Oscar Acceptance Speech

"I just want to thank again the whole crew of Slumdog Millionaire, especially Danny Boyle for giving such a great opportunity. And the whole, all the people from Mumbai. The essence of the film which is about optimism and the power of hope in the lives, and all my life I had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I'm here. God bless".—AR Rahman


Rahman, the Juggernaut has arrived in the west

Oscar's in kitty!

Rahman as India know is a magical wizard who is capable of creating music that everyone loves. If I have seen some dislike (as they say) it is their love for music which are pre-rahman era. A.R.Rahman is solely responsible for the revival of Indian film music and at the same time for non-film music.

There was a time in South India when music channels spread across, competing for telecasting one after another of rahman's numbers. Other musicians also sprang like vegetation around an Oasis in a desert. That Oasis also helped so many aging technicians and artists earn their share of the bread and preventing them from an early death from the industry.

His music as we all know started within himself in early, very early ages; with his disciplined and mature approach the music had begun to conquer hearts thousands by thousands with each and every new song. It was first his homeland Tamilnadu that embraced Rahmanism (those who follows not only rahman's music but also responsible generation who hear these songs by buying original copies rather than listening in pirated copies, those who understand the man's mission of spreading love over hatred, those who help the needy in the name of the man, those who love him unconditionally). The entire nation followed a little late in Rahmanism.

If one has to talk about Rahman, it is not only his music but also the personality that you will be talking about. He is so down to earth, humble, generous, peace loving and human lover (be it in any colour of form) set to change people's conception not only about music but also a life around it.

For Rahman's recognition, Oscar cannot be the ideal yardstick but the millions and millions of hearts he has conquered should be. After all what is recognition without listeners.

He has been roped in for the movie Couples Retreat, which releases in October 2009. It is a comedy flick and the first direct Hollywood platform for the maestro.

BBC Reports on Oscar Win

Indian composer AR Rahman has won two Oscars for his work in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

Rahman took one Oscar for the best score and another for his song Jai Ho from the film, a rags-to-riches tale set in the slums of Mumbai.

He praised Slumdog Millionaire's themes of hope and optimism.

Rahman is among five Indians to win an Oscar. Two other Indians, Gulzar and Resul Pookutty, picked up Oscars for original song and sound mixing.

Earlier Oscar winners from India were costume designer Bhanu Athaiya for her work in Gandhi in 1983 and director Satyajit Ray, who won a lifetime achievement award in 1992.

British director Danny Boyle has won best director for Slumdog Millionaire and the film also took best picture. Altogether, it netted eight awards.

Mumbai celebrations

Rahman, 43, picked up the Oscar for best original score before, minutes later, picking up a second for the best song, along with Gulzar.

"I just want to thank again the whole crew of Slumdog Millionaire, especially Danny Boyle, for giving me such a great opportunity," he said, while accepting the award.

The composer said he hailed "all the people from Mumbai and the essence of the film, which is about optimism and the power of hope and our lives".

He went on: "All my life I've had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I'm here. God bless."

TV pictures showed Rahman's family cutting a cake in his home city of Chennai in southern India and celebrating the composer's win.

A local band played a tribute to the composer singing the hit song, Jai Ho.

The BBC's Prachi Pinglay in Mumbai says there have been celebrations in the slums of Mumbai, where two of the film's actors live.

Many slum dwellers have been watching the Oscar ceremony on television sets.

Rafique, the father of Rubina Ali - who portrays the youngest version of the leading lady Latika in the film - said: "It's a proud moment for India that the film has been awarded an Oscar. I am waiting for my daughter to return home with the stories."

A neighbour, Shameem, said Slumdog's success would spur the children in the area to succeed in life.

"Rubina should continue to act, she should not give it up. We are really happy for her," he said.

Indian sound engineer Resul Pookutty also picked up an Oscar for sound mixing along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke Resul Pookutty for Slumdog Millionaire.

Mr Pookutty, a graduate from the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, has been in the industry for over 10 years and has worked on several big films.

Bollywood actor-director Aamir Khan said he was "thrilled" by India's successes at the Oscars.

"It is great to see Indian talent [in cinema] being recognised internationally. We are no less than anybody else," Khan told TV channels.

Another film with an Indian connection won the best documentary short Oscar.

