Monday, October 26, 2009

Director Soundarya Rajinikanth - Tamil Movie Directors Interview - Sultan The Warrior

The label of superstar’s daughter is inherited whereas the personality of a young film producer is an earned one. Soundarya Rajinikanth takes her first step as a producer through Goa. Over to Soundarya…

 Transition from running Ochre Studios to becoming a film producer?
Soundarya Rajinikanth: Ochre Studios is like my baby that was started three and half years ago with just ten people. Today my team is 150 in number. We started with graphics work, digital editing, color grading, and animation work and have now moved to a higher level, i.e., film production. In film industry, production is one department which gives job opportunities for many. That’s why I decided to produce films.
What kind of films would you like to produce?

Our films would be fun-filled and rich in entertainment quotient. They also would be spoken for quality in content, technical excellence and good script. I am keen to introduce new actors, directors, cinematographers, makeup men and editors. Hence we are working on those lines. Ochre Studios will serve as an excellent platform for the generation next.
" Ochre studios will serve
as an excellent platform
for the generation next "

What is Ochre’s contribution to graphics department?
We have done graphics work in many Tamil and Kannada films and

Monday, October 19, 2009

One more international award for Rahman

Just about three months short of a year after he was awarded the Oscar, A.R. Rahman has done India proud on the world stage once again. This time, it is by being chosen for the World Soundtrack Awards of 2009. Rahman won the award in the ‘Best Original Song Written for a Film’ category for the ‘Jai Ho’ song in Slumdog Millionaire. He was also nominated for the Best Original Film Score which was eventually won by two-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat who also won the Film Composer of the Year award for his work in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ starring Brad Pitt.

The awards ceremony was held on Diwali day, October 17, the last day of the Ghent Film Festival, in the Belgian port town of Ghent. Three time Oscar winner Marvin Hamslich was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the function.

Rahman couldn’t have given a better gift to all his fans of the festival of lights. All this, while the ‘Jai Ho’ concert is still fresh in our minds. We simply can’t wait for more. Congrats and thanks Rahman…..


Saturday, October 17, 2009


Review by : Harish V
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Lara Dutta, Rahul Dev, Zayed Khan.
Direction: Anthony D'Souza
Music: A R Rahman.
Production: Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision Ltd.
Blue, one of the most anticipated movies of the year has finally hit the screen. Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta, Zayed Khan and Katrina (spl Appearance) are all geared up to entertain you. But will they? Ashtavinayak after the Kidnap and Luck debacle was expected not to come out with another high budgeted action thriller but they ended up making the mother of all action movies in terms of budget. This stylish underwater thriller is made at a budget of 95 crores, the highest in Indian film industry till now. Will this high priced risk payoff?

The movie is about a 60 year old treasure which has been lost in transit from Britain to India near the Bahamas. Aarav a rich businessman in Bahamas is always behind his friend Sagar who works for him about the treasure of the Lady in blue. Sagar has a secret and he is not ready to share it even with his wife Mona and his brother, Sam. But when Sam gets into trouble with a mafia gang and is being demanded a pay off of $50 million in two days, all hell breaks loose. Sagar now has to come out of his shackles

to save his brother. What's the secret? Can Sagar save Sam's life? Is Aarav the man who seems so perfect is actually perfect? Find the answers in a theatre near you.

The first time director, Anthony D'Souza has come up with a nice concept and even though his amateurish direction comes to fore in many scenes, he does pull it off all together. Many underwater scenes with minimal to no dialogues have been taken brilliantly, and the work they have done in almost all the chase sequences, especially the bike sequence in Bahamas, is worth mentioning. The movie's climax is half baked. If only the climax is treated properly, the movie's impact would have been much better. Apart from that, there are few effects which confuse you and the abrupt song inclusion in the narrative doesn't help either. But this movie is not to put your brains to work but to give you a theatrical experience, which Indian action movies have yet to capitalize on.

Technically the movie is brilliant with spectacular camera work by Laxman Utekar, especially the way the underwater sequences were shot. Never before seen stunts underwater is a joy for any action lover. Though Rahman fails to create his usual magic in the music, which still is hearable, he has taken the background score to the next level. Editing is done stylishly with fast cuts which make this 1 hour 54 minutes movie go rapidly. Special effects and visual effects are one of the highlights of the movie as it takes the graph of the movie to new heights.

