Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nothing is enough, says Rahman

 The 'wow' factor has still not left him, says A R Rahman, after his soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire' won the Golden Globe

nominations, and the number Jaiho' fetched him the Satellite Award. It has been a few days since his return from Los Angeles, but Rahman is already looking at raising the bar.

It has been a long journey for him, from 1992, when he debuted as music director in 'Roja', which Time magazine rated as among the Top Ten movie sound tracks. The four time national award winner made a big impact in the international arena in 2004 with Andrew Webber Lloyd's Bombay Dreams.'

"Though I had been in the field for a while by then, I was not doing pure Indian classical or symphony. Yet, after Bombay Dreams' when Germans and other nationals asked for my autograph, I said wow, it's happening,' to myself," says Rahman. And yet, the man whose music makes your soul dance says he has more depths to plumb.

"Nothing is enough, there is always something coming up in music," he says. He is happy that he met British director Danny Boyle's expectations on Slumdog Millionaire.' "I have done 17 cues, including the songs, Jaiho', Osayan', Ringa ringa' and Gangster blues'. I was so pleased that Boyle gave me three weeks to finish the entire score," he says with a light laugh.

It was a challenging task even without the timeframe. "I knew the way Boyle used music in his films was exotic, an item by itself. When he met me in Chennai a year ago I realised he wanted something completely different," recalls Rahman. He sent entirely unconnected pieces and then made them all come together in a harmonious blend. "Boyle felt it all came together, and so here we are," he says, referring to the awards and accolades.

Rahman has used a largely Indian orchestra. Blaaze and Gulzar have penned most of the lyrics, while Wendy Parr wrote Dreams on fire'. The music director, known for identifying obscure talent, zoned in on Azid, a sitar player from Mumbai who played in Jodha Akbar'. "He interpreted everything that I wanted and his performance in Slumdog..' is a showstopper for me," says Rahman.

Rahman says working in the theatrical production of the Lord of the Rings' was an eye-opener for Rahman. "It took me to another level, the critical side of people, of what they like and don't like about my music. It was a great learning curve working with Mathew Wallace and others like Varttina and Christoper Nightingale," says Rahman.

People have told me that the music of Slumdog Millionaire' is the best they have heard in decades," says Rahman. "It's all a bit scary," says Rahman. "Sometimes you put years into a work but all that energy is wasted when people don't like it. But then I tell myself that God is playing an important role, and balancing things out," he says with his trademark smile. Maybe that is why he is looking at pushing the bar up, constantly.

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