Smile Pinki, a 39-minute documentary by American director Megan Mylan on an eight-year-old Indian girl born with a cleft lip, was one of the four short documentaries nominated for the Academy Awards.

There were celebrations in the north Indian village in Mirzapur district where Pinki lives, the BBC's Geeta Pandey says.

The girl's uncle said that several hundred people had made a procession, chanting "Bharat mata ki jai" (Hail to Mother India). 

News Courtesy: BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7905003.stm

Its Oscar Time, ARRahman has arrived big in West

AP Photo
A R Rahman won two Oscars, one each for the Best Original Score and the Best Original Song categories

Oscar Special: Sukhwinder gets ready for oscars

Oscar Sp: Sukhwinder Singh gets ready for the Oscars

Sukhwinder Singh provided the powerful vocals on A R Rahman's Oscar nominated Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire. And while Rahman is enjoying accolades from all over the world, the playback singer says he knew this was bound to happen. 

"For the past seven to eight years I have been telling him that all the stuff that he is doing is meant for the international market. But he would just give me a smile and say let's get back to work," says Sukhwinder, "And now when Jai Ho got the response it did, I called him up and said 'I told you so!'"

So what is being planned for the big night in Los Angeles?

"Well I am not sure right now," laughs Singh, "I am going to Rahman's home tomorrow and hopefully we will have a better idea then. He does have a lot of rehearsals planned for us. But let's see what happens."

Speaking about the popularity that Jai ho is currently enjoying, Sukhwinder Singh says, "When we recorded Jai Ho, it was done n half an hour. I then told him that I wanted to record it again so he said 'ok sure'. And so we re-recorded it again. And then I told him I wanted to record it for the third time and he just laughed and said 'Shut up! You are full of masti'. But it's just that I wanted to keep on singing it because I just knew that this song had that something in it. I can't define it but it just had that something in it."

Singh says that the secret to his and Rahman's success is very simple.

"You know masti mein hasti hoti hain, hasti mein masti nahin hoti! If someone thinks they are better than anyone, then they aren't creative but arrogant. As far as I am concerned I like the atmosphere to be light and fun. We have so much masti together. When we are in the studio we don't chat about cars, money or house. We have other simple fun.. pulling each other's leg, cracking jokes. And others in the studio think that we aren't working. But you know what in 30 minutes are song is done and everything is ready!" says Sukhwinder with a smile. 

He says Rahman has managed to achieve all this success and acclaim is because he has kept things very simple in his life. 

"He loves experimenting with his music. He is always ready to serve something new to his listeners. But even in that experimentation he keeps everything very simple. He doesn't believe in complicating his work. And that has ensured that he has been successful in everything that he does," explains Sukhwinder.

The playback singer is currently enjoying fame and fortune in Hollywood himself. Having sung Chhaiya Chhaiya for Inside Man and Steven Spielberg's next, we ask him whether he finds things different in the West.
"Everything is the same. There is no difference and the reason for that is because talent in any part of the world is talent. When you have fun with your talent and thoroughly enjoy what you do, then success is yours. But if you are laid back, lethargic or arrogant about your talent, then success will never be yours. So whether it's India or the West as long as you are talented, everything is the same."

Rahman is very humble about what he has achieved in life and continues to remain very grounded. But Sukhwinder says to him Rahman is the ever romantic.

"If you see me I love having fun and will talk about anything with everyone. I love flirting… watching cartoons but Rahman is not like that. He is very quiet. In fact nowadays when I tease him that 'you must be sleeping in a tuxedo because you are at every award ceremony' he just laughs like a child and says 'okay..let's get back to work' or 'tell me Sukhie when are you coming for the recording!' But I think he has a lot of love and intensity in him. He is very romantic. Not many know this. He pours all his romance in his work. And the world is seeing the result of that!"

Why The BAFTA Is So Special For A R Rahman

By Subhash K Jha, In some ways BAFTA was more special than any of the other Slumdog awards so far.

It also has to do with the sudden coming-of-age of Indian music.
Says Rahman, "For 18 years I've been hearing it will happen now, it will happen now. It didn't happen with some of my earlier efforts like the staged musical Bombay Dreams. Finally Indian music has gone international. And frankly, the expectations scare me."
On Tuesday Rahman returned from London to Chennai for just a day before heading to Los Angeles for the Oscars.

