Rahman's Slumdog Millionaire song goes to the Oscars

By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network

A. R Rahman lost a dear friend and sound recordist H Sridhar days after 26/11. It has left the musical maestro shaken but not devastated. Without telling a soul, he left for the US to submit his Hindi song 'Jai Ho' from Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars.. a song that actually belonged to Subhash Ghai!

The song has already been nominated for the 'New York Critics Choice Award', and the soundtrack has fetched Rahman the 'Los Angeles Critics Choice Award' for the best score. The soundtrack has just received a Golden Globe Nomination and the song is a hot favourite at the Oscars.

And to think that the song belonged to Subhash Ghai in Yuvvraaj. It's not just the 'Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai' song that Subhash Ghai allowed the British director Danny Boyle and A. R. Rahman to use in Slumdog Millionaire. It now comes to light that Ghai also gave away an entire original song from his own Yuvvraaj to Slumdog Millionaire.

How did this bewildering barter of creativity happen? Says the song's writer Gulzar, "I had written a song called 'Aaja Aaja Shamiane Ke Taley, Zari Wale Neele Aasman Ke Taley' for Subhash Ghai's Yuvvraaj. But then for some reason Subhash felt he didn't need that song in the film. So Rahman suggested that we use the track in Slumdog Millionaire because it fitted perfectly. We asked Subhash and he readily agreed. I must say it was very generous of him. It's my first international project."

Subhash Ghai brushes off the compliment. "There's nothing generous about it. Give and take is an integral part of any creative field. Look at M F Husain Saab's generosity. He called me up all the way from Dubai to say he loved Yuvvraaj. After the battering that it got, his words came as balm to my soul, especially when Husain Saab said he saw the film twice and liked it even better the second time. I happily gave the 'Aaja Aaja' song to Rahman when he said that it was needed for Danny Boyle's film. I felt the song was slightly too soft and subtle for the aggressive character (Zayed Khan). I'm glad they could use it."

And now the song that Subhash Ghai so generously handed over to another film is being submitted for the Oscars. 'Aaja Aaja Shamiane Ke Taley' is being entered in for the Best Song Category at the Oscars.

Any regrets for giving over the song? "None at all. Every film and every song has its own destiny. That song was meant to be in Slumdog Millionaire. I'm just happy that a Hindi song is being noticed heard and hummed in the US by non-NRI audiences," says Ghai.

Speaking from the US, Rahman says, "I'm here for work. But I've to say the sudden death of my friend and my permanent sound recordist H Sridhar (who died of a cardiac arrest on December 1) has been a big blow for me. He was a close friend and professional associate for twenty years. He was not just a sound recordist but also a fantastic keyboards player. He revolutionalized sound recording. I am shattered? It's a personal and professional loss. But life goes on. It has to."

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