As South Asians took root around the world and their local movie culture avidly followed them, one could hear Rahman’s music even if it didn’t puncture the consciousness: as background music in restaurants and posh stores, in the very beat of certain neighborhoods, and of course in the movies that occasionally broke out of Desi ghettos. Lagaan, the insurgent epic centered on an Anglo-Indian cricket match, was nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar. Again Rahman’s work went uncited — though not, by Western film cultists, unappreciated. As they discovered India’s pop cinema, they realized that along with the ferocious emoting and delirious dances, there was a master composer — the man Indians call the Mozart of Madras.
The column of Richard Corliss, That Old Feeling: Isn’t It Rahmantic?, appears to be a timely one. A fantastical testimonial of AR Rahman and his timeless compositions. A must read for Rahmaniacs on his b’day.
My bit is here. On a hot sunny afternoon, walking by the crowded streets of Tambaram, I stop by the corner of the road for a synthesised music blaring from an audio shop. I could even identify ABBA, Jackson, Eagles and Carpenters before that. But this music was soothing and very different. I’m not making nay comparions here. No exaggeration. True. Someone on the audioshop said the composer was a 25yr old guy. I bought the cassette not for the music but for Mani Ratnam. It was Roja. The year was 1992.
Since then I’ve been mesmerized by AR Rahman for good and never turned back. If I were to know a Rahman music album got released, I bought it blindly. I never bothered the crew and the cast. If it was Rahman, the cassette was mine. I even bought music of movies like Andhi Malai which never released. And yeah I closely followed ARR music release schedules. Would have posted them here if only there were blogs in 1995.
Rahman still continues to inspire a generation of people , around the world(is that politically right?) who are transfixed to his musical chords. And we should be pleased that a unassuming dude from Chennai is making the world dance to his HUMMA HUMMA.