For Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman didn’t have to compose as much as he would for a Bollywood film, since the songs worked as the score.
Aware of Boyle’s preference for punk music, Rahman says, “When I work for a director, I like what they like.” “Slumdog,” he says, “is edgy.”
The end-credit number that Rahman composed, “Jai ho,” was conceived as an homage to Bollywood, according to “Slumdog” editor Chris Dickens. The script included a sequence with the song, but the fit wasn’t quite right.
“We tested it a few times, but people didn’t feel it belonged,” Dickens says. “(But) Danny insisted on that (song), and I did too, (so) we had to find a way to make it work.”
” ‘Jai ho’ fit in a celebration,” Rahman says of the song’s use as a kind of uplifting coda to all that went on before in this rags-to-riches fable of undying love.
For Rahman, the praise for his score and songs in “Slumdog Millionaire” is acknowledgment that his superstar rep in India is finally paying dividends beyond its borders.
“It feels really good,” he says. “It’s great to be accepted in another country.”