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3.04.2009

OSC-ARR Gives JOY HO

Let me count the number of political parties in India, Number of medals India got at Olympics and number of times I’ve heard India’s name at the Oscars? For the first, by the time I count some ten parties, there would be three new parties formed in the name of caste. Second one, a bit easy but have to google a few and third, Bhanu Athaiya got Costume design award in 1982 for Richard Attenborough’s historical film “Gandhi”. Satyajit Ray was awarded an honorary Oscar for his contribution to world cinema in 1992, just weeks before his death. Apurva Shah (Ratatouille) and Umesh Shukla (Titanic), special effects wizards from India, went on to win the Oscar. Today, A.R.Rahman is the face of India at the Oscars. At the 81st Academy Awards, A. R. Rahman has won a double Oscar — one for Best Original Score for “Slumdog Millionaire” and the other for Best Song for the title track “Jai Ho”, sharing it with lyricist Gulzar — and Resul Pookutty has won it for sound mixing. The rise of the humble Chennaiite who made his way to the grand Red Carpet has certainly been awe-inspiring.

 

The shy, nervous Dilip Kumar who never spoke, the boy who never looked up, the boy who used to turn out the lights before he sang in front of anyone, had morphed into an international star. He always knew he wanted to be famous. He dreamt — and told his friends too — that he wanted his music to be played all over the world. But it was a dream that took a long time to realize. As a young boy of 11, Rahman, then known as Dilip Kumar, saw his father R K Sekhar, a music arranger and composer, died of cancer. He didn't have time to mourn though, he had to pick up from where his father had left off and earn for the family of five. While his three sisters focused on academics, the young Dilip never managed to give books enough time. In the words of his teachers in Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, the school he went to until the ninth grade, "He managed to scrape through.''

 

The young ARR spent all his time after school at the recording studio, playing keyboards for composers (having got the first set of job offers thanks to the goodwill of his father). There were days when his mother would be seen waiting for him outside school in the morning, uniform and breakfast in hand, according to his teachers. A studio van would drop off the tired Dilip who would be fed and changed by his mother before being rushed to school. The only reason the school remembers him is that during all the school programmes they needed him to play the keyboard — he was the best in school. He would also be called out of the classroom whenever there was a recording because his family simply could not afford to say no.

 

ARR had finally to drop out of Padma Seshadri in the ninth grade, and then out of school altogether, midway through class XI because he could not cope with both his studies and work. "When I was a teenager, I was spending most of my time with 50-year-olds and 60-year-olds. They were very sweet people, yes. I felt I was one among them, it took a while to realise that I was actually much younger,'' says Rahman about his early life as a musician in the film industry when he played his keyboard for bigwigs of the Tamil industry such as Ilayaraja, M.S.Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu’s orchestras and has accompanied many eminent musicians during their world tours. Deciding to equip himself with theoretical knowledge, he then took up exams at the Trinity College of London and received a certification in western classical music. It was then Rahman recognized the craving in him to compose.

 

As an 18 year old, ARR played with a band called ROOTS which included Drummer Shivamani. It later regrouped to form MAGIC, for a single performance. He went on to also be the producer-arranger of another band, Nemesis Avenue. Acquiring quite a bit of experience and expertise, he began to play as an arranger in the local private rock bands. Later, his shining talent started to take him places. In 1991, he opened his recording studio in Chennai and the opportunity-filled ad world was his first step into composition. Several jingles he composed attracted attention and acquired quick recognition among the public and then Maniratnam’s Roja offer came. From any movie buff’s perspective, Roja music was like a whiff of fresh air and it simply reversed the trends that prevailed till then in the field of Tamil cinema. Cinema music took a swift turn from thereon. And for Rahman, a string of successful movie albums followed. Lagaan, Bombay, Karuthamma, Indira are a few among the many.

 

What is so special about the Rahman style? Rahman’s music is about versatility. His knowledge of music is astounding. His fingers literally dance on the piano. His style is an enthralling combination of latest technology and the rich, indigenous nuances of music. In some of his compositions, his technical aspects show, in some, the musical aspects show. But from ordinary listeners to the contemporary, avant-garde aficionados, everybody could easily immerse themselves in the sweet-sounding compositions and Rahman’s musicality got well-communicated. What else can gauge a musician’s reach? Soon, his glory travelled to Hollywood and Rahman composed music for many cross-over and Hollywood productions; Shekar Kapoor’s Elizabeth, The Golden Age is a remarkable among the lot.

