Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sivaji Trailer
Courtesy: IBN LIVE

AR Rahman, on Sivaji and sisters

May 30, 2007 13:50 IST
Last Updated: May 30, 2007 17:02 IST

After recording one of the most important songs for Sivaji, the Rajnikanth-produced Tamil film, composer AR Rahman invited the director of the film Shankar to listen to it. Shankar, who has worked with Rahman on several films, could of course instantly recognise veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam (SPB) in the song Balleilakka.. "But who is the female singer?" he asked.

"He thought I was joking when I told him it is Rehana," says Rahman with a chuckle. Rahana is Rahman's older sister. "She has performed with me in my concerts," he adds."She has sung part of the song Chaiyya, Chaiiya in the concerts but this time she was singing for a film, and that too a very big film, and we all knew the song would be one of the biggest hits on the album. And yet I did not want to take anything for granted. I think I took upon myself a challenge and see if my sister could sing well for a big budget film."

"But it took me 17 years of my profession to give my own sister a break," he says, with a small sigh. "People don't understand how mysteriously things work out in the film indstury. Many young people who send me tapes with their voices are disappointed that they do not hear from me at all. It is not easy to convince me. I am most critical with my own voice. You know that Tera Bina song in Guru was not originally sung by me. It was only at the insistence of Mani sir (director Mani Ratnam) I recorded it in my own voice."

Even with Rehana he was not sure even as she was practicing the song that he should retain her voice. "After three horus of singing, suddenly her voice sounded very different and beautiful," he reveals. "Only then did I decide to retain her voice."

The Sivaji album has some of the finest singers, new and old. The list includes SPB, Hariharan, Udit Narayan, Madhushree -- and then there is Chinamyee whose song in the film Guru enhanced her popularity. Rahman himself sings one of the most singificant numbers in the film, Athiradee, nearly six mintues long.

SivajiMany of the singers featured in the film including Hariharan, Madhushree, Rehana, Blaaze, Naresh Iyer and Vijay Yesudas will be coming to USA and Canada with Rahman for a concert next month. In New York the concert will be held at Nassau Coliseum on June 16. Chitra, Sadhana Sargam and Sukhvinder will also be joining the concert, expected to be the biggest desi musical event of the year 2007.

"We will be performing at least two songs from Sivaji, apart from my recent Hindi and Tamil hits including Guru and Rang De Basanti [Images]" says Rahman who is performing in the US and Canada after 3 years.

What was it like composing music for Sivaji?

"It was a very special feeling," Rahman said. "The expectations were very high, since Rajni, Shankar and I were working together. And this being a very big budget film, there was little room for a flexible recording schedule. Though we recorded a different version of the same song, and ended up retaining both versions in the film, it was still a very tight schedule."

"With some of the directors I have worked the schedule has always been tight, and I like it," Rahman says. "Even then, there are a few last minute decisions. For instance, the theme song of Guru (sung by Rahman and Chitra) was thought of just two weeks before the film's release. There was no such thing with Sivaji."

In the past, for some reason the songs in a Rajnikanth film have taken time to become big hits, the composer says. "In some cases, it is only after a month of the album's release have the songs become hits," he adds. "But here from Day 1 there has been a tremendous demand for the music."

In the case of Guru, he says, the song Tere Bina became an instant hit, followed by several other songs in the course of next two or three weeks.

But with Sivaji, there were three instant hits a few hours of the CDs release.

Apart from Balleilakka, there was the song Vaaji Vaaji, sung by Hariharan and Madhushree, and Rahman's own number. Also a big hit is Sahara.

"I have said many times how Madhushree has been evolving as a singer," he continues. "The Vaaji Vaaji song is another example of her growing status. We had to work for several hours on her Tamil rendition, but in the final reckoning I am very happy with her work."

Hariharan, along with SPB, has been associated with Rahman in many interesting films. Some of Hariharan's best work is found in Rahman's compositions in Bombay and Guru (Ye Hairathe).

"He is very different from most singers I have known," Rahman says of Hariharan. "The more you push him, the more inspired he becomes. Most other singers are content singing a song and go away. But Hariharan likes to be challenged.'

AR Rahman, in concertThere are stories in Indian publications that Rahman was paid Rs 3 crores for Sivaji. The composer is not commenting on the fee. But he says right from his early years, what mattered him most while composing was the situation, and how enthusasiatic a director is about music.

