For some, they need to prove their mettle with their body of work. And for others, as they say “naam hi kaafi hai.” We Indians cannot thank our stars enough for giving us a gem called AR Rahman, and words like icon, inspiration, maestro and legend fall short to describe him. The ace musician, singer and songwriter turns 50 today. And even if we try to dedicate our playlist for the day to his chartbuster numbers, we cannot crunch them in 24 hours!
Rahman did not win an Academy Award for nothing. Rather we all can agree in unison that the biggest honour came quite late to him, considering he has been a trendsetter for generations in the industry, leaving a mark on global music. Call him a Pied Piper, but Rahman has been a magnet for whoever he worked with. Back home, he has ruled both Bollywood and regional cinema with his tunes. But there are numerous instances when he inspired international music scene as well.
‘The Mozart of Madras’, as Rahman is fondly called in India, has a career spanning over 30 years and collaborated with several international artistes and Hollywood films too. There even have been instances when composers have blatantly copied his desi beats, both in India and abroad. Blame it on the way Rahman uses traditional Indian instruments and fuses them to make unique music, or the trance effect he gives to the listeners, but his compositions have only made every track a hit.
Here we give you a surprise list of songs which might have been cut in Hollywood music rooms, but will sound similar. Yes, these are the tracks which were either lifted or inspired from the discography of the master of music, AR Rahman.
The Theme of Bombay
It is one of the most haunting tunes of Rahman, and the most copied one too. The theme of Bombay, from the Mani Ratnam film not only won hearts in India, but also intrigued Hollywood. It was even used by Loyd Banks in his song “Rather By Me.” Rahman’s original has found place in several other international compilations too, including Paradisiac 2, Ambient Chillout Mix Vol. 1 (2002), Café del Mar Vol. 5 (1998), Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground (1997) and Chakra Seven Centres (1995) credited as “Ajna Chakra”.
It has been copied in several films too, the most prominent ones being in 2005 war film Lord of War that starred Nicolas Cage and Jared Leto, which used the track in its original form. It has also featured in 2002 Palestinian film Divine Intervention.
In 2007, the Bombay Theme found a place in The Guardian’s “1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die” list. Rahman’s song “Kannalanae/Kehna Hi Kya”, was also included in their “1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear” list. The iconic soundtrack was also used by Loewenherz’s Bis in his song “Die Ewigkeit”.
2002 Palestinian film Divine Intervention also included the Bombay Theme as part of its album. The song was titled “Mumbai Theme Tune” and credited to AR Rahman. The Rahman track surely added to the sensitive and hard-hitting theme of the film.
Yaro Yarodi, Swasamae and Rang De
To say that The Accidental Husband ended on a Rahman note won’t be wrong. The 2008 Hollywood rom-com used not just one, but several Rahman songs. The soundtracks of his hit numbers “Yaro Yarodi”, “Swasamae” and “Rang De” were mixed together and played throughout the climax sequence. For the Bollywood fans, the Hindi version of “Yaro Yarodi” was “Chalka Chalka Re” in Saathiya. Does that mean the makers thought adding Rahman’s Indian feel would make this crazy love story of Uma Thurman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, near perfect?
Hollywood film Inside Man used this hit Dil Se number, featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora for the film’s opening credits. The 2006 American crime thriller starred Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster.
Rahman collaborated with DJ Will.i.am and American singer Cody Wise for the song “It’s My Birthday”. The original song “Urvasi Urvasi” belongs to the 1995 Tamil film Kadhalan that starred Prabhu Deva.
“It’s My Birthday” also became the second Rahman song to find its place on the top ten UK charts, the first being The Pussycat Dolls’ collaboration with the Indian composer for a special version of his Oscar-winning song “Jai Ho!” from Slumdog Millionaire, which peaked at number three in April 2009.
Kehna Hi Kya
American singer Ciara’s song “Turntables” featuring Chris Brown had a Rahman inspiration too. The song used a sample from Rahman’s “Kehna Hi Kya” from Bombay, “Kehna Hi Kya”.
Take a bow AR Rahman. You are an inspiration for every generation and in any part of the world. Here’s wishing you a very happy birthday!