Friday, November 30, 2007

Rahman croons for Kailash

It isn’t something new for music composers to lend their voices for at least a song in the movies they compose music for and, more often than not, proved to be great singers themselves. A.R. Rahman has been one of the rare exceptions, as he started singing for his albums pretty late compared with other music composers.

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

Musical message

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.


Now a sequel to Abhimaan

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."
Plans galore
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.


AR Rahman likey to sing for band Kailasa

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 KherKailash, 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

Creating world music

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:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Story is bigger than stars: Mani Rathnam

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

Rahman: the golden age

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

I have no differences with Aamir Khan: AR Rehman

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

Rahman’s dream comes true

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!


Jodha Akbar music preview enthralls listeners

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.

Rahman’s reaction to criticisms

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

I love to hear fresh voices: AR Rahman

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

Rahman’s magical spell in the capital

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.


One more feather in Rahman’s cap

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

FIR on 'Sultan, the Warrior'!

" '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.


A R Rahman wins an award in the US

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.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

A.R. Rahman rocks Delhi

He came, he sang, he conquered. Music maestro A.R. Rahman spun a web of magic over his audience as he sang some of his all-time popular compositions, including 'Khalbali' and 'Pathshala', at his first concert in the capital.

Although the open-air venue at Rajouri Garden in west Delhi was not packed Saturday, thanks to the steep ticket prices (Rs.500-Rs.5,000 per ticket), for the ones who were present it was an evening to remember.

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 and was lit up by multi coloured lights.

'I hope you enjoy the concert,' Rahman said as he started rolling out one song after the other leaving the audience spellbound and screaming for more.

From classics such as 'Roja' of the movie 'Roja' and 'Kehna hi kya' from 'Bombay' to more recent hits like 'Khalbali' from the movie 'Rang de Basanti' and 'Barso re Megha' from 'Guru', and hit numbers of the blockbuster 'Sivaji' to a musical score from the yet-to-be-released 'Jodha Akbar', the audience was treated to a delicious musical fare.

Accompanying Rahman were other singers like the pony-tailed Hariharan, Chitra, Madhushree, Sadhna Sargam and Delhi's own boy Kailash Kher, who have rendered their voices to his compositions in the movies.

Ace drummer Sivamani enthralled the audience with his marathon-drumming spell.

With the sets changing with each song and scores of dancers performing alongside the crooning maestros, more glitter was added to the show.

Mid way through the performance, Rahman changed into a dull purple kurta and sat on the piano to perform his English number 'Pray for me brother', a melodious song that asks 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 in the occasion the proceeds of which will go to his foundation that works for humanitarian causes.

As Hariharan sang 'Bharat humko jaan se pyara hai', the crowd stood and cheered, passing the verdict that the three-hour musical evening was a hit.


A cockroach in Shekhar’s next

Before he went about donning a film director’s hat, Shekhar Kapur was an accountant, a model, an actor, a chat-show host and even a scuba diving instructor! “Diving has always been a passion. I was an instructor ages ago. Whenever I get a chance, I go for a swim in the sea or go scuba diving,” says the director enthusiastically.

Shekhar jokes about how he’s hoping that adman Prahlad Kakkar would ‘someday’ invite him to his scuba diving school at Lakshadweep. He assures us that he’s not going to take up his old job.

“I discovered that life was not just about a career when I was 24,” says the critically-acclaimed direcor currently in town to promote his film ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’. “My life has been a journey from then on for discovering new things and learning more about myself,” he adds.

Apart from the last part of the Elizabeth trilogy, the director is also planning to take up an animation film where the central character will be a cockroach!

He has somehow managed to convince AR Rahman to be on board for this project. “The cockroach will be the only living character left in a world when there are no humans left,” he says.

Coming back to his controversial movie, we ask if he obsessed with Elizabeth? “It’s a character that I can manipulate as most things related to her and that era is almost mythical,” he shoots back, admitting that he is besotted by Cate Blanchett as “she’s one of the most talented actors in the world”.

But the one girl who has wrested all his attention right now is his seven-year-old daughter Kaveri. “I am planning a vacation with her in Goa. There are times when at the end of the day she falls asleep on my shoulder. I stay awake all night because I am scared that she might wake up if I moved,” he signs off.


