His month-long U S tour kicks off on Sunday. Before whizzing off, A R Rahman was in town for quick chats with the media. Some questions:
News is that you've teamed up with Subhash Ghai again after Kisna.
Nothing like that. We were working on a movie called Motherland. It didn't happen because he had date hassles with his hero. But we've been in touch. Now, he's come up with Yuvraj.. which I've accepted.
You're judging the Tamil music band hunt show Oo La La?
Yes, with Vasundhara Das but it's not on a national level. Right now, we're only doing 20 episodes. It's restricted to Tamil Nadu. If it clicks there, we'll try to push it to the national level. Large-scale ventures are possible only if there's time.
What's the news on your music for the stage show, Lord of the Rings?
The preview is on in London already. It releases on June 19. The preview has drawn positive reviews. I'm quite overwhelmed with that because I've worked on it for quite a while.
<b1>You're suddenly into several anthems.
(Laughs) No, no, it's just that lots of companies approach me for anthems. The idea has to connect with me instantly, as with Pray for me Brother. Taj is aimed at creating awareness to get the Taj into the list of the Seven Wonders of the World. Anthems seem to find me.
Is Himesh Reshammiya singing for you?
(Laughs) Of course, I remember he wanted to sing for me. After asking her to sing for me for 17 years, my sister did just that in Sivaji. I don't think I'll have to wait that long for Himesh. It's on the cards. It should happen soon.
What went wrong between Farah Khan and you for the music of Om Shanti Om?
She approached me for her film. I placed a condition for 33 per cent of the music rights. She refused that and the deal fell through. I forgot about it but I don't believe she has. I can't believe she's gone on record saying all kinds of things about me.
After that, everyone who comes to me is mentally prepared for my terms and conditions. These terms are followed all over the world, so why not here?
Sivaji seems to have generated quite a bit of buzz in Chennai.
Thank you. After a long time, I've composed music, which is completely commercial. It's quite peppy and entertaining with all the variety you can think of.
Why have you done fewer Hindi films?
(Smiles) I don't think so. I've done quite a few Hindi films. In fact people down South complain that I do more Hindi films than South Indian films.
Lajjo has been shelved.What happens to the compositions you've done for it?
Excuse me! The film has not been shelved. You can't take frivolous news reports and the Internet as your Bibles. No official word hasbeenissued.The film is on. I've finished 80 per cent of its score yesterday. Mani (Ratnam) and I worked on some details of its music last evening.
Don't you think you've become synonymous with period Hindi films?
I love doing history-oriented projects. They give me a broader canvas, whether it's Lagaan, Mangal Pandey or Jodha Akbar.
Aren't there 12 songs in Jodha Akbar?
Ooof! Who told you? There are only six songs in the film.
A qawwali is already being talked about. Really?
That's good news for me. But I can't officially talk about it right now.
(Smiles) Mr Ghai's on my platter and Aamir Khan's Gajini.