The Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman revealed that he was hesitant to take up Roja, his debut film, when director Mani Ratnam approached him. “I had a self-doubt, but Mani said no no… you’ll be able to do it,” he shared to The Quint in an exclusive interview.
Roja released on August 15, 1992. It marked the entry of the Rahman who went on to conquer the world of music. Rahman has won two Oscars--Best Original Song and Best Original Music Score for the film Slumdog Millionaire released in 2009. Besides Oscars, he has won several accolades and awards including the prestigious Grammy Awards.
This is not the first instance, when the music genius doubted his talents. In a candid chat, Rahman also recalled that he had a similar experience when he was signed for Bombay Dreams. “The Broadway production was again a huge project. I was just a film musician working out of a studio when this project came my way. It was Andrew Lloyd Webber who convinced me that I could do it. Looking back, I feel I should have worked a lot harder!,” he shared.
Rahman said that he was extremely skeptical when Imtiaz Ali wanted him to compose the 'Kun Faya' song from Rockstar.However, Imtiaz convinced him. “Kun Faya Kun is a very powerful phrase in the Holy Text. I was a little hesitant to touch it. But Imtiaz assured that we’d do it with great respect.”
Talking about his wife Saira Banu, he said that she was the chief conductor of his life. Rahman disclosed that whenever he drifts to spiritual music, she pulls him back to making peppy music.
“She’s a bubbly person and loves peppy music. Whenever I drift towards spiritual music she pulls me back saying there’s enough time for that kind of music.”
Sharing that Sufism has helped him destroy his ego and anger, he said, “When you are passionate, it’s difficult to be humble. You get angry and raise your voice. However, ultimately it’s all about destroying your ego. That’s what sufism has taught me. It’s about going the sufi route.”
Rahman’s upcoming projects include Beyond the Clouds with Iranian film maker Majid Majidi. He is also directing Le Musk, which is a virtual reality film.
Watch the interview here: