By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Feb 2 (IANS) Music maestro A.R. Rahman is ready to build a music conservatory in Chennai for young talents who want to learn Western classical music. He has already acquired land for it.
"It's near the Chennai airport. And we plan to start work on it very soon," Rahman told IANS. He says starting a music conservatory is a dream he has nurtured for years.
"I feel young talented musicians in our country, specially those who want to learn Western classical music, have nowhere seriously creative to go. We need to cultivate a taste for Western symphonic music so that an average musically-inclined young musician would be as enthused about learning the violin as the star," said Rahman.
The land purchase puts Rahman's dream plan into third gear.
"We'll soon be working round-the-clock. I want it to be one of the best music schools in our country."
Speaking on his latest music soundtrack in Hindi, Rahman said: "I wouldn't even want to compare my output in 'Jodhaa Akbar' with what Ashutosh Gowariker and I did in 'Lagaan' or 'Swades'.
"Or, for that matter, what Rakeysh (Omprakash Mehra) and I did in 'Rang De Basanti' (RDB). We've done what we liked without thinking of the outcome. You've to go by your instincts in every form of art. I've never intentionally tried to break the mould. I've tried to do what's right."
Two of his old scores are also ready for release.
"Two years back Abbas Tyrewallah's 'Jaane Tu Jaane Na' and 'Adaa' by Tanvir Ahmed were recorded. These will come in the next two months."
And, of course, there's Subhash Ghai's magnum opus "Yuvraj". "It's got Western classical vibes, but the sound is very Indian, very mellow."
He says his music in Ghai's "Taal" helped him earn Punjabi fans.
"I think 'Taal' took me to the Hindi-belt masses. I ceased to be different. Before that I was seen as this oddity from Chennai. Of course, 'Rangeela' got its own glory. But 'Taal' is the one that created a hardcore Punjabi audience for me."
He also has Mehra's "Dilli 6" coming up. "It's turned out very well. Who can say how it will be accepted? Did anyone expect RDB to become so big? Even a small idea can change the world.
"When I came into Hindi cinema with 'Roja', the whole road was empty. A lot of people are still doing good work, but not consistently. Good work can be done even on YouTube on the net. So let's not blame the lack of opportunities for the inconsistent musical output.
"Some of the stuff is undoubtedly good. You can't just write everything off. But I feel the whole idea of pop art has to change.
"Malayalam director Adoor Gopalakrishnan says TV has corrupted popular tastes. I'd have to agree with that. I feel the film medium deserves much better. Even I get pulled into projects which are not right."
Ask Rahman whom he considers a path-breaker after himself and he quips: "Why do we need a path-breaker? One never intends to be a path-breaker. If it happened I'm fortunate.
"Right now we need more experimental melodies in film music. The problem is that the minute you start composing a soundtrack, you're thinking you'll do what sells in the charts. Your intention becomes diluted. It's more about marketing than creativity.
"Which songs should go on the shelf, which should go into the pubs - these questions should come after you create the music. And there's a diminishing respect for creative people. Stars get all the respect because they bring in the audience. But what about other creative people?"
But Rahman is hopeful. "It will all taper off. We'll have more talent coming in."