Akshay Kumar enjoys his work and his amazing screen presence scorches the screen. Sanjay Dutt is brilliant as usual but has minimal expression needed in his palette this time around. Lara Dutta oozes sensuality and her trimmed look goes well with the bikini. She has no scope of acting. Zayed Khan again overplays his role but fits the character. Katrina Kaif has little to do but does that with confidence and her outfits looks amazing too. Kiran Bedi has no-role to rave about.

Overall a wondrous experience that has to be cherished. A roller-coaster ride which is sure to win big bucks at the box-office. Please catch this movie in the theaters which possesses high end sound quality and enjoy the marvel of motion pictures.

Verdict: Cherish-able theatrical experience

Silambarasan and Trisha celebrating Deepavali in NY

The Vinnaithandi Varuvaya team has flown down to New York to complete the last schedule of the shooting. While the director, Gautham Menon and crew flew a couple of days before, Silambarasan and Trisha took their flight on Thursday.

Completing VTV, Trisha will move on to the Bollywood flick Khatta Meeta directed by Priyadarshan and starring Akshay Kumar. There are reports that the lady has signed a three-film deal with Akshay Kumar’s production house Hari Om Productions. Silambarasan, on the other hand, says that his next venture will take off in May next year.

Both the stars are really upset that they would not be able to spend time with their friends and relatives this Deepavali.


Harris enjoys doing what Rahman is not keen on

Harris Jayaraj Aadhavan is one of the frontrunners in the Deepavali race, and movie buffs are raring to see how the Suriya-KS Ravi Kumar combo would work out. Suriya has done some daredevil stunts in the film, which will be a treat for his fans to watch. However, the director is apprehensive that he could injure himself in the process and advised him to remain cautious in future.

The songs and music, on the other hand, have come out very well and have been topping the charts. Speaking about his experience with Harris Jayaraj to a national daily, director KS Ravi Kumar revealed that Harris just loves to compose duets, something that AR Rahman is not so keen on.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blue to wash over overseas

Come Friday and the place will just be coloured Blue!  Releasing this 16th, Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd’s ‘Blue’ is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. ‘Blue’ is tagged with a U/A certificate by the Censor Board. Directed by Anthony D’Souza, this under-water adventure-thriller includes Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta and Zayed Khan. One gets to enjoy a bonus with Katrina Kaif in a cameo role here. The music is already making waves, thanks to AR Rahman and Resul Pookutty, who handled the sound.
‘Blue’ is not only going to hit the nation but also the international screens. The movie will be screened across USA and Canada. Over the movie’s board, there is Hollywood cinematographer with Pete Zuccarini, who had worked on movies like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Deep Blue Sea’. And, not to forget, the special number by singer Kylie Minogue. So catch the ‘Blue’ fever this Friday folks!

AR Rahman’s show in Kolkata

AR Rahman was recently in Kolkata to announce the concert that he would be staging there on November 14th. He also took time to be a part of the charity dinner hosted by the Liver foundation. Cricketer Sourav Ganguly was also present at the charity dinner.

Prior to the Kolkata concert, Rahman will perform at the GMR Arena in Hyderabad. This event will be organized by Rapport Global Events and Wizcraft.

It is worth mentioning here that Rahman has planned a string of concerts called the Jai Ho concert for various charitable causes and his recently held concert in Chennai was a stupendous success.

Blue for Diwali

Now we have another contestant to compete in the Diwali race. ‘Blue’ is flushing all the way from the North to spread the colour and refreshment to South. Know who brings ‘Blue’ to Chennai? It’s none other than our Kalaipuli S Thanu. So, along with ‘Aadhavan’, ‘Jaganmohini’ and Peranmai’ we will have this Akki starer to entertain Chennaiites this festive season.
Releasing this 16th, the film is one of the most anticipated Bollywood movies of the year. ‘Blue’ is tagged with a U/A certificate by the Censor Board. Directed by Anthony D’Souza, this under-water adventure-thriller includes Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta and Zayed Khan. One gets to enjoy a bonus with Katrina Kaif in a cameo role here. The music is already making waves, thanks to AR Rahman and Resul Pookutty, who handled the sound.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Mandodari in Raavan

