MUMBAI: He’s sold hundreds of millions of albums and was recently named as one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine. Music maestro A R Rahman has risen to global prominence with his work on Slumdog Millionaire, which saw him become the first Indian to win two Academy Awards.
This week, CNN’s Talk Asia travels to Rahman’s home in Chennai, where the media-shy composer sits down for an expansive interview. He also opens the doors to his recording studio, revealing the composing process which has lead to a glittering music career. Finally, Rahman gives a tour of his new conservatory, where he hopes to create India’s first philharmonic orchestra.
The show will be aired on CNN on 20 May at 6 pm with repeats from 21 – 27 May.
Rahman explains how his accolades are also recognition for India. He says, "I got very emotional when saying this is for India, when you guys truly deserve it because there are so many different film industries in India so many different markets, Hindi film industry, Tamil film industry, Malayalam, then Bengali, so in a way I think it culminates all their aspirations and so it’s here."
The star composer discusses his inspiration in writing the music for Slumdog, discusses criticism of the film in India and shares the experience of giving an Oscar acceptance speech. He also introduces viewers to his two latest and most prized possessions – his Oscar statuettes.
He is critical, however, of the use of "Jai Ho" in India’s election campaigning. "I was like in the bed, I was dehydrated, exhausted, and then all these things happened, somebody told me these people are using it. I hate politics I just want people to serve the people. I want governments, whichever government comes in to be unbiased and say there should be justice in the country and that’s my purpose in life."
Rahman also discusses his early years of writing radio jingles, before he shot to stardom with the film Roja, which revolutionized film soundtracks. He has since collaborated with music superstars like Michael Jackson and Kylie Minogue and shares the experiences.