I have no differences with Aamir Khan: AR Rehman

AR Rahman made an impact with his debut in 1992, although not many believed he would be around for too long. Today, he has become the heartbeat of the nation. He chats about his past, present and future.

Q. What is it about the music industry that makes you angry?
A. I have stopped getting angry. There is no point blaming others. I believe in being the change, not the observer. One person can inspire others, just like one candle can light a million candles. Just be true to yourself. The Internet helps people to focus on their objectives, and to consolidate elements to make a difference.

Q. The Internet is a boon and a bane, what with free downloads.
A. The Internet is like your mind. It can be filled with either good thoughts, or bad thoughts, or both. The Internet is a personal thing.

Q. How do you strike a balance between South Indian films and Bollywood, when it comes to your work?
A. It is terrifying, trying to maintain in both. I am working in a team, the director helps. If I were to work alone, then it would have been difficult.

Q. Do you still work at night?
A. Not anymore, no.

Q. What are your forthcoming Tamil releases?
A. There is one film named 'Sakarkatti', and an animated film named 'Sultan' that Rajnikanth's daughter, Saundarya, is making.

Q. It must be more difficult to compose music for an animation film.
A. Not really. It is the same thing, in fact, you can use your imagination more freely.

Q. Now that you have Hollywood films, have Tamil and Hindi films taken a back seat?
A. In a way, yes. I used to do six to seven Tamil movies, and three to four Hindi films, annually. I have reduced my work by half, and am taking things easier. There is much less stress.

Q. The dubbed version of 'Sivaji' will have Hindi songs with Tamil tunes.
A. Yes, because the Tamil culture should be obvious. We are not trying to set it in a North Indian environment. It is dubbed only so that people can understand.

Q. What are the other releases that you are looking forward to?
A. The album, 'The Lord of the Rings'. It is releasing on December 10, and it is going to be a huge event.

Q. Whom do you like better, Rahman the music director, or Rahman, the singer?
A. That is a difficult question. If you like yourself too much, then you get into trouble, and if you don't, then you get into trouble anyway. So, I am critical.

Q. How do you prevent yourself from getting too complacent?
A. I have always been clear about one thing – I am just an instrument, and God controls me. If I am lazy, just sitting in one place, then I am like a battery that has not been charged. There has to be excitement, which is why I take up projects that are exciting.

Q. How do you deal with critics?
A. The Internet has helped a lot – we can check blogs, and see what people have written, what the negatives and positives are. When we make a film with a big star, we have to make sure the music is in his favour. We cannot then experiment.

Q. How do you adjust to the different environments that you work in?
A. When you are an adult, you speak in varied tones to your child, wife, or intellectual. You become a different person within each situation. That is a simple analogy for the way I work.

 Q. Tell us about 'The Lord of the Rings'.
A. It is probably one of the most complex projects that I have been involved in. It is good composition. The whole team was in Chennai recently to complete the mixing. It has more than 15 tracks.

Q. There are rumours of differences between Aamir Khan and you.
A. Just because I am not composing his next film does not mean we have fallen out.

Q. The music of 'Elizabeth – The Golden Age' seems deliberately loud.
A. When we began, the music sounded very arty, and I felt that the film would drag if we continued with the same music. The film itself is artistic, so the pulsating, throbbing music is in contrast to the feel of the music. It was a creative decision to make the film enjoyable.

Q. What are your other forthcoming films, besides 'Ghajini'?
A. There are a few – 'Jane Tu Jane Na', 'Jodha Akbar', 'Yuvraj', 'Aadab', 'Dilli 6', and the Hindi version of 'Sivaji'.

Q. What are your favourite top 10 projects?
A. Very difficult to choose, when it is your own work, but here goes – 'Roza', 'Bombay', 'Taal', 'Lagaan', 'Zubeida', 'Rang De Basanti', 'Dil Se', and 'Rangeela'

-Rajnee Gupta & Sonu Anand

Courtesy: santabanta.com

It's remix time at the Tamil audio market

Chennai, Nov 27 - This is the time of remix songs, which are a hit with the young. A lot is expected from Yuvan's 'Billa' that is releasing this week.The top five Tamil songs for the fortnight are:

1. 'Azhagiya Thamizh Magan' - Music: A.R. Rahman. 'Pon magal vanthal', an old TM Soundara Rajan song, is the biggest hit of the album.

