2001’s first music release was a Rahman score. The much awaited soundtrack of One 2 Ka 4 released on 3rd January. With the trailor breaking on TV in the first week it appeared that Love You Hamesha would finally see the light of the day. Rahman also signed three new films, one in Tamil, S.A.Rajkannu’s ‘Prashanth’ and two films in Hindi, one for choreographer turned director Ahmed Khan and one for producer Vashu Bhagnani.
The film by Vashu Bhagnani was meant to be a remake of the Tamil film ‘Minnale’. Following this he also signed his fourth film for intimate friend and director Kadhir titled, ‘Kadhal Virus’. On January 12th he personally received his sixth Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Composer for the film ‘Sangamam’ from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi. He also grew his hair back to his Vandemataram look. To add to the ever growing list, he also gave his nod to Priyadarshan’s international venture in English on the life on freedom fighter Chandrasekhar Azad titled ‘The Last Revolutionary’.
The stories and news reports regarding his performance with Jennifer Lopez at the finals of the Sahara Millenium Football Cup in Calcutta on January 25th multiplied though there was no official word from any quarters. Rahman appeared at a ceremony in Hyderabad where the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Nara Chandrababu Naidu honoured the team behind Mudhalvan on the mega-success of its Telugu version ‘Oke Okkadu’. Late January saw the release of the music of Love You Hamesha finally. Love You Hamesha was panned by the critics. As January 25th passed, it turned out that the much talked about performance with Jennifer Lopez at the football tournament were totally unfounded.
Rahman made a suprise appearance at the launch of producer K.T.Kunjumon’s ‘Swasam’. What set the tongues wagging was Rahman’s appearance inspite of the fact that he was not scoring the music for the film. The same day Rahman also appeared at the launch of Kadhir’s ‘Kadhal Virus’ were Maniratnam and Bharatiraaja were present. In February Rahman composed the theme track and background music for a special short film on the Indian Navy to coincide with the International Fleet Review that was held in Mumbai from February 17th for a week. The filmwas titled ‘Jaya He’ and was directed by Bharatbala and Kanika with Amitabh Bachchan doing the voice over.
The event was held in India for the first time. This intended to build bridges of friendship across the oceans and bring men-of-war together in a gesture of peace. The major countries that participated included United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Japan, Australia and South Africa featuring 25 foreign ships from as many as 19 foreign countries. The gossip rags put out another story about how Rahman kept Aamir Khan’s wife and executive producer of Lagaan, Reena Khan, waiting at his residence when she had gone there to give him his remuneration for the film. The stories spoke about how she waited for an entire day and therefore missed her flight back to Mumbai.
Rahman, extended his support to the composer of yesteryears, Naushad in the setting up of a school for music titled ‘Naushad Academy of Hindustani Sangeet’. Sony Music released another recording of the Dubai concert in a bid to cash in on the public’s expectancy of the release of the US concerts. Meanwhile there was talk that Rahman would perform in a concert in March in Delhi , organised by former US President Bill Clinton to raise money for the victims of the devastating Gujarat earthquake. After it changed hands from Sushilkumar Agrawal, HMV released the music of the Hindi version of Muthu, ‘Muthu Maharaja’ in early March.
Rahman was spending a lot of time in this period in London on Bombay Dreams. Around 50% of the work was completed. In an interview, when he was asked what he felt about his own growth as a composer since the Roja days, he replied ‘Roja was an effort to do music that crosses mainstream yet be alternative-and not remain just film music. My effort primarily has been to give more and more to the film industry as this is the only form of recreation for millions in this country.’ Countering ceaseless and baseless criticism on he being repetitive and gizmo-oriented, he said ‘There was a repetitive phase four or five years ago, but I think I’ve got over that. In those days, many directors associated me with Prabhudeva, and wanted me to only do dance songs. But when you do dance music, you tend to use the same beat.
That wasn’t what I consciously wanted to do. So I began incorporating other sounds. In Taal and Thakshak, I used north Indian influences, unlike my earlier films, where my music was south-oriented. Today, my music is more rounded, more balanced. To satisfy the director, I create three or four variations of each song. Then we all decide which tune will work best, and thus avoid repetition. Each film requires a different attitude, and the use of technology depends on the film’s subject. In today’s times, technology is an extra attribute. It makes things easier. But I don’t depend solely on technology. About 90 per cent of Zubeidaa has been recorded with acoustic instruments.’
The barrage of allegations continued when website tehelka.com, known for its sensationalisation of news carried an article that accused Rahman of growing too big for his boots and spoke of the Tamil film industry turning its back on him. Among the many things that the article related was that directors like Bharatiraaja, Mani Ratnam and Rajeev Menon had given up on him and that Kamal Hassan was trying to force him out of Shankar’s ‘Robot’.
It also alleged that Rahman had refused Rajnikanth’s next and had insulted him resulting in the superstar being furious with him. According to the piece, both Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan were under the impression that Rahman’s accusation that someone big in the industry had tried to sabotage his US concerts was directed at them. In mid-March The Hindu reported that Rahman had signed actor-dancer Javed Jaffrey’s directorial debut that would be co-directed by Sangeeth Sivan with whom Rahman had earlier worked on ‘Yoddha’.
In one of his best interviews ever, Rahman spoke in depth about various issues to the magazine AV Max. Revealing his outlook to compising he remarked ‘I believe that only when you have fun can other people have fun too. If you feel tortured, people listening to you will also feel tortured. So I make it as less torturous for people as I can. Describing his mental state before he singed ‘Roja’ he said, “During ‘Roja’, I couldn’t foresee what was to come, in that sense it is very special. Before I signed ‘Roja’, I was very satisfied with what I had. I had producers asking me to compose for commercials and whatever ambitions I had had long been subjugated.
Just before ‘Roja’ happened to me, I went into a state of spiritual vacuum, and temporal ambitions took a secondary place. In such a state, every moment was surprise. I tended to take what came as it came rather than hope and foresee too many things and have too many ambitions. Yeah, the success of ‘Roja’ surprised all of us, but I tended, and still tend to look at it philosophically. I think it worked out better this way because it is no use having too many ambitions and getting frustrated in the process.” Commenting on public opinion he said, “It can be a little confusing at times. It is an odd fact of my career that whenever the music of a film I have composed for is released, the first reaction is one of non-acceptance. The reaction is that Rahman is burnt out, he is getting repetitive, he has no future. Four months down the line, after the film releases, the same people say that the music is very good. When I tried and worked on a new sound, and I felt that at least now they would stop saying I was repetitive. But they complained that the musc was too radical. Give them something that they can predict and they don’t like it.
Give them something completely new and they don’t like that either.” On criticism he opined, “Initially, it used to hurt, but then I tried to analyse that they were trying to say. One criticism is that all my tunes sound alike. Now that is not true, but it could be the use of certain instruments. I used the pan flute in a couple of songs and since they sounded alike, it is assumed that the tune was being repeated. So I switched to a bamboo flute for some time. I have switched back to a pan flute it takes time for people to realise that it is not the tunes but the instruments that are being repeated and how the instruments are used is a signature style of the composer, it takes time to establish that it is the feel of the instruments that is the same and not the tune.”
On the much spoken of ‘Rahman sound’ he conceded that there was such a thing ‘It is like a personal signature. Take Mohammed Rafi