Bipasha Basu was touted to play the role of Mandodari in Raavan. Earlier, the film’s director Mani Ratnam had plans to sign up Nayanthara, which did not materialize due to date issues.
Bipasha Basu
However, the recent buzz is that the director has decided to do away with the role entirely. Apparently, Mani Ratnam felt that he could not do enough justice to the role and there were chances that it could be reduced to a mere item number. Considering all this, Mani decided to chop off the role. This puts an end to the rumors that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was insecure of her role should the Mandodari character be given prominence.


Director turns down AR Rahman’s request

AR Rahman may have several music compositions to his credit. He is also the one that is known for experimenting with music. The musician is also scoring music for several Hollywood films. Despite all this, the Oscar winner is unsatisfied. In a recent event in Hyderabad to announce his concert in that city on October 24th, Rahman said that he always wanted to score music for the film that is directed by K Viswanath.

The ace director is known for directing films like Sippikkul Muthu and Sankarabaranam, which had ample scope for music. However, when the music director put forth his request to the director to wield the megaphone once again, he politely turned it down as there are no takers for such genre of films anymore.


AR Rahman, ability and disability

“Events like ‘Ability Fest 2009’ would make a huge difference in the way the public view disability. This reiterates the fact that films can make a positive change in society,” music composer A R Rahman said on Monday.
Speaking at the inauguration of ‘Ability Fest 2009,’ a four-day India International Disability Film Festival in Chennai, he said it was a welcome thing that themes such as disability, environment and human rights are attracting the attention of the organizers.
In her address, Tabu said filmmakers should be more sensitive while portraying disability as films were an effective tool to change the mindset of the people.
Audio description technology, which enables audience with visual disabilities to understand the silent parts of a movie, was launched during the festival. The technology will be used in the closing film ‘Taare Zameen Par’ on October 15.
“They (visually challenged persons) would be given headphones and the silent parts of the movies will be described in detail for them,” said festival vice-chairperson Revathy. US Consul-General, South India, Andrew T Simkin, festival director P K Nair and festival chairperson Jayshree Raveendran also spoke.
The four-day festival will screen over 30 movies that have gained international recognition for their sensitive portrayal of disability. The films will be screened from 10 am at Sathyam Cinemas till October 15.

Rahman shows the Tamil way to Hollywood

If the entire globe is looking out for his musical score, the western world expects a lot more from him after the success of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Our Oscar Nayagan has given a romantic Tamil song that goes like “Kuru Kuru Kangaliley Ennai Aval Vendraley” for his Hollywood project ‘Couples Retreat’.
The man, who made Indians proud by his Oscar, has now made Tamils proud by inserting a Tamil song for a Hollywood project. Enjoy the sound track of the film and experience listening to a Tamil song with Hollywood’s sound quality. It’s sure to win peoples’ heart across the globe with its freshness…
Rahman strongly admits, “Though it’s a Hollywood movie, it will carry the Indianized touch in it”. For that reason, not just this song, but the entire album will have the desi touch.
So the world can get ready for many more ‘Roja’ and ‘Uyire’.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rahman unites them all

Rahman’s concert at the Marg Swarnabhoomi on 11th October was a stupendous success. As the traffic was completely thrown out of gear, Rahman could not be brought to the venue by road and was airlifted and dropped. The traffic on ECR was more than chaotic and many people had bought tickets found it very difficult to reach the place in time. The unofficial number of audience was roughly estimated to be more than 70,000. The crowd had given a standing ovation to the Oscar winner. Rahman had requested the audience to extend a hand of friendship to their immediate neighbor at the concert as a token of spreading good will and cheer which the crowd dutifully obliged. Rahman’s concert brought people from different age groups, different places, religion and nationality together and to all of them present there, only one thing mattered. And that is music and that too Rahman’s music. Jai Ho Rahman!

Resul Pookutty joins AR Rahman

Resul Pookutty, the Oscar winning sound engineer, is now a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures! AR Rahman was bestowed with the honor a few months ago and now Resul Pookutty joins him. The honor means Resul will be one among the 6000 voters who will select films for the Oscar awards.

