Sonu nigam on A R Rahman

This is what Sonu Nigam has to say about A R Rahman to CNN-IBN

CNN-IBN's special show To Catch a Star featured one of the most talented and versatile singers of the day – Sonu Nigam.

Appropriately apostrophised as 'India's Voice of Love' on the show, Sonu's voice has been used often by Shah Rukh Khan to woo his heroines. Alternately, the same voice has wrenched tears from the eyes of millions.

Rajeev Masand had a lively chat – interspersed with songs – with Sonu Nigam about singing, rivalries, mimicry, and much more.

Rajeev Masand: Sonu, the song these days everyone is talking about is your song from Jodhaa-Akbar. It's a song with A R Rahman and your collaboration with Rahman has always been interesting – you guys have done some interesting work together. You sang for him in Dil Se, you sang for him in Saathiya, you sang for him again in Legend of Bhagat Singh. Is he really a guy who brings out the best in you?

Sonu Nigam: I think he's been known to be very choosy and he chooses good. So, I would say that both of us have had a good tuning. We've worked less with each other. We've not worked too much. In fact, in last five years – after Saathiya - I've hardly worked with him. I remember – I can count on my fingers – I must have sung two songs for him.

Rajeev Masand: Why do you think that is?

Sonu Nigam: He's also doing less work, I've also stopped doing film songs. I just want to be very selective right now because it's very difficult to be a singer in India and not be that so-called 'playback singer'.

Rajeev Masand: That's true.

Sonu Nigam: Everybody just wants to become a playback singer, not understanding the disadvantages of it. You are never able to carve your own niche, you are never able to get your own individuality out. So I wanted to check that in me. I wanted to become a singer, not only a playback singer. And so I've had to cut out many of my playback assignments and by the grace of God it has helped me tremendously.

Rajeev Masand: Okay, now since we were talking about your collaborations with A R Rahman, let's set the mood for the show. Also, it is the Republic Day weekend, let's ask you to give a few lines from a song you sang for Rahman from the film .The Legend of Bhagat Singh. I think you know which song I'm talking about.

Sonu Nigam: Yeah, yeah. Sings 'Rang de basanti chola'.

The article above is an excerpt from the following link:

Freedom of expression

On the 58th anniversary of India becoming a Republic, After Hours got them to talk about what they cherish most from the Constitution, and what they would also like included.

Freedom of Expression
AR Rahman

I cherish
While each right is precious to people at some point in their lives, in my case it is perhaps Right to freedom of Expression that is most appropriate. That is exactly what I do through my music.

I want
I wish every child in this country gets the basic needs of life fulfilled,  so that they have some hope of a brighter future.


Fear of failure for A R Rahman?

Is Reuters misguided? Read on the article.

By Prithwish Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A string of hits over the years hasn't helped composer A.R. Rahman get rid of his biggest fear -- that a bad project might harm his reputation as Bollywood's best.

Rahman, who shot to fame with his compositions for "Roja" in 1992, is known for his musical versatility. He has innovated with different instruments and sounds to create some of India's best known musical hits for more than a decade.

But the composer knows success comes at a price.

"It does scare me sometimes (but) not about staying on top - first place or second place," Rahman told Reuters.

"It is about what I'm delivering, how good the music is always, how precise I have to be while composing as I might be putting my reputation of 15 years at stake."

Rahman has several big budget projects lined up for release in 2008, including Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodhaa Akbar", Subhash Ghai's "Yuvraaj", Rakeysh Mehra's "Dilli 6" and the Aamir Khan-starrer "Ghajini".

But he's eagerly awaiting Tamil filmmaker Shankar's science fiction venture "Robot".

"Robot' is very futuristic and I am looking forward to composing for it," Rahman said. "I have never tried the genre before and it is an exciting venture."

Selecting the right project might be tough for some but for Rahman, instinct plays a key role.

"I often take quick decisions as sometimes I work with people whom I have worked with before and sometimes it's just out of pure instinct when I come across an exciting project."

News courtesy: Reuters

The link for the article is

Jodha Akbar music review - apunkachoice

Composing for a period film in present times is no easy task. One has to walk the tight rope and balance the musical moods of the era bygone with the present taste of music buffs, which, unfortunately, is heavily inclined towards anything techno and rap.

AR Rahman walks the thin line. His compositions in 'Jodhaa Akbar' have a mere glimpse of what would have been the musical culture in Mughal times. And it also attempts to cater to the present popular tastes. This way, the music album of 'Jodhaa Akbar' ends up neither here nor there. The compositions are good, but they are not great.

Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah is a powerful song hailing the Mughal emperor Akbar. The number, sung by Mohammed Aslam and Bonnie Chakraborty, is heavy on beats and has a pleasing orchestra in the background. Rahman shows his musical wizardry with sounds that create images of rattling swords and chains. Also unmistakable in the song is the theme melody of 'Lagaan' that plays a number of times.

Jashn-e-Bahara could have been a much better song had Rahman chosen a better singer than Javed Ali, who surely sings the right notes with skill, but doesn't have much emotive appeal in his bland vocals. Still, the song, set on an Arabic tempo, carries Rahman's subtle magic. The tender notes of rubaab, mandolin and santoor form the backdrop of this soft romantic track, set to poetic lyrics by Javed Akhtar.

However, the Jashn-e-Bahara instrumental version on flute is a delight to the ears.

AR Rahman is back to what he does best in Khwaja Mere Khwaja, a sufi qawwali with a dash of techno touch. The song, an ode to Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer, has Rahman himself wielding the microphone and jarring the senses of a listener with his emotive and evocative vocals. Though the song relies liberally on tabla and harmonium, the techno flavour ruins the purity of this devotional track.

The instrumental version of this song takes you by surprise. How Rahman keeps the same melody but changes its timing and structure just slightly to suit the Oboe and accompanying orchestra shows his command as a composer.

In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein is a lilting track about the gradual passing of intimate moments. Sonu Nigam and Madhushree's impressive singing adds to this slow-paced song a mellowness that is broken by raucous chorus. Javed Akhtar's words paint the imagery of two lovers sharing their most special moments together. It is a song that makes an impression only after repeated hearing.

Mann Mohanna is a devotional track addressed to lord Krishna. Supported by tabla and heavy orchestration, this song, sung by Bela Shinde, is a plea to the lord from a despondent woman.

All in all, the songs of Jodhaa Akbar are below the usual standard of a genius like AR Rahman.

Rating: **1/2