Music maestro and composer, A R Rahman watches movies in mute mode and is doubly creative in the wee hours of morning between 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. These are a few not-so-known facts about Rahman that were revealed by filmmaker Umesh Aggarwal, who has made a documentary on Rahman titled ‘Jai Ho’, which was screened at the 46th International Film Festival India (IFFI).
“I found it very strange that a music composer was watching a movie in mute mode. When asked, he said that while watching the movie and the reading sub-titles he imagines the sound track,” said Umesh. He was speaking at a press briefing held on November 29, on the sidelines of the 46th IFFI.
Speaking about the making of the documentary he said that he waited for seven-odd months to get Rahman’s approval. “I used to constantly send him emails. I was told that he would contact me after 2 a.m. as that’s when he works. I spent sleepless nights waiting for his call. One day I met his sister and told her about this documentary. Then I happened to meet Rahman and he said yes in just five minutes of interaction,” says Umesh.
When asked about the one thing that surprised him about Rahman, he said it was the way he works with his songs until the last moment. “Usually music directors will just provide the songs and won’t be involved in the making process. But, Rahman gives the track and tells the director to shoot with that track and then continues to improve the song,” said Umesh.
He also spoke about Rahman’s famous ‘Jai Ho’ track from Slumdog Millionaire which won him an Academy Award. “Rahman was the last person to come on board and they (filmmakers) had already taken the rights of the song ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ from the movie Don as a song for Slumdog Millionaire. But, then Rahman wanted to make a new track and the filmmaker didn’t want a new track. So, then he made this song ‘Jai Ho’ whose beats are in tune with ‘Aaj Ki Raat,’” said Umesh.
On a concluding note when asked what makes A R Rahman a popular and great musician, Umesh said: “There were great musicians even before A R Rahman in our country. But, they had quite a niche audience. Rahman has the capacity to reach people. The documentary ‘Jai Ho’ has been shown at various film festivals including the Tokyo Film Festival where we ran houseful with the majority in the audience not being Asian. Additionally, he has great collaborators and he gives due credit to them. For example in one movie the closing credits reflect the name of the diction in-charge of a song. He has the ability to manage talent and maintain harmony between various cultures and trends,” said Umesh.