Resul was quoted by PTI as saying, “I received the invitation to become a member of the Academy while I was still in India. You need the sponsorship of two governors from the Board to become a member. Those formalities were completed during my recent trip to Los Angeles. I consider it a great honor and am thrilled.”

The sound engineer is still waiting for some of the best offers to come his way from Hollywood and pins his hope on the membership.


AR Rahman has the audience enthralled

AR Rahman’s first concert in Chennai, after winning the coveted Oscar award, took place yesterday (October 11th, 2009) at the Marg Swarnabhoomi on the East Coast Road, south of Chennai. This is one of the concerts that are a part of Rahman’s Jai Ho World Concert Tour.

The proceeds from this event will be used by Shakthi Foundation and Rahman Trust for the benefit of handicapped persons. The event witnessed a mega turn out, estimated to be 30,000. But the unofficial figure is said to be astronomical.

Hariharan's rendition of 'Thamizha Thamizha' brought out the patriotic flavor from the crowd who were seen waving the Indian triclor all over. Several singers including Benny Dayal, Blaze and Sadana Sargam enthralled the audience with their singing. Rahman also took the mike to render his favorite songs, 'Rehna Tu' being one of them. 'Adhiradhi' from Sivaji augmented the frenzy of the crowd. Speaking at the event, the Oscar winner said that though Shakthi Foundation requested him to conduct a show in Chennai a long time ago, this seemed to be an opportune moment, especially after winning the Oscars.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mani wants Vikram… says so to Selvaraghavan

The last leg of the Mani Ratnam-directed Raavan was being shot at the Malshej Ghats. Unfortunately, the heavy rains that have been lashing in those parts have made it difficult for the unit to film the scenes and as a result the stars and technicians are forced to stay indoors. The worst affected are the busy stars Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Vikram. The trio is involved in several projects and have their diaries of schedule jam-packed already. This sudden delay is said to make things difficult for these stars.

A source says that Vikram needs to be in Ladakh later this month to take part in the Selvaraghavan directed flick and is really concerned about the delay. Sensing this, Mani has requested Selvaraghavan to spare a few days so that he could complete the shooting with Vikram.


BLUE gets ‘U/A’ certificate

It’s ‘season of blue’ all over the town with everyone overwhelmed with high expectations on this Diwali release.  Produced by Shri Ashtavinayak Cine Vision banner, the film has been given ‘U/A’ by the officials of Censor Board.
Directed by debutant Antony D’Souza, the film is slated to bring you the crème de la crème quotients or stunning visuals of underwater ambience unforeseen in any Indian Cinema. Apart from carrying the A-one category of star-casts Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta, Katrina Kaif and Zayed Khan, the film boasts about going inclusive of world’s top-charting technicians.
Cinematographer Pete Zuccarini, who enthralled us with his spellbinding visuals in ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’ and ‘DEEP BLUE SEA’ along with Laxman Udaykar has cranked the camera on eye-catching visuals across Bahamas and Bangkok. A.R. Rahman's musical score is already a stunning charbuster across the global audio markets.
This underwater action-adventure centers on complex relationships between friends on the pursuit of lost treasure.


Friday, October 09, 2009

It's also Rahman versus Pritam this Diwali!

Bollywood's uncrowned number one composer, Pritam, is a die-hard fan of music maestro, A. R. Rahman, and swears by his music. We all know how Pritam acknowledged in an interview (on our very own portal) that JTYJN was the music of the year for him and that "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi" was such a brilliant composition that it was worth its weight in gold.

However, this Diwali, Pritam is pitted against Rahman, as his ALL THE BEST...FUN BEGINS is facing serious opposition from BLUE, Rahman's first Bollywood music album after the Oscar triumph. At present the situation is that Rahman has won hands down (not that Pritam will mind at all!) in this battle, as BLUE is currently the top seller in the market, across all stores in the country and even Overseas, while ALL THE BEST... FUN BEGINS is in hot pursuit! 

No doubt Rahman's name sells, as is evident from the fact that BLUE has overtaken ALL THE BEST...FUN BEGINS, despite the presence of quite a few chartbusters in the album. As Diwali nears, the competition will naturally hot up and we can only say who won in the end when both the films release on 16th October.

