|The last time you composed music for a movie was the national award winning Mr. and Mrs Iyer in 2002. What made you choose this movie?
Are you saying that I've something to do with female directors now? (laughs) It was just Sona's personality. Although it was her first project, the way she spoke to me and her whole passion about the script (which is very good) and her confidence to be able to see it through, convinced me to do the music.
I can relate to the story as it reminds me of my childhood. As a kid, my mother would look after us, while my father would travel for concerts. In this story, the mother is a musician, who travels a lot. It reminded me of my father travelling; the way he would call us and hear our voices when he would miss us. I could actually picture that when the script was narrated. It was like reel had become real. So I took up the project.
|Do you see yourself in the girl child in this movie?
I sort of do, yeah. For a while, I would wonder where my father was. Questions of his love would arise. There were situations when he would land up in Mumbai airport after four months of being gone away and catch a connecting flight to go to another city to play and wouldn't even come home. We would visit him at the airport, so questions arose as to why he wasn't coming home. But then, I began to understand. Although he was away, he was with us and he was always constantly talking to us. Similarly in this film, the main character is of a musician and has this kind of scenario with her family.
|How was the experience working a debutant director who obviously doesn't know as much as you do about music?
Are you trying to say I'm old? Thank you very much now. (Laughs) Well, Sona has a certain maturity. She works on her strong points, which is very good. She also knows what she wants, which is amazing. But she isn't afraid to ask if she's in doubt. It was easy working with her because she told me about the scenario and the specific character, gave me the script and left me to my designs to come up with what was needed. I just sent her the music one day that this is what I am thinking and she was like "OK, that's fine." That's how it worked.
|A R Rahman has suddenly emerged as a global face of Indian Music Industry where in old times, it was very difficult for an artiste to be recognized at an international level. How do you see it as?
The world has become very small today. Everything you want is a fingertip away. Forty years ago things weren't like what they are today. It is great that AR Rahman is famous in a time where technology has propelled him to superstardom today. The only person I can remember achieving so much fame forty years ago is Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Also, we have to remember that India has a huge television viewing audience. AR Rahman's popularity in the West has drawn more people towards learning more about India as well.
|Who's your favourite artiste?
It's hard to say. Everyone is different. You have Asha Bhosle doing a cabaret and Lata Mangeshkar doing a sad Hindi love song. It's difficult, really. For instance, I was in Nice, Southern France recently and came across a girl playing the bass and she was amazing. She was doing this duet with a guy on the piano and it was such brilliant music. So at that point, she was my favourite. I've had favourites like John McLaughlin and Pandit Ravi Shankar. The magic arrives without announcing itself.
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