He doesn’t like to be called the ‘Mozart of Madras’ or ‘Beethoven of Bollywood’. Music composer AR Rahman wants his fans to acknowledge him as ‘Isai Puyal’, which in Tamil means ‘music storm’. He was at his candid best when he spoke to us about music royalty, the new kids on the block and his love for classical music.
There has been a war going on between music companies and artists regarding royalty issues. What’s your take on it?
The issue needs to be addressed carefully. It is important that artists get their share. At the same time, companies need some kind of assurance as well. I don’t think there is any controversy here; what’s needed is fair play by both parties. I support both the music companies and the artists. In the West, that’s how things work and it’s high time we followed suit.
Some singers who have sung for you in the past, brag about the experience and have a tendency for using it for publicity. Does that bother you?
I don’t care. I think it’s both ways, they are giving you their best and giving a character to your song, so I trust them and their voices. I feel very grateful for the fact that some of the best talent wants to work with me.
The youth today prefers fusion music. Do you think classical music is dying and fusion is taking over?
I love classical music and I don’t think it will die, as it’s the base for today’s music. I’ve always loved to experiment with it.
There are many new artists who have recently established themselves in the music industry. Have you heard any songs done by them?
I liked Mithoon’s work in Aashiqui 2. Also, Jonita Gandhi will go a long way, as her voice can adapt to both Indian and western music.