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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Listen to A.R. Rahman ft. M.I.A. (from Slumdog Millionaire)


If you have a moment this holiday season, you should go see Slumdog Millionaire, a fantastic new movie directed by Danny Boyle that opened in the U.S. a few weeks ago. Set in contemporary Mumbai, the movie tells a wonderful story about beating the odds and coming out on top. It's both inspiring and touching at the same time.

The movie also features an excellent soundtrack that was put together by famed Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman. His original score perfectly echoes the modern-day hustle and bustle of the sprawling town of Mumbai, fusing intoxicating traditional Indian rhythms with Western hip hop beats.

A.R. Rahman worked together with M.I.A. to create "O... Saya" that is heard at pivotal scenes in the movie and reflects the raw realism of Mumbai's street scenes.

M.I.A. and A.R. Rahman met in Mumbai last year when the Sri Lankan singer spent time in Rahman's studio to record "Kala." In an interview with URB Magazine, M.I.A. referred to the producer as "the Indian Timbaland," which gives you an idea of what a unique talent he is. M.I.A. obviously jumped at the chance to work on "O... Saya" with the famed composer. Rahman says in a press release, "She's a real powerhouse. Somebody played me her CD and I thought, `Who is this girl? She came here and knew all my work, had followed my work for ages. I said, `Cut the crap, this "my idol" crap. You have to teach me.'"

Listen to a clip of "O... Saya" by A.R. Rahman ft. M.I.A.:

I was completely devastated after Mumbai attacks: AR Rahman

AR Rahman and music are synonymous. The mellifluous magic that the maestro composes enchants the very being of listeners across the world. His soulful music is a balm in these chaotic times, when India wreathes in pain after repeated terror attacks on its integrity and bloodbath in the name of region and religion.

And now he has won the prestigious Golden Globe nomination for his compositions for the internationally acclaimed ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’

In an exclusive interview to’s Swati Chaturvedi in ‘Kahiye Janaab’, AR Rahman shares his views on these turbulent times, his music and much more.

Swati: Being an artist, you are all the more sensitive to the problems that are plaguing the nation. What is your reaction to the terror attacks in Mumbai?

Rahman: I was completely devastated. The whole week was very bad. I had to finish a film. I finished the film and left for America. I was going through stress and extreme sadness. It took me almost a week to return back to my normal self.

Swati: Are you sad or angry after the attacks?

Rahman: Both. I am angry because it is inhuman to take lives. People who are responsible for our protection (read politicians) should not only inform and alert everyone, but also provide proper security. Rich or poor, every human being is entitled to proper security against such attacks. The good thing is that people are mature, they understand the problem and are not getting involved in the blame game. People are trying to tackle the problem intellectually. It’s important for educated masses to understand and work towards preventing such terror acts in the future.

Swati: You feel that the country is developing but do you think, somewhere the politicians are holding back the nation?

Rahman: No. India is a young country. Indians are strong and are progressing. Nobody can hold us back. I firmly believe that Indians are sensible and spiritual. Of late, the understanding has become better. We know what is true and what is false.

Swati: Your good friend Aamir Khan refrained from celebrating Eid. Did you celebrate Eid?

Rahman: No Eid this time. Even my wife called up and said that she doesn’t feel like celebrating Eid. There was so much sadness everywhere.

Swati: Of late, Islam is being labeled. What is the message of Islam for you?

Rahman: I became spiritual because of Sufism and it is a universal phenomenon. Sufism has followers from all religion. Because of Sufism, I have got success. India is a blessed place; even the Prophet has said this. Religion should not be labeled. Education is the message of Islam. Everyone should get proper education so that they gain wisdom.

Swati: How much does the political situation in the country affect your music?

Rahman: It actually kind of exhausted my energy. I had to take a break. I was in shock last week, but music is my medicine. Music transports and heals you. I feel that I am blessed and I want to share the same feeling with others. That’s why I don’t take hiatus from work because it is work that rejuvenates me. It is great to give something as beautiful as music to others.

Swati: Your song ‘Rubaru’ was very well received. Please tell us about it.

Rahman: ‘Rubaru’ means light and it is relevant in these dark days. Right now, there is so much confusion, negative feelings and anger. As an artist, what you can give is love and free hugs.

Swati: You have got stupendous success as a music composer. Which is personally your favourite album?

Rahman: My latest Nokia Connections album gave me a lot of creative freedom. I did what I wanted to do. The song collection in the album is diverse. There are songs, which have never been done before. I have used a different style. The internal feedback that I have received is very good. Let’s see what people have to say about it. The compositions include a song from old Tamil literature, a love song - Jiah se Jiah, Punjabi song – Dil and other tracks.

Swati: Your music is becoming more meditative with age. Your take on this…

Rahman: I became old when I was 12 due to the circumstances in my family. May be I am getting younger now.

Swati: What is your inspiration while composing a romantic song?

Rahman: Love is definitely a phenomenon that transports you into a different world. Love is such a feeling that is beautiful. Even if a person is coming to murder you, love can change that person.

The interview ended on such a ‘lovely’ note, the maestro even crooned ‘Jiah se Jiah’ love song.

Adaptation: Shivangi Singh

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aishwarya-Abhishek to croon for A R Rahman

Abhishek Bachchan Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai are not only acting in Mani Ratnam ’s ‘Raavana’ together, the duo will also sing a song for the film.

There was one song in ‘Lajjo’ which Rahman wanted Kareena and Aamir to sing. But since the movie got scrapped, Rahman is now using that song for ‘Raavana’ and will get Ash and Abhi to sing.

That Aishwarya is learning Carnatic music for this film is an old story now, as she plays a singer in this flick. And, on the other hand, hubby dear Abhishek too has an experience of singing while he did some rapping for Bluffmaster title track. So the idea of making both of them sing can be the USP for the film.

‘Raavana’ is a big film by Mani Ratnam and he is repeating his favourite actors after the successful Guru . The shooting of the film is in progress. The husband-wife duo has just finished their Kochi leg of shooting and the crew has now moved to Ooty.

The movie is being made both in Tamil and Hindi language. In the Tamil version Vikram is paired opposite Aishwarya.

A.R. Rahman bags Satellite Award

Washington (IANS): Noted music director A.R. Rahman has added a Satellite Award to his Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score for his music in British director Danny Boyle's uplifting underdog tale "Slumdog Millionaire".

Apart from Rahman's award, the Mumbai set and shot film has won two more annual Satellite Awards given by the International Press Academy for Best Picture-Drama and Best Director for Boyle.

The film tells the heart warming story of an 18-year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai who goes on to win a staggering Rs.20 million ($420,000) on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" game show.

"Slumdog Millionaire" has also tied with "WALL.E", a computer-animated science fiction-romance film, for the Best Picture award from the Boston Society of Film Critics, besides winning the Best Editing prize.

Named as one of the Top 10 films of 2008 by Associated Press movie writer David Germain, ranking at number four, "Slumdog Millionaire" has also won four EDA (Excellent Dynamic Activism) Awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ), including Best Film and Best Direction.

The awards are named in honour of AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin's mother, Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film and television actress whose career spanned more than 60 years.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kylie Minogue To Sing For A.R. Rahman

Kylie Minogue, the international pop star, will sing to the tune of ace Indian music director A.R.Rahman in the film ‘Blue’ which stars Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta. The pop diva has agreed to lend her voice for a track in the film for the price of Rs five crore ($1 million).

Apparently, Madonna and Rihanna were approached earlier for this song. But Madonna did not respond because she was going through a bitter divorce and Rihanna asked for a sum that was not affordable.

“The song will be recorded for the film Blue, which has Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta. The producers also want Kylie to make a music video of the song. In all probability, the song might be shot in Hollywood,” revealed a source.

The company, negotiating with Kylie confirmed that they are very close to inking the deal. “We are negotiating with an international artist. Within two to three weeks, we’ll make a formal announcement,” said Rajnigandha Shekhawat of Nine Winds, which is managing the film’s communications.

AR Rahman on Golden Globe list

Press Trust of India
New Delhi, Dec. 12: Reaffirming his status as a global artiste, music director AR Rahman has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score for British director Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire, about a Mumbai teenager’s rags-to-riches story.
“It is good to hear about all these nominations,” Rahman said on the sidelines of a Press conference.
“I always feel that I am just one of the elements and then combining it with other elements it becomes something else. So with the same instinct I had done the music in two to three weeks,” he said.
The film has also bagged nominations for Best Picture-Drama, Best Director for Boyle and Best Screenplay for writer Simon Beaufoy at the 66th edition of the awards, which will be announced on 11 January in Los Angeles.
Boyle’s film is based on the book Q and A by Indian author Vikas Swarup. It details the story of a slum-dweller, Jamal, who wins Rs 2 crore at the reality game show Kaun Banega Crorepati.
The film was extensively shot at various locations in Mumbai, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which was hit by terrorists last month.
Earlier this week, the film won two awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association ~ Best Director for Boyle and Best Music for Rahman. It also won the runner-up prize for Best Cinematography for Anthony Dod Mantle.
The film is expected to be a strong contender for the Oscar race as the Golden Globes are often assumed as a key indicator to the Oscars.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rahman remixes Choli Ke Peechhey

Thursday, November 27, 2008 (New Delhi)
Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire will feature a remix version of the Khalnayak smash hit Choli Ke Peeche.

