Oscar and Grammy-Winner discusses his newest endeavour in Bollywood



Music maestro, AR Rahman, will be making his writer-producer debut with 99 Songsset to release on 16th April. To mark this new achievement, he recently hosted an international press conference to talk about the film and its soundtrack. The much-awaited album is released by Sony Music India and has already won the hearts of global audiences with tracks like ‘Jwalamukhi’, ‘Teri Nazar’ and ‘The Oracle’.

The film features 14 tracks including the musical talents Shaswat Singh and Bela Shende. In Rahman’s signature style, each song creates a mood, a thought, drives the narrative and imbibes meaning to every frame of the film. The brilliance of the musical genius doesn’t stop there. The film is releasing in three languages – Hindi, Tamil and Telegu – each demanding enormous effort to understand, translate and execute. Speaking to the media, he jokes, ‘If I knew earlier that we’d do three languages, I would have only made five songs and not 14!” He did not want the film to simply be a dubbed, multi-lingual film. He wanted each to retain its essence in the languages they were making it in and the soundtrack songs released so far have received an incredible amount of love and support from the South Indian audience.

Talking about his inspiration behind the film, Rahman explains, “I wanted to be imaginative and do something I believed in.” He adds that Indian films and music have undergone tremendous transformation in the past five years and new age India wants to be more worldly: “This movie has heart and soul. The film’s narrative and the music are like the seasons.” The film follows a very creative arc, with its highs and lows mirrored by the music of the film.

When asked what audiences can expect from the film, he explains, “An experience”. Shedding light on the tough and unprecedented time that we are living in due to the pandemic he says, “At a period where we are all unaware of the future, I think this movie will definitely bring hope into your lives. It talks about dreams; it talks about how you struggle and come out as a winner. It talks about the internal struggles of a creative person, which not a lot of movies deal with. Like the line in the trailer – music is the last magic left in the world.”

On his inspiration to innovate and make new music, he says, “I’ve been working since ‘81. I worked with so many different composers doing almost two sessions a day. Those ten years of my life were like 40 years of experience. I’ve done the traditional things – folk, Carnatic… and this repetitive work actually led me to want to do something else. Even though I wasn’t intending to continue as a film composer at that time, love is a magnetic force. The more you get from people, the more you want.”

99 Songs is directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy and introduces Ehan Bhatt and Edilsy Vargas in the lead roles. Aditya Seal, Lisa Ray and Manisha Koirala also feature in the film as supporting cast.

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