In the clash between Pritam and Rahman, one name we forgot to mention is that of composer duo, Sajid-Wajid whose latest album, MAIN AURR MRS KHANNA (which too is a Diwali release), is selling quite well and the film may attract the family crowd, who wish for some wholesome 'mushy' entertainment.

As of now, it's Rahman all the way! So cheers, Rahmaniacs!


No leak from Raavan: Rahman

The latest wave in the Internet is a supposed ‘leaked’ song from Mani Ratnam’s upcoming film titled Raavan. 
A R Rahman

The film, which stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles in the Hindi version and Vikram and Aishwarya in the Tamil version, has music by Oscar winner A R Rahman. According to a post in the internet recently, a song — titled Kaadale... in the Tamil version — has been sung by the lead actress Aishwarya herself!

However, music composer Rahman has denied that any such song features in the film. “Someone’s pulling a fast one,” is all he said. All eyes are on Raavan’s music as it will be the first album with the Mani Ratnam-Rahman combination that will be out after the composer’s double delight at the Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire. Besides Raavan, A R Rahman’s current projects include Rajinikanth’s Endhiran and Sultan, Couples Retreat and Vinaithaandi Varuvaaya.

Aishwarya Rai completes filming Mani Ratnam's 'Ravan'

Aishwarya Rai has completed filming for Mani Ratnam's 'Ravan' with co-star and husband Abhishek Bachchan and is currently taking a break with her family.
October 04, 2009, (Sawf News) - Aishwarya Rai has completed filming for Mani Ratnam's 'Ravan' with co-star and husband Abhishek Bachchan and is currently taking a break with her family.

Aishwarya has been slogging it out, working on four films at a time - Mani Ratnam's Ravan and Raavana (Tamil), Vipul Shah's Action Replay and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish with co-star Hrithik Roshan.

Aishwarya is playing the same role in both the Hindi and Tamil versions of Ravan. She speaks her own dialogs for the Tamil version as she is fluent in the language.

Aishwarya and Abhishek have lately become inseparable. Late last month the couple signed their first ever commercial together for a soap manufacturer. There are reports that the couple shopped for some time to get the best deal. The ad will fetch them a whopping Rs25 crore.

The couple recently gave their first ever TV interview together when they appeared on U.S. chat show queen Oprah Winfrey's show on Monday, September 28.

Ohh la la la- Rahman starts a musical revolution

At this point of time, when music albums aren’t making it big in Tamil Nadu, Ooh la la la has revolutionized the music industry with its grand show. A cause championed by the Mozart of Madras AR Rahman to conduct a nationwide band talent hunt is finally seeing success. The musical album that marked the debut of young aspiring musicians handpicked by Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman is riding high on success.  

Ooh la la la contest, India’s first “Band-Hunt” music show started with the tagline “Do you have music in you” and ended up with an ensemble of musicians from various backgrounds- Harish, N S Aruna, Priya, Sandhya, Kishore, M K Balaji, Vijay Narain, Nitya Andrews, Harish Sivaramakrishnan, Mrinmoy Choudhury, Karthikeyan Murthy, Leon, Prithivi, Vijay Krishnan and Guru Prasad, who got together for the music albumOhh la la la.

The album 
Ooh la la la which was produced by Saregama, one of the leading music companies in audio market saw an immense hype when it was released, as the artist were already popularized by the show. One of the tracks ‘Ondrai Seruvom’ crooned by Vijay Narain and Nitya Andrews with its strong vocals is steadily becoming a favorite among the masses. ‘Kaatrodu’, ‘Vidiyal Thalaimurai’ and ‘Edhuvum’ are gaining popularity too as they are addictively foot-tapping among the youth.  

Post the success of the music album, a lot of interest has been generated within the music fraternity and they are now approaching the young musicians, who have proved their mettle with
 Ohh la la la. The kind of success that Ohh la la la is now seeing would definitely give a push to Rahman’s dream of expanding the horizons of musicians in India.

Chinmayi elated after winning award for 'Shivaji'

Chinmayi, who won the Tamil Nadu Government award for the best female playback singer for music chart-buster 'Sahana' in Rajinikanth-starrer 'Shivaji' says she feels "blessed" to have worked with Rahman on her award-winning song.

