It is a melodious song that appeals people to fight poverty. "I hope you will support me in my fight against poverty," Rahman said.
He also launched a set of colouring books, the earnings of which will go to his foundation that works for humanitarian causes.
Though the open-air venue at Rajouri Garden in west Delhi was not packed due to the huge pricing of tickets (between Rs.500 and 5,000 per ticket), the concert was memorable for the ones who were present there.
The sight of the crowd giving standing ovation while Hariharan sang ‘Bharat humko jaan se pyara hai’ was an emphatic sign to show that the fare was a hit.
"I hope you enjoy the concert," Rahman said to the audiences, who were spellbound and screaming for more.
A.R. Rahman won the ‘Best music composer award’ for his work in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Guru’. The award was presented at the annual Bollywood Music and Fashion Awards ceremony held at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City recently.
Rahman could not be present at the venue to collect the award, as he was away from the town.
Noted playback singer Alisha Chinoy was presented with the ‘Best female singer of the year’ award for her song ‘It’s Rocking’ in the film ‘Kya Love Story Hai’, which also won the ‘Best song of the year award’.
A grand musical show was the highlight of the function. The likes of Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sukhbir, among others, performed at the musical show.
Monday, November 19, 2007
" 'Sultan, The Warrior would be hundred times bigger than 'Sivaji: The Boss' ", says Soundarya Rajnikanth, daughter of super star Rajinikanth.
Soundarya, who is wielding the megaphone for the animation film ‘Sultan, The Warrior’ is quite confident about her venture. “Being a great fan of my father, I am shaping up his character in such a way to satisfy the fan inside me. The film will surely lure the masses”.
Sources say the film is shaping up fast and it would be ready for 2008 release. The highlight of the movie is that it is none other than Rajinikanth, who has lent his voice to narrate the story.
The fact that the musical wizard A.R. Rahman has scored music for the animation movie has just triggered the expectations. The movie is produced by Reliance Adlabs.
The annual Bollywood Music and Fashion Awards ceremony was held at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday night. This is the only award ceremony in the United States of America devoted entirely for Bollywood, the Indian music and fashion industry.
At this event, ace music director Rahman was honored with the Best Music Composer award, for his work in the film Guru. Rahman was, however, not present at the ceremony to receive the award as he was preparing for a concert that was to be held the day next.
Popular playback singer, Alisha Chinoy, was presented with the Best Female Singer of the Year Award for her song ‘It’s Rocking’ for the film Kya Love Story Hai, which, incidentally, also won the Best Song of the Year Award. She enthralled the Indian audience, gathered at the venue in huge numbers, with this song. Popular fashion designer, Suneet Varma won the Best Designer of the Year Award. Other singers awarded at the function were Jassi, Best Bhangra artist for B-Romeo; DJ Sanj, Best remix album for Block Party. The Best Pop Artist Award went to Jay Sean for ‘Ride It’ and Best Video to Bilz for ‘Two-Step Bhangra.’
In all, it was a scintillating evening with performances by singers Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sukhbir, Carribean superstars Rooplall Girdharie, Geeta Bisram and the Angels Caribbean Band.