With his time considerably spent working on his new project, Rahman recounts the moment when the offer came by him. “I was going through a very dark phase in my life. The Mumbai shootout happened and a sound technician of mine was a victim. I drew into a shell. I couldn’t fathom who could orchestrate such an act of barbarity. That’s when I got a call offering me the project. At that time, I really needed something to immerse myself into and this was the perfect project. Not only did I get to work with such legends, it also helped me channel my pain in a more creative manner.
Despite being miles away and super busy, Rahman makes it a point to keep track of what’s going on back home. “Just a week ago, the serial blasts happened again in Mumbai and I was deeply troubled. The only way people can counter such acts of barbarity is by spreading love,” he says, emphatically. For someone as reclusive as Rahman, being away from his family has indeed been a tough task. “I’ve been travelling a lot in the past few months, working on various projects. My family, especially my kids, miss me a lot. But I try and explain it to them saying it’s better for me to work this way, than be an absentee father who slogs all the time in Dubai and sees his family just once a year, only for a few days. So, now my children have understood,” he explains.
While the world may raise a toast to his sheer musical genius, back home, sections of the film and music fraternity have minced no words in criticizing him. Be it for the Commonwealth Games anthem, the Ismail Darbar controversy or his style of working â€” Rahman has been subjected to not-so-kind words. “Ever since the Oscars happened, criticism has come my way more frequently,” he laughs. Known to be a man of few words, this time around Rahman minces no words. “Some of it (criticism) is scathing, but what can you do? Today, if anyone sneezes, my name crops up. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, fair enough. But at times, it bothers me. At the end of it all, I’m only human,” he admits.
Known to work in a solitary environment, Rahman confesses that he changed his style of working only for the band. “When I’m in my studios I work alone, in the silence of the night. But with “Super Heavy”, we had the other band members drop in to do their bit, give their ideas and suggestions and bond musically. The one thing we all knew was that no matter how big a star one is, we had all put our egos in our bags to come up with something that would blow the listener’s mind away. Plus, everything with “Super Heavy” is recorded live, whereas I’m used to working on production pieces,” he admits.
Despite a heavy lineup, the music from the album will not be very different from what’s expected of the band members. “We haven’t tried to make it very different for the western audience. But at the same time, I wanted to design something with an Indian feel. That’s when I created “Satyameva Jayate”. It will be interesting to hear Mick (Jagger) sing in Sanskrit!” laughs ARR.
Having recently won two Filmfare awards (one for Telugu and the other for a Tamil film), the question on everyone’s mind is what next? With Rahman spending most of his time in LA, film projects at the moment have taken a backseat. “I only take up movies I’m excited about, be it the story or the people I’ll be working with. Currently, I’m busy working on producing a musical. I’m in talks with a few producers.” Ask him why this desire to turn producer and he is quick to reply, “When we go to the theatres and end up seeing a bad film, we grumble about it for days. I realized that I could come up with something that the audience would love watching and I would enjoy doing too,” says Rahman before signing off.