Monday, February 23, 2009


I rarely watch movies, except the odd one on TV, and I haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire. But the little that I have seen of Danny Boyle in interviews etc on TV, he comes a cross as a very honest person. He himself has risen from humble beginnings. That is possibly why his connect, his empathy with the cast that he picked from Mumbai's slums shows; his connect with them is perhaps even more than what many of us Indians are capable of having. That is the main reason why he has been able to make an authentic film that has surprised and wowed the world.

Notwithstanding the accolades that the movie has been getting globally culminating in it getting eight Oscars today, to me the real triumph is of Allah Rakha Rahman. He is perhaps the greatest ever musician India has produced, the Tansen of modern India, may be more than that. His music has a transcendental quality that comes from a deep personal connect with God. The two Oscars that he got today within 10 minutes is no more than a just recognition of his work, a recognition that should have come long back.

Starting from Mani Ratnam's 'Roja', where he introduced Indians to refreshingly different music, to Slumdog Millionaire, AR Rahman has given exceptional, unheard of music in a number of films, and has taken the art and craft of popular music to a new level altogether. Who can also forget the soul that he put into that goose pimple raising 'Ma Tujhe Salaam' with not just the score but even his voice? For those who may have missed it, or want to listen to it now, the outstanding original video has is available here at You Tube since its embedding has been disabled.

As far as I am concerned, Rahman's best ever score was in Subhash Ghai's 'Taal'. Every song and the background music in that film was exceptional but Sukhwinder's 'Ramta Jogi' was something else. The innumerable ways in which Rahman got him to say 'jogi' was unbelievable. Rahman should have got an Oscar for that score. Here is Sukhwinder:

Rahman's music in Slumdog Millionaire is good, but everyone in India knows that he has done much better. The world has got its first real taste of him with this film and soon we will find people all round the globe thirsting for his music. Not just what he is going to create in future but even what he already has. With his canvas now global, he is going to surprise the world with his creative genius and is going to sell many more than the 100 million albums he has already sold. Move over everyone else. Rahman has arrived.

At the Oscar awards ceremony, AR Rehman revealed one secret behind his success. He said that all his life he had a choice between hate and love. He chose love and "that is why I am here". Yes, Rahman, the soulful divinity of your love flows through your music. That love is now poised to touch everyone around the world. The world is your Oscar now.