Rahman dedicates Oscars to younger generation

Chennai, Feb 26 (IANS) India's double Oscar winner A.R. Rahman dedicated his awards to the younger generation as he returned home to a hero's welcome here Thursday with ace drummer Sivamani and his troupe providing a pulsating backdrop, and a large crowd of thousands dancing to the chant of "Jai ho".

The awards, Rahman hoped, would change fans' approach towards Indian music and his career.

"It's a starting point in my career and will indeed make a difference in fans' approach towards good music," Rahman said late Wednesday at the Anna International Air Terminal after returning from Los Angeles, where he bagged two golden statuettes for "Slumdog Millionaire" for best original score and best original song for "Jai Ho".

"I am completely overwhelmed, touched, with the kind of reception I got... it is great to be back," he added.

With a broad smile, Rahman exuded love when he addressed reporters briefly.

"My award's message was said clearly in my acceptance speech. 'In my life, I always had a choice between love and hate and I chose love.' That is my philosophy in life and in music," Rahman said.

"I chose to live a life overriding differences between people, states, language and religion. My fans should do the same. Hollywood stars Michael Jackson and Penelope Cruz liked this attitude and told me its inherent love affected them deeply," Rahman said.

As fans congregated outside his home in the southwestern suburb of Kodambakkam, Rahman was keen to ensure that neighbours were not disturbed in the dead of night.

"Thank you for coming, but I will not disturb you so early. We will meet again. Remember we are in the early hours. I'm tired after a long journey, have to work in the morning and my children have to go to school," Rahman told applauding fans.

Also present at the airport to welcome the composer were state Information Minister Paruthi Ilamvazhuthi and offbeat actor R. Parthiban. The minister led a delegation from the state government's protocol department and gave the music maestro a welcome generally associated with heads of state.

While Sivamani's troupe performed, a little away was another team from Kerala playing traditional music to herald the return of the hero.

Commenting on his win, Rahman said: "When I won the second Oscar, I wanted to give a bigger message. We have a choice for love and hate for everything whether religion, caste, language - it is to choose love over hate whether in music or the philosophy of life.

"All the actors and directors in Hollywood loved the statement. Michael Jackson liked it too. It is not the highest point in my career, but it is a starting point of making a lot of difference.

"I hope my award inspires others as well," said Rahman.

Rahman will be felicitated March 1 by the Cine Musicians' Union, according to the body's press statement.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who will be discharged from hospital on March 1, may briefly attend the fete - not only in his official capacity but also as the elder statesman of the Tamil film industry, ruling DMK sources added.

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