By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network
If there is one person who truly symbolizes the age-old saying, "Actions speak louder than words", he has to be A.R.Rahman. The music composer is known to be quite shy and hence prefers to let his work (read music) do all the talking. Hence, when it was time for a tete-a-tete with the greatest composer of the present generation, we knew that each minute is precious. On the occasion of the music launch of Subhash Ghai's forthcoming musical extravaganza Yuvvraaj, Bollywood Hungama caught up with A.R.Rahman and quizzed him on what he has in store for all Rahmaniacs (die-hard A.R. Rahman fans) this time around with the soundtrack of Yuvvraaj. You simply don't wanna miss this one.
This year has been a treat for A.R.Rahman fans. After a royal, vintage score in Jodhaa Akbar you gave us the peppy and zany Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na. What do you have in store for your fans with Yuvvraaj?
The music of Yuvvraaj is something which we (Mr, Ghai, Gulzaar saab and myself) have all worked very hard on. Since the film itself is a musical, the music plays a very important role. I wouldn't like to say much about what's in store as far as the music goes. I don't even want to say the clichéd stuff that this is completely different from what I have done. All I would like to ask the people is to listen it for themselves and I hope they like it (smiles).
Subhash Ghai's films are known for the music and this one is a musical. You've worked with Mr. Ghai earlier in Taal and then in Kisna. How similar or different has been the experience working with the showman?
It has always been a pleasure to associate with Subhashji on his projects. Working on the music of Yuvvraaj has been a creative challenge for me, as Subhashji has always been associated with melodious music and has a vast understanding about the subject. As for comparisons with Taal, all I would say is that this is completely different. It's a different story, set in a different place and is also multi-cultural. Taal was more Punjabi-friendly, remix, rhythmic kind of music etc. whereas Yuvvraaj is more about melody and love etc... Yuvvraaj being a musical and a grand film, audio is just 50%. The visuals and the music complement each other.
Did you give him many sleepless nights considering you like to work at night?
I had a request from Mrs.Ghai asking me not to work very late in the night. So whenever it was 12 at night, I used to tell him, "I am tired. So let's call it a day" (laughs)
The music of Yuvvraaj has a very European kind of a feel with symphony, large scale orchestrations etc.
Yeah, we've used a Motif from Beethoven's 5th Symphony because the story is set in Austria/ Prague etc. Hence, we wanted that experience and feel to come alive through the music.
After 'Jashn-e-Bahaara', Javed Ali became a household name; after 'Kabhi Kabhi Aditi', Rashid Ali had truly arrived. Do you think it's going to be Benny Dayal this time who has crooned the soulful 'Tu Hi Toh Meri Dost Hai' in Yuvvraaj?
I hope so (smiles). I really wish Benny has a great future. He is a very hardworking boy. In fact, he has even sung a song for me in Ghajini which I am sure people will like. My best wishes are always with him.
You are known to give new singers a chance be it Naresh Iyer or Rashid Ali or Benny Dayal. How do you find this new and untapped talent every time?
It just happens. We just check them out and if they are good enough we give them a break (smiles).
They usually say that you reserve the best track for yourself in every album, be it 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' in Jodhaa Akbar or 'Tu Bole' in Jaane Tu....is it true in the case of Yuvvraaj?
(smiles) In Yuvvraaj, I have not sung much. I have just sung bits and pieces here and there. Though Mr. Ghai wanted me to sing, I don't think my voice matches Salman Khan's. He has a much deeper voice. If I feel convinced that it's working for the betterment of the film's music I retain it, else I remove it.
How long did it take to compose the music for Yuvvraaj and what was the brief given?
The initial brief was Mr Ghai always wanted to have a full fledged orchestra kind of a musical score and with Yuvvraaj he has fulfilled his desire. I hope people like it and appreciate it.
Lyrics have been written by Gulzar Saab...How has been the experience working with him?
I love working with Gulzaar saab. His whole temperament and vast experience is something which I really admire. All the films that I have worked with him have been really enjoyable.
I know one should never ask a music composer to pick his favorite track but nevertheless which track is closest to your heart?
I like 'Tu Muskura'...it's a really soulful number.
A lot has been said about Katrina playing the cello. Whose idea was it and is it the first time that the cello has been used in a Hindi film?
It was Mr. Ghai's idea. I don't think the cello has been used in any other Hindi film on screen. The sight of a beautiful girl playing an instrument like the cello seems like an overwhelming visual. It's really nice.
Have you used the cello in many songs?
It's almost interwoven in every song.
Is it true that the sound of the cello is closest to the human voice?
Yes...provided it's played properly (laughs)
In today's time and age there doesn't seem to be any rivalry among music composers. You have someone like Shankar Mahadevan who every now and then sings for Vishal-Shekhar and even Vishal has sung a lot for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Have you been approached by other music composers to song and will you do that?
I have been approached. They have been very kind to ask me to lend my voice but I am signed by a company and hence cannot go beyond my contract.
Which soundtracks have you liked in the recent past?
I've heard a couple of songs of Rock On. I loved the trailer and the whole concept seems really interesting. I want to watch Rock On.
Earlier this year, on your birthday you launched your dream project K M Music Conservatory in Chennai. How is work coming along on that front?
It has been really good. The first batch of students has already been enrolled and the response has been more than encouraging.
Is it true that you are part of a T.V. show called The Big Band? Could you take us through that?
The Big Band is a search for the best band. I liked the concept when Phat Phish came and narrated the idea to me. We are looking at exploring talent not just across India but also from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc. It will also facilitate in some sort of a cultural exchange between our musicians and their musicians. I am really excited about being part of the show.
Finally, what's next in line after Yuvvraaj?
After Yuvvraaj, there is the Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini. I am also doing the music for Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd.'s multi-starrer Blue. There is also Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, the music of which is already done. So there's a lot to look forward too.