"I don't like the idea of a director thinking, OK, we have Rahman and we expect him to come up with good music. Composing a good score is partnership with many people including the director, lyricist, and singer." The budget of a film or the remuneration he receives has no real bearing on the final product. "Around the time I was working on big budget films, I was also composing music for relatively smaller films such as Meenaxi made by MF Hussain." He had been told the film had no commercial prospects. "But I thought it was an interesting subject, and I was also excited that I was working with one of the greatest artsists India has produced."

Many of the tunes in Sivaji were finalised when Rahman was touring Australia or composing the music for Golden Age, Shekar Kapur's sequel to Elizabeth, in London.

"One of the interesting developments in this film's music is the way the two versions of the same song came about," Rahman continues. The song Sahara was recorded in the voices of Vijay Yesudas, son of the veteran singer and Gomathishree, daughter of Rahman's guru Dakhshinamurthi Swamigal.

"Gomathi is not just a film singer but she has an interesting voice," says Rahman. "I have plans to compose a few songs for her for a non-film album I want to produce ."

When director Shankar heard the song Sahara he liked it to some extent, but he wanted a faster moving version. That version, called Sahana, was sung by Udit Narayan and Chinmayee.

"But then we still thought the Vijay and Gomathi version had its own beauty," he adds. "Shankar decided to keep it in the film but as a background song." One guess is that it will be used in the film, similar to Yeh Hairathe in Guru.

The songs of Sivaji have become chartbusters in all the four southern states, particularly in Andhra Pradesh where the Telugu version of the sondtrack has become a must-have. According to industry insiders, over 500,000 CDs and cassettes were released and sold within a week. The Sivaji music is also huge in Malaysia and Singapore, which have a significant Tamil population.

A still from SivajiThe film also has an elaborate background score and composing it and recording it was a severe challenge to Rahman for he was also working in London on the music of Golden Age at the same time.

"I just could not go to India and spend many days recording the music for Sivaji," he says. So he asked the producer (AVM Pictures) if the music could be recorded in Prague, Czech Republic (where he has recorded many songs including one or two numbers in Meenaxi), and in London.

'Not a big deal,' the AVM honchos told Rahman, adding that it was all right if the budget went up. They were going to be very happy to have a superior score.

"You hear a good range of music," he says. He has used the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the choral singers in the country's capital.

"I don't want to give many details but in my book, the score is as important as the songs in the film."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rahman's anthem for Taj Mahal

Music maestro A R Rahman unveiled a soulful anthem to kick off the India Unites for the Taj movement. Spear headed by 1 Media Corp Limited (IMCL), the movement is to campaign for voting the Taj Mahal, Agra, to the New Seven Wonders of the World.

According to Bharat Kapadia, India Unites for the Taj, 'Rahman was our first choice to compose the album.

Rahman says, “I was in London when IMCL contacted me and I was very excited about composing the album. It was a very short notice, but my crew and I grabbed the idea and made special time for working on the anthem. I am sure Indians all over the world will be motivated and vote for the Taj”.

Besides composing the tune, Rahman has penned the lyrics along with Raqeeb and has sung the song accompanied by Naresh Iyer and Karthik. The music video is directed by Owais Hussain with cinematography by Santosh Sivan.

A worldwide poll is undertaken through mobile phones, the internet and the select landlines to garner votes for the shortlisted 21 wonders vying for a place among the New Seven Wonders.

“Contrary to popular beliefs, the Taj Mahal was never part of any seven wonders list. Given the low voting in India, we are trying all means to promote the cause of Taj Mahal”, adds Bharat Kapadia. The new Seven Wonders of the World will be announced at an official declaration in Lisbon, Portugal, on 7 July.

Courtesy: IndiaGlitz .com

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The 35 lakhs Rahman song

Sakkara Katti will be the launch-pad for Kala Prabu and Shanthanu, sons of two established biggies in Kollywood. While the former, the director of the movie is the son of producer Kalaipuli S Dhanu, the latter happens to be actor Bhagyaraj's son.

Their maiden venture is not only a youthful subject but the entrire team is full of youngsters as well.

A R Rahman has scored the music for Sakkara Katti, and three songs have already been recorded. One of the songs that was filmed recently cost the producer Rs. 35 lakhs. The producer is full of praises for the team and is in awe with the way they have been working. 'Rahman's tunes are just amazing. The picturization has come out very well. The song will be the talk of the town', says Kalaipuli S Dhanu.

