"I Don’t Know Reshammiya At All" Says A R Rahman


By Subhash K Jha

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

Laughs  the softpoken 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." -Sampurn Media

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