To call A.R. Rahmanâ€™s sound diverse is like saying Roger Federer plays a decent game of tennis. Over the years, the Academy Award-winning composer has developed a style that melds Carnatic, Western classical, Hindustani and Qawwali genres with electronic and orchestral currents. The Chennai, India, native gained a considerable American following (and nabbed that Oscar) when he joined forces with Danny Boyle and M.I.A. for the soundtrack for â€œSlumdog Millionaire.â€ This month, the duo went at it again for Boyleâ€™s film â€œ127 Hours,â€ the true story of Aron Ralstonâ€™s treacherous accident in the canyons of Utah.
And Rahmanâ€™s soundtrack only heightens the experience, mixing his own original, meditative compositions like â€œLiberation Beginsâ€ and â€œTouch of Sunâ€ with soul-jazz (Esther Phillipsâ€™ rendition of Edith Piafâ€™s â€œIf You Love Meâ€), French new wave (Plastic Bertrandâ€™s â€œÃ‡a Plane Pour Moiâ€) and a collaboration with Dido, with whom Rahman had been discussing ideas for an album.
At 11:30 p.m. his time in Mumbai, the 44-year-old chatted with WWD about guitars, amputations and lullabies.
WWD: What was your first reaction when you read the script?
A.R. Rahman: I took the movie in, and I thought the guitar would be a very nice instrument for it. I think that itâ€™s very American, the movie, the character is very independent. Even though heâ€™s stuck, he thinks in such a way that itâ€™s very typical American. And young, that phase of life you go through. I thought this would be the right relationship with the instrument.
WWD: What kind of sound were you looking to create?
A.R.R.: More electric and distortion and then sometimes just acoustic guitar. The movie is about a lot of loneliness, but what he would go through would be just being ready to burst out and a desire to be freed and that kind of energy inside. He has not eaten and he has not had water, but you just go into a hypothetical situation where you imagine yourself combating that thing.
WWD: How do you score a self-amputation scene?
A.R.R.: Itâ€™s just a very harsh scene, but we wanted to think, What would hold people to watch that at the same time? It had to do a lot of things. At that stage, theyâ€™re very vulnerable because of the scene before, where he sees [his future child] and then this attacks you. We had to be very, very careful.
WWD: For that future child scene, you worked with Dido on the track â€œIf I Rise.â€ What made her voice so perfect for it?
A.R.R.: For me, itâ€™s a very healing voice, and she sang to me like somebody soothing you and comforting you, and thatâ€™s the situation there. Itâ€™s like a future lullaby, actually, like a child singing for the father. it just gives the hope for him to stand up and do it and free himself.
Thanks Mr.Gopal Srinivasan And WWD