A R Rahman to feature on CNN-IBN

"The last I want to do is put my voice in a song"- A R Rahman

Watch the media shy celebrity on Sunday, May 7th at 9:30 p.m. and repeat telecast on Monday at 11 am only on CNN-IBN

New Delhi, May 3, 2006: He needs no special introduction…He entered the film industry with Roza and created a history. From thereon, A R Rahman has elevated himself from a prodigy to a legend now.

With his latest blockbuster Rang De Basanti, Rahman is back with a bang on Hindi film scenario. This week CNN-IBN's Entertainment Editor Rajiv Masand catches up with music whiz kid who turned 40 years this year.

Following are the excerpt from the interview:

Rajeev Masand (RM): Rang de Basanti, your most recent work, is a film which really marked a milestone, isn't it? Apart from the fact it has great music and it's a great album, it is one of those rare soundtracks where the theme is blended perfectly with the music. Your earlier work Bombay and Taal were also examples of that. Do you agree?

AR Rahman (ARR): Yes, I think so. The process with Rang De Basanti started when Rakeysh (Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, the film's director) told me the story, which had freedom fighters in it. I was working on Legend of Bhagat Singh with Santoshji at that time. So I said that I would not do another film like this. Of course Rang De Basanti happened four years later. When I started with this film last year, what we decided to do was not to have anything which is preachy and going to bring people down. We wanted to go abstract and go counter point, like people and children are dying there and we have a happy soundtrack, which is Ru ba ru and going to the light and there is more positivity rather than going along with the film.

RM: You have just signed up as World Ambassador for World Space; tell me this is not the first time that you have endorsed a brand. How long does it take or how do you decide as to what is it that you want to get attached to and don't?

ARR: I probably was the first one to get the radio of World Space. I just wanted to check it out first. I was really impressed with the variety and the manner World Space had put up their advertisements. I did not know that here was a policy of not having any hassle in it, which is brilliant. I remember 20 years back, I used to go all the way to Bangalore to pickup my favourite music, and here we have every thing on the touch move button - jazz, classical, pop. So when they ask me I said "Yes, let's do it!"

RM: Have you ever been embarrassed by the way a song has been filmed?

ARR: Yes, a lot of times. But, I guess, the people are intelligent enough now to know all that, what is personal and what is not, and what is done for the movie.

RM: Do you think Roja is your best work?

ARR: It's probably my first good work. Like I said about Mani Ratnam who gave me my first good work. It brings back all those memories. It gave me the urge to go further and maintain quality work, crossing over to the North Indian audience with the film, lyrics which were never imagined before.

RM: Gulzar saheb once said, "A R Rahman's greatest achievement is that he didn't mess around with my lyrics." Is that something you like to elaborate on?

ARR: Yes, I do. And where is the need to mess around with the lyrics when somebody writes them so perfectly?

RM: You have often confessed that you are not so familiar with Hindi.

ARR: (Laughs) Yes, I can't talk but my vocabulary is better than what it used to be. I have been learning Urdu. I can't talk but I can read now and I can understand most of the vocabulary. The thing about words, certain words give you a sound and meaning, if you get the right kind of balance, the song becomes a hit and everybody takes pride in it.

RM: Let me put you in a tough situation. What do you think of Aamir, Shah Rukh or Amitabh who've been singing their own songs? What do you think of them as singers?

ARR: I think they are intelligent enough to choose songs which go along their own voice. You can't expect classical songs being sung by kind of actors like Shah Rukh. They don't want to torture people like that.

RM: Over the years you've sung many songs yourself. Like, Ye jo des hai mera, in Swades, Chale chalo from Lagaan, or Ru ba ru from Rang De Basanti. How do you know when a song requires your own voice?

ARR: Sometimes I've worked from the scratch using my own voice. Like in Dil Se, Mani said why don't you sing it in your own voice. Or when I did Ye jo des…Ashutosh Gowarikar suggested that I should be singing this song. Initially I was supposed to sing Ek taara but it didn't match Shah Rukh's voice.

RM: Please tell us what do you like when you are not working? What kind of a husband are you? What kind of a father are you?

ARR: Good question (laughs). I think you should be asking this to my wife and children. My mother, my kids are very supportive of me. They always know what I'm going through. I also try to play my role as best as I can within the limitations of my schedule.

Complete text of the interview will be available on post the telecast of the episode.

GBN, a TV18 Group Company, is a 74:26 joint venture between the TV18 Group and professionals - Rajdeep Sardesai, Sameer Manchanda and Haresh Chawla. GBN's charter is to launch channels in the general news space under the editorial leadership of Sardesai, one of India's most reputed TV journalists. The TV18 Group is India's leading and most successful business news broadcaster, in both English and Hindi.

For more information contact:

Prachi Deshpande

Hanmer & Partners

New Delhi

Tel: 011 2921 4793/ 4

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