The singer, who is a multi-tasker with diverse interests in singing, dubbing, hosting TV shows and running her own company and, of late, learning to play the 'sarangi' (stringed musical instrument), is elated after winning the award.

"Working under Rahman sir is always a divine experience," said Chinmayi who was introduced by the popular music composer in the Mani Ratnam directed 'Kannathil Muthamittal' in 2002.

The song also fetched Chinmayi her first state government award for the best female playback singer.

Chinmayi, 24, who learned music from her mother, was studying in the 12th standard when she first met Rahman.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bipasha Basu out of Raavan

Bipasha Basu is quite upset these days as she is no longer a part of Mani Ratnam’s Raavan anymore. The actress had allotted 20 days for the shooting and had done the dress rehearsals too. However, Mani decided that Bipasha’s role, which also included an item number, would make the film too lengthy and hence chose not to use her. Sources say that it is still not clear if the actress would be replaced or the role is being chopped off entirely.

Mani is said to have made amends with the dejected actress by promising her a plum role in his future project.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

AR Rahman to put up grand musical show in Los Angeles

After Hrs has learnt that AR Rahman is putting up a grand musical show in Los Angeles before the premiere of his forthcoming Hollywood venture.

It promises to be a first-of-its-kind event in Hollywood and the guest list includes Hollywood A-listers like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Owen Wilson and Sean Penn, besides David and Victoria Beckham, among others. Incidentally, they are all friends of actor Vince Vaugh, who has written the script of the film.

A source close to the development says, "For this grand musical night, Rahman will belt out numbers from his English movie Couples Retreat. Atlanta Soul singer PJ Morton has sung one track in the movie and will also feature in this event alongside Rahman. This will be very different from the usual formal premiere nights in Hollywood. Since the movie has an Indian collaboration, the idea was to add a lot of vibrancy, colour and music."

Rahman's special aide confirmed the news saying, "A big event is being planned in Los Angeles where the who's who of America will be present. The movie's premiere is definitely going to be a star-studded affair but we cannot share the complete guest list."


Rahman's Raag Malhar

A R Rahman shoots global video for water conservation in Filmistan Studios; gives company to U2, Shakira

After his anti-poverty anthem for the UN, A R Rahman is now shooting a music video on water conservation, which will be aired on the web.

Other performers in the webcast titled Moving Stars And Earth For Water include U2, Peter Gabriel and Shakira.

Oscar winner Rahman has based his video on his National Award winning Tamil film track Vellai Pookal.

The 3.40-minute video will be a part of the 120-minute Moving Stars And Earth For Water. Kicked off by the Canadian foundation One Drop, the webcast hopes to raise worldwide awareness on water conservation.

"I always rely on my instincts for music. I chose this track too because I felt it fit the theme," said Rahman.

The video's set in Filmistan Studios is all white. Rahman sports an all-white ensemble and it's evident that he has also crafted the message of peace into the project.

Said Deepak Gattani, founder of Rapport Global, who is directing the video, "The song speaks to today's generation, which is also why we plan to include kids in the shoot."

Added Rahman, "Now there's a 30 per cent water cut even in Mumbai, isn't it? I remember how almost everybody used to carry pots on the street to fill water in Chennai," recalling the drought in Chennai during the '80s and early '90s.

Vellai Pookal

Vellai Pookal (White flowers) is a track in Mani Ratnam's Tamil film Kannathil Muthamittal (2002).

It was written by Vairamuthu MD and composed by A R Rahman.

The first couple of lines of the song, when translated, run: White flowers make the world bloom/ Let the Earth, which is splitting apart, rise for peace.

Aishwarya to get 6 crore for Robot

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (35) is the highest paid Indian film heroine. Still, for her to land an eye-watering Rs 6 crore for a single film — Shankar’s The Robot — is something. Bonus: she serenades Tamil superstar Rajnikanth. Shankar last directed Rajni in Sivaji.

The Robot is India’s most expensive film to date. It was reportedly budgeted at Rs 128.70 crore but after one schedule in Brazil, the budget was expanded to Rs 150 crore.

