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AR Rahman: Don't Be Satisfied with What You Have, Keep the Hunger to Achieve Excellence Alive

A file photo of AR Rahman. (Image: Reuters)

A file photo of AR Rahman. (Image: Reuters)

AR Rahman says Indians need more milestones like Jai Ho on the world map to make our presence felt.

After winning six National Awards, two Oscars, two Grammys, love from fans across the globe and much more, AR Rahman wants to keep complacency aside by delving deeper into more creative ventures.

The musical journey of Slumdog Millionaire has completed 10 years. It was for this Hollywood film that Rahman won Oscars and Grammys. His song Jai Ho was loved globally.

When asked how he looks at the impact of modern Indian music on the rest of the world, Rahman told IANS, "I think we need more milestones like Jai Ho on the world map to make our presence felt through our music. We need more musicals.

"Bombay Dreams attempted to do that but that is it, what happened after that? If milestones are not coming after every two or five years, it is tough to retain the momentum on the global map because a lot of good music is happening. Do you know what the problem is?

“Complacency. It stops you to push the boundary to explore more, to enter the international market," he said.

"Indian makers are happy with the success we have achieved. But in order to grow, I do not want complacency to curtail," he added.

The music director has finished shooting for his production 99 Songs. Talking about it, he said, "We are waiting for the right release date to share the film with all of you and I am really excited about it. When I talk about taking things to the higher level, I want the next generation to feel inspired.

"A song or a film can set a standard and people can take it from there. Sometimes it could be the same person, sometimes it could be others, but the constant drive should be to grow."

"In all my ventures, I am trying to plant the idea among youngsters that don't be satisfied with what you have, keep the hunger to achieve excellence alive."

Though singer Sukhwinder Singh was to perform the Jai Ho live during Oscars 2009, due to some logistic issues he could not experience the historical moment.

Recalling the incident, Rahman said, "Look, truth is the truth and artistes are like children. We are all heart. So, emotional outburst happens. I am sure Sukhwinder is still upset and that is inevitable.

"I was excited then, told him and Sivamani to take them along, but things did not work out logistically and anybody would get upset. I don't blame them but abroad, things work differently."

So, does he miss the singer as a regular collaborator?

"Yes…It is always a pleasure to work with Sukhwinder. In the last five years, I did not work much on the Hindi film songs, unfortunately... but he worked with me on Million Dollar Arm (2014) and we actually performed Jai Ho at Isha's (Isha Ambani, daughter of business tycoon Mukesh Ambani) wedding. So we keep meeting."

"He has a distinct voice that I have to utilize rightfully. In the last film that I did with Fox Studios, all the songs were of youngsters for which I needed a different voice."

"Whenever Gulzar saab, Sukhwinder and I come together as a team, it's house on fire! Let the right moment come," he smiled.

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