Rahman all the way, dil se

It was one of the grandest shows Delhi has ever seen.

The set was majestic, with yellow lights embellishing the red eye-catching décor. But on the whole it was all about the music at the very successful Fever 104 FM’s big AR Rahman concert.

Delhi turned up in all its might at the West Delhi District Centre Ground, Raja Garden. Approximately 25,000 people attended the event.

Accompanied by an army of musicians, the maestro painted vivid musical landscapes to a bewitched crowd. There were several high points of the evening: one of them saw Rahman speak from his heart on various topics close to his heart.

He did not restrict his renditions to Hindi or English and also had some Tamil favourites thrown in, which were lapped up by the crowd. Surprisingly, some fans sang along in Tamil. His star performers too left no stone unturned to ensure that this concert is etched in the memory of all those who were here.

Chitra, Hariharan, Kailash Kher, rapper Blaze, Naresh Iyer and Kailash Kher, among others, were truly spectacular. There were sounds of violins, flutes, awesome percussion and Rahman himself with his jukebox, synthesiser.

There was Chaiyya Chaiyya, Tu hi Re, Khabali, Chanda Re, Roja, Bharat Humko, Maiyya Maiyya and Rahman even gave a sneak peak into his upcoming movie soundtrack of Jodha Akbar that had percussionist Sivamani jamming with over 20 drummers on stage.

When it was time for the Fever 104 winner to come on stage, Parul Mishra put her best foot forward. “This is one concert I could come to with all my friends. Usually, it tough to have them all together at the same place as they all have different choices in music. But Rahman is a common favourite,” said 23-year-old Kamakshi Rao, who came from Gurgaon.

From six-year-olds to sixty-year-olds, they were all keen to wave their hands and shake a leg. After all, you don’t get to see the maestro in action every day.


A R Rahman enthrals Delhi

Renowned music composer and singer Allah Rakah Rahman on Saturday rendered an enchanting performance, belting a mix of Hindi, Tamil and English songs which made a 50,000 strong audience in the city swaying, clapping and asking for more.

Beginning the performance with the number 'Thodi si raat aur hai...' from the film "Guru", Rehman, in his maiden public concert in the capital, managed to keep the audience captive under the magical spell of his voice.

The musician was performing for the Fever 104 concert in which playback singers Kailash Kher, Hari Haran, Madhushree, Chitra, Sivamani and others took part.

The musical extravaganza which started an hour late than scheduled, had an orchestra of 50 instrumentalists and 22 singers whose energy had the crowd roaring for more.

Accompanying the music maestro, percussionist Sivamani and flutist Navin were no less in mesmerizing the crowd.

Rehman asked the crowd to join him in his fight against poverty and he rendered for the crowd on his piano the soul touching number from his album "Pray for me brother".

Apart from the usual favourite hit numbers ranging from hindi flicks like "Rang De Basanti", and "Roza", his fans got a special treat when he gave them a slice of music from the forthcoming Ashutosh Gowarkiker's film "Jodhaa Akbar".


A R Rahman all set to wow Delhiites in his concert

Veteran music composer A R Rahman is ready to wow Delhi with his Live performance on Saturday at JJ Square, Raja Garden Chowk. The high profile concert has been sponsored by Fever 104 FM.
"I wanted to come and perform here but things did not work out, but now with the help of Fever 104 FM I will get a chance to perform and jive Delhi audience," A R Rahman had said at the first anniversary of Fever 104 FM.
The concert has been held after 35 days of talent hunt, conducted by Fever 104 FM, from October 12 to November 17. From all the entries, 10 singers were to be shortlisted for the semi-final round. And the winner is supposed to perform on stage with the maestro.
Rahman has been busy with international assignments. He has composed music for Shekhar Kapur's `Elizabeth - The Golden Age'. He worked with composer Craig Armstrong in the film. "It has been a nice experience working with Craig and Shekhar," said Rahman, who is also doing a project in London but he refused to talk about it.
Rahman, whose songs in `Rang De Basanti' and `Guru' enthrals music lovers, is looking forward to Ashutosh Gowariker's period drama `Jodhaa-Akbar' for which he has scored the music.
Rahman’s concert is one of the most awaited events at the Capital and organisers are leaving no stones unturned for success of the event.