That’s when the original producers— Ayngaran and Eros — upped and left, leaving the film to the loving care of the Brothers Maran (Sun TV) who were delighted to take over.

Reports have it that with a 27 per cent hike in crew remuneration (most of the technicians are American and have to be paid in dollars), the cost of The Robot or Endhiran, as it is called in Tamil, is set to skyrocket to Rs 165 crore. A new high for Indian cinema.

Roja was my benchmark, says A R Rahman

A meeting between two musical geniuses was in the making but fate cancelled it. Composer A R Rahman, two days before he won two Oscars forSlumdog Millionaire, had received an e-mail invitation from late pop singer Michael Jackson to discuss projects. Rahman talks about Jackson, spirituality and the film that set off his career with CNN-IBN’s Rajeev Masand on To Catch A Star.

Rajeev Masand: May I start by asking you, at an average, how much time do you get to sleep these days? I know that you are committed to doing a lot of work both in India and in America, do you have enough time to really rest?

A R Rahman: I need to sleep, otherwise I fall ill the next day, at least six to seven hours, but sometimes it's in installments.

Rajeev Masand:When you keep the Oscars at home, does everyone want to look at it, touch it?

A R Rahman: I have not seen it for ages. I don't know where it is. It's somewhere in the building I guess.

Rajeev Masand: You have always said that healthy arguments with your directors and lyricists often result in the creation of some very good music. I am guessing after the Oscars no one really wants to argue with you anymore, no one really disputes your suggestions anymore.

A R Rahman: I don't know if it works that way. Because in the interest of any big films, there's always an argument and a vision which is most the director's and if you are sensible you have to go through with that vision. You can't say, "I have written a beautiful song, fitted in the movie, I don't care."

Rajeev Masand: There is a popular perception even amongst your greatest fans that Jai Ho and the music of Slumdog Millionaire isn't necessarily your best music.

A R Rahman: They are not giving me the Oscar for my life, they are giving it for the film and that particular moment the film came in and how different the music and the whole theme was for the film. I am really proud about Slumdog Millionaire’s music andJai Ho

Rajeev Masand: You have always said that you wouldn't like your commitments here in India to be affected by the work that you want to do outside. And yet the first casualty of success turned out to be Rajiv Menon's film Dhun, he is an old friend of yours, but you are unable to do his film?

A R Rahman: It's a bullet which I have to take and had to give him also. His film is very musically demanding and it requires 24 x 7 attention. I can't give a tune through Internet for that film and I didn't want to stop his film in anyway by delaying. I think he is a great filmmaker. He is like a mini Raj Kumar for me. I am sure he is going to come up with really great film and music.

Rajeev Masand: Did you break his heart?

A R Rahman: I don't know. But I needed to take a stand somewhere, I needed to make a choice of not annoying people. But of course there is always a next time and better things are going to happen.

Rajeev Masand: I am sure that you had chance to look at your biography that was published recently?

A R Rahman: I didn't see much of it because but I have heard of different comments passed by people, good and bad about it.

Rajeev Masand: I think your fans are quite eager to know your reaction to the book especially it was fairly critical of you as well. It did speak about you having abandoned your family after you converted to Islam, it spoke about you having abandoned old band mates?

A R Rahman: I wouldn't say that is true because once I seriously started getting into music, I became spiritual, I wouldn't visit my own sister (laughs) and sometimes music needs that. You can't be everything. And a particular time in life comes in when you can compensate.

Like Gandhi, (I am not comparing myself with Gandhi), but for Gandhi the nation was important, for me the music is important.

Rajeev Masand: The book says you abandoned your band mates, the moment Mani Ratnam signed you for Roja There is a critical view of you. It even talks about references to black magic and voodoo. Did you fee betrayed by this book?

A R Rahman: No, I don't want to hide any of my past. There was an incidence in my family about my father. Lot of people believed that he was killed in black magic. So when you are a child you tend to believe everything. And then my overwhelming spiritual thirst made me vanish all the stuff and now I am clean. I am following the Sufi path and I don't care about anything. About the band, it was supposed to be a temporary band.

