‘Composing for a musical stage show is always challenging’ – A R Rahman

The king on contemporary film music A.R. Rahman waltzed into Mumbai to launch flautist Naveen’s (remembered for the theme music of Mani Ratnam’s BOMBAY) music album Fluid at a Mumbai nightspot by Sony and BMG Entertainment.

Blessed with an illustrious career of over 15 years, Rahman has surpassed many milestones and posted many records, since his debut in the nineties with ROJA. Recently the music master was in news for composing for a international musical stage show for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. In a conversation with Businessofcinema.com, Rahman talks about his plans ahead.

Now, you have turned international…
Laughs! It’s nothing of that sort. I had opted for these projects in recent past. Once you are committed to any project, it becomes your duty to complete it. Let me add, composing for a musical stage show is always challenging. Here one get’s a chance to explore something new.

What after Bombay Dreams?
I’ve just completed composing for The Lord Of Rings, the musical in Toronto; which is of three and half hour duration. It’s an adaptation of the book by J.R. Tolkein. It’s going to London. It was an enjoyable experience. I like to do something that satisfies me than do things just for the sake of it.

Looks like you will be on to Hollywood films too..
Composing outside India gives you a wider exposure. Sometimes it’s terrifying at the thought of catering different segments of audience. Meanwhile, I’m providing music for Shekhar Kapur’s The Golden Age, a sequel to his earlier Elizabeth.

You seem to be a favourite of Mani Ratnam?
I’m working with him for Guru. We have composed three songs. I feel at ease working with him. I give my best to every film as per its requirement.

Will it equal the music of Bombay?
How can I prejudice any of my films? Each of them is closer to my heart.
It is learn’t that you are experimenting something for London Dreams?

Rajkumar Santoshi’s London Dreams is about a rock band. It’s more of London which meets India. We’re still figuring out the style.

How do you choose your projects?
The theme has to be striking and have to be closer to my heart. I like to give it my best in return. I like to give my listeners variety not only in terms of tunes, but also in sound, rhythm, tenor, etc. I have chosen Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodha-Akbar . Listen to it’s music and you will now what I’m telling.

Since 1997 you havent given any music album. The last one was Vande Mataram.
Yes. I know. I’m doing now an album called Pray For Me Brother. The idea behind this is to spread the message of humanity. People will be requested to preserve the ideals of humanity through means of brotherhood. It’s an anti-poverty anthem for the UN organisations and is being supported by Nokia. It will be available for downloads on the mobile phones. The album will be out in June.

Music is also in troubled waters. Comment!
Music can never die. Piracy should be controlled. It is only a matter of time.

What sort of transition are you aiming at?
I’m looking at transition in every facet of the music world. There was a period when Indian melodies could find space in the mob of western music and pop albums. Now every song maker is incorporating Indian melody.