2. 'Pollathavan'- Music: G.V. Prakash. This album is at the number two position because of a remix song. Yogi B has remixed the seventies song 'Engeyum eppothum' by S. P. Balasubrahmaniam in 'Ninaithale Inikkum' and it is a huge hit.

3. 'Sathum Podaathay'- Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja. The movie has disappeared from the theatres but the song by Viva girls is still a favourite.

4. 'Bheema'- Music: Harris Jayaraj. 'Mudhal mazhai' sung by Prasanna, Hariharan and Mahiti is the pick of the album

5. 'Kalloori' - Music: Joshua Sridhar. Joshua's 'Kaadhal' was a big hit but 'Kalloori' from the same music director is a disappointment.

Courtesy: earthtimes.org

Creating world music

Bulgarian singer and goodwill ambassador of UN's World Refugee Organisation Dyana Dafova will team up with Indian music legend A.R. Rahman for her next album. Dyana met Rahman during a press conference at Houston in USA last February.

"The meeting was quite accidental. The organisers said that Rahman was in the same hall and invited me to meet him," Dyana, who is in the city for Ayurveda treatment, said.

Dyana is planning a joint production. "Both of us are composers of world music. Both of us connect across cultures. Rahman is also excited," Dyana said. The two stalwarts will come together for a creative session this May at Houston.

Dyana said she easily blends "four to five cultures" in a single song of hers. "I employ a whole range of genres from classical and modern to folk, just like Rahman. You can call both of us world musicians," she said.

Rahman is only her latest link to India. Her American husband Michael Butterfield, who is also her manager, was born in Kolkata. Butterfield, who speaks fluent Hindi, has accompanied her to the city. This is Dyana's second visit to the State. "We are seriously planning to have a holiday home in Kovalam," Butterfield said.

What's more, Dyana is the only European artist ever to be invited by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for a live performance in the country. The year was 1999, the year her most popular album 'Charisma' was released.

'Charisma', again, was the only European album to be produced by the Indian company Times Music.

This Bulgarian songwriter/singer is also the only performer in the world who sings in 11 different languages. This includes even Sanskrit. Others are Latin, Celtic, Italian, Japanese, North American Indian, Bulgarian, Arabic and English. "I don't speak all these languages. But I pick specific words and phrases from these languages and sprinkle them in my lyrics," she said.

The lyrics of the song 'Ahadyah', for instance, is a fusion of Sanskrit, English and Arabic. Incidentally, 'Ahadyah' (pronounced 'aadhya') was the song selected by NASA, from among thousands of entries, to be played for the astronauts when they reached space in the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia.

"Ahadyah means universe. Sanskrit and Arabic words gave the music a cosmic feel. That could be why NASA selected my song for the astronauts," Dyana said. "I use language as a connection between cultures. It spreads love, happiness and tolerance," she said.

Perhaps why Dyana is popularly known as the 'spiritual voice of Bulgaria'. Her concerts are full of colour and are peppered with dances, just like a Bollywood musical.

It was this contagion of happiness that she spreads which led the United Nations make her the goodwill ambassador of the World Refugee Organisation UNHCR. Dyana is the only European singer to be so recognised. In America too, her popularity is on the rise.

One of her biggest fans is Democratic front runner for the American presidency Hillary Clinton, no less. Dyana keeps correspondence with Hillary ever since she visited Bulgaria as America's First Lady.

Courtesy: newindpress.com

A R Rahman likely to sing for Kailasa

New Delhi (PTI): After stamping their mark in the music industry with two successful albums, the composer trio of popular band 'Kailasa' are now expanding their domain into Bollywood and are in talks with the Mozart of Madras, A R Rahman, who may sing for them.

Band leader Kailash Kher, together with Mumbai-based Kamath brothers, Paresh and Naresh, are set to compose music for two Bollywood films.

"Yes, me and my colleagues of my band 'Kailasa', Paresh Kamath and Naresh Kamath, will be composing music for upcoming films 'Made In China' and 'Allah Ke Bande,'" said Kher during a telephonic conversation.

"Together we will be known as Kailash-Paresh-Naresh" he added. The trio who joined hands together in 2006 had brought a whiff of fresh music and regaled audiences with sufi elements in their first album 'Kailasa' followed by 'Kailasa Jhoomore' a few months ago.

The songs 'Teri Deewani' and 'Tauba Tauba' from the album 'Kailasa', and 'Bam Lahari' and 'Saiyaan' from 'Kailasa Jhoomore' turned out to be huge hits.

