Oscar-, BAFTA-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-winning composer A.R.Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”) has provided further details of his recently announced role as the ambassador of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Breakthrough India initiative.
“As ambassador, my role is to help BAFTA to recognize breakthrough talent across the breadth of the Indian film industry and help them navigate the diverse and creative landscape of the country,” Rahman told Variety. “It would also include educating the country about BAFTA and all its work and of course lending a supporting voice to reach the many, very talented individuals across all regions.”
As part of BAFTA Breakthrough India, a jury of British and Indian industry experts will select five talents from across India to take part in the year-long mentoring and guidance program. The chosen participants will receive mentoring, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, and full voting BAFTA membership.
“BAFTA Breakthrough will enable young talent to work in partnerships to tell globally relevant stories, and collaborate creatively across cultures,” says Rahman. “India and the U.K.’s industries can learn from each other. And when voices from different cultures come together, the amalgamation gives rise to a whole new voice.”
Among his own key breakthroughs, Rahman rates his debut with Mani Ratnam’s “Roja” in 1992, as well as composing the Andrew Lloyd Webber West End and Broadway stage musical “Bombay Dreams” (2002-2006). “Working there for three or four years changed my life – my outlook, my self assessment – it helped me grow,” said Rahman. “And then of course there was ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the BAFTA and Oscars that followed.”
Next up for Rahman is his directorial debut, the Virtual Reality experience “Le Musk.” “The post-production of ‘Le Musk’ is getting over in December and as soon as things open up, we want to hopefully install it in places in Europe and America,” Rahman said. “So, we’re looking at collaborators as this is kind of an unprecedented attempt.”
The musical “99 Songs,” co-produced and co-written by Rahman is also ready for release.
The composer chooses to accentuate the positive about the impact COVID-19 has had on the world. “The pandemic has affected everyone across the world,” said Rahman. “The world of arts has probably seen the toughest time, yet if you really think about it, there has never been more demand for entertainment, music and otherwise in the history of mankind. I feel that COVID-19 has made a global village out of our industry with music and entertainment crossing borders. I believe the future is digital, blurring all lines for the better. It has forced us out of shells, made us upskill and also democratized talent discovery.”