For all his achievements, A R Rahman is humility personified. The ace composer now wants to nurture youngsters with a passion for music. And his KM Music Conservatory, an International School of Music and Music Technology, is a step in that direction.
“We hope to expand the horizons of musicians in India by creating awareness about Western music and Music Technology, while continuing to respect and strengthen the art of Indian music. Aspirants will be trained to reach high standards of proficiency as musicians with good grounding in the technology that goes behind the process of making music,” explains the enthusiastic founder and principal of the Conservatory.
When it comes to acknowledging good work, Rahman is second to none. At the recent audio release function of the film Saroja, he heaped praise on music director Yuvan Shankar Raja. “Yuvan was seven or eight when I was working with Ilayaraja. I have seen him grow as a music director. I am happy that he is among the best composers in the industry right now. I am sure he will reach greater heights,” he says.
Rahman has an inclination for the genre of qawwali, and the recent Khwaja Mere Khwaja in Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodhaa Akbar was a huge hit. “I am happy that the number has been accepted by various sections of the society. In fact, it was originally composed as an independent number that preached the fear of God. It was adapted for the film,” says Rahman whose compositions in Ashutosh’s earlier films Swades and Lagaan also topped the charts.
In a career spanning over 15 years, Rahman has composed music for over 100 films, most of them big-budget ventures. “That is not intentional. But, in ventures where the focus is on my music, expectations are high. So, was the case with Sakkarakatti, but I am pleased the songs have gone down well with the audience,” he says.
Marmayogi, a mega-budget project set in 6 A.D. will see Kamal Haasan and Rahman team up after a gap of almost eight years. The last time Rahman scored music for a Kamal movie was Thenali. “It is very early to comment on the movie. But I will do a bit of research, since this is a period film,” he says.
And how about working in Sondarya Rajnikant’s animation film, Sultan, The Warrior? “It is exciting and offers endless scope,” he states. On his nephew G.V. Prakash Kumar, who is making an impact in Kollywood, the ‘Mozart of Madras’ feels that Prakash still has got a long way to go. “He is doing a good job. He has composed for a Rajnikanth film (Kuselan) very early in his career. I am happy with his progress,” he says, smiling.
Now, Rahman is busy working on an album with desi rapper Blaaze, where you can hear the Thirukkural in rap format. Rahman is producing the album. “The intention is to take the Thirukkural to the next generation. The success of Vande Mataram spurred me to take the project. I hope youngsters will like it,” he says, with hope. And, why not? After all, Allah Rakkha Rahman has proved a master in gouging the pulse of the youth.