Danny Boyle loved India,
loved Mumbai: A.R. Rahman
By Arun Kumar
Dec 14 (IANS) Allah Rakha Rahman has composed music for a
London West End musical, scored a Chinese film, conducted
the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and created tunes for more
than 100 Indian films. But composing music for British director
Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" was a new challenge.
simply wanted a score with energy and an edge for his film
about the travails of an 18-year-old orphan from the slums
of Mumbai who goes on to win a staggering Rs.20 million on
India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" game show.
there was a twist. The perfectionist Rahman was given just
three weeks to plan and execute the score. "We had met
and talked about it for about two months. But I had to finish
it quickly as Boyle wanted to start mixing the film by August,"
Rahman told IANS in a telephonic interview from New York.
probably one-fifth of the time I normally take. For one thing,
a normal film has about 150 cues. But in this one there were
only 17-18 cues for me. Boyle uses music very less but very
task was made easier by the easygoing nature of the director.
have worked with different people. Most Westerners are generally
But Boyle was different - like a friend, very helpful. It
was like working for Mani Ratnam, Rakeysh (Omprakash Mehra).
He was very excited about India. He loved India. He loved
Mumbai. He loved everything," says the maestro.
time at hand may have been much less than the Chennai-based
composer is used to, but that fact appears to have had no
effect on the final score.
Millionaire" music is already attracting Oscar buzz.
start the season on an auspicious note, it has just picked
up an award - Best Score of the Year from the L.A. Film Critics
Association. Rahman also received a Golden Globe nomination
for Best Original Score and two Critics Choice nominations
- Best Score and Best Song for "Jai Ho".
score was lent extra momentum by the presence of Mathangi
"Maya" Arulpragasam, better known as 31-year-old
dance music phenomenon M.I.A.
Though she herself was born in London, M.I.A.'s parents are
Sri Lankan Tamilians, a connection that informed and enhanced
the film's score.
says: "...It (the South Asian connection) did have an
impact. She is very young. Very futurist. Knew how to take
the film forward. I knew her work. She knew my work and that
asked me, 'Why don't you stop doing sentimental stuff?' That's
how the music acquired that edgy feeling, that you wanted
to fly away from it. She was definitely an inspiration."
Indian audiences will have to wait till January to see the
film, the awards have already started pouring in. The US'
National Board of Review has named "Slumdog Millionaire"
the best film of 2008, while the film bagged the 'Best British
Independent Film' prize at the British Independent Film Awards.
honours coming in thick and fast, Rahman has a relatively
sedate reaction to the prospect of an Indian composer achieving
a first - an Academy Award (or even nomination) for music.
don't know whether it excites me personally. But a small-budget
film getting the kind of recognition it is getting certainly
makes you feel good."
Rahman is already well known in the West, but the accolades
the film and his score are gathering should lead to greater
prominence for this softspoken genius from Chennai.
a way it would help me to build a bridge with my Western listeners.
It would lend to a better appreciation of my music in the