AR Rahman was not the first choice for Slumdog Millionaire
Penning the forward of an authorised biography on the musician, filmmaker Danny Boyle reminisces how he "changed my life"
Danny Boyle says he first thought about asking Jack White to compose the music for Slumdog Millionaire but zeroed in on AR Rahman — who won an Oscar for the film - on the recommendation of a crew member.
The ace filmmaker says he couldn't see or hear how the team could use the hit song Jai Ho in the movie. "I first thought about asking Jack White to write the music for Slumdog Millionaire, but I was already in India preparing the film and a member of the crew kept saying, 'You really must meet Mr AR Rahman, he truly is the Mozart of Madras, and he will change your life," says Boyle, who won the Oscar for best director for the film in 2009. After that "titanic recommendation", Boyle met "this gentle, unassuming man and my life did indeed change".
According to the British filmmaker, Rahman brought all the driving sensibility of a brilliant rock, pop and blues guitarist, with the tenderness and originality of great love songs from Bollywood and India, "like a calm hub around which Western and Eastern musical sensibilities revolved".
Recalling their work together, he says, "I remember one session where he and MIA jammed, throwing each other samples across the carpet of his tiny studio in Tufnell Park, London. She had followed his work since childhood, yet he treated her as an absolute equal. It would never occur to him to do anything else. Their song O...Saya grew out of these sessions."
He also says he "couldn't hear" the Oscar-winning track, Jai Ho at first. "I liked it, but couldn't see or hear how we could use it in the film. Seems strange to admit it now, but he showed me how to end our film, how to harness the spirit of his homeland, and, in doing so, like the man said, changed my life," he writes in the foreword to a new book on Rahman.
Billed by publishers as an authorised biography of Rahman, Notes of a Dream is penned by Krishna Trilok. The book features intimate interviews with the virtuoso, as well as insights and anecdotes from key people in his life.
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