Lord of the tunes

>The music of Elizabeth: The Golden Age is very loud. Is it intentional to complement the larger-than-life image of Elizabeth?

I have co-composed the music with Craig Armstrong. We had initially composed a very different and slower track for the film. But we thought that was too arty. So we opted for a more pulsating music that goes with the dramatic treatment of the film.

Shekhar Kapoor said that you are refusing to do Elizabeth part three.

Shekhar said it just like that; we haven’t yet started talking on it. Anyway, we are working together for his animation film, Suitable Cockroach, which is a rap musical.

What other international projects are you doing next?

I’m in talks for one international project but I can’t divulge any details at this point. The music of Lord of the Rings, a musical adaptation of JRR Tolkein’s epic book, is going to be launched on December 10. It has nearly 15 tracks.

Any new Hindi films?

After The Golden Age, I’m composing music for another periodical—Jodhaa Akbar. I’m also doing Aamir Khan’s Ghajini, Ada and Yuvraj.

How do you oscillate so smoothly between Bollywood and international projects?

You have to keep different sensibilities in mind according to the change in the nature of the audience. When I compose music for the Tamil Nadu market, I think of Tamilians’ taste.

Why did you cut your hair, it had become your style statement?

When I had gone for Haj, I had to shorn off my hair. My wife liked it short so I had to stick to it. Anyway, I am not planning an album now. When I do, I will grow my hair again.



Saturday, November 17, 2007

Aamir talks about Rahman in an interview

You've been collaborating with Rahman once again (after RDB) on Ghajini Remake. How different is the experience?
Very different, creatively and to be precise, even personally. Creatively it is a very different film than Rang De Basanti. It is much pacier film and hence the requirements are very different. Personally, because in Rang De Basanti alongside working professionally we were developing a personal relationship, which matured by the time the project, peaked. Now when I am working with him again our understanding has newer dimensions which I think gets reflected in the work we do. I always respected him but now there is a deep emotional connect. It would be premature for me to talk about specifics of songs at this juncture but it's entirely a new flavour.


Paramount to release Kapur's Elizabeth

Paramount Films of India announced the Indian release of Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth-The Golden Age. The film stars casts Cate Blanchett, Geofrey Rush and Clive Owen and has music by ace Indian music director A R Rahman.

Talking about this mythological film based on interesting bits from history, director Kapur says, "It is very important to acknowledge that it's all about interpretations. History is an interpretation of an interpretation. This goes on. I made this film for varied reasons and I believe in it completely."
Paramount Films, India general manager Sarabjit Singh adds, "The film recites the tale of the story of one woman's crusade to control love, crush enemies and secure her position as a beloved icon of western world."
The Indian touch to the music will be evident, thanks to Rahman. The musician, who has been churning out enigmatic creations for period films, has something new to offer this time.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rahman rules Tamil charts

A.R. Rahman's second Tamil album "Azhagiya Thamizh Magan" is a hit with Vijay fans lapping it up. Of all the Diwali releases, only Rahman and his nephew Prakash's albums have done well.

The top five Tamil albums are:

1. "Azhagiya Thamizh Magan"- Music Director: A.R. Rahman. The album is a hit with Vijay fans. The remix of "Pon magal vanthal", a T.M. Soundararajan song, is the biggest hit.

2. "Pollathavan" - Music Director: G.V. Prakash. Another remix makes it to the top. Yogi B's rendition of the 1970s' song "Engeyum eppothum" by S.P. Balasubramaniam in "Ninaithale Inikkum" has enthralled the new generation.

3. "Satham Podathey" - Music Director: Yuvan Shankar Raja. None of Yuvan's Diwali albums are up to the mark, but his music for "Satham Podathey" is still popular.

4. "Bheema" - Music Director: Harris Jayaraj. The song "Mudhal mazhai" is the best number in "Bheema".