There was never a thing like I would have to leave my life to come and play in the band. It was a fun thing. We did one number for an album and I became busy in Roja and my band mates were impatient because they wanted to finish the album. So I said if you are impatient please go ahead because I had taken up something, which doesn't come to every individual. I had the best film director asking me for music. I wanted to give my hundred per cent to the film. However, all of them are living their successful lives today.

Rajeev Masand: The acclaimed playback singer S P Balasubramaniam has a complaint. He says that Rahman has very little regard for language and pronunciation. He is happy to use singers from the North to sing Tamil songs, as long as the tune is fine, he doesn't mind very much the words and language or the accent is mutilated often.

A R Rahman: Not every time. Sometimes it’s good to have something funky. Not for the shake of hurting anything but for entertainment sake but that shouldn't become a habit.

Rajeev Masand: Your music for the film Blue is your first album right after the Oscars.

A R Rahman: It's probably the first time I am doing a film like this which is an entertainer and which is about underwater, so the music naturally became fast and beat oriented but we have tried maintain a balance between making sense of melody speed.

Rajeev Masand: You recorded a track with Kylie Minogue for this film.

A R Rahman: It was the wholesome effect of Kylie Minogue they wanted to have in the film. They wanted her to dance and feature in the film in a small part. And she also wanted that to happen for a long time. So she found it a great opportunity. And strangely, she gave me the BAFTA Awards, and next day we recorded the song.

Rajeev Masand: Are you a fan of her music?

A R Rahman: I do like stuff of hers, she is a really lovely person.

Rajeev Masand: It's popularly and very justifiably believed that some of your best work is with Mani Ratnam. You started with him with Roja and Raavan is your eleventh collaboration with him?

A R Rahman: I think so.

Rajeev Masand: What can we expect?

A R Rahman: I am looking forward to this movie because it is turning out to be a very interesting movie.

Rajeev Masand: Your son recently sang for the film Kapil's Retreat, the American film, which you have composed the score for. He has also sung before for Bose, The Forgotten Hero

A R Rahman: No not for Bose

Rajeev Masand: Which was then?

A R Rahman: It was an animation film, which is still a work in progress and the other song is also work in progress. He (son) is getting musical slowly. I just played him the track and he started singing something, which I recorded and happen to use it. In just a very small portion of the song.

Rajeev Masand: Your daughter has sung for Mangal Pandey as well. What's it like working with your kids?

A R Rahman: They have to be programmed in a way, they have to be told what to do and what not to do.

Rajeev Masand: Your music for Delhi 6 is probably your best since Rang De Basanti. What's your favourite song on that sound track?

A R Rahman: Most of them, Rahena Tu, Maula.

Rajeev Masand: Danny Boyle has bought the rights to Suketa Mehta's book Maximum City. Are you committed to scoring that?

A R Rahman: I spoke to Danny but I didn't hear anything about this. But definitely, it's going to be a very interesting film I guess.

Rajeev Masand: You met Michael Jackson shortly after the Oscars. Tell us about that meeting. He has been your influence in your growing years.

A R Rahman: I was supposed to meet Michael in 1999 but because of his mishap in a concert, I couldn't meet him. After nine years, when I went to Los Angeles, my agent said, “I am gonna meet Michael Jackson's manager”. So I just told him, "can I meet him." He said he would email and see if Michael wanted to meet me. So three or four days before the Oscars, we got an email saying Michael Jackson wanted to meet me. So I went to meet him after winning the Oscars. I thought the meeting would be five minutes but it lasted for two hours.

We talked about my music and how I had written them and that how India adored Michael Jackson. Then he called me saying why don't you do something like We Are The World and you conduct the whole thing. I was shocked. Before getting into that he started going to rehearsals for the This Is It concert and the next thing you hear that he is dead. It was a real shocker.

Rajeev Masand: In your first film album Roja was declared by Time magazine as one of the best film soundtracks of all time, how different is the experience of making music now. Has the process changed very much now?

A R Rahman: Roja was my benchmark. I told Mani Ratnam that this was what I wanted to achieve. He helped me do that in a way, patiently waiting and giving productive inputs. So that continues even now. Today, it's easier to put across my musical vision to musicians because they have heard my music. It was difficult to do that in the initial years. People are more thoughtful that ways. They are doing well.

Rajeev Masand: Thank you so much for doing us proud and speaking to us.