In 1993, Choli Ke Peeche created a wave of controversies in Bollywood because of it's suggestive lyrics and choreography. Not only did the song busted music charts, but also made headlines for its controversial lyrics.

More than a decade later, music guru A. R. Rahman has taken up the task of reworking on the track for Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

Agencies have quoted Rahman as saying, "The song fitted the mood of the film. It represents the frentic pace, the colour and swirl of the early 90s. I have re-recorded it in the same two voices - Alka Yagnik and Ila Arn - though in a totally re-worked form."

On being asked as to why is the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire releasing after the release of the film, Rahman was quoted as saying, "As usual we took a little more time on it than we thought we needed to produce the album properly. The soundtrack is being released on December 12."

Rahman is excited about the success the film has got abroad.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A. R. Rahman's cricket connection

Monday, November 17, 2008 (New Delhi)
Besides the films, concerts and private albums, there is something else that is keeping A. R. Rahman busy these days.

After the musical extravanganza offered in the soundtracks of Jodhaa Akbar, Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and the soon to be released Yuvvraaj, Rahman will now compose the theme song for the twenty-twenty Indian cricket league.

This is for the first time that the music maestro has composed the theme song for any major sports tournament. The theme song doesn't have any lyrics but only chants accompanied by Rahman's foot-tapping composition.

So all you cricket fans out there, you've got one more reason to tune into this cricketing extravaganza when it kicks off on Dec. 3rd this year.

AR Rahman tunes for Mahesh's movie

AR Rahman scored his first for Mahesh in the movie 'Nani'. Mahesh Babu and Ameesha Patel played the lead cast. The movie was directed by SJ Surya.

Being SJ Suryah's favorite songster, Rahman is once again composing music for Pawan Kalyan's 'Puli' directed by Suryah. Once it is done, the music director is going to carry on orchestrating for Tollywood with Mahesh Babu's next to be directed by Gautham Menon.

The team usually comprised of Harris Jayaraj and Gautham Menon since a long time, but due to an estranged relationship between them, the duo has split-up. After parting ways with 'Surya s/o Krishna' being their last, Harris moved out and Rahman stepped into theproject

A R Rahman inspires people to vote!

A R Rahman The wizard of music A.R. Rahman has been roped by the election office of Delhi to make people aware about the upcoming elections and the importance of casting one’s vote.

One composition by Rahman will be used for this campaign, and the maestro has given his confirmation. The chief electoral officer of Delhi, Satbir Silas Bedi, said: “We are trying to rope him in personally…and tell people to come out and vote”.

The hit song “Pappu can’t dance sala” from the movie Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is selected for promoting awareness among citizens.

The assembly elections in the national capital on 29th November are a matter of concern for the electoral department. Delhi’s voter turnout has dropped considerably. The 2002 assembly elections witnessed mere 50 percent turnout and the civic election last year saw only 43 percent turnout.

Bedi is quoted as saying: “We want to create a sense of shame among people (who don’t go to vote) but tell this in a humorous way”. Bollywood can prove to be a good medium for making the masses more responsive.

And Rahman is going to do his bit for inspiring people to vote. Moreover, the talented musician is not getting paid for doing so.

Rahman has always stood for good causes. A few years back, he collaborated with Bharat Bala Productions to give a song like ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’, which was not for any album. And his recent song ‘Pray for me brother’ is a song of hope, peace and brotherhood.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Latest Entries


Producer : Allu Arvind, Madhu Varma
Director : A.R. Murugadoss
Star : Aamir Khan, Asin, Jiah Khan
Singers : Javed Ali, Sonu Nigam, Suzanne D’Mello, Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghosal, Karthik, Pravin Mani
Lyrics : Prasoon Joshi
Music : A R Rahman


01 - Guzarish
Singers : Javed Ali
Guest Vocals : Sonu Nigam

02 - Aye Bachchu
Singers : Suzanne

03 - Kaise Mujhe
Singers : Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal

04 - Behka
Singers : Karthik

05 - Latoo
Singers : Shreya Ghoshal

06 - Kaise Mujhe (Instrumental)

More Photos

Slumdog Millionaire
Producer & Music Composer:Rahman
Publisher:K M Musiq except O Saya
which wil be K M Musiq Imagem Musiq


Latika's Theme

Featuring:Rahman & M.I.A.
Hindi Lyrics & Gibberish:Rahman
English Lyrics:M.I.A.

Ringa Ringa
Featuring:Alka Yagnik & Ila Arun
Lyrics:Raquib Alam
Vocal Supervision:V J Srinivasamurthy

Liquid Dance
Featuring:Palakkad Sriram & Madhumitha

Dreams On Fire
Lyrics:Wendy Parr & Blaaze
Guitars:Rashid Ali


Additional Guitar:Sanjay Joseph

Mausam And Escape
Featuring:Asad on Sitar
Rashid Ali and Sanjay Joseph on Guitars

Jai Ho
Featuring:Sukhvinder Singh Tanvi Shah
and Mahalaxmi Iyer
Hindi Lyrics:Gulzar
Spanish Lyrics:Tanvi Shah

Gangsta Blues
Featuring:Blaaze & Tanvi Shah

Sound Engineers
Featuring:P.A .Deepak,Vivianne Chaix & H.Sridhar


Producer : Subhash Ghai
Director : Subhash Ghai
Star Cast : Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani
Music Director: A R Rahman
Lyrics: Gulzar


01 - Main Hoon Yuvvraaj
Singers : Salman Khan with The Fifth of Beethoven

02 - Tu Meri Dost Hain
Singers : Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal, A R Rahman

03 - Shano Shano
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Srinivas, Karthik, Timmy, Sunaina, Vivienne Pocha, Tina

04 - Tu Muskura
Singers : Alka Yagnik, Javed Ali

05 - Mastam Mastam
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik, Naresh, Benny

06 - Zindagi
Singers : Srinivas

07 - Dil Ka Rishta
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Roop Kumar Rathod, A R Rahman

08 - Manmohini Morey
Singers : Vijay Prakash

09 - Shano (Remix Feat. Ember)
Singers : Sonu Nigam, Srinivas, Karthik, Timmy, Sunaina, Vivienne Pocha, Tina

Lyrics:Na Muthu Kumar,Vaali,Pa Vijay
Studio:V Creations
Director:Kala Prabhu Thanu
Stars:Shantanu Bhagyaraj,Ishita,Devika
Label:Sony BMG


01-Taxi Taxi
Singers:Benny Dayal,Blaaze,Viviane Chaix and Javed Ali
Lyrics:Blaaze,Na MuthuKumar,Viviane Chaix

Singers:Madhushree,A.R. Rahman,Hentry

03-I Miss You Da
Singers:Chinmayi,Indai Haza
Lyrics:Na Muthukumar

Singers:Benny Dayal,Chinmayi
Lyrics:Pa Vijay

Singers:Krish,Naresh Iyer
Lyrics:Na MuthuKumar

06-Naan Epoudhu
Singers:Reena Bharadwaj
Lyrics:Pa Vijay

A. R. Rahman discography

This is a discography of composer, record producer and multi-instrumentalist A. R. Rahman.

Film scores

The movies with the dots beside are the original ones. They were dubbed later by the other movie industries.

Year Tamil Telugu Hindi Malayalam English Other Languages
1992 Roja Roja Roja (1994) Roja
Roja (Marathi)
Ashokan (1993) Yoddha (1995) Dharam Yodha (1993) Yodha (1992) •

1993 Uzhavan •

Thiruda Thiruda Donga Donga Chor Chor (1996)

Pudhiya Mugam • Padmavyuham Vishwa Vidhatha (1997)

Gentleman Gentleman The Gentleman

1994 Vandicholai Chinnaraasu • Bobili Paparayudu

Super Police • Super Police Khel Khiladi Ka (1996)

Pudhiya Mannargal •


May Madham • Hridayaanjali (1999)

Kizhakku Cheemayile • Palnati Pourusham

Karuththamma Vanitha/Osey Krishnamma

Kadhalan Premikudu (1995) Humse Hai Muqabla (1995)

Duet Duet Tu Hi Mera Dil

1995 Indira Indira Priyanka

Bombay Bombay (1995) Bombay (1995)

Manitha Manitha GangMaster•

Rangeela Rangeli Rangeela

Muthu Muthu (1995) Muthu Maharaja (2001)

1996 Love Birds Love Birds (1997) Love Birds (1997)

Indian Bharateeyudu Hindustani

Kadhal Desam Prema Desam Duniya Dilwalon Ki

Mr. Romeo Mr Romeo Mr Romeo (1997)

Anthimantharai •

1997 Minsaara Kanavu Merupu Kalalu Sapnay

Iruvar Iddaru

Ottam 50-50 Daud: Fun On The Run

Ratchagan Rakshakudu

Mona Lisa
Kabhi Na Kabhi

Vishwa Vidhaata •

1998 Jeans Jeans Jeans

Uyire Prematho.. Dil Se..


