Saturday, October 15, 2011

I’m trying to be strict with my chidren: AR Rahman

AR Rahman
Prashant Jadhav | DNA

He may be a global phenomenon, but music maestro AR Rahman is a very private person. You understand this when you ask the Oscar winner about his children venturing into singing career. His son Ameen sang a track for the Hollywood film, Couples Retreat, while his daughter Khatija lent her voice to a song for South hit Enthiran.

But Rahman laughs when you ask him if he trains them: “No, not really. I think when they learn they have to be very strict with the training. And I’m trying to be strict. How much that can work out in the end, we’ll have to see.”

In the city to present Bismillah of Benares, a 50-minute documentary on classical musician Ustad Bismillah Khan, with director Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rahman opens up about the genre:“He was one of my favourites from the time when I was working with Ilayaraja. I wanted to learn the instrument shehnai, so I bought it and when I played it, I started coughing for a week. It’s a difficult instrument, not meant for everyone. Then when I started listening to him, I realised he made it seem so easy. I invited him when he came for a concert in Chennai; he charmed us all. When I learnt that Munni was making a documentary, I knew I had to join hands with her.”

Rahman’s latest collaboration with Western rocker Mick Jagger on Satyameva Jayate was another feather in his cap. Would he work with Mick again? “The album’s just released and it depends on the reception it gets. Even then it’s a huge statement from India. I’m sure that more people will be inspired to do such cross-cultural collaborations. I was quite sceptical about it, I wasn’t sure people would like it. I’m so glad they did,” he says.

He’s also here to launch his album Connections. But as of now, Rahman is busy building his academy back in Chennai, where he teaches classical and Sufi music, into a rock solid one.Wouldn’t he want to open an academy in Mumbai? “Once I perfect the one back home, things might change. Till then I’ll enjoy the Chennai heat!” he signs off.

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