Mozart of Madras hits SA

2010-10-23 00:00

BEST known for his music score in the multi-award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, A. R. Rahman is bringing his Jai Ho: A Journey Home world tour to South Africa.

The tour starts in Cape Town on November 20 and travels to Johannesburg before capturing the Durban audience on November 26 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

“It has always been a dream of mine to come to South Africa,” said Rahman. “My visit the last time was brief and it is good to be back, especially for the 150-year [celebration of the indentured labourers]. It’s very exciting.”

For Slumdog Millionaire alone, Rahman received two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, two Grammys and a Bafta award. He is one of the world’s all time top-selling recording artists and has been dubbed the “Mozart of Madras” by TIME magazine, which also named him as one of the most influential people in the world in 2009.

“Being [one of the most influential people] involves great responsibility. We have to always be aware ... how we are reacting, how we are moving, how we speak to people ... A lot of people follow what we are saying ... In a way it’s good because it makes you think before you act and shapes who you are.”

TIME magazine also ranked the soundtrack for Roja (Rahman’s first film soundtrack which was released in 1992) in its 2005 top-10 list of best soundtracks in the world. Rahman had received three best music director awards for the film.

“Roja is my first love. It is what started [my] journey ... what set me on the path.”

However, Rahman had not always wanted a career in music:

“My mother motivated me to become a composer ... but then I started enjoying it.”

He started composing when he was 18 years old but had been working in studios from the age of 12. Today, several of his tracks have been featured in movies such as The Lord of Wa r and Inside Man. He has performed with Michael Jackson in Germany and created musical hits such as the soundtracks for Lagaan, Dil Se, Bombay and Taal, to name a few.

“Projects are done over a period of six months to three years and the mind plays an important role. Life is so uncertain, every day is different and sometimes you get caught in a bad frame of mind and have to force yourself to think and to be creative ... which is not good for music . So you need to wait until everything settles. This is the hardest part. If you have a good temperament, things are easier to complete.”

Rahman is also the founder of the KM Music Conservatory and aspires, through the A. R. Rahman Foundation, to fight poverty through educating the underprivileged.

“My ultimate dream is to create an all-Indian orchestra.”


• Catch A. R. Rahman at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 26. Tickets are available from Computicket at 083 915 8000 and outlets country wide.

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