 

A lot has changed in A R Rahman's life over the years in terms of his personality as well as his music, but the two most important aspects of his life remain constant — God and his mother. He doesn't just say it every time he is on stage because it seems like the right thing to say. He truly believes that the first is the driving force in his life, the reason he is who he is. The second, quite simply, is the reason he is where he is. 

 

"There is a dialogue from an old Hindi film, ’Mere paas ma hai’ - which means I have nothing but a mother. My mother is here, I have her blessings. I am glad she could be here" He ended the acceptance speech by saying in Tamil, Ella Pughazhum Eraivanukke (எல்லா புகழும் இறைவனுக்கே), his most common prelude to all his public speeches which means "All my success and achievements are dedicated to God, God is great."

 

 

Rahman is known to say these words of gratitude to God after winning every award. Looking at his achievement and his whole journey, it truly looks like God and his constant benediction has been with him, forever.  I think it’s his humbleness that has taken him to such great heights. Rahman’s victory is a culmination of years of hard work and humility. I feel this is just the beginning. Hopefully, more talent from here will strive for such recognition in the years to come.

 

And is the film, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE worth of EIGHT OSCARS? Watch for Mr.Critic’s take in next post!!


THANKS!!! KEEP VISITING!!!

20 Droplets:

viji said...

yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh once again me not the last..

viji said...

well, iniku lecturer varanga.. so sch poitu vanthu padikiren. varta...

Lancelot said...

me the first...

Lancelot said...

HAIL ARR...un reviewkaaga waiting...

Thoorika said...

shabbaaa... by the time I finish reading your post and come to an end, i get confused what the topic is !!!!!! enna ma long post !!

Ramyah said...

I was particularly waiting this post and i must say i am not disappointed. As for Rahman's achievement, it ought to have happened.It was just the matter of time as i have mentioned in my blog. He is a great inspiration to many people. Hope God gives him bountiful happiness.

Rahmaniac said...

yes, Rahman's journey from his jingle days to slumdog has been reamrkably great. His success can be attributed to 3 things 1)his spirituality, 2) his humbleness 3) his talent(of course!).

Nice write up. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this :) am blogrolling you:)

விஜய் said...

Yeah, Rahman has made all of us proud. But giving an oscar to a mediocre score like Slumdog is a huge disgrace to his astonishing music in Rang De Basanti, Uyire, Kannaththil Muththamittaal and ofcourse Roja. Just that Slumdog Millionaire happens to be an English movie, portraying only the darker side of India, it has got some much of publicity.

kanaguonline said...

A neat post Karthik..
Great to know about Rahman this much :)
And I am a fan of him.. and glad that he has got Oscars even though this is not his best work :)

Film review seekram post pannunga boss :)

swati said...

better late thn never..
kudos to him..
bt ys he has done great piece of work even before bt havn't been acknowledged for the same..its sad..

Poorna said...

Hi Karthik! You have been awarded..Please visit this link to pick your award

http://sayhai2poorna.blogspot.com/2009/03/blog-awards.html

Vinnie said...

me the 12th!!!
i want 12 eclairs for that :)
see, i returned from my exile only for u:)

thanks for this 'insightful' Rehman story...its always feels nice to know that a Dream of a family is paying off well!!

u rock man..keep blogging......

Senorita said...

@ Kartik... my new url www.senoritaspeaksagain.blogspot.com

Senorita said...

@ Kartik...looking forwars to more posts...

verbivorehere said...

i knew his name was Dilip kumar before but i never knew he had to struggle so much..good to knw

Chriz said...

sooberappu.. enna oru cyclone effect... 8 oscar vaangura alavukku illaa.. but enakku pudichurukku.. lightaaa

Chriz said...

ARR ku paiyan porandha, avanukku ennoda ponna kudupein

Lancelot said...

Please Check my blog - u have been awarded :0

http://lancelot-oneofakind.blogspot.com/2009/03/friends-interview.html

Kartz said...

Though I wdnt quite say they were Oscar-worthy, I am glad that now, his other works will get the recognition they deserve.

Trust all is well.

Peace.

---
This was my composition - The Alchemist of Precious Rarity

Karthik said...

@ ALL:

Thnks!!