'Rahman is an exceptional talent'

Updated on Aug 14, 2007 12:10 PM IST

Sound engineer Aditya Modi speaks to Shaikh Ayaz about his four-year stint with AR Rahman and his new studio.

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HT Image
Hindustan Times | ByShaikh Ayaz

He recently opened a stereo sound mixing studio in Malad. An AR Rahman protégé for four years, he has worked with the Chennai-anchored maestro on such musically top-grade efforts as Meenaxi, Yuva, Rang De Basanti and Guru.
What's more, the Audio Engineering Society has feted him twice as the Best Sound Engineer in 2006 and 2007. Over to the 24-year-old Aditya Modi:

Your father Vijay Modi has been a studio stalwart for two decades. How easy was it for you to get your first studio off the ground?
(Laughs) Things were not as easy as they seem. It was my dream to open a studio. The Premier Digital Mastering Studio is into surround and stereo mixing. We also master the final cut of DVDs.

Why did you assist A R Rahman? Didn't you think it made sense to apprentice with a sound engineer like Rakesh Ranjan or Daman Sood?
Oh, I did work with Mr Sood and Mr Avinash Oak. They were running Western Outdoor then which was later taken over by UTV.

After came back from Florida, where I did a course in Recording Art from Full Sail University, I joined Western Outdoor. I had written an email to Rahman for work.

A year passed and there was still no reply from him. Soon, he wrote back and I left for Chennai immediately.

Why did you leave Daman Sood for Rahman?
Western Outdoor was being shut down.. there was nothing much to do. But the most important reason why I preferred to move to Chennai was because I wanted to work with Rahman.

My first film with Rahman was Boys in Tamil., the first Hindi one was Meenaxi. Then we did Tehzeeb. I had known Rahman since I was a child. My dad would work with him on commercials.

Isn't it difficult to work with Rahman?
Look, geniuses have their own quirks. One has to learn to adjust to their pace of work, one should read their mind and act accordingly.

I've worked day in and day out with Rahman. He works at his own pace. He's an exceptional talent, and he expects nothing but the best from his technicians. Rakesh Ranjan and Daman Sood have been dominating the audiography field for decades now.

Does that leave any scope for the young talent?
I think they have done amazing work in all these years. They are stalwarts. It's very kind of them to open the doors for young sound engineers.

Also, I think they have their own style, so do the young sound engineers. The industry has enough space for all kinds of technicians.

Do the sound engineers feel neglected that they are not recognised at most of the award functions?
Some awards organisers do fete us. But it's a glamour-driven industry, so one can't really complain.

Today, cinema is growing, the sound recording field has so much scope. There are several institutes which offer courses on sound engineering, there's the Pune Institute, School of Audio Engineering and Digital Academy.

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