Speaking on his son's venture the veteran producer said : 'I am proud of my son. The amount of hardwork, commitment and dedication that he shows is unbelievable.' One more to the list of proud fathers in Kollywood.

Sakkara Katti will be A.R.Rahman's next album after his big hit Sivaji. Expectations among his fans are feverishly high."


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rahman asphyxiated by hysteric fans!

We have had talent hunts of all kinds, for singers, dancers, actors, comedians and what not and now we have a talent hunt for an entire music troupe. This initiative has been taken by Sun TV and Sa Re Ga Ma. This search that is going to span the entire of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh will finally zero in on one talented group that will get a golden opportunity to make a musical album that will be released by Sa Re Ga Ma.

The hunt will be quite a thorough process covering almost regions of Tamil Nadu, right from Chennai to Coimbatore and Tirunelveli touching Salem and Madurai too. A similar search will be on in Andhra. At the end of the regional search, the best teams will be required to set to tune a song written by Kavingar Vaali under the title Nambikkai (confidence). The team that impresses the most will walk away wit the big prize. The contest will be aired on Sun TV this June onwards.

When the event is this big, the judges too have to be big enough to justify the event. It doesn’t get bigger than this! A.R.Rahman will be judging the teams and he will be accompanied by singer-actress Vasundhara Das. The official curtain raiser for this talent hunt was held on Wed evening (May 2nd) at the Park Hotel in Chennai in which Rahman participated. The news of Rahman’s presence somehow leaked and within no time there was a huge crowd outside the venue and when finally it was time for Rahman to leave it was pandemonium. Rahman was virtually engulfed by the wave of admiring fans and why not, after all this is Rahman’s first real public appearance after the Sivaji audio release. The crowd did not spare any effort in making their appreciation for the wizard’s music evident. But Rahman, caught in the middle of a huge crowd had a tough time. After what seemed to be a very long time Rahman finally managed to get away from the swarming fans.

The organizers of any function in which Rahman has to participate please be prepared, the man has just delivered one of the biggest musical hits in the history of Tamil cinema. It would only count as common sense to expect huge crowds to gather to catch a glimpse of the man who has given them ‘Balleilakka’, ‘Athiradee’ and other chartbusters.

As for A.R.Rahman, we have only one thing to say. Please don’t feel flustered, we just don’t know how else to express our appreciation. Your music is truly mesmerizing.


"Rahman gives final touches to ‘Sivaji’

May 02, 2007
If a special award is instituted for the most awaited film of the year, super star’s Sivaji will undoubtedly walk away with all the laurels. This film can be clearly stated as the conglomeration of the ‘creamy layer’ of Tamil film industry. From the producer to the director to the artists to the musicians, the industry’s bigwigs are involved in this film.

This has naturally raised the barometric levels of audience’s expectations.

The film is in its final stages of wrapping up and music director A R Rahman is back in town after completing re-recording work for Sivaji in London. Having completed that, the genius is back in his home town and has immediately rushed to the studios to oversee how the audio-mixing had shaped up. The count down for the release of Sivaji has already begun and fans all over the world are eagerly waiting for the D day."


A R Rahman To Helm Talent Hunt Show

Saregama India Limited in association with maestro A R Rahman will conduct a statewide mega talent hunt across Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh through the mega show titled Ooh La la la.

Auditions will be held in six centres of Tamil Nadu, Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Tirunelveli and Chennai besides Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Rajahmundhri and Tirupathi.

The criteria and challenge for final round selection would be that each band has to compose to the lyrics of lyricist Valee, who penned lyrics based on the theme 'Hope'.

Addressing media persons, Rahman, said, “Playing for a band is a great feeling. It is the sound produced by a collective effort. There are several talented bands across Tamil Nadu waiting for recognition. We aim at spotting the right talent and provide them an opportunity to cut an album for Saregama”.

The entire band hunt talent would be shot and telecast on popular Private television channel as a 13-week episode on Television. The winning band will be given an opportunity to cut an album in Tamil for Saregama.

Each episode will carry a two-minute byte wherein Rahman would talk to aspiring musicians on camera and give them valuable tips on the beauty of acoustic instruments, the logic "