5. "Thamizh MA" - Music Director: Yuvan Shankar Raja. "Paravaiya ennai", sung by maestro Ilayaraja for his son, is the pick of the album.


5 youngsters stake claim to fame Fever 104 - AR Rahman

Fever 104 FM’s Voice Hunt has witnessed a two week high-intensity drama of selections and rejections and 5 contestants have made it to the final round of the talent hunt. The finalists will now be flown to Chennai, wherein one lucky individual will meet the maestro - A R Rahman, himself. The finalist
will get an opportunity of a lifetime to train and perform with AR Rahman at the Fever 104 concert, in Delhi on 17th November.

Fever 104 FM Business Head S Keerthivasan said, “Fever 104 FM is all about the music. We are proud to have provided our listeners with the fantastic opportunity to train and perform with the musical genius of our times – A R Rahman. After an outstanding response and involvement from our listeners we are looking forward to a rocking performance.”

“I look forward to discovering fresh talent out of the pool of 5 contestants, who have come so far after a grueling selection process” said AR Rahman.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A R Rahman’s song in a jiffy

How often have heard this line: “The ‘Mozart of Madras’ has done it yet again.“ A. R Rahman, after giving finishing touches to the musical version of the Lord of the Rings, which received good response from the audience and critics alike, is back in town ready to set the pulse racing with his beats.

In fact, for Vijay’s Azhagiya Tamil Magan the music director had asked for a couple of days time, during the first week of November, to compose the background score but the producers felt that it would be too late for a Deepavali release and had them composed by duo Sabesh–Murali after explaining the situation to Rahman.

But Producer ‘Kalai Puli’ Dhanu’s son Kala Prabhu, not wanting to compromise on the music, patiently waited for Rahman to return and finish the one remaining song for his debut directorial venture Sakkarakatti, which happens to be Shantanu Bhakyaraj’s debut as well. Rahman, on returning from London, called Kala Prabhu and lyricist Vaali and immediately started composing music for the song. He is said to have finished the composition in a jiffy, which had Kala Prabhu jumping around the studio with joy as the movie was waiting only for this song to be canned.


Monday, November 12, 2007

All strings attached

Musician Kailash Kher talks about his spiritual connection with AR Rahman and more

For people who believe in soul mates, there’s always that one person with whom the whole soul connection happens and for musician Kailash Kher it’s none other than AR Rahman.

While shooting for the reality show ‘Mission Ustad’, Kailash who has always been Rahman’s friend and has sung for his films, spent more time with him.

“It’s this concept of musician jodis who are singing and kind of competing against each other. I’m paired with Mahalaxmi Iyer and then there are others such as Mihit Chauhan and Vasundhara Das, Roopkumar and Sonali Rathod etc,” says Kailash who is also thrilled about his upcoming films as a music composer.

“There is some spiritual connection between me and Rahman. Everytime we are working together the experience is pure and holy. I’m also doing another project with him. It’s his private project with him,” he says.

“I’m composing for films now along with Naresh and Paresh. ‘Made In China’ which is a Nikhil Advani film starring Akshay Kumar is a big project. Akshay and Nikhil really liked the music and we are looking forward to its release.

Quiz him about the shift from albums to films and he says it’s not much difference. “In albums we have to weave stories while in films it’s done for us,” says Kailash who is also finishing another film called ‘Pranali’ which is about temple dancers.

“People have been approaching us and want the kind of sound that we have put out on our albums. So it’s a lot of fun,” he says.

What’s happening to international projects with DJ Paul Oakenfold and Pearl Jam member Eddie Vedder. “I’m going abroad in March sometime when we will try and get all the schedules right,” he ends.


AR Rahman: On a high note

A R Rahman sings in the video of his album 'Vande Mataram' (left), and the poster of Shekhar Kapur's 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'

Life is definitely on a high note these days for genius composer A R Rahman, with his soundtrack for the Mani Ratnam movie - 'Roja' - featured on Time magazine's list of 10 Best Soundtracks of all time. Rahman definitely has plenty of reasons to be over the moon.

"Roja was definitely special for me, because it changed me destiny, especially coming from two big people like Balachandran and Mani Ratnam. The great effort paid off, I guess," says Rahman.

