In the city of much joy, music maestro AR Rahman is once again on a high after the music launch for Yuvraaj, his comeback venture with Subhash Ghai after eight years. Rachana Dubey hits the right chord with him in this free flowing chat about his mother, wife, kids, and above all, his music.
It’s taken you almost eight years to get back to work with Subhash Ghai. Why?
(Shrugs) We were working on other projects in the interim. There was Motherland, for instance.. fabulous story, six decent songs recorded. But he couldn’t get dates from his chosen hero. So the film and my tunes were shelved. He approached me for another film but this time I didn’t have the dates. After that, he got busy with his Whistling Woods institute.
How would you describe the score?
Well, it was something of a challenge. Yuvraaj is the story of an Indian family settled in Europe so Subhashji (Ghai) was looking for a western classical-meets-Bollywood kind of music. I think I delivered.
The Bombay Dreams experience must have come in handy?
Bombay Dreams had eclectic Indian compositions. It was a stage musical with lots of ballads. No, it didn’t really help inspire Yuvraaj.
What will happen to the Motherland tunes?
I don’t think I will use them. But Mr Ghai might want to use a song or two in one of his forthcoming films.
Subhash Ghai is known to take a special interest in the music of his films. Did he contribute this time too?
This film was a journey of discovery for both of us. We had long discussions before we zeroed in on a tune. The results on screen were gratifying. The songs look magnificent!
You’re known ask for a share in the music sales. That’s why you didn’t do Om Shanti Om. Did Ghai agree to your conditions?
Sharing profits is every composer’s right. Those who approach me know that and 99 per cent of the producers are okay with it. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t work with Farah Khan on Om Shanti Om. (Smiles) The reason I didn’t do the film was well publicised and it made life easy for me. I didn’t have to put my conditions across.
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a huge hit. Now expectations from Delhi 6 are sky-high.
Jaane Tu.. was an out-and-out commercial score. Pappu can’t dance saala is a hot favourite with young people. I’ll do my best with Delhi 6 too.. then wait for the reviews.
Mr Bachchan really raved about one of the songs he’d heard on his blog. Someone sent me the link.
Slumdog Millionaire has got rave reviews..
(Laughs) I don’t think I contributed much there. I only worked with Sri Lankan artiste Maya. We composed more than 40 tunes in less than two weeks. Danny Boyle (the director) has used the music really well.
The CD is not out yet but some sound clippings are available online. The background score was heard on the festival circuit. I’m now waiting for the formal music launch. (Smiles) And more good reviews.
You were going to collaborate with Akon. What’s the update?
The wait is on. There was a query but since then there’s been no news.
You’re back on the reality show circuit with The Big Band..
Yeah. New voices emerge every five years and as a composer and music patron, I should go looking for them. Otherwise my songs will sound monotonous. So on this show I’m going to launch a search for a band that’s ready to make it Big.
You’ve introduced several newcomers over the years but after a couple of songs, they disappear.
I use a voice which can do justice to a song. I give breaks to newcomers but I can’t shoulder the responsibility of taking careers forward. I can give them a few hits but then they have to fend for themselves. Some keep going.. some go off track.
When will Himesh Reshammiya sing for you? We have been waiting for two years now.
I’ve finally got him. He’s going to be singing for me soon.
Have you seen Karzzz?
(Surprised) He’s done a movie? When did it release?
(Excitedly) Then I must book my tickets right away.
What’s happening with Ada — A Way of Life?
The promotions are yet to begin but I’m getting positive feedback from colleagues. The music is complex but that shouldn’t hinder its sales.
That’s a young and vibrant score. It’ll rock!
So your career is looking up again?
Ups and downs are a part of life.. and work. There were some lows on the graph. But they are gone now.
Do your children show signs of following in your footsteps?
They do. They are still studying but I plan to get them into the music industry by next year. (Smiles) They have always prayed for their abba.
And is your wife Saira?
(Smiles) She’s my biggest critic. Sometimes, I think she has a better ear for music than I do.