Friday, February 20, 2009

I Don’t Know Himesh Reshammiya at All: A R Rahman

We read about how Himesh Reshammiya has refused to sing for A R Rahman. But Rahman says he has never met Reshammiya.

Laughs the soft spoken maestro sarcastically, “Our communication has been only through the press. He told the press he wanted to sing for me. I told the press I had composed a song that would suit his voice. To this he replied again through the press that he didn’t want to sing for me. We’ve not met. We haven’t exchanged a call or an sms.”

Rahman finds it strange that after hounding him for so long Reshammiya changed his mind. “For the past two years I had been reading about how he wanted to sing for me. As a gesture returning his compliment I thought this song would be perfect. I didn’t know he would sing for me only when I compose for a film starring him. I don’t know if I can do that,” say Rahman who turns 41 in January.

“2008 was my most productive year in Hindi cinema in the last ten years. I had 7 soundtracks in the North and South. And I’m happy with all of them. God has been kind. I haven’t planned anything big for 2008. But my music school in Chennai is my biggest dream come true. The whole of 2008 the school gave me a high.”

Rahman has just composed his first ever song for an international opera-on-film that’s directed by Shekhar Kapoor. “I thank Shekhar for trusting me with something so unusual. The singer Kavita Baliga is a teacher at my music school. Though she’s Indian she comes from LA. It’s a great team that we have at music school. Right now I’ve 110 students. They come from India, Singapore and Malaysia. I want to cultivate musicians who don’t know just about classical music but also new-age sounds. Today’s complete musician has to be clued into world music. And that’s what we’re trying to inculcate at my school.”

Eventually Rahman wants a music orchestra coming out of his school. “And I also want to produce new voices for films.”

Rahman regrets the fact that music and harmony have gone out of our music. “In the course of time listeners have lost patience with melody. All the tracks have to be super-racy. As a composer I’d definitely prefer melody. But if people want to come to movies just to have a good time then I’ll give them racy songs. I don’t want to lose out on the young audience. However filmmakers need to understand the value of melody. It’s not as though people have not liked the melodies in Yuvraaj. I’ve to give it to Mr Ghai for taking film music away from the predictable. I’m very proud of Yuvraaj. There are two kinds of music, the one to draw audiences in like Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na or the one that propels the plot forward like Yuvraaj.”

Speaking of his very special rapport with Aamir Khan Rahman says, “Whatever goes to Aamir is a very high-profile and filtered project. So my music has to automatically match up.”

The year has been plush with projects for Rahman. “I’ve worked with three generations of directors, and in as many continents. I can tell what they like and not like. Working with Abbas Tyrewala in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na was a rewarding experience. Yes, I’ll be doing Abbas’ next.I’m as proud of Pappu can’t dance sala as Tu muskura. Now after Ghajini, I’ve Delhi 6 and Adaa coming up one after another.”

An unfulfilled dream? “All my private album projects have been neglected because of my movie commitments. All my colleagues at my private music-label are crying about this. I want to complete these non-film projects.” -Subhash K Jha / Sampurn Media

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