But Rahman has no reason to rest on his laurels yet, because the future is looking pretty bright as well with Rehman also composing the musical score for Shekar Kapur's next film 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'.

"Right now 'The Golden Age' is releasing on 23rd of this month - I have co-composed with Greg Armstrong. Other than that there are no plans yet," says the composer.

Will Bollywood be getting a skip from the composer, considering that so many international projects are coming his way? Apparently not.

"I still want to do good films here - not more films, but just important films so I keep my audience happy," assures Rahman.

Well, we're glad to hear that Bollywood is still on the composer's agenda, becasue Bollywood would definitely be a less musical place without Rahman's genius!


On the Record

It’s a flashback that 26-year-old playback singer Naresh Iyer is never tired of reliving. A couple of years ago his dream of winning a reality show came crashing down when he was voted out. But the same evening, ace composer AR Rahman, put his life back on track with an unexpected promise. Rahman, who was the judge at Channel V’s Super Singer contest that year, told him that he would soon get in touch with the Matunga boy for a Bollywood project he was working on. The project turned out to be none other than Rakeysh Mehra’s Rang De Basanti and Iyer sung his way to the National Awards with three popular tracks from the movie— Masti ki Pathshala, Roobaro and Tu bin bataye.

Now three months after he won the National Award, Iyer is back again in a programme, Mission Ustad, conducted by his mentor on 9X channel which has musicians speaking on developmental issues, using music as the medium. “There is something about Rahman sir that is very inspiring. He is more of a friend than a teacher, more a guiding force than a task master. The first time I went to meet him, I was a little nervous, but he makes his sure his musicians and singers are at ease, talking to them constantly, doing casual sessions, before the actual recording starts,” he says. Even though sometimes, they spend nights in the studio, recording and re-recording, working with Rahman, is a whole new experience according to Iyer. “I recorded Roobaro at 4.30 in the morning after 12 hours of hopping studios and finishing other commitments. But it happened smoothly and by seven the song was ready,” he says.

Down south, Iyer has now become a permanent fixture, singing in Tamil and Telugu films, working with music directors like Srikanth Deva, Sabesh-Murali, D. Imman and Harris Jayaraj, besides Rahman. He has had several hits since that fateful encounter with his mentor, however, the going hasn’t been equally smooth in Bollywood. “I am a Mumbaikar, so ideally it should have been easier here, but it’s taking its time. But what I’ve got has been worth the effort and wait, so I’m not complaining,” smiles Iyer. Is wearing the Rahman tag a negative in Mumbai? Iyer is quick to respond, “I would think that would get me more work. It’s only been about a year and a half in the Hindi film industry. I am sure things will get better.”

Up next for Iyer are soundtracks for Hansal Mehta’s Woodstock Villa, with Imaad Shah and Neha Oberoi playing the leads. The music has been composed by Anu Malek, the first time Iyer has worked with the maverick music director. “It’s been good, even if he works in the day and not at night,” grins Iyer, and goes on to explain, “One should not be too choosy about what tunes or songs to sing. You just never know what clicks.” Clearly, his road to success is well mapped out.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Balu Mahendra requests A R Rahman

Legendary director Balu Mahendra, who seldom makes open requests, was seen making one to none other than the ace music director A R Rahman on an open stage. Balu Mahendra had always teamed up with Ilayaraja, his favorite composer for all his movies and for him to put forth a request to Rahman came as a surprise to everyone present at the venue.

Ar Rahman

Having praised Rahman for taking the national song to the youth with his album Vande Mataram, he requested him to compose a new tune for the Tamil anthem, Tamizh Thai Vaazhthu, an ode to the Tamil language, in an effort to popularize it among the Tamil youth. A R Rahman, present at the function, was all smiles when he was showered eulogies for his music from the legendary director who works only with his contemporary Ilayaraja. This is another event that took place during the Kalloori audio launch function. For those present at the venue it was definitely a discourse on films from the legends of Tamil cinema and their protégés.


Audio of ‘Kaloori’ released

New sound: Music director A.R. Rahman releasing the audio CD of movie `Kaloori’ at a function in Chennai on Friday. Film director Mani Ratnam is receiving the CD. From left, directors Shankar and Balaji Sakthivel and music director Joshua Sridhar are in the picture.

