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Monday, February 23, 2009

Man… RaMAN… Jai Ho!

We all try, but very few achieve what we set as our target. I truly believe that when we want something from with our heart, and when we put our mind and soul to it, god makes way to reach our goal. The man who made us all proud with his body of work is someone who has never claimed that he is the best, or he is the superstar. Modesty, politeness and dedication are something which comes with honesty and perseverance. Allah Rakkha Rahman – is someone who will be remembered not just as one of the finest composers of World Music, but also as someone who has made his country proud for his work and achievement at global platform.
I remember that many years ago, when noted filmmaker Satyajit Ray was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars, we all were proud of him. It was a moment of glory for every Indian film lover. The man who gifted us gems like Pather Panchali, Goopy Gayene Bagha Bayen and Charulata was recognized by Americans; unfortunately they realized it too late. In fact Ray was in his death bed, when he was conferred the award in Kolkata at Belle View Nursing Home. The director could barely speak, and whatever he could speak was certainly not his best speech. But still, we cheered and we celebrated with him. It’s an honour which we all cherish. We did the same when Bhanu Athiya won Oscar for her Costume Design in Gandhi. But when A R Rahman won Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire we just can’t stop praising this man.
Why are we going gaga over Rahman? We knew that he is a master. We knew that he has given the best tunes and tracks Indian cinema can ever expect. We knew that he is a genius in his own craft. But still we are talking about him because America has recognized his skill. For us, we feel proud when we get recognized by the Americans or British. I am so sure that now Maharashtra Government and even Government of India will felicitate Rahman, give him special honour and even announce award in his name. So, the yardstick of becoming a national icon is simple – get famous abroad. It happened with Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen.
It’s high time that we start realizing the fact that we have better talents in our own country. We need to encourage them, we need to understand our strength and not wait for others to make us realize. If Gandhi wouldn’t have protested in South Africa, then would he be equally famous? Now, that’s something which can be a fodder for debate lovers. Mandela became hero in his own country for his ideology and work. He didn’t have to wait for Indians or Americans to acknowledge his talent. We fall for international claim and that’s what makes us weaker.
I know that even biggest of the filmmakers and producers eye for international fame. They would attend any short film festival, pull their strings and get some award and then make hoopla in media. They would pose with anyone and everyone in Hollywood. Tabloids would even mention Kim Sharma (who has done nothing in her life apart from dating cricketer Yuvraj Singh) if she is seen with any wannabe Hollywood actor.
We need to understand that we are much superior in terms of art and entertainment. Our content has always been the king and we have always made films which has become cult.
When films like Mother India, Sholay, Lagaan and Black are ignored by Oscar jury, we feel dejected. But why? We should not feel bad about the fact that these masterpieces didn’t win award at Oscars, it has won the heart of millions. We make films for our people and we are happy about the fact that our films are not like any other language cinema.
I am glad that Rahman has won Oscar and we must celebrate it. But we must not forget that we knew that he is a genius long back. It’s America who realized late… as usual. When world knows the magic of Rahman, they have just got exposed to his magical tunes.

Triva on Rahman – Jai Ho!

Rahman took just 20 days to compose the entire soundtrack. The song "Jai Ho" which won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song was originally made for the Hindi movie Yuvvraaj (2008), composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics written by Sampooran Singh Gulzar, but the producer Subhash Ghai did not find it fitting in the movie for the actor Zayed Khan, so he let the song be used for this production.

Rahman was born to a Tamil Hindu family. His father R. K. Shekhar, was a composer and conductor for Malayalam-language films of Keralite cinema. Rahman lost his father when he was 9 years old, and his family rented out musical equipment as a source of income. He converted to Islam from Hinduism in 1989 along with his sisters.

Rahman served as a keyboard player and an arranger in bands such as "Roots", with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja. Rahman is the founder of the Chennai-based rock group, "Nemesis Avenue". He played the keyboard and piano, the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar.

At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe of Ilaiyaraaja, one of many composers to whom musical instruments belonging to Rahman's father were rented. Rahman later played in the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music, where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music.

In 1992, Rahman began his own music recording and mixing studio attached to the backyard of his house called the Panchathan Record Inn, which was developed into India's most advanced recording studio

In 1992, he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for Ratnam's Tamil film Roja.

The debut led Rahman to receive the Rajat Kamal award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards, the first time ever by a first-time film composer. Rahman has since then gone on to win the award three more times for his scores for Minsaara Kanavu (Tamil) in 1997, Lagaan in 2002, Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) in 2003.

Rahman attached and opened a developed extension studio to his Panchathan Record Inn in 2005 called AM Studios in Kodambakkam, Chennai — considered to be the most developed, equipped and high tech studio in Asia.

In 1999 Rahman, along with choreographers Shobhana and Prabhu Deva Sundaram and a Tamil cinema dancing troupe performed with Michael Jackson in Munich, Germany, for his "Michael Jackson and Friends Concert." In 2002, he composed his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams (2002) following a commission from musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a success in London's West End. With Finnish folk music band Värttinä, he wrote the music for The Lord of the Rings theatre production and in 2004, Rahman composed the piece "Raga's Dance" for Vanessa-Mae's album Choreography.

He has three children, Khadijah, Rahima and Aman. Rahman is related(co-brother)to the southern Indian actor Rahman(Rashin Rahman). Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar.

In 2006, Rahman launched his own music label, KM Music. Its first release was his score to the film Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. Rahman scored the Mandarin language picture Warriors of Heaven and Earth in 2003 after researching and utilizing Chinese and Japanese classical music, and co-scored the Shekhar Kapoor helmed Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007. His compositions have been reused in scores within India and have made appearances in Inside Man, Lord of War and The Accidental Husband.

In 2008, he scored the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, for which he won two Academy Awards and many other awards. He becomes the first Indian to win two Oscar Awards For Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

Jai HO!!

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