Mani is back

Mani Ratnam's newest film project returns to a territory he is master of: a simple, deep love story beautifully and impeccably told in the way only this maestro can. Think Alaipaiyuthey, except the couple is now negotiating married life amidst the frantic pace
of modern life. Will the story also perhaps deal with how contemporary couples balance careers with marriage and family? There is something doubly interesting about this project – the stars that will play this couple are Abishek and Ash. The glittering echo between the fictional and the real couple is obvious, adding to the buzz.

It's nice to have Mani Ratnam come back from larger than life stories like Guru to doing something more intimate, feel-good, lyrical and romantic. And where there's Mani there's always that other maestro, A.R.Rahman. Taking a cue from the story and theme of this yet untitled movie, the model for Rahman's songs could well be Alaipaiyuthey. Richly lyrical romantic ballads, intoxicatingly choreographed and shot. Which brings us to the cinematographer – rumour has it that Mani is most likely going to bring his veteran cameraman in - P.C. Sriram. If you recall, P.C. and Mani together revolutionized the use of lighting and camera work in Tamil cinema once. Rumour also has it that the Big B will make a cameo. But let's wait and see what develops – with this publicity shy director
nothing is confirmed until he confirms it.

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I owe my career to AR Rahman

The words are from Sukwinder Sing(h) : as he likes to call. Read the interview with him which appeared in

How did Chaiyya Chaiyya happen?
After my number Mujhe Rang De clicked, Rahman asked me to write lyrics for Dil Se too, when I explained to him about Peer Baba Bhuleshah.

Immediately I reminded him that in the first place I had actually gone to him to sing for him and not write lyrics. Rahman asked me if I could sing too and I told him that I only wanted to sang since my name is Sukhwinder Sing (h) I told him that whenever I sang, I felt like I was also listening to my song.

Did he readily ask you to sing Chaiyya Chaiyya in Dil Se?
I had to narrate Chaiyya Chaiyya in English to him. While Rahman did not understand Hindi at all, I did not understand a word of English or Tamil.

In fact after I wrote the first draft, Mani Ratnam felt that the song did not work out the way he wanted and walked out. It was only after some one explained to him correctly that he okayed the song for the film.

Since I am not good in English, while explaining the lyrics I said I'd kill myself instead of saying I'd be dead, because I could not translate properly from Hindi to English to Mani sir.

What has been the contribution of Rahman to your career?
A.R. Rahman has contributed a lot to my career. I owe my career to him. It is he who had made me reach the nook and corner of the world with his songs. My career actually started in Chennai and hence I call myself Sukhwinder Singh Iyer and not just Sukhwinder Singh.

Despite being a pucca Punjabi, how do you manage to sing in Tamil?
It is always the performance that matters when you sing, not the language. In any case I thin k I can sing in any language other than English. Ricky Martin sings only in Spanish. I have sung in Tamil for music directors like Deva and Rajkumar too, besides Rahman.

AR Rahman nominated for playback singing

In an exclusive interview with Times Now, AR Rehman , the music maestro spoke about his first ever nomination as a Playback singer for the 53rd Filmfare awards. Filmfare awards may crowd AR Rahman's mantelpiece, but the 53rd Filmfare Awards will be extra special as he has been nominated in the Best Playback Singer category for the first time for Tere Bina from Mani Ratnam's Guru.

Rehman will compete with the best in the industry. The other nominees in the same category are:

K K - Aankhon Mein Teri (Om Shanti Om)
Shaan - Jab Se Tere Naina (Saawariya)
Sonu Nigam - Main Agar Kahoon (Om Shanti Om)
Sukhawinder Singh - Chak De (Chak De! India)

Times Now managed to find out the reticent musician's reaction on his nomination. AR Rehman said, "Guru is not an ordinary film for me. It is an extraordinary one. I feel good that people are acknowledging me as a good singer. I was not well when the song was recorded. So, it sounded shaky. Filmfare has become almost like a home for me now. "

So, the question remains whether Rehman will have yet another award to add to his collection. One will have to wait for February 24, 2008 to find out who bags the coveted Best Singer Award.