Chennai: The audio of director Shankar’s ‘Kaloori’ (College) was launched in the city on Friday. The music is being released through the newly established S Music, an offshoot of director Shankar’s S Pictures.

Balaji Sakthivel, of ‘Kaadhal’ fame, has directed the film. The music has been scored by Joshua Sridhar. Akhil and Tamanna star in the film.

Theatre owner Abhirami Ramanathan credited film director Shankar for enabling more screens to be inaugurated in the city. Up to 30 new screens have applied for licences in the city and will be opened shortly.

Director Kalaipuli G. Sekaran requested those present to take steps against corporate houses entering the production of films. Director Thankar Bachchan said that S Pictures, which is producing ‘Kaloori’, represented a launching platform for new creative voices. Black money is keeping the industry going, he rued. “Without black money only two films will be produced in a year,” he said.

Head of the Producers’ council Ramanarayanan, director of ‘Veyil’ Vasantha Balan, actors Akhil and Tamanna, directors Balaji Sakthivel and Simbu Devan, director of ‘Immsai Arasan 23rd Pulikesi’ spoke.

Director of ‘Chennai – 600028’ Venkat Prabhu and lyricist M. Muthukumar said ‘Kaloori’ is sure to be a milestone in Tamil cinema just like Mr. Sakthivel’s earlier work ‘Kaadhal’. Cinematographer Chezhian said that the film was planned well in advance and was shot in 50 days.

Actor Prakash Raj said S Music revealed Mr. Shankar’s belief in the directors he chose to encourage. Directors Balu Mahendra, Bharathi Raja and Mani Ratnam felicitated the organisers on the choice of invitees saying that three generations were represented on stage.

Music director A.R. Rahman said Tamil cinema was poised on the verge of great achievement.

Director Shankar said ‘Kaloori’ was certain to break any pre-formed notions about Mr. Sakthivel’s filmmaking. “We haven’t seen a college like this in Tamil cinema in recent times.” Actor Parthiban narrated anecdotes with some poetic license from the college lives of the dignitaries on stage.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

ATM music is Numero Uno

Azhagiya Tamil Magan

Album: Azhagiya Tamil Magan

Song: Ella Pugazhum

Music director: A R Rahman

Singer(s): A R Rahman

The King is back; actually he never left. Sivaji was on the charts the last time. Now that Sivaji has moved down the King is back at the top. Tough to pick out one song from the album but then we decided to start with the one which we presume will introduce the ‘Azhagiya Thamizh Magan’ to the fans. All elements of the song are just outstanding. The rhythm can get you going, the rendition has the touch of inspiration and everything you can ask for from a boy wonder turned genius. After enjoying all these listen to the song once more and this time pay attention to the lyrics. Boy… if there was ever a time to be a Vijay fan, this is it. It’s his best chance to lure in more of the urban youth thanks to Rahman.


'Roja' on Time magazine's 10 best soundtracks list

Music maestro A.R. Rahman's 'Roja' has featured on Time magazine's 10 best soundtracks of all times.
Reacting to the news Rahman said that future is unpredictable and you never know what it has in store for you.
'You never know what the world has in store for you. Suddenly you find 'Roja' being selected as one of 10 best soundtracks in the world by Time magazine,' Rahman told IANS.

The long wait to see one of our popular musicians go west finally seems to be on the verge of ending. Rehman, who scored big points for his Bollywood explosion in Andrew Lloyd Webber's staged musical 'Bombay Dreams', is all set to make his full-fledged musical in Toronto.

'I like it when what I do here (India) is recognised abroad. The musical stage version of 'Lord Of The Rings' happened in Toronto. I scored music for specific characters in the play,' he said.

Why such a delayed international impact?

'Actually, Shekhar Kapur got me a couple of Hollywood films three-four years ago. But I wasn't ready then. Now with the Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Bombay Dreams' behind me I'm more confident.

'It's the first time that a musician from the Orient is being called to score in the West regardless of colour and creed. It's not about whether you are an Indian or a foreigner. I was apprehensive whether I could swing it. But it has gone well!