'Made in China' directed by Nikhil Advani and produced by Ramesh Sippy stars Akshay Kumar and model-turned-actor Deepika Padukone. This multicomposer film will also have musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as well as veteran Bappi Lahiri. The title track will be done by Kailash-Paresh-Naresh.

"Shankar Mahadevan, who is the main composer in the movie will also sing a track tuned by us," said Kher.

Kailash, who rose to popularity with 'Allah ke Bande' in the film 'Aise bhi hota he', is excited about the possibility of getting A R Rahman to sing for his composition in the upcoming 'Allah Ke Bande,' by debut filmmaker Farooqe Kabir.

"I share a special bond with Rahman and I never miss a chance to work with him. He is blessed by God. His spirituality and simplicity attracts everyone," says Kailash.

The trio is working on a sufi song and have already discussed it with Rahman.

"Rahman likes the idea and if things fall in line he will be singing this song," adds Kher.

Kher, who is an admirer of late sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, says Khan has a great influence on his life.

"I liked his (Nusrat's) selection of songs. All his songs have a philosophical touch. There was an yearning to reach the almighty," said Kher.

Kailash Kher is also associated with a television show tittled 'Mission Ustaad', which will be aired on the new entertainment channel 9X.

"This programme we will entertain people for a cause," said Kailash about the programme which envisages propagating the message of United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

"I'm very excited to be a part of this show. I'll sing, make people happy and ask them to help people in need," said the singer.

Courtesy: Hindu.com

Rahman to judge reality show

Given the number of music based reality shows on television, one would wonder why someone like AR Rahman would lend his name to one.

But the music maestro, who will seen be in Mission Ustaad on 9X, is quite excited about this show, even though he admits that music reality shows have lost their charm on television. "I agree that music shows aren't what they used to be, but this show will be different because here the singers are not being judged. It's the song and the thought that goes behind the song that's being judged," says Rahman.

The four jodis on the show will sing popular and especially composed songs based on a theme linked to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Speaking more about the show, which will also see Javed Akhtar and Lara Dutta giving him company on the judges' panel, Rahman says that he has been approached for a number of reality shows earlier too, but he didn't want to take part in any run of the mill kind of show. "I have done Super Singer some years back and another show in the South but this is my biggest music show in the North since then," he says. Rahman believes that music can't be judged but believes that even one song can have the ability to provide hope and encouragement to a person. "We want to see how effective a song can be to promote a cause. I get loads of e-mails from people telling me that they have at times come out of depression and misery after listening to some song. I hope the opposite doesn't happen when they listen to any of my compositions!" he chuckles.

He shares a good chemistry with the other two judges as well. "I'm the silent one on the show. Javedji is a very learned man and Lara has been associated with UN since long, so she's always bang on target about her facts," he says.

Considering that he's busy with Bollywood as well as South projects, will he be willing to do another show on the small screen if he's approached for it? "If it's really interesting and innovative, why not?" he adds with a smile. And he's willing to compromise on other projects as well if that happens. "Even for this show, I had to compromise on some other things, but that's okay," he says.

Bollywood will get to hear a lot of Rahman in the coming few months, what with three of his Hindi film albums releasing in the next four months or so.

Now a sequel to Abhimaan

The buzz has been around for long. Amitabh Bachchan has been toying with the idea of a sequel to Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Abhimaan.

Now it is learnt that Pawan Kumar Jain will be making Abhimaan 2 with the Bachchan clan. The sequel reportedly will have Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan playing parents to Abhishek Bachchan. Aishwarya Bachchan will be the bahu.

When Pawan Kumar Jain approached Bachchan Sr with the idea, the actor agreed that the producer should find a director who is good with family dramas.

Vipul Amrutal Shah is being cited as the first choice. Pawan Kumar, former secretary to Shatrughan Sinha, had co-produced the original Abhimaan in 1973.

Sunil, Jain's son, was taken aback when quizzed on the project.

"Who told you this?, Nothing has been confirmed yet. We're planning something but don't want to reveal any detail."

Plans galore
On being prodded, he asserted that he was busy with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that's up for release.

"Only after the film hits the theatres, will I start thinking about my next project," he said.

However, our source maintains that Jain is on the lookout for a suitable director for Abhimaan 2.

Oddly enough, a sequel to Abhimaan was also being planned by Rakeysh Mehra.. some three years ago. AR Rahman had even been contacted for the music score. Rahman had opted out then, because of other work commitments.

Courtesy: Hindustantimes.com