×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Composer A.R. Rahman Focuses on Projects Closer to Home in India

Prolific Indian composer A.R. Rahman has decided to slow down in order to get more done.

The composer, who won an Oscar for “Slumdog Millionaire” and was nominated for “127 Hours,” has decided to cut down his Hollywood assignments. His hitherto peripatetic life — he finished a summer concert series in the U.S. and just played a one-off show at London’s O2 Arena — will now be largely confined to Chennai, India, where he will spend more time with his young family and his passion project, the KM Music Conservatory.

Launched in 2008 under the aegis of the A.R. Rahman Foundation, the conservatory offers diplomas in collaboration with the U.K.’s Middlesex U. that combines the Hindustani and Western classical traditions, as well as a range of part-time courses including instrumental and vocal training, audio engineering and electronic music production.

Considered India’s preeminent composer, the 48-year-old Rahman has scored some 150 films in the Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Malayalam languages, and has sold more than 200 million albums. He also has scored Mandarin-lingo films.

He does, however, have two non-Indian films on tap: Majid Majidi’s “Muhammad,” a biopic of the prophet; and Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s “Pele,” about the legendary Brazilian soccer player.

Rahman says he has been a longstanding admirer of Iranian cinema, and in particular the work of Majidi in films like “Children of Heaven” and “The Color of Paradise,” but his busy schedule did not allow him to work with the director until now. The subject matter of the film is close to Rahman’s heart; he converted to Islam more than two decades ago. Describing the score of “Muhammad,” he says: “It is very calm; it gives you a sense of peace.”

The tempo is very different for “Pele.” “I have used Brazilian rhythms and instruments to convey the mood and the energy in the film,” he says. Popular Brazilian singer Ana Beatriz will be featured on the soundtrack.

In India, Rahman has teamed again with filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker, with whom he has worked previously on the Oscar-nominated “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” and “Mohenjo Daro,” a historical adventure starring Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan. He is also collaborating again with Imtiaz Ali for “Tamasha,” starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.

But he now can afford to pay more attention to other passions. In 2013, the Conservatory and the Foundation formed the Sunshine Orchestra, an initiative to give music training to young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. “I realize that music is one thing that can change lives,” he says. “This attempt has already changed mine.”

More Music

  • Carrie Underwood House

    Carrie Underwood Lists Former Mansion Outside Nashville (EXCLUSIVE)

    Pop country music queen Carrie Underwood has listed her lavishly appointed mansion in a guard-gated golf course development in the affluent suburban community of Brentwood, Tenn., about 20 miles south of downtown Nashville, for $1.45 million. The seven-time Grammy winning fourth season “American Idol” winner isn’t seeking much profit on the property she bought for [...]

  • Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists

    Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

    For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts. Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Charged With Multiple Counts of Sexual Abuse

    UPDATED: The Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced criminal charges against R. Kelly at a press conference this afternoon. The singer has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims — three of whom were minors — in incidents that took place between 1998 and 2010; he will have [...]

  • Lil Pump Harverd Dropout cover

    Album Review: Lil Pump's 'Harverd Dropout'

    On the cover of “Harverd Dropout,” the sophomore album from Miami rapper Lil Pump, the young MC is tossing homework papers in the air and looking rakish with his graduation cap askew, while wearing a robe emblazoned with the misspelled university name from his new full-length’s title. If this is meant to signal some sort [...]

  • Imagine Dragons - Dan ReynoldsImagine Dragons

    Imagine Dragons Topples Nickelback as World's Worst Band, Says Slipknot Frontman

    Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has chosen Nickelback’s successor as the most reviled band on earth: Imagine Dragons. During an interview on Tuesday, February 19, conducted by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones for his  radio show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” on Los Angeles’ KLOS, Jones made a comment about Nickelback being the “scapegoat of rock [...]

  • Behind the Hit: How Diplo Found

    Hitmaker of the Month: How Diplo Found Dance-Pop Perfection With 'Electricity'

    The third time was a charm for super-producer duo Silk City, the first collaboration between longtime friends Diplo (A.K.A. Thomas Wesley Pentz, Jr.) and Mark Ronson, who between them have worked with everyone from M.I.A. and Madonna and Beyonce (Diplo) to Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars (Ronson). After releasing the pair of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content