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‘ War is About Power’ Multi Award-Winning Musician A.R Rahman Tells BBC Asian Network.

One of the world’s biggest composing, production and musical names A.R. Rahman  spoke exclusively to BBC Asian Network’s Gagan Grewal this week sharing his views on war and his career .  


 Rahman, the man behind the musical score of countless Bollywood films as well as West End productions like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams and Lord of the Rings spoke to Asian Network about his latest projects and war – something he’s rarely spoken about in public . 


A.R. Rahman scored his 1st Bollywood song ‘Roja’ in 1992 which went on to be listed as one of the top 100 songs of all time by TIME magazine, yet Rahman says it’s hard to define a favourite song.  In 2003 BBC World Service ran a global poll, asking its listeners for their 10 favourite tracks of the last millennium. A.R. Rahman had two tracks in the top ten, Vande Mataram – a rendition of the Indian National Song made it to number 2. We asked how that came about.


“I felt I should do something as a personal expression and I teamed up with my school mate Bharat Bala, a talented film maker, and he thought of this idea. I wanted to complete this album with the thought of belonging to the motherland. Though it was a controversial theme, I think the way it was put together I think it was acceptable to every community”.



On one of A.R’s CDs he says the world spends 730 billion dollars on War. We asked A.R. Rahamn what his views on war are.


“The ultimate fight in humanity was actually for food. But now it’s not about food anymore or healing anybody…Its about power, who's more powerful and who can control the world. Everybody's become a control freak, that’s the reason why we are spending so much of money on war, and so that’s the reason, why it was put on the sleeve of 'Pray for me brother' album. Its a simple thing, we don’t think about that, but when we see the reality we feel disgusted about it”.


We asked A.R. Rahman how he has found working over in the UK for the Lord of the Rings musical.


“[It’s] Completely different from what I do for movies because here [UK] is different kind of audience, the whole platform is reputed and credible. My first entry there has been great, ‘Bombay dreams’. ‘Lord of the Rings’ being the 2nd musical, but completely western, completely non Bollywood, non Indian, good diversion for me, to go deeper into this kind of music.


“It [the Bombay Dreams collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber] started, the conversation by Shekhar Kapoor to Andrew introducing my music to him, and he calling me straight and it started all that time, and now Bombay Dreams has almost become a kind of landmark musical where people recognise Indian film from Bombay Dreams. It’s a great bridge for that. And a bridge for me to go into western musicals like Lord of the Rings and probably much more in the future”.


A.R. Rahman has won recognition from a broad base including MTV, the Laurence Olivier awards as well as Bollywood.  We asked how his father dying when he was nine years old affected him and his career.  


“Everything changed when I started discovering myself, and the influence of Sufism in my life and my family. And the first film when it came, that changed the whole direction of my life in a way because that defined my music, principles and existence in a way actually…. my inspiration I got from him [his father] was his hard work, the good name he earned in the industry, which I wanted to retain in a way.”


Talking about what gives him strength Rahman replied,


“I'm a spiritual person, the word religion has been so much in controversy, I think we need to go beyond and look at humanity with love rather than segmenting so much. I try to be as true as possible, but the main thing for me is how much is it turning me into a better human being and how much it makes me a good influence in the community. So that's very important and I keep that in my mind.…“My family is very personal. They are a great support for my all activities, and moral support and everything…and I’ve got 2 daughters and a son, and one wife…and we all live together…”


For a man that has achieved a lot at a very young age we asked A.R. Rahman what is next on the horizon.


“Right now I’m doing Yuvraj, a Subhash Ghai's film, D6 by Rakesh Mehra, and Ghajini with Amir Khan, and the next music release will be a film Jaane Tu Jaane Na, Amir Khan production”.

See More on  A. R. Rahman Here