Doli Saja Ke Rakhna

1999 En Swasa Kaatre Premante Pranamistha

Jodi Jodi

Sajni(2007) (Kannada)
Padayappa Narasimha



Kadhalar Dhinam Premikula Roju Dil Hi Dil Mein



Taj Mahal

Mudhalvan Oke Okkadu Nayak (2001)•

2000 Alaipayuthey Sakhi Saathiya (2002)•

Fiza (1 out of 8 tracks)

Kandukondain Kandukondain Priyuralu Pilichindi

Rhythm Rhythm

Thenali Thenali



One 2 Ka 4

Love You Hamesha•

Star Takkari Donga Chakkani Chukka (2005)


Parthale Paravasam Paravasam

Alli Arjuna

2002 Kannathil Muthamittal Amrutha

The Legend of Bhagat Singh

Baba Baba

Kadhal Virus •

2003 Udhaya

Parasuram Police Kartavyam

Boys Boys

Enakku 20 Unakku 18 Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu

Kangalal Kaithu Sei



Warriors of Heaven and Earth (Mandarin)•

Lakeer - Forbidden Lines

Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities

Aayitha Ezhuthu Yuva Yuva

New Naani

Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa (3 out of 8 Tracks)


Kisna - The Warrior Poet (6 out of 16 tracks)


Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero

The Rising - Ballad of Mangal Pandey

Anbe Aaruyire



Rang De Basanti

Sillunu Oru Kaadhal Nuvvu Nenu Prema

Varalaru - The History of the Godfather

2007 Guru Gurukanth Guru

Provoked Provoked Provoked
Sivaji: The Boss Sivaji: The Boss

Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Azhagiya Thamizh Magan

2008 Jodhaa Akbar Jodhaa Akbar Jodhaa Akbar

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

ADA...A Way of Life



  • • indicates original language release
  • Note: "Year" indicates the year the earliest version of any multi-language movie was released. Movies with the year next to the title dictates that the film was either dubbed or released later than the original version of the movie.

  • The films Nayak: The Real Hero (2001, Hindi) and Saathiya (2002, Hindi) were remakes of the films Mudhalvan (1999, Tamil) and Alaipayuthey (2000, Tamil), respectively. The soundtracks were reused with changes and additional songs.
  • Nairsan is a Multi-lingual movie, mainly Bi-Lingual in Malayalam and English.
  • He has contributed one song to Fiza (1999, Hindi).
  • Rights for his Tamil album Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000) are reported to have been sold for a peak sum of Rs.2.2 crore. This record still remains unbeaten 7 years hence. He also made a guest appearance as himself in the same film.

The following films had soundtracks reused from previous Rahman soundtracks:

  • Vishwa Vidhaata (1997, Hindi) from Pudhiya Mugam (1993, Tamil)
  • Sevvanam song in Pavitra from a song in ARR's shelved Malayalam movie Vaishnavar.
  • Thakshak (1999, Hindi) from En Swaasa Kaatre (1999, Tamil) 1 song (Jumbalaka), with changes in vocals and instrumentation
  • Pukar (1999, Hindi) from En Swaasa Kaatre (1999, Tamil) 1 song ('Kay Sera Sera' from 'Nayagara'), with changes in vocals and instrumentation
  • Jodi (1999, Tamil) and Sajni (2007, Kannada) from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1999, Hindi), with 3 new songs added
  • Star (2001, Tamil) from Thakshak (1999, Hindi - 3 songs) and 1947/Earth (1998, Hindi - 1 song), with 1 new song added
  • Love You Hamesha (2001, Hindi) from May Madham (1994, Tamil)
  • One 2 Ka 4 (2001, Hindi) reused from Alli Arjuna (2001, Tamil) 2 songs ("Enthan Nenjil" reused as "Sona Nahi") & ("Osakka" reused as "Osakka Muraiya")
  • Lakeer (2004, Hindi) from Rhythm (2000, Tamil - 3 songs), with 3 new songs added
  • Swades (2004, Hindi) reused from Baba (2002, Tamil) 1 song ("Baba Kichchu Tha" used in "Dekho Na"), with different vocals and instrumentation
  • Lagaan (2001, Hindi) and Alli Arjuna (2001, Tamil) both share the same theme music.
  • Sajni (2007, Kannada): reused all songs from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1998, Hindi)


As composer, producer and/or performer

  • "Al Risalah" - (2008).
  • "Shakalaka Baby" - Kelly Poon's In the Heart of the World (2007). Universal Music.
  • "Raga's Dance" - Vanessa Mae's Choreography (2004). Sony BMG.
  • “The Journey Home.” - Sarah Brightman ‘s Harem (2003). Angel Records / EMI.
  • Indian Mantra (2001). Sony Music.
  • Jana Gana Mana (2000) / (2006). Sony Music.
  • Gurus of Peace (1998). Sony Music.
  • Vande Mataram (1997). Sony Music / Columbia Records.
  • Fantasy / Andhi Maalai (1994). Pyramid / Melody.
  • Thenvandhu Paayedhu (1992) / (2001). Magnasound.
  • Colours (1992) with Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and Zakir Hussain. Pan / BMG Crescendo.
  • Shubhaa’s Set Me Free (1992). Magnasound.
  • Deen Isai Maalai (1989) / Deen Isai Maalai (1991). Prince.


As composer, producer and/or performer

  • “One Love” (2007) Composed for Campaign to include Taj Mahal among the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • “Pray For Me Brother” (2006)
  • “We Can Make It Better” (2005)
  • “Ek Rahen Ek Nazaria” (2002)
  • “Love’s Never Easy” (2002)
  • “Shakalaka Baby” (2002)
  • “Hey Jawan Tujhe Salaam” (1999)
  • “Ekam Satyam” (1999) performed at Michael Jackson and Friends concert in Munich (1999)
  • “Zindagi Ke Pyar Karo” (1998)
  • “Oh Bosnia” (1996)

Special films

  • The Banyan (2006) (short film for Netru, Indru, Naalai - created theme song for The Banyan)
  • Shakthi Foundation (2004) (short film)
  • Jayahae (2001)
  • India on IMAX (2001) (first Indian film made with IMAX technology)
  • Desh Ka Salaam (1999)


  • Chale Chalo (2003)

Concert recordings

  • A. R. Rahman Live in Dubai. (2000)


Compilations / additional soundtracks

  • Anokha - Soundz of the Asian Underground (1997). Polygram. Track: "Bombay Theme" 1
  • The Best of the Musicals. Solid Gold. Track: "Shakalaka Baby"
  • Ambient Chillout Mix Vol. 1 (2002). Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Essential Guide to India. (2006). Union Square Music. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Essential Guide to World Music. (2006). Union Square Music. Track: "Mazhai Thuli"
  • Café del Mar Vol. 5 (1998). MCA. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Chakra Seven Centers (Instrumental) (1995). Meta Records
  • Denti. Mercury. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Fly. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Flying Carpet. Wagram Records. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Incredible India. Universal Records. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Indian Summer. C4. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Eastern Drums and Breaks Vol. 2. Track: "So Gaye Hain A. R. Rahman"
  • Inside Man (2006). Varèse Sarabande. Track: Chaiyya Chaiyya
  • Intervention Divine. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Introducing A. R. Rahman (2006). Union Square Music. 20 Tracks
  • Lord of War (2005). Lakeshore Records. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Mondo India. Ark 21. Tracks: "Varaaga Nari," "Sowkiyamma," "Narumugaiyye," "Mazhai Thuli"
  • MTV Total Mix. Ark 21. Track: "Musafir"
  • Paradisiac 2. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Patchwork. Naive. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Sa trincha Vol 2. Universal International. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • The Streets of Bollywood and Beyond (2006). Times Square Records. Track: "Narthirthinna"
  • Varka Mix. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • Vedic Path. Palm World Voices. Track: "Bombay Theme"
  • VIP Lounge 1. Wagram Records. Track: "Gurus of Peace"
  • Zen 3. Track: "Bombay Theme"

  • 1 "Bombay Theme" is alternatively credited as "Bombay Theme Tune," "Mumbai Theme Tune" or "Bombay Theme Music" in compillations

Ad Jingles


  • Buddy
  • Desire
  • Dream
  • Little One
  • Sizzle
  • Disabled Film

Signature tunes

Instrumental adaptation

  • Roja (1992)
  • Gentleman (1993)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Says Gangai Amaran, well known South-Indian composer-singer and brother of Ilaiyaraja, "Rahman's music is of the computer age. It is digital but intelligent, not just noise. He concentrates on his melodies and has not totally deviated from Carnatic traditions". Noted director and lyricist Gulzar says "He is a milestone in Hindi film music. He has single-handedly changed the sound of music in the movies. He has broken the mukhda-antara-mukhda scheme of composition and replaced the traditional patterns of tuning. He can tune to a near identical rhythm in two different songs. But these songs will still catch the listener off guard even when played immediately after each other. Instead of having the fixed format, the song can also run like free verse with his kind of music."