Rahman sees 'Lord Of The Rings' as his natural progression into the West.'

'Bombay Dreams' did flash A.R Rahman's name. But it was seen as Indian music.

And I'm proud of that. But 'Lord Of The Rings' is very exciting because it's got nothing to do with my being Indian. Composing for a stage play requires 10 time more energy than a film score.'


Monday, November 05, 2007

'Jodhaa Akbar' edited again

Ashutosh Gowarikar's Jodhaa Akbar, that stars the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and the dashing Hrithik Roshan in the title roles, went under the knife, again, because the movie is just too long.

At present, the new version has two songs edited out, one of which was a qawwali sung by A R Rahman, the music director for the movie.

According to a source, every scene in the movie is important, and Gowarikar did not want the flow to suffer. Therefore, the lavishly shot songs had to go.

"It was a very good idea to have a qawwali, as it was a traditional aspect in the lives of kings. It was difficult for Ashutosh, but he also asked for Rahman's take on the decision, and chopped the songs off only when Rahman agreed," the source adds.

The songs will be added in the DVD of the movie. Apparently, Ash wanted to use it in one of her upcoming movies, but Gowarikar may not agree.

Gowarikar has a reputation for making long movies.

The Aamir Khan starrer Lagaan was almost four hours long, and the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Swades was three and a half hours long.

In more recent times, there is a lot of criticism for the way a movie is presented, and the director did not want any of that.

According to the source, the final cut, so far, is three and a half hours. The movie is slated for a January 25 release, and the promos are already on air.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

ATM audio tops the charts!

In audio sales among the films due for Diwali, it’s Vijay’s Azhagiya Tamil Magan, which is topping the charts. A.R Rahman’s music for Tamil superstars has always worked big time. Vijay fans have lapped up the album though it does not have typical numbers you associate with Ilayathalapathi films.
And the big surprise is that the nephew of A.R Rahman, G.V Prakash’s Pollathavan, audio is very popular with the youth and is at the number two position. The uncle and nephew between them has pushed Yuvan down in audio sales this Diwali.
Yuvan Shankar Raja’s worst nightmare has come true, as he has been on a signing spree dishing out music with factory precision. In the process his music lacked newness, as he dished out tunes for three Diwali films- Kannanmoochi Yenada, Machakaran, Vel.
Among the lot Kannanmoochi Yenada and Machakaran songs are hummable, while Vel is not his type of film and the audio is a major disappointment.


Rahman opines on ATM

Already a chartbuster, the songs of Azhagiya Tamil Magan are the talk of the town. The curiosity over its picturisation has grown many folds. At this juncture, comes the news that the background score for the movie is to be rendered by Sabesh–Murali, because the producers feared that waiting for Rahman could delay its release as it was slated to hit the screens for Deepavali.

Rahman had consented to this arrangement and so did the Film Music Director’s Association. This was a dampener of sorts considering the songs were lapped by one and all.
Now the cheerful part. The movie was screened for Rahman in a preview theatre in Chennai. The director said, “Rahman had his eyes glued to the screen during the entire show.” After watching the movie, the music director is supposed to have said that he enjoyed the movie thoroughly, so much so, that he even went on to comment that he hasn’t seen anything as entertaining recently. The director was on cloud nine when Rahman congratulated him for his awesome song picturisation.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ash steps in for Rahman

Ashutosh Gowariker’s magnum opus Jodha Akbar is nearing completion and the post-production work is on in full swing. At this juncture, this Aishwarya-Hrithik-starrer has witnessed something only few films of the past have ever seen.
That Rahman is scoring the music for this epic love story is no news
Jodha Akbar

but that Ashutosh has gone ahead and done the unthinkable - chopped one of Rahman’s compositions for the movie is something that has sent shockwaves in the industry. Even good friend Rahman isn’t pleased with this decision.

The Qawwali number in question was shot lavishly in huge sets, erected just for this purpose. The director, however, felt that it was a tad bit too long to be a part of the movie and has decided to let the scissors do the work. Ash has stepped in for Rahman and has agreed to use this Qawwali for her next movie. Beauty saves the music.