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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.