One very interesting aspect of Rahman is his preference for untrained voices. Rahman says ".. a defect in the singing adds a human touch." His close friend and arranger-composer Ranjit Barot adds "In the Hindi music industry, if Kumar Sanu or Udit Narayan don't turn up, the music director starts panicking. But Rahman would probably look around the studio and experiment with some unknown and untrained voice." He goes on to add, "The man is a whiz coz he eats, breathes and sleeps music. AR Rahman has revolutionised the Hindi film music. Before we did Humma Humma for Bombay, the two of us composed jingles together. Rahman's USP is his ability to combine slickness with melody. The songs from Roja still haunt me. Few can make a successful transition from doing 30-sec jingles to 5 min songs. He's a genius." Bollywood movie mogul Subhash Ghai says of Rahman "Rahman is the biggest representative of Indian music. He is an example for future generations. He is the best fusion of art and science in music". One of his favourite directors Ramgopal Varma says," It is a challenge to picturise songs set to Rahman's music." His erstwhile competitors Nadeem-Shravan say, "The most amazing quality about Rahman is that he has been able to create a 'national sound' which in spite of his strong south-Indian feel appeals to a pan-Indian audience". Composers Jatin-Lalit say, "He totally changed the sound of Indian film music."

Internationally acclaimed Indian Tabalchi Ustad Zakir Hussain reminiscing about the time when Rahman played the keyboard along with violinist Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and drummer Sivamani, on the album 'Colours' says, "He was barely 19 years old then but had mastered many different styles of music - western classical, jazz, rock and Carnatic. Even after his work was done he would stay in the studio, sitting through other musicians' pieces, eyes and ears tuned in, constantly imbibing. Very intelligent, smart and creative. He started as a young boy working with great composers like K V Mahadevan, for example. He knows the public pulse and has given the public a very intelligent combination package. This reminds me of R D Burman. These guys made it possible to bring together all elements of world music."

Singer Lata Mangeshkar, known as the 'Nightingale of India' with whom Rahman worked for the first time in Maniratnam's 'Dil Se' and later in 'Pukar', 'Zubeidaa', 'Lagaan', 'Water' and '1 2 ka 4', is all praise for him, " Rahman is known to record only during the night time. But he records with me during the daytime... when my voice is fresh. I don't like recording at night. And I've heard that Rahman records mostly in the night. But he made an exception for me. When an artiste shows such consideration for another artiste, it feels good. Aur kaam bhi achha hota hai. (Even the work done is good), Rahman doesn't take long over his recordings. Jiya jale was recorded in 40 minutes." Singer Srinivas, whose career best numbers have been with Rahman is totally impressed with Rahman's dedication to music and says, " He's totally absorbed in his music and there's nothing else that affects him. For him music is God. And he gets the best out of a singer." Says classical turned film singer P. Unnikrishnan who made his debut with the song 'Ennavale' from 'Kadhalan' and went on to win the National Award for his very first song, "I have sung more than 500 songs till date but this first song of mine is something I will remember and cherish all my life. The most wonderful thing is that today ARR is the most sought after Music Director in the whole country but as a person he has not changed and even today he is the same calm, composed, humble, committed, unperturbed ARR. Thanks to Rajiv Menon for having introduced me to such a wonderful artist." At one time an assistant to Rahman and today an independent composer in his own right, Harris Jayaraj remarks "I have learnt many things from many music directors. If you single out A.R.Rahman, I can quote his relentless labour, high enthusiasm, and commitment to the tasks at hand. He would never compromise on the quality of a song. He is quality-conscious and individualistic."

Singer Srinivas, whose career best numbers have been with Rahman is totally impressed with Rahman's dedication to music and says, " He's totally absorbed in his music and there's nothing else that affects him. For him music is God. And he gets the best out of a singer." Reocunting his experiences he says, "In 1992, in Coimbatore, was when I went to see Maniratnam's Roja because it was a Maniratnam movie. Dreams of playback singing had taken a back seat; I was in Coimbatore and travelling and didn't know how to approach it now. I was just taken aback by the freshness of Roja's music. After a long time, I had bought a tamil film audio cassette. This new person, Rahman, had introduced so many singers; the re-entry of Sujatha, Hariharan , Minmini and Unnimenon. Immediately, I realized that this person has an attitude towards introducing new artists, his music sounds fresh and he was definitely here to stay! On one of my official trips to Chennai, I got hold of Rahman's address and went to see him directly. At that time, he was very accessible (he had just started working on Pudhiya Mugam). He conducted a voice test; I sang a Mehdi Hassan ghazal and he liked it. I mentioned that I lived in Coimbatore and he said that if I moved to Chennai, he might be able to work with me. By the time I came to Chennai in 1994-95, he had shot through the roof! The gates had become bigger at Rahman's place . It was difficult to even get through to his office. With persistance and a little bit of luck, I was finally able to see him again. As soon as he saw me, he remembered. That's Rahman!.. He's human... and he's got GOD inside him as well! He slowly started giving me singing assignments. Rahman's approach is totally different which now many people have started following. For example, Raja Sir has the whole thing in his mind from the very beginning. You don't have a
doubt about what you should sing and you better not! (laughs). Two totally different schools of music. With Rahman, when you go in, nothing is ready. He just feeds in some basic chords. When you listen to them on your headphones, you are transported to some other world. Within two minutes, he creates a masterpiece of a loop. Those chords are just magic. You feel like singing so much! He incredibly motivates you when singing, which is also the reason why artists (singers and instrumentalists alike) give him the very best.

Vairamuthu, the lyricist, with whom Rahman shares a special bond remarks "I am considered to be a great poet, but I don't have any words to describe his genius. A.R.Rahman is not a normal music director. He has some God given gift in him. Otherwise, how can he compose such soul-stirring numbers? He is a rare pearl in an ocean of music.When one composes a song he is always worried as to whether the song will click or not. But Rahman is one composer who does not care about the commercial success of the song. He is always confident that if a number is composed wth a good heart and self-confidence it will be a big hit. He is like a younger brother to me. The total submission of his (A.R.Rahman) life for the cause of music; his thirst for creating not any chaff but only grains appeals to me the most!" Another veteran lyricist Vaali says "I have been in this field for decades and have seen a lot of music directors come and go.. But this young boy has held me spellbound! His talent, energy, enthusiasm is a lesson to all youngsters. He is always experimenting and is always open to new ideas." Grammy Award winning instumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt says "Rahman has a good understanding of both Western and Indian classical music. I was asked to play for Mani Rathnam's film Anandam (renamed "Iruvar") which Rahman has scored. He has high regard for others, and gives due respect to other forms of music. I find Rahman very innovative, and wouldn't mind doing more films with him."

"Rahman's amazing," drools upcoming composer Vishal Dadlani, "I've listened to the music of Dil Se.. a hundred times and, each time, I learn something new. It is like an encyclopaedia on production." Director Suresh Krissna with whom he worked on 'Sangamam' and then the Indian version of 'The Return of the thief of Baghdad', calls him a 'die-hard perfectionist' and said "Rahman's manner of working sounds very unusual. Generally music is composed, lyrics are readied and the recording is done. But with Rahman it is not so. Far from it, Rahman composes and mixes the voice with a basic rhythm track. Then he goes on adding the music making innovations, inclusions and improvisations till the very last minute, or rather till the cassette stage itself. At every point the workaholic in him keeps goading him to feel that 'there should be something more to it.' The singer, under Rahman's direction, is given incredible scope to delve into every conceivable variation and the whole of it is recorded. This system of working was a revelation for me." Upcoming lyricist Ilayakamban who is working with Rahman in 'Tenali' says "His musical ability to confine the whole world's air in his flute; his glowing inner peace; the simplicity of a mother is what I saw in him." Singer Harini, who was discovered by Rahman in a talent search competition says, "The best part about singing for Rahman is the freedom he gives the singer. Even for my first song he let me sing the way I was comfortable with, eventhough I was a nobody then." "Singing for Rahman was a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed the song. A R Rahman is a wonderful, humble person to work with. A complete workaholic and very involved with his music. He is very creative and undoubtedly talented," says singer Roopkumar Rathod. Singer Abhijeet echoes his thoughts, "It is every singer’s dream to work with A R Rahman because he makes you feel like God. I worked with Rahman for a beautiful song called E Nazneen suno and for Nayak. Of course, I did get nervous when I had to record with him, especially since he records at an unearthly hour like three in the night. But he makes you feel as if you are AR Rahman and he is just an ordinary fellow. Other music directors should learn to be humble like him. Today’s music directors do not respect their singers. If one singer is not around they replace them with another. Also, they demoralise you when you are in front of the mike."