Says Rahman, "Danny, Dev Patel and the crew are all Britishers. To be honoured back home is another high altogether. For me also, London is like a second home. I've been coming here since 1996. It's my favourite city outside India. And to be getting the BAFTA is special."

Rahman thinks the popularity of his Slumdog score has a lot to do with the fate of the overall product. "It's the entire product that audiences have liked , and my music is part of that product. My song Jai ho has touched a chord because of the way it has been used. It comes at the end as a cathartic eruption of song song dance and happiness. That's the spirit in which people have received my music."

Rahman looks back on his life after Slumdog with some amazement. "It's been like a rollercoaster ride for one and a half months. The Oscar will be the culmination of the whirlwind of activities. Are people back home looking at me with expectations? I hope I don't let them down. I feel God has already given me much more than I ever expected."

--- SAMPURN

http://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fullnews-90863.html
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Delhi-6

Few music directors in present-day Bollywood dare to showcase South Asian classical music in its purest forms. Fortunately, AR Rahman is one who does. His latest release comes at the end of a particularly fruitful creative period. It began in early 2008 with notable soundtracks such as Jodhaa Akbar and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, and continued with the soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire, for which he has won a Golden Globe and a Bafta, and secured three Oscar nominations. Now, with Delhi-6, he impresses again.

The film, directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, tells the story of an American-born Indian who travels to Delhi with his ailing grandmother. What was meant to be a quick visit turns into a protracted journey that places him in the heart of Chandni Chowk, the rambling, mazelike market district in Old Delhi. The number 6 is derived from the last digit of its postcode, which has become its local shorthand name.

The first song of the album, Masakali (Free Spirited) sung by Mohit Chauhan, is playful, with soft percussion and keyboards. The accordion takes centre stage along with Chauhan's voice, the music and vocals expressing the song's sentiment perfectly. Rahman's Sufi influences are evident on the second track, Arziyan (Requests), performed as a qaawali, the style of religious song made famous by the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In turn, Aarti (Tumre Bhavan Mein) is a sombre, Hindu prayer song – the title of which translates as In Your Abode) – delivered over restrained and minimal accompaniment.

However, it is in Bhor Bhaye (The Arrival of Dawn) that the listener is introduced to the rich tradition of Hindustani classical music. Paying close attention to harmony and melody while cleverly tying the past to the present and future, Rahman samples the voice of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, a legendary Patiala gharana singer who died in 1968, then intersperses it with contributions by the up and coming young performer Shreya Ghoshal.

Delhi-6, the title track, is a jumble of contemporary styles featuring the Tamil rapper, BlaaZe. The song can be seen as an effort to try to capture the two sides (both geographic and metaphorical) of the city in which the movie is set. The north-central side, wherein lies Chandni Chowk, is known for its crowded lanes, mosques and delicious Mughlai cuisine. The southern part of the city, better known as New Delhi is just that: a hub of embassies and gleaming government offices alongside the well-scrubbed fa├žades of five-star hotels and wide, tree-lined streets.

On Rehna Tu (You Stay) the producer leads the vocals in a duet with Tanvi Shah. This track is typical Rahman in at least two senses. Firstly he is known for appearing on at least one track on each of his albums and, secondly, he is responsible for discovering a number of prominent Bollywood playback singers, including Shah, with whom he first worked in 2004.

Genda Phool (Marigold Flower), meanwhile, is just beautiful. Rahman mixes looped synthesised bass into a slow and simple Rajasthani folk song. It sounds basic, but it is this kind of restrained fusion that sets him apart. Indeed this has the subtle, contemporary appeal could place it squarely in the Indian charts.

In short, this soundtrack is not for those looking for cliched Bollywood music, which often involves little more than unimaginative beats designed for actors to dance to, staidly remixed by popular DJs. Delhi-6 is in a different class altogether. With its exploration of the delicate nuances of South Asian classical music, it rewards careful listening. Whatever happens at the Oscars we can expect Rahman to be more of a presence in the international scene from now on, bringing his eastern sensibilities with him and applying them to the music of the world.


