The top-notch music director A R Rahman has taken the Indian music to world standards. He proved himself in Tamil industry as well as in Hindi film industry. Rehana’s Rahamaniya on Aahaa FM is about brother A R Rahman, the ‘Mozart from Madras’.
“I interview people who have worked with him. I speak about Rahman’s songs, their uniqueness and incidents in our family,” says Rehana, Rahman’s elder sibling, who has composed music for Machi.
Her popular songs include Malae Malae Marudhamala from Choklet and Balleilakka from Sivaji The Boss. “Rahman’s songs are classy and people also expect me to do like. I am waiting for a good opportunity. I get offer to sing vulgar songs. I don’t like it and just walk off the studio,” says Rehana, “Two films are in my pipeline,” she explains.
After recording one of the most important songs for Sivaji, the Rajnikanth-produced Tamil film, composer AR Rahman invited the director of the film Shankar to listen to it. Shankar, who has worked with Rahman on several films, could of course instantly recognize veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam (SPB) in the song Balleilakka.. “But who is the female singer?” he asked.
“He thought I was joking when I told him it is Rehana,” says Rahman with a chuckle. “She has performed with me in my concerts,” he adds.”She has sung part of the song Chaiyya Chaiyya in the concerts but this time she was singing for a film, and that too a very big film, and we all knew the song would be one of the biggest hits on the album. And yet I did not want to take anything for granted. I think I took upon myself a challenge and see if my sister could sing well for a big budget film.”
“But it took me 17 years of my profession to give my own sister a break,” he says, with a small sigh. “People don’t understand how mysteriously things work out in the film industry. Many young people who send me tapes with their voices are disappointed that they do not hear from me at all. It is not easy to convince me. I am most critical with my own voice. You know that Tera Bina song in Guru was not originally sung by me. It was only at the insistence of Mani sir I recorded it in my own voice.”
Even with Rehana he was not sure even as she was practicing the song that he should retain her voice. “After three hours of singing, suddenly her voice sounded very different and beautiful,” he reveals. “Only then did I decide to retain her voice.”
Talking about her son G V Prakash, Rehana says, “I didn’t expect him to become a music director. I thought he would be a singer or keyboardist,” says Rehana.
“After the blessings of K. Balachander, I started my work. My guru and uncle A. R. Rahman is there with me always”, G V Prakash said . Prakash also got country’s best singers — Shankar Mahadevan, Chitra and Sadhana Sargam — to sing for him. The music track of Kuselan, which has five songs, also features a song by famous pop singer Daler Mehndi.
The more exciting thing to note is that Big Music bought the audio rights of Kuselan for a whopping Rs 2.2 crore, the highest for a Tamil album. The previous highest was for Rahman’s Sivaji, again a Rajnikanth film.