have worked with different people. Most Westerners are generally
reserved. But Boyle was different - like a friend, very helpful.
It was like working for Mani Ratnam, Rakeysh (Omprakash Mehra).
He was very excited about India. He loved India. He loved Mumbai.
He loved everything," says the maestro.
The time at hand may have been much less than
the Chennai-based composer is used to, but that fact appears to
have had no effect on the final score. "Slumdog Millionaire"
music is already attracting Oscar buzz.
To start the season on an auspicious note, it
has just picked up an award - Best Score of the Year from the
L.A. Film Critics Association. Rahman also received a Golden Globe
nomination for Best Original Score and two Critics Choice nominations
- Best Score and Best Song for "Jai Ho".
The score was lent extra momentum by the presence
of Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known as 31-year-old
dance music phenomenon M.I.A. Though she herself was born in London,
M.I.A.'s parents are Sri Lankan Tamilians, a connection that informed
and enhanced the film's score.
Rahman says: "...It (the South Asian connection)
did have an impact. She is very young. Very futurist. Knew how
to take the film forward. I knew her work. She knew my work and
"She asked me, 'Why don't you stop doing
sentimental stuff?' That's how the music acquired that edgy feeling,
that you wanted to fly away from it. She was definitely an inspiration."
Though Indian audiences will have to wait till
January to see the film, the awards have already started pouring
in. The US' National Board of Review has named "Slumdog Millionaire"
the best film of 2008, while the film bagged the 'Best British
Independent Film' prize at the British Independent Film Awards.
With honours coming in thick and fast, Rahman
has a relatively sedate reaction to the prospect of an Indian
composer achieving a first - an Academy Award (or even nomination)
"I don't know whether it excites me personally.
But a small-budget film getting the kind of recognition it is
getting certainly makes you feel good."
A.R. Rahman is already well known in the West,
but the accolades the film and his score are gathering should
lead to greater prominence for this softspoken genius from Chennai.
"In a way it would help me to build a bridge
with my Western listeners. It would lend to a better appreciation
of my music in the West."