Director Shankar, again a favourite with Rahman - having worked with him on on some of his earliest films like 'Gentleman' 'Kadhalan' and later 'Indian' 'Jeans', 'Mudhalvan' 'Nayak' and 'Robot', has only praises for him, "A.R.Rahman - the name speaks for itself. He knows what clicks and what does not. He composes music according to the demand of the situation. He slogs so much to see that a song is good. He does not want to give anyone in the world the chance to tell him that his compositions are bad. What I like best in Rahman is his fighting spirit and 'never say die attitude' ." World famous guitarist, Jeremy Spencer ,formerly of Fleetwood Mac says 'The only contemporary Indian composer I know of and like is A.R.Rahman. His 'Vandemataram' was brilliant'. Lyricist Mehboob, who made his debut in 'Rangeela' and later penned Maa Tujhe Salaam cannot stop singing the praises of Rahman, "If there is one person whom I revere after God, our prophet, and my family then it is Mr. AR Rahman. He is like a brother to me. I adore him so much that I have no words to describe my feelings for this gentleman." The veteran director Shyam Benegal who shifted from his long time regular, the equally veteran Vanraj Bhatia, to Rahman, for the film Zubeidaa says, ', I admire three things about Rahman. Among the young composers he probably is the most original. He has a strong sense of melody and his harmony is unbeatable. Finally he gives his music a rich tonal color, richness through his combination of instruments, a character to the music.'

Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, the composer trio can't stop raving about Rahman. Says Loy Mendonsa, "Rahman is a great musician, a great human being, his music is fresh, and honest. That's very important, writing something from the heart". Adds Ehsaan Noorani, "A R Rahman is my favorite, he's a genius, his personality reflects in his music, it's fantastic, his music is so pure, it's from the soul." And finally Shankar Mahadevan, "A R Rahman is my favourite because he's a genius, he knows exactly what he's doing, he's very well versed in classical as well as western jazz, all kinds of stuff. And he's open minded."

Director Bharathiraaja, known for his movies with rural themes - the ones with Rahman being 'Kizhakku Cheemayile', 'Karuthamma', 'Anthimanthaarai' and 'Taj Mahal' - and once an Illaiyaraja regular remarks "Illaiyaraja is a born genius. I wanted a change and that's why I shifted to Rahman. There is something in his music that intoxicates you. You work with him once and you will never want to work with anyone else after that." Veteran singer Chitra says "I have worked with all the music directors in the south before Rahman came in. When I sang for him the first time I found that I was doing something really different from what I had done before. I like Rahman, the music director. But I like Rahman the person even more. I don't how he manages to keep his feet firmly on the ground even after tasting so much success in this field. He is the only Indian composer whose stuff stands out." Says director Rajeev Menon "He'll remain my only choice and preference. He's part of my family. We've been working together for the past 14 years. In fact he was the one who got me into filmmaking, while I called him for a lot of my advertising assignments." Acclaimed singer Yesudas says, 'He is a genius musician knowing the psychology of youth.' Veteran singer Manna Dey remarks "I do not think too much of today's melodies. I do admire A.R.Rahman, for he is a master of rhythm. He is extremely experimental, and leaves no stone unturned in trying out new things."

Composer Vishal Bharadwaj opines "A. R. Rahman has elevated the quality of film music to an international level. When you hear Michael Jackson and Rahman at one go, you can't tell the difference in sound quality. Rahman is a terrific composer. He is a genius." Says old friend and singer Suresh Peters, "I was a drummer, not a singer and Rahman was a keyboard player. Both of us were working in a band called `Nemesis Avenue'. He was a very talented composer earlier itself, but everything happens only when the time comes. He started composing jingles and they started clicking. He was then signed on by Mani Ratnam and then there has been no looking back. I appreciate Rahman's sense of arrangement. No one can teach Rahman how a song should be composed. He is aware of all the latest in sound techniques. He knows what will appeal to people and what will not. He is very versatile and different from one film to the other. As long as he does not repeat himself, nothing can stop him from reaching the top ." Independent composer, rhythm programmer and close associate of Rahman, Pravin mani says, "...Rahman gives a lot of freedom to his technicians and all those-involved with him, while working. Moreover, he is extraordinarily creative. Rahman is the greatest person i have ever-seen in my life. He is really a humble person. though he has risen to very high levels, yet he is the same person and behaves the same way as he used to do in his earlier days, mingles freely ..., and that shows his greatness."

Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy, a Rahman favourite says "It's such a pleasure to sing for A. R. Rahman. He's such a simple guy. He has no ego hang-ups." Singer Sadhana Sargam, another Hindi singer whom Rahman prefers over many established singers, says "When Rehman calls you go without asking questions because you know it's going to be worth it.He's a reserved person and talks very little but he makes you give your best. He keeps a cassette ready wherein he has sung the song himself and listening to it makes your work so much easier, he allows any number of retakes. If you've sung half a line beautifully and haven't sustained that in the other half, he'll retain that half and make you work on the other half. The result is magnificent. . And Rehman makes his pleasure very evident when he likes something you've done... then he won't even be shy."

Veteran singer Asha Bhonsle whose career got a revival when she sang for Rahman in 'Rangeela', says, "He understands the youth of today, he has brought about a freshness, a new sound to film music. He's always experimenting, doing something different which is very inspiring for the playback singer." New age Singer-Composer and a close friend of Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan says "I think A.R.Rahman is an absolute genius and is one of the few music directors who completely knows what he is doing. It's an absolute pleasure working with him as he is a cool and modest guy." Noted Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan says, "Wonderful! He has a new approach, he has given a new direction to film music. I think even the established music directors want to sound like him. Perhaps all his songs won't be remembered and hummed after decades. But for the time being, Rahman's tunes are extremely enjoyable." Veteran singer S. P. Balasubramanium says "The man responsible for the variety in today's music is A. R. Rahman." Hema Sardesai who shot into fame when she sang Aawara Bhanwre in 'Sapnay' is effusive in her praise for Rahman, "When Rajiv Menon recommended me to A.R. Rahman, he never gave a second thought and called me over the phone to be in Madras the next day for the recording. Even though I was on cloud nine, deep down I was feeling as if somebody had pulled a trick on me. God has been great! He came into my life as Rahman sir." ONe of his blue eyed boys, singer Sukhvinder Singh says "A R Rahman not only gave me the break (in Dil Se), he taught me a lot of techniques in composing music arrangement and recording. He was the one to impress upon the need to be technically perfect before any producer could be expected to invest in you." Composers Anand-Milind say, "He is the only composer to have brought in something new all by himself in a long long time." Says Ehsaan of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio ""A. R. Rahman is the best! He is a genius and a wonderful human being and it translates in his music."

Popular drummer Sivamani, a childhood friend of Rahman and a professional regular with him, says "Our association began when we both were really young. We had this band called Roots. We just make very good music together. He is a master of laya(melody) and taala(beat). The recognition that I enjoy today is because of Rahman. There are so many talented people behind a film music score. I played for Illayaraja for very long, but my name never figured on the screen or the cassette cover. Rahman changed it all. He gives credit to every single member of his team for whatever part they play, big or small. That makes him really special. People came to know about me only because of him. I thank him for that." Javed Akhtar, noted lyricist, says "I think he is an all rounder, I mean his grounding is very very solid. He knows Indian classical music, he is in touch with Indian folk music, he knows about western music and he has really studied western classical also. He knows about Middle Eastern music. So there is no wonder you see different colours in his songs. But Indian music has borrowed albeit being influenced by Middle Eastern music in past also. But, you see, when Rahman takes a raag or if he takes a folk tune, or if he takes notes of say Arabian music or South American music. When this music comes to Rahman, it becomes Rahman's music his influences are beyond film music and he has a kind of courage where he is not afraid to experiment, he is not afraid to fail and that is why he succeeds. We remember only those people who were not only successful but they have brought something to the arena that is new. Now this is a another leap, a quantum leap that Rahman has taken and he has given a kind of new sensibility to Indian music listener and the music maker. The sound, the orchestration, the very structure of the song. He has challenged the basic structure of Indian film song and he has altered it, changed it. And, I think his contribution is totally unprecedented. Successful people come and go. Ultimately it's the pathbreakers who're remembered with the passage of time. People who have walked on untrodden roads. Success is worshipped momentarily, and then forgotten. It's not enough to be successful. It's important to attempt something new. Rahman's contribution to film music will never be forgotten. He has given a new dimension and understanding to sound. Working with him is definitely a great pleasure. I get along very well with him. He is one person who is only interested in his work. Inspite of his stupendous success, he is so humble and down-to-earth."

