How could A R Rahman become the first Indian musician to hold an Oscar? This rhetorical question arises from the signs, over the years, that if the genius from Chennai found his way to global recognition, it would be through the Grammies.
That was the international award I thought he’d win first, this restless pop-rock explorer whose far-flung voyages of musical introspection have consistently reshaped the landscape of the film song. There was the unmatched finish in his albums, for instance — the kind of sonic spit-polish we’ve encountered only in international records.
Then there were the influences that shaped Rahman — Osibisa, Jim Reeves, Switched-On Bach, Chick Corea, Vangelis and Dave Grusin, none of which appear, at least at first glance, capable of being co-opted into the traditional five-minute film song.
Vangelis Music was always an inspiration to Rahman. This is what Rahman has to say, when he met Vangelis in Greece recently.