AR RAHMAN: “I don’t have any borders in my head. I want to respect and I want to give whatever I can within my limitations, that is the best”
By FATIMA PATEL
AR Rahman, does this name really need an introduction? Well for those who don’t know (and really surprised if you don’t) Rahman is probably one of the world’s most renowned musicians.
He is most noted for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. With accolades and awards including two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards, fifteen Filmfare Awards and sixteen Filmfare Awards South. As well as the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India the South Indian man is truly a musical genius.
Rahman’s career has spanned 25 years and to celebrate he is in the UK for a special 25-year anniversary concert at the Wembley Arena. We caught up with the introvert ahead of his concert and here’s what he had to say.
Fatima: Welcome back to the UK for your 25th anniversary concert in Wembley. What can audiences expect from this show?
The show promises to be a mega multimedia spectacular. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how the concept has come about for this particular show?
It’s about the music but at the same time it’s about having all the gizmos and videos and everything so it gives a better dimension to the show. We have some great music and some great musicians coming, so I am really looking forward to it.
Do you have any memories from any previous UK concerts that you have performed at that you can recall and share with us?
I have a lot of memories and I am hoping that this is going to be an even better one. People in the UK are always very supporting. I have performed in London and Birmingham however, not in the North of England, though we wanted to go, but it never worked out for various reasons. Though we are very very excited about London
Well I come from Yorkshire so you have an open invite sir to Yorkshire whenever you come we would gladly welcome you. Going back to your 25-years in the industry do you ever look back and reflect on your past 25 years?
Well the first few years was such a high for me like everything such as awards, or what I could do musically, within the limitation of the needs of the movie and we had one of India’s best Director directing it and nobody would even dream about having that team so it only got better for me. So that actually set the standards and am really grateful for that, to God and to the whole team that helped put it out there.
You’re doing Hindi, Hollywood as well as the regional projects. So many different languages yet you manage to tune it so well with your music compositions. How do you manage to achieve this?
I don’t have any borders in my head. I don’t have any judgemental prejudices in my head and so I try to be as keen as possible and so I want to work with every culture, I want to respect and I want to give them whatever I can within my limitations that is the best. It’s not easy for me, but there is a process and within this process there is a whole team involved, the directors are involved, the producers are involved, so by that I think it’s easy to achieve.
That’s wonderful I mean is it because of this attitude that you’ve managed the hectic work load that you have because you’re working all over internationally, locally and now you’ve got the concert coming up as well?
I think from the early ages from my life I have been so obsessed about my work and that’s not changing. Even though now it’s expanding I am actually directing a virtual reality movie and I am producing a movie called 99 songs and there are so many other things.
Obviously, you’re doing a lot more going forward, but looking back what would you say have been the main highlights of your journey so far?
I think for me you know you have mind set as an artist in India that oh who’s going to come sign me up and that mind set changed in the process of the 20 odd years to, do I need people to come and sign me up? Of course, when people come to me I respect that, but why can’t I do my own things like open a school, or I do something for charity? So, all these things being an introvert it’s like wow. So, there are many opportunities within us and everyone, not only me we just have to open those doors, the doors are all there. After I reached 40 I feel like I can open any door whenever I want to and I have been trying to do that
Apart from your own music do you ever listen to anybody else’s music and do you enjoy other soundtracks?
I don’t have much time to listen to music, because I have so much to do. I have to arrange music… I have to produce music. So, I try to listen to music which is not connected with me or Indian. I listen to music from Senegal or Iceland or anything that’s on radio.
You’ve got your concert coming up is there any message you would like to give to our readers
I just want to thank all the people who have bought tickets. Music is for love music is for peace.
Thank you so much for speaking to us sir, we wish you all the best.
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