Says composer and former Rahman associate Sandeep Chowta, known as 'The poor man's Rahman', "Rahman revolutionised sound. He's a trend-setter in more ways than one. The only thing common between us is the fact that we started out in advertising and moved on to films. There's just no comparison otherwise. Rahman is a legend of sorts. Rahman is unique. He doesn't have set ragas. Yet his chord progressions are beautiful. People sometimes compare me to A R Rahman, it happens. People like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and even Andrew Lloyd Webber have paid tribute to him and called him a legend. I can't even begin to fathom the reasons for the comparison. He's in another zone altogether, he is amazingly brilliant. If people compare me to him, I'd take it as a compliment. " Bhupen Hazarika, the legendary Assamese composer with whom Rahman worked on 'Desh Ka Salaam', opines, "People become immediately entranced by whatever Rahman composes. He is a phenomenon. He's young and talented. And he has his fingers on the pulse of the new generation. Like Salil Chowdhary he knows both western and Indian music styles. He's a great talent but his talent shouldn't be overutilised." Many other noted personalities like lyricist Javed Akhtar, actress-parlimentarian-social worker Shabana Azmi, actress Sridevi, singer Shubha Mudgal, classical instrumentalist-composer Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt(worked with Rahman on Iruvar and Alai Paayuthe) have repeatedly expressed their liking for the Rahman brand of music. Says Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the reknowned composer of musicals, who picked Rahman to score for his musical Bombay Dreams, the first time an outsider worked on the compositions of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, " I think he has an incredible tone of voice. I have seen many Bollywood films, but what he manages to do is quite unique--he keeps it very much Indian. For me as a Westerner, I can always recognize his music because it has got a rule tone of voice of its own. It's very definitely Indian, yet it has an appeal which will go right across the world. He will hit the West in an amazing kind of way; that is, if he is led in the right way. He is the most extraordinary' composer who is still true to his cultural roots, ' and deserves to be heard by an international public"

Choreographer Chinni Prakash throws up his hand in mock frustration and says, "Its challenging to choreograph Rahman's songs. He does not stick to the conventional four-eight-twelve-sixteen beats. He's unpredictable. Sometimes, he gives you a two and three-quarters beat. What do you do with that?" Ramgopal Varma , who worked with Rahman on Rangeela and Daud says "There is a bigness in Rahman's music. Every note reflects the mood of the song. When I used to hear his music for my film I used to wonder if I was feeling my story as deeply as he was". "His music has that international quality which is absolutely stunning," says international director Douchan Gersi for whose film 'The Return of the Thief of Baghdad', Rahman scored the music. Says Pune based music critic Jayanth Deshpande, "The unique brand of classicism brought into Bollywood music by A.R.Rahman mirrors not only the variegated tapestry that is India, but also the global musical culture. Rahman borrows ever so subtly from American soul or Gospel. He draws generously from rap, disco, folk, reggae, qawaali, Hindustani and Carnatic in his rhythms. And the vocal ornaments of Carnatic music or ever present. Orchestral textures and harmonies typical of Western music often grace the background. His is a truly international music with a distinctly Indian feel. He has experimented as perhaps no other Indian composer has before him or does now. Some may be tempted to call it Indian fusion music of a highorder. I've heard his music being used as background in a German TV feature unrelated to music or India."

Govind Nihalani who was the first Bollywood director to sign Rahman says " I am a lover of music. Some years ago a friend of mine gave me a cassette of 'Roja'. I was amazed after I listened to the songs. I decided right away that A.R.Rahman will give the music for atleast one of my films. Immediately I came to Chennai and spoke to him. He is an absolute genius. Very Modern! His range of imagination is expansive. He doesn't treat his profession as just composing music for films. He is able to lift a film to a new level with his music. Just as a painter is identified by his artistic style he is identified by his tunes. Even If i say I am satisfied he does not stop. Uncompromising spirit!! I am not saying this just to praise him. A. R. Rahman is the only composer in India upto international standards today. In fact I will go so far as to say that he is a composer of the next millennium. He is not a person who merely makes tunes. He is someone who creates music. He is constantly observing the trends and developments in his profession. I believe that is also a reason for his success. First , he reads the script and takes detailed notes of the situations, the mood, and the characterisations. Sitting before his keyboard in the studio at night he would say, "Give me a word!Give me a phrase." And he would work out a rough tune on the spot. Then he records it with a singer. But the real magic starts when once he has the song before him on his computer screen. He plays with it, takes a phrase from here and puts it there. Block by block, verse by verse he builds up his song. YOu can see the coloured bits forming fascinating patterns." He paid the ultimate compliment when he said " Its like watching a master sculptor in action."

Ace director Subhash Ghai, with whom he worked on 'Taal' is all praise for him, "Rahman is the rhythm of 'Taal - The Rhythm'. I wouldn't be able to make Taal without this remarkable musician, this great soul who was born to give Hindi music a new life. I am privileged to work with a man who has been inspired and blessed by God above. I don't mind changing all my nights into days to work with him. You know this great man only creates fresh tunes in the night and sleeps during the day. Rare man, rare way of working. That's how all great men are. He creates according to the director's need. He is a widely knowledgeable composer, with knowledge of all kinds of music of the world. He can play Western Symphony with as much ease as Hindustani or Carnatic classical which is a very rare quality in composers. Rahman has a strange kind of spirituality within which he lives. He knows technique, has a rare sense of sound and a great ear. He can make any besura (tuneless) voice sing well. This is obvious from singers who have sung beautifully for his albums but have not done well later. I love him both as a composer and as a friend. He is very sweet to talk to. The only thing is you talk and he listens. He has a sharp intellect and understands not just the sound of music and quality of voice but also the market forces and how to move from post to post. Rahman is undoubtedly a genius. He's divine and simple. " Rahman's favourite singer Hariharan says, "His strength is the way he designs sound. He has revolutionised film music. He is perpetually on a quest to get the best out of you and makes you feel at ease which is important. I have sung some of my best songs for him."

Indian-born Canadian director Deepa Mehta with whom Rahman has worked on 3 films - 'Fire', 'Earth' and 'Water' - says, "Brilliant, I think he is the most consummate composer that I know of in the world. His music comes from the characters and is an extension of them. I think he is the best.He is the most brilliant film composer in India today and is in such demand that he has altered his normal working day to begin at six in the evening and go through the night, so that he can compose undisturbed by producers' calls. A.R.R. is a very young man of prodigious talent with an immense sensitivity to the film's context and characters. Whatever I say about his genius will be stating the obvious. He finds the sound for every character in the film. He finds the character's sur. Raag, rhythm, reggae, folk, classical, he's got it on his finger tips. He's so cinema literate. He can discuss Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata and he can talk about Subhash Ghai's Taal, all in one breath." Singer Alka Yagnik opines "He's a one-man-show. Once he's taught you the song, he gives you a free hand. He lets you sing it the way you want to.". Noted Qawwal, The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who worked with Rahman on 'Vandemataram' said ldquo;The young boy Rahman is the only person with humility in this entire industryrdquo;. Up and coming composer Ismail Darbar who pipped Rahman's 'Taal' to the National Award in 2000 with his score in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' is an ardent admirer of Rahman. He says, "His work speaks volumes. There's no one like him. Which is why I didn't mind when he walked away with all the awards for Taal. He's just so good. When it comes to making electronic music he's the best. I know I can't even compete with him there." Says another leading Bollywood composer Anu Malik, "I appreciate A.R's work. He has a penchant for being international. I think he is talented. A.R. has taught me the value and meaning of sound in my recording and thanks to him, today I am my own arranger."

One of his closest associates, long time friend and sound engineer H. Sridhar reveals some little known facts of Rahman,"I had known Rahman many years before I started working with him on Roja. While he was doing jingles, we would often meet and compare notes on music trends and synthesisers. Rahman's biggest asset is that he treats each song as his first song. He prays before each session. I believe there is some power in his God, faith and religion. I can give you countless examples when he became so inspired after his prayers. He is very open-minded about what a song needs and gives each song a completely individual taste. It is the way he soothes you into a song that I call his signature. There is a visual texture in his mind when he composes music. When you see the song picturised you can immediately connect. Rahman allows musicians to be themselves. He understands their soul. He also has a fabulous way of getting notes out of a musician without telling them in so many words. Rahman never ceases to amaze me. He is such a fine musician apart from being a music director; his strength is fusion. He is also a techno-junkie. If you give him a set of headphones he will most probably rip it apart to understand why it works so well! I sometimes say that we are techno-brats. But Rahman knows that a song shouldn't speak the technical language but should have soul. Rahman is humble and very generous with money. He hates to see people suffer. I think his philosophy is that people should derive happiness from his music, even if it is a sad tune. He has this tremendous need to be perfect." Hot shot director of the bubblegum generation, Karan Johar says "The only music composer from the current lot who will be remembered for a long time is A.R.Rahman."

