Happy Birthday Allah Rakha Rahman !

9 01 2010

Some 18 years ago, singer Unni Menon was given a call way past midnight, awoken in his slumber, and was told that accomplished director Mani Ratnam is recording songs for his new film and Menon’s voice was required for one of those numbers. Who works at this hour, Menon asked himself.

Happy Birthday ARR

But due to the fact that the name involved was called Mani Ratnam, Menon freshened himself up and rushed up to the mentioned recording studio, where he saw a young composer calling the shots.

Mani Ratnam, who so often works with Maestro Ilayaraja, has discovered a new talent to associate with in the music department. Menon wondered continuously if this young guy- whose name is AR Rahman, could really live up to the humongous expectations of having to compose for a Mani Ratnam film. He was given the song lyrics, the tunes were discussed, and on the wee hours of that one day back in 1992, Menon recorded a song called ‘Pudhu Vellai Mazhai’ (A new white rain), and went back home, back to his slumber.

The doubts that he had before recording the song existed even after that- he didn’t think he had sung the catchiest of tunes. Little did he know, that when he went to sleep that day, just like lyrics of the song proclaims, he has witnessed a new white rain, that will reign the Indian music arena over the following two decades.

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The Insiders of A R Rahman Team

27 03 2009

Meet the reclusive managers, technicians and singers who make up Team Rahman.

The Insiders of A R Rahman Team

The Insiders of A R Rahman Team


Over two decades ago, Noel James was playing the piano as a lounge musician at a hotel in Chennai when a certain jingles composer walked in. “Rahman heard me play and asked if I was interested in working with him.” James agreed. That was the beginning of a partnership that has lasted to this day. James has since grown to become Rahman’s manager and chief public relations officer. He occasionally assists the composer in stage shows and handles much of his coordination — with musicians, clients, talent and even the media. The road to Rahman, it could be said, goes through James.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, James got hooked to music at an early age. After graduating from Loyola College, Chennai, he got a degree in violin from the prestigious Trinity College of Music, London. “I played in a band called Jumping Jewels, handling the vocals and guitar. That was before I went solo,” he says. He worked part-time with Rahman initially but became a permanent member of the team, singing the jingles and helping him with production.

Being Rahman’s manager has meant that James does not get much time for his own music—except when he plays at church. He has no regrets though. “God sends messiahs to earth, whether it is Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed. It has been quite a while since He sent someone. I believe A.R. Rahman is such a messiah who works through his music,” says James, for whom familiarity has only brought more appreciation towards Rahman, the musician and the man.

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