Interview with ARRahman: After winning BAFTA

Angelina Jolie to Kate Winslet, everyone is so humble in Hollywood"

The whole of India wants to know, what was it like walking that red carpet at the BAFTA's?
It was phenomenal and an absolutely fantastic experience. It was raining heavily, the weather was damn cold but the entire team of Slumdog Millionaire was feeling warm (laughs).

We also hear that you met and chatted quite a lot with Hollywood's great Clint Eastwood. Brief us a bit about that experience.
Yes, that's true. We had dinner together and were discussing films till we finished our meal. Clint Eastwood is the most respected man in Hollywood today. He is a combination of everybody put together. What I liked about his work is that he does things on his own terms.

All the actors in Hollywood want to work with him. We both shared with each other our experiences on how we started our career in films and so on. He is a great listener too. I spent a lot of time with him on the dinner table which will always remain special.

Any comments from Clint on your film or on your performance in Slumdog Millionaire?
He loved the film and the performances. But what he did mention to me was that a film like Slumdog Millionaire has split wide opened the doors for the actors in the East to come join the West.

There was a time during his peak when they had to rely heavily on the actors only from Hollywood but he feels that even Bollywood has now made its big leap with such a film, thanks to Danny Boyle.

He knows that Indian actors can act and win awards at the worlds biggest award functions. He also predicted that Slumdog Millionaire might do $300 million worth of collection at the box office.

Do you think that Slumdog Millionaire is a Bollywood film then?
It is completely a Bollywood film. The story is very Indian and so are all the actors. Hence I was offered to do Slumdog Millionaire; I didn't know who Danny Boyle was.

For me, he was just a filmmaker who made films. People go to see people in films. So you tell me who were the people in this film? They were Indians. Some like me were professional actors, others were new comers, and some were completely raw in their performances.

But all had one thing in common - They were somehow connected to the Indian roots. Indian cinema should be very proud of Slumdog Millionaire.

 While all the guests and nominees were escorted under the huge umbrella, you went for the role reversal by holding your own umbrella on the wet red carpet. Why?
(Laughs) I had an escort with an umbrella but the way he was holding the umbrella was getting me wet. I got hold of the umbrella myself so at least I could protect my suit and my hair (laughs).

Oscar night is almost ten days away. Any designers who are trying to dress you up for your biggest awards night ever?
There are loads but I'll be sticking to ready made suits. Like the one I was wearing at the BAFTA's was a creation by Armani. I will again go with the best in the business, Armani, for the Oscars.

Did you get emotional when A.R. Rahman and Resul Pookutty walked on the stage to collect their BAFTAs?
We were all sitting together with all of us feeling excited, thrilled and at the same time, a bit emotional. I met both of them during dinner where I showered my emotions on them by hugging them tight.

It was a proud moment for all three of us who represent the Indian Film Industry popularly known as Bollywood. Resul had earlier worked on my film Gandhi My Father for which, I think, he should've won an Oscar for the kind of work he had done in the film.

But sometimes there is something better and bigger installed for you. You have to be aligned doing consistently good work and that's what Rahman and Resul have done. So when you're consistent about your work, not thinking what the result is going to be, and you keep on doing good work, someday you will be awarded.

Will Slumdog Millionaire's success change the fate of Bollywood and Hollywood for good?
A hopeful change, I must say. Everybody has to take a broad minded and a positive attitude towards what has happened with Slumdog and embrace its success. If people, and by that I mean, everyone connected to filmmaking try to put the film down or condemn it, then they will miss this golden opportunity.

 Any Hollywood celebrity you met and mingled with inside the famous Royal Opera House in Convent Garden?
Now this has been one of my big moments in life. I met most of the Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Mickey Rourke and Kate Winslet. I also congratulated Penelope Cruz.

It was just a quick introduction to them. But what I found was so touching about all the names I've just mentioned is, the bigger and richer you get as an actor, the more humble and down to earth you are.

Everybody connected with films all over the world knows everybody connected with Slumdog Millionaire. But I'd like to mention that the one person who was dearly missed at last nights BAFTAs was the Late Heath Ledger. I would've loved to meet him.

Slumdog Millionaire led the BAFTAs with seven awards followed by three awards for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Are you guys ready to sweep the Oscars too?
We are not thinking too much about the Oscars. At the moment, we are only going to celebrate our BAFTA success. Come February 22, things will again get serious (laughs).


