Movie Masala

A R Rahman reflects on life and Sufism as he completes 25 years in music industry

Written by Shruti Misra

As he celebrates 25 years in the music industry, the Oscar and Grammy winner A R Rahman is delighted that his music from the film “Viceroy’s House” has been shortlisted for the World Soundtrack Awards, a public choice award. All soundtrack and film music fans worldwide can cast their personal vote for what they consider the best soundtrack of the past 12 months. The soundtrack that gets the highest number of votes will receive the World Soundtrack Public Choice Award 2017.

 

Currently performing in London with a show called “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”, Rahman told Reuters in an interview that much of the success he has had is because of his religious beliefs.

Rahman, who converted to Islam in his 20s, said that his interpretation of the Muslim faith meant living a life that was simple and in which humility was key.

“Islam is an ocean, you know, it has different sects. More than 70. So I follow the Sufi kind of philosophy which is about love,” Rahman said. “I am what I am because of the philosophy I’m following, my family is following. And of course, many things are happening, and I feel it’s mostly political.”

Steeped in folklore, poetry, and spiritualism, Sufism is a non-violent form of Islam based on hypnotic rituals and reflects the religion’s mystical side.

The 50-year-old artist, who has won two Oscars, two Grammys and a Golden Globe, has over 160 film soundtracks to his name, including the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” and Bollywood films like “Lagaan” and “Taal”.

He sings, writes songs, plays instruments and composes music and has teamed up with other global artists including Mick Jagger, Sarah Brightman and the Pussycat Dolls.

Rahman said his latest tour, which kicks off at Wembley SSE Arena in London on July 8, will take his fans on a journey through his music for the last quarter of a century.

The softly spoken artist, who nevertheless has a powerful stage presence, said he still had more to achieve and hoped music would help bring more people together.

“If you take an orchestra, you have the underprivileged and the privileged, playing together. We have different races playing together. We have different religions playing together. But one sound comes out,” he said. “You work towards one harmony.”

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Shruti Misra

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