Comments British-based international chart star Apache Indian, who worked with Rahman on a track for the film 'Love Birds', "He's very talented as a songwriter and singer. I think he can do great things." His mentor and favourite director Mani Ratnam says, "I have found that Rahman is a favourite because he is new and above all different. He knows the pulse of the audience. He has a very good sense of tune. He knows what kind of orchestration is necessary for a scene and what music suits the mood of the scene.He has the music in his mind, and uses every musician as an artiste, probably because he has been an instrumentalist himself. He tries to extract something extra from every one of his musicians as well as his playback singers. He believes in their additional input. Rahman improvises. I found in him a new and different composer who never compromises on quality. Rahman is every director’s dream." He has no ego problems and tries to come out with a new number with the same kind of passion with which he did the earlier one. But he is best summed up, perhaps, in the words of Cinematographer-director Rajeev Menon who worked on many ads and the films 'Minsara Kanavu' and 'Kandukonden Kandukonden' with him, " Music comes to him instinctively. When you see him play, his skill is such that you really believe God exists in his work."

India's leading newspaper 'The Times of India' carried a feature titled "Men we regard: Our tribute to the men without whom this world would be quite, quite insipid" in which it picked Rahman as one of them and wrote "Music maker A.R.Rahman has given these raucous and raunchy times melody and mood. His style is individual to the extent of sounding repetitive sometimes, but when you hear his work, you feel at last the kind of involvement with the spell of sound that was R.D.Burman's. What is most attractive about Rahman's music is his ability to link modern rhythms and experiments with sound with our enormous legacy of classical and folk music."

India's leading newsmagazine 'India Today' paid glowing tributes to him when it published the following lines - "Sometimes a song is just a tune for a music director, whose rhythm invades you, which you hum in front of a bathroom mirror that has a warranty never to break. Sometimes a song is just an intricately woven lacing of words that embraces you on a still, lonely night. Sometimes a song is just a voice for a music director, whose passion makes your hair stand. When A.R. Rahman takes you on a journey-- and to hear it is to feel you have no choice but to journey with him...... ." India's leading women's magazine Femina published a feature in its July 1999 issue listing Rahman as one of the 14 "Men we'll still want to see around in 2009"


Gradually, criticism also began to pour in. He was said to be very slow and was accused of taking his own time in composing, something that reportedly forced Mani Ratnam to drop a song from 'Bombay' to release the already delayed film on time. Rumours were rife that Mani Ratnam had dropped him from his next project for this reason but they were proved to be unfounded. But Rahman made no bones about it and said that he was no machine that could churn out scores on an assembly line endlessly and admitted that he did take his time over his scores. He added that it was essential that he take his time in order to do a quality job and made clear the same to his directors before taking up the assignment. "What is the use of quick delivery if you don't get good stuff? I'm not lazy. I need time to get involved so that something undefined comes naturally to help the movie. I can't do it in a week - all I had for Karuthamma.''

The above problem threw up another quirk in Rahman's scores. Due to the lack of time in completing scores Rahman began to serve up his lesser known earlier compositions in new avatars. This happened for the first time when he used the 'Raakozhi Rendu' song from 'Uzhavan' as 'Aa Siggueggulenta Varaku' in the Telugu film 'Super Police'. He followed this up by using the song 'Baboo Love Cheyyara' from 'Gangmaster' as 'Yaaron Sun Lo Zara' in 'Rangeela' . Then 'Anjali Anjali' from 'Duet' reappeared as 'Milgaye Woh Manzilen' in 'Kabhi Na Kabhi' . This dubious practice earned Rahman a lot of criticism but he didn't seem to care. This feature would become a hallmark in many of his future scores. He would reuse 'Porale Ponnuthayi' from 'Karuthamma' as 'Gurus of Peace' in 'Vandemataram', 'Ottagathai Kattiko' from 'Gentleman' as 'Musafir' in 'Vandemataram', 'Maanpoove' from 'Yodha' as 'Chevaanam' in 'Pavithra', and 'Jumbalakka' from 'En Swasa Katre' as 'Jumbalika' in 'Thakshak'. But he would top himself when he would go on to reuse not one but two songs for 'Pukar'. 'Oh Bosnia' would reappear as 'Ek Tu Hi Bharosa' and 'Nayagara' from 'En Swasa Katre' as 'Kay Sera Sera'.

Another charge against him was that his music was getting repetitive. Initially Rahman countered it saying that it was his individualistic brand of music and therefore might sound that way but later he brushed away the oft-repeated allegation saying "hellip; the accusation is getting repetitive. You call it predictable, I term it as my style. They are ways of looking at it. If you call my style predictable, that means you have understood Rahman has been dealing with a particular brand of music alone. Once you hear the music, you know it is has been composed by Rahman. That is what I am all about. That is my identity; that is the identity of my music. ". " If I stick to my what you call my trademark sound, I am accused of sounding the same, and if I try to do something different , people complain that it doesn't sound like Rahman's music. Its a no-win situation for me. Left to myself I would like to be adventurous and try out styles I haven't tried before."

Rahman takes both acclaim and criticism in his stride. When told that that many are of the opinion that he has given a new dimension to music he responds by saying that many also feel that he is lousy. He adds further that ' I accept I am lousy at times. It depends on the inspiration I get. One can't be on the same creative plane always'.

Many of his colleagues in Madras and Bombay, unable to compete with him took the route of slander and took digs at him calling him 'only a jingle composer' and saying that he would fizzle out in a couple of films. The same 'composers' who copied him left, right and centre made grandiloquent statements like "Let us see if he is around after two years, Rahman's type of music is just a temporary passing fad which will wear out once the crowd gets used to his music, he will not be able to sustain himself". Always one to shy away from controversies, Rahman refused to be drawn in to a war of words and responded characteristically with a very curt "Music speaks, statements don't.". And as expected he replied with his music which blew all the other composers out of the scene.

When asked about the influences in his music he says "Nobody can be completely original ... because the notes are already there... from the notes we form a raag and from the raag a tune... it is a process. As far as possible, to my conscience, I try to be original. The rest is up to Allah." Explaining his approach to composing he says, "Once I complete a composition, a week later, I listen to it and after two weeks, I take it up again. In the process my music grows. Sometimes even after a shoot, I listen to the music find its allwrong and get down to re-working. Sometimes it gets all done just before themusic is mixed. For most, once the shooting is done, its all over but I don'twork like that." Music is like a medicine that cures. Just like a medicine, it tastes sour at the beginning but as time passes it starts to work. If you take sweets for example, they taste great at the beginning but they vanish without a trace immediately. Songs are also like that. You like some songs immediately on hearing but you forget them in the same speed. And there are songs that you hated the first time you heard it, but as time goes on you get a real satisfied feeling hearing it. So, as far as music is concerned you can't decide anything immediately. "

Other filmmakers, whose offers he turned down spread rumours about him. When asked why he turns down so many offers even when he is offered stacks of tempting money, Rahman, as philosophicaly as always, says, "I would say that I'm fighting as hard as I can to be exclusive. I don't have the capacity to handle more than 4-5 films at a time. And once I accept a project it is my responsibility to give my fullest to it. When I refuse offers, I do feel terrible. Some could feel disappointed by my refusal. I say no mainly because I know I won't be able to do adequate justice to their projects. At times, they look as if I've broken their hearts. Sad... its just that I can't please everyone. And as far as the money goes, Money can't buy you happiness. The biggest offers I get are for 'live' shows. The amount I'm offered for one concert is much more than what I would earn after slogging on 10 films! But I'm afraid you can't buy creativity... Everyone comes with the same offer- 'state your price, we'll give you what you want...'. Rather than huge fees, I'd appreciate interaction on a film's score. In reality, the best music emerges from any composer when there's an exchange of ideas... when there are stories that inspire you. Then the project keeps moving... when you're not into the spirit of things, you can get stuck. And then delays in delivering the score become unavoidable. So I'd rather not get into projects which don't excite me from the very outset. I don't want anyone to feel that I've let them down later .. honestly that's how I've been brought up. Don't get into something you'll regret later."