Road to Oscars: Mani Ratnam's Midas Touch

One man who needs all credit for spotting the musical talent in Rahman is director Mani Ratnam. Today Rahman has grown leaps and bounds ready to lay his hands on the coveted Oscars thanks to the seeds sown by Mani Ratnam. One man who will be really proud if Rahman wins the Oscars would be Mani Ratnam.

All Mani Ratnam's films starting from 'Roja' in 1992 have musical compositions by Rahman and the director now shares a special bonding with him.

Speaking about Rahman, he said, "I have worked with two very classy composers - Illayaraja and Rahman. Both are from two different schools of musical composition. While Illayaraja is more spontaneous in his response, Rahman takes time to think over tunes, story, situation and the labors over it,' he said. According to him, Rahman, if pushed a little, is willing to think laterally.

With Thalapathi, Mani Ratnam ended his association with music director Illaiyaraja, bringing in Rahman. It turned out to be Mani's greatest findings.

A quiet Rahman in spite of his tall achievements is still humble and down-to-earth. Rahman said, 'I feel my slate is yet to be written on. There is life beyond music, album or record sales.'

Mani Ratnam and Rahman's partnership is widely regarded as having produced some of the best film music in Indian movies since 1990s.

* Roja (Tamil) - 1992
* Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil) - 1993
* Bombay (Tamil) - 1995
* Iruvar (Tamil) - 1997
* Dil Se (Hindi) - 1998
* Alaipayuthey (Tamil) - 2000
* Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) - 2002
* Ayutha Ezhuthu (Tamil) / Yuva (Hindi) - 2004
* Guru (Hindi) – 2007

The road to Oscars for Rahman began with Mani Ratnam and will end this February with just 11 more days to go!!!

Courtesy: IndiaGlitz

Exclusive: People Magazine Cover Story

The cover story appeared in February 13th, 2009 edition of PEOPLE magazine. Here is the magazine story for you exclusively:

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People Magazine Cover - ARRahman

People (full name People Weekly) is a weekly American magazine of celebrity and human interest stories, published by Time Inc. As of 2006, it has a circulation of 3.75 million and revenue expected to top $1.5 billion. It was named "Magazine of the Year" by Advertising Age in October 2005, for excellence in editorial, circulation and advertising. People ranked #6 on Advertising Age's annual "A-list" and #3 on Adweek's "Brand Blazers" list in October 2006. (Source: Wikipedia)

People is perhaps best known for its yearly special issues naming "The Most Beautiful People", "The Best and Worst Dressed", and "The Sexiest Man Alive".

This is the magazine where in the latest copy our A.R.Rahman has been in the cover edition.

In this post I am sharing the photo with you.

A.R. Rahman Scores With 'Slumdog Millionaire'

All Things Considered, January 31, 2009 - If you were to name a few musicians who've sold more than 100 million albums, Elvis Presley and The Beatles would surely top your list. Here's another one to add: A.R. Rahman. Rahman has composed the music for more than 130 films in India — and he has indeed sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Here in America, however, many are hearing his music for the first time in the Academy Award-nominated film Slumdog Millionaire.

Rahman has already picked up a Golden Globe for his work, an honor he says truly surprised him.

"I never thought about awards when doing this movie," he says. "I just wanted to have fun."

The music from Slumdog Millionaire is infectious, filled with exciting hooks that make it impossible to sit still. One such hit, "Jai Ho," closes the film in classic Bollywood style: a colorful, elaborate dance routine featuring the entire cast.

"I was very clear that nobody would understand most of the lyrics in Hindi," he says. "So I needed to have certain syllables that will attract any audience and they could sing. 'Jai ho' means 'be victorious.' It's like a blessing, and it also can be pronounced very easily."

For the Slumdog Millionaire score, Rahman blended classic Indian styles and instruments with reggae, Brazilian drumming and Western electronica in an eclectic melting pot. In "Mausam and Escape," a dynamic sitar is layered over a driving pulse — a dramatic difference from the more somber, traditional sitar sound that Indian music usually employs. Rahman says it's one of his favorite songs from the soundtrack.

Next month, Rahman is up for three Academy Awards, and will perform at the ceremony. His usual shows include up to 80 people on stage: a string section, 20 dancers, many kinds of ethnic instruments and India's superstar singers. He says he's not sure what this performance will entail, but it's likely to be electrifying.