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Slum song

entertainment Updated: Dec 15, 2008 18:49 IST
Ashok Rai
Ashok Rai
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

And to think it nearly didn’t happen.

A R Rahman has been nominated for the Best Original Music Score at the 66th edition of the Golden Globe Awards which are believed to be the ‘trailer’ to the Oscars.<b1>

The Golden Globes, which will be presented on January 11, are awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association comprising 90 international journalists. The show’s telecast reaches 150 countries. Slumdog Millionaire has also been nominated for the Best Film—Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

And it was only a chance encounter between Rahman and the Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle that led to the
collaboration.

In the race
And believe it or not, a song titled Jai ho jai ho sung by Sukhwinder Singh, which plays over the end credits of Slumdog Millionaire was actually rejected by Subhash Ghai for use in the Yuvvraaj soundtrack. “Subhashji didn’t want it,” shrugs Rahman. “Danny loved it..so I gave it over to him.”

At the Golden Globes, Rahman’s competition will be Alexander Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Clint Eastwood (Changeling), James Newton Howard (Defiance) and Hans Zimmer (Frost/Nixon).

Rahman’s chances are pretty strong, a prediction underscored by the fact that he has already won the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association’s Best Music Award for Slumdog Millionaire.

The 78-year-old Clint Eastwood is another favourite for the music honours at the Golden Globes. He has never been nominated for any of his four other music scores: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of our Fathers and Grace is God.

More nominations
The ‘Jai ho’ song could have well made it to the top five GG nominees if it weren’t for a truly top quality year.

The nominees in the Best Original Song are Peter Gabriel’s Down to earth (from the film Wall-E), Clint Eastwood’s title song for Gran Torino, Miley Cyrus’ I thought I lost you (Bolt), Beyonce Knowles’ Once in a lifetime (Cadillac Records) and Bruce Springsteen’s title song for The Wrestler.

Anil Kapoor, who has been reaping the most glowing reviews of his life (Rolling Stone, the Empire, Variety and Washington Post have freaked on him) is jubilant whenever a new honour is announced on the global forum for the film.

Ask him about the Rahman-Danny Boyle music alliance and he lights up, “You know something? Danny was very keen to get Rahman on board.. all of us ageed.

“We kept telling Danny that he must get in touch with Rahman in Chennai..but Danny said that he had heard Rahman didn’t agree to projects and he needed someone who’d come into the project right away. The film had to be sent to the Toronto Film Festival. The final print with the sound mix had to be ready asap.

“So all of us kept telling Danny to get-in-touch-get-in-touch-get-in-touch-get-in-touch. Once the two met, we knew they would hit it off.”

Kick start
Providentially, as it happens essentially in movie scripts, Rahman was in Mumbai for a music release function. He was staying at the J W Marriott Hotel.. he was seen in the lobby. A meeting with Boyle was on and the rest, as they don’t say too often, was music.

Rahman began on the songs as well as the background music score in his studio in Chennai. The raunchy Choli ke peechhe from Khalnayak had been used by Boyle during a brothel scene.

It was replaced by an original number Ring-a-ring-a. Also Aaj ki raat from Don (the remake) was replaced with another original song. In sum, it took Rahman about a month to compose, record and finesse the score.

Characteristically, Rahman doesn’t overplay his chances at the Golden Globes. “Let’s just wait and see. How can I predict my own chances? Of course, I’d be over the moon if..” he trails off from Los Angeles.

He had expected his music score for the Chinese film Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003) to bring him a measure of global acclaim but the period movie as well as its music fell through the cracks.

It’s all there
Incidentally, the Mozart of Madras also composed the music for Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), besides contributing to the stage play scores of Lord of the Rings and Bombay Dreams.

His theme music for the film Bombay was featured in the Nicolas Cage actioner Lord of War (2005). Chhaiya chhaiya from Dil Se.. fetched up in the Denzel Washington thriller Inside Man (2006) and the Tamil song Thenali in the Uma Thurman-Colin Firth comedy The Accidental Husband.

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