One other criticism levelled at him was that his hip-hop tunes had no scope for good lyrics. This allegation was also disproved when lyricist Vairamuthu won National Awards repeatedly for songs set to tune by Rahman, namely for 'Roja', 'Pavithra', 'Kadhalan' and 'Minsara Kanavu'. Rahman himself insists on good poetry for his songs, "Lyrics lend immortality to a melody. The eternal, evergreen hit songs are always the ones with profound lyrics ndash; lyrics that remain true and meaningful even after years."

To the criticism about the use of technology in his music he says " We are heading towards the millenium. We have to keep abreast of times. Do they expect me to continue living in the 19th century? What is wrong in resorting to modern technology? You have to keep pace with the world around. A computer I bought six months ago had three minutes' waiting time to get started, but today's computers take just three seconds to start. I can now record my music on a hard disk and carry it around, and synthesise it with any kind of ethnic music anywhere in the world. If we are to compete globally, we have to be in step with the times. But you have to hold yourself back from going overboard. Technology is like a monster which has to be tamed. You must know how to handle it. I spent three years to bring the music software I use entirely under my control."

Rahman is probably the foremost user of technology in music in India today. He can probably be described as the man who pioneered the use of technology in Indian music. India's leading Information Technology journal , Express Computer, profiled the use of technology by Rahman. He avoids making music on tape, and prefers to carry his music on his portable computer. Also, he composes most of his music in-flight and his favorite platform is the Macintosh. Rahman, the progenitor of tunes the nation dances to, is a power user of technology. A proud owner of 12 PowerMacs and two PowerBook portables (now 15, with the addition of the first iBook in India), he swears by technology. "I cannot live without my computers today. Most of my music is made on them - so much so that I carry my music on my portable even when I am travelling," he says.

"I prefer my computers to traditional tape, as I can rerecord on the machine, which is not possible on tape. Also, it gives me the additional flexibility of editing a song up to one lakh times, which I can do only once on tape. Also, minor flaws within a musical sequence can be rectified on the computer, which is otherwise not possible," he says. But why the Apple Macintosh? "It is perhaps the easiest and best platform to use, especially in the areas of music and creative arts. I have experimented with other technologies too, but the Mac is something that is very close to me now. It is a machine with an attitude," he says. Moreover, a majority of music professionals across the world work on the Macintosh for their music.

Rahman is currently running his set-up on Apple's G3 processors, but plans to upgrade to G4 very soon. "I use PowerMacs to formulate various types of music and musical patterns. The computers in my studio are not networked, so each performs a different function. Everything is integrated into the final score at the end, which is further refined a number of times before you finally get to hear the end result. More than just the basic composition, the post-production work is made much easier by the Macintosh," says Rahman.

Another strange criticism levelled at Rahman was that he made excessive use of singers without the knowledge of the nuances of a particular language, like he made Udit Narayan sing in Tamil and also the use of untrained singers. To the first allegation Rahman replied that it was quite true and said that he had reduced the use of Hindi singers in Tamil. To the second, Rahman's reaction was " Why should any actor or actress sound like S. P. Balasubramaniam, P. Susheela or Chitra? Why can't a new singer sing in his own raw voice? It's the done thing in jingles and non-film music. Only in films, they insist on an established voice. I ventured to break the convention and the public has accepted it."

On why he uses so many different voices in a film, irespective of whether they suit the character or not, he says " I do it for varieity. Otherwise things would get monotonous. There was a time when the album of a film would have only two voices. Today different singers sing for the same character. The times have changed. The attention span of the average listener has decreased and his geographical purview has broadened. The listeners no longer think in terms of peprfect or imperfect. They want different voices, standards be damned."

Yet another criticism that was levelled at Rahman in the initial stages of his career was that he was at home only with Western rhythms and would never be able to give typical Indian tunes. But Rahman quickly disproved that allegation and demonstrated that he was equally at ease with Indian Classical and Folk rhythms and melodies with his scores in 'Indira', 'Kizhakku Cheemayile', 'Karuthamma', 'Iruvar', 'Uzhavan', 'Taj Mahal' etc.

One other allegation was that Rahman ahd become very arrogant and treated filmmakers very badly and made them wait endlessly. Says Rahman "In Chennai, I hsve a small studio where all the music happens. I can do only thing at a time there. Even when a track is being transferred, all other work comes to a standstill, because I like to supervise everything myself. I don't believe in handing over a job to someone else and wait for the results. This leads to people waiting for me sometimes. But its not deliberate."

Initially Rahman had to encounter a great deal of opposition in Bollywood. People were waiting for him to falter. But as one Bollywood composer acknowledged "He just does not fail. He knows the pulse of the public better than any other composer in India today. He is not only in touch with the Zeitgeist, He is the Zeitgeist.(Zeitgeist - The taste and outlook that is characteristic of a period or generation)."

By the end of 1996, the relative non-success of scores like 'Mr.Romeo' and 'Lovebirds' prompted the know-alls in the industry to comment that Rahman was facing a burn out. Also the failure of dubbed Tamil scores like 'Tu Hi Mera Dil' made the critics carp that he was running out of steam and was recycling his own tunes and had exhausted his limited repertoire. They also remarked that the public was now tired of the 'Rahman sound'.

One other very notable thing that Rahman can be credited with is the fact that he has consistently introduced a whole host of new talented singers, the notable names being Suresh Peters, Shahul Hameed, Aslam Mustafa, Unnikrishnan, Sreenivas, Mahalaxmi, Harini, Minmini, Sujatha Mohan, Nithyashree etc. He even got his secretary Noell James to sing in films. Once, in 1995, Rahman was invited by Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan, his former school, to be the judge in a singing competition. Rahman promised that he would give the winner of the contest a break in cinema. True to his word, he introduced the winner of the contest, Harini, with the song 'Nila Kaigiradhu' in 'Indira' and then gave her 'Telephone Mani' in 'Indian'. This song was a big success. She then went on to sing many more songs for Rahman. He has also given a fresh lease of life to the careers of fading and failing singers like Asha Bhonsle with 'Rangeela', Hema Sardesai with 'Sapnay' and Sukhvinder Singh with 'Dil Se..' . He also brought to the mainstream Sreenivas and let him prove his worth after being a chorus singer for a long time. Rahman says, "That is because I know the difficulty of not being given a chance to prove yourself when you are talented. When God has made me a successful music director today, then why not use it to the best by introducing new talent? I will be sinning if I don't provide an opportunity to talented people."

Also a very important reflection of Rahman's humility, fairness, honesty and sense of equality is reflected in the fact that he is the only composer who ensures that his entire team ranging from the rhythm programmers to the instrumentalists and chorus singers are credited on the inlay card of the album. If, today, Noell James, Febi, Feji, Sivamani are household names the credit goes to Rahman's sense of fair play. Sivamani has repeatedly thanked Rahman for bringing him into the limelight. An interesting characteristic of him is that he never watches the movies he has composed for. He has only watched two till date, 'Roja' and 'Rangeela'. "The songs are rarely picturised the way they were narrated to me. I don't want to feel disappointed at not having composed to the feel of the picturisation."

Rahman is also known for some strange personality quirks. Like his inclination to work during the nights and sleep during the day. When asked how he developed this unexpected and unusual habit of sitting up all night and working and making others work with the same passion, the same perseverance, the same precision to come up with nothing but the best, the best that will satisfy him and satisfy a filmmaker like the filmmaker who is madly in love with his music. He says he used to work the whole day when he worked as a jingles man, working on all kinds of ad films. He started working on the few films that came his way after 6 pm. Soon he was working from 6 am to 6 p.m. and then from 6 p.m. to 2 am and then it went on from 6 am to 6 p.m. the next day. The unusual man's unusual schedule now starts at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. and then goes on till 6 am.

"For a creative job, there are no working hours. When something doesn't work out, I usually continue working. Initially I used to work in the day, but My work used to get extended into the night and slept at 2''O clock and then it got later and later and I used to miss my morning prayers. So I thought why not work in the nights and sleep in the day." "It started when I was working on films and jingles simultaneously. It used to be nine to nine in a studio, ten to five on jingles, three hours of sleep, and back to the studio. Then I realised that I actually liked working in the night - it was quiet and serene. There was another reason too. When I used to work till three or later and hen fall asleep, I missed out on my prayers, so I decided to stay awake for a few more hours and complete praying. By then it would be six. So, now I sleep from nine to three." Speaking about how he relaxes, he says."After I finish a film, I mostly take my family to the Dargah where we pay our respects to the Aulia. Otherwise I meditate and sometimes Internet. I like to see what people talk about me and what they are bitching (sic) about me."

Commenting on his responsibilities towards his listeners he says, "Once music listeners trust you, you've got to live up to their faith. You can't tell people there wasn't enough time to do justice to the music or that the director gave me the wrong brief. All listeners care about is the quality of the work. So I better do my best. Since buyers spend their hard earned money on music I think its our responsibility not to betray their trust. If you lose their trust you've had it."