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A R Rahman ventures into script-writing, film production

A R Rahman ventures into script-writing, film production

New York: Two-time Academy Award-winning music composer A R Rahman is now donning a different hat and is working on his own screenplay after he felt challenged to try a genre different than music.

Rahman was in the city for the world premiere of 'Jai Ho' on February 25, a new documentary about his life and astounding career that was screened at the prestigious Museum of the Moving Image here before a packed theatre. The musician said the idea of film producing and scriptwriting came to him as he wanted to challenge himself by moving beyond the realm of music and trying something new.

Rahman, who has composed music for over 100 Hindi and Tamil films as well as for Hollywood projects, said there is a sort of repetition in the way songs are composed for Indian movies. He said every movie ends up having a few melodious numbers and an item song.

"How much can you do that. You have done it all, so for me to force myself to challenge myself, I thought let me build myown platform to challenge myself. So this idea of film producing and script writing came about," he said, adding that the casting for his first film has already begun. He, however, did not give further details of the movie. He added that when he was working on the British musical 'Bombay Dreams', he was asked by its composer Andrew Lloyd Webber if he had some story ideas. Rahman replied that he was a music composer and did not have any story ideas of his own.

"But one day I thought why not," he said, adding that when he observed people from various cultures he would wonder what their story would be and that is what got him interested in script writing. Rahman, 48, best known in the US for his Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning score for Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire', however ruled out donning the director's hat, saying since he is an "introvert" he does not see himself as a director.

'Jai Ho' is a 60-minute film directed by National Award winning producer and director Umesh Aggarwal. The title of the documentary is derived from the hugely popular eponymous song composed by Rahman for 'Slumdog Millionaire'. It has become a cult anthem and is performed by singers from across the world.

"We are honored to be hosting A R Rahman, an icon of Indian music, and the world premiere of Jai Ho," said David Schwartz, the Museum's Chief Curator. "While 'Slumdog Millionaire' brought him to the attention of many Americans, Rahman has had a long and accomplished career in India and abroad for nearly two decades. This intimate and exciting documentary shows why he is widely regarded as one of the world's great film composers."

The documentary traces milestones in Rahman's personal and professional life and features concert footage and interviewswith Rahman, his mother and sister. It also features conversations with Boyle, Webber, Indian directors Shekhar Kapur, Subhash Ghai and Mani Ratnam and lyricists Gulzar and Javed Akhtar who throw light about the way Rahman changed Indian and global music with his unconventional tunes.

Jai Ho, produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust of India, explores the evolution of Rahman's style of music —- a fusion of Eastern sensibilities and Western technology. Spanning across Los Angeles, London, Chennai and Bombay,the film reveals an unseen narrative of the Indian icon who is "no less than a global phenomenon." Rahman also talks about his struggles after his father passed away when he was very young, his decision to convert to Islam and how his music aims convey the universal language of compassion and love.

Rahman said he was initially reluctant to have a film made on him as he felt he "was not worth it". After he agreed to have a documentary made on him, he said he wanted that it should be simple and be able to inspire people and not go over the top about his accomplishments and awards.

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