Stop The Presses!

In Conversation: A.R. Rahman, Film Composer Extraordinaire

Stop The Presses!

A. R. Rahman, the film composer, singer, and musician who scored award-winning film soundtracks for the likes of Slumdog Millionaire, Couple's Retreat, and most recently 127 Hours, is known for his ability to create memorable songs and deftly score music to accompany what we see on the silver screen.

127 Hours is his second film with renowned director Danny Boyle. The first film they worked on together was 2008's Slumdog, a huge hit for the duo which garnered a Grammy for Best Soundtrack, Oscar for Best Song, Oscar for Best Score, BAFTA for Best Score, and Golden Globe for Best Score.

With two Oscar nominations recently announced for 127 Hours (Best Score and Best Song for "If I Rise" featuring the British singer-songwriter Dido), Rahman is quickly rising to the ranks of musical virtuoso leaving a serious mark in Hollywood and beyond.

 

"It was very exciting to get back with Danny," Rahman says. "I read a script of 127 Hours and started getting ideas. I think Danny works in a way where most of the themes are driven by music. He was shooting and I was sending him ideas simultaneously, and the music had to play a very important part in this movie because the main character is stuck in this one place, and the music has to give the whole experience of, you know, cinema in the music and sound."

"Danny has some very different visions for the music. It's driven by his taste and instinct. So, as I go over this instinct and sometimes contradict something else, we compliment each other. And so far it's been really good, and I really love working with him."

A.R. is also pretty active to say the least on Facebook and Twitter. With over 3 million friends on Facebook and 320,000 followers on Twitter, he has the ability to reach his fans directly and does exactly that.

"If you want to give a message, or if I want to put out some music, which is unreleased, it's a great way to do it," he explains. "And also, it's very giving. It's not about a commercial...you know, it's something you want to give for free, and then let people enjoy. It's a great way to communicate."

He's also into technology, using it as a tool for the creative process. "I have an iPhone and most of the time it's used for email and all the stuff, but it's used for recording ideas. And most of the ideas come from just humming certain things and then taking it back to the scoring table and playing it on the piano and adding instruments on top of it. Nowadays I have Stickies and Sketch Pad on there, which you can put your lyrical ideas on and all that stuff."

Up next is a film with DreamWorks, an animated picture tentatively titled Monkeys of Bollywood. "Monkeys of Bollywood is not a fixed title," he says. "It's a working title for the whole industry and all the people to get an idea of what it's about. It's about that part of the world but with a Hollywood point of view, which is very exciting for all of us as a team."

"It's a great theme, I think. Dreamworks has done some extraordinary animation films last year and the previous year. So, I think this is going to hopefully take it much more further, getting into a different zone of excitement. I'm looking forward to it."

Each film he's worked on has a distinctive sound, and this one will be no different. How does he keep the creative process fresh when he's in such high-demand? Ultimately, Rahman cites his creative process as coming from a place of love.

"I think all of us creative people have to be in a zone of love, first of all, which is very giving and a motivating factor for creativity. It cleanses all the negative factors, cleanses all the confusion and you sit on it, you become an instrument of love. And music is about love in a way. And sometimes about -- and all the other stuff is technical, but the basic attitude and the basic emotion is very simple, but very complex at the same time. [Laughs] So, that's the motivating factor for me."

The Soundtrack for 127 Hours is available now.

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Watch the music video for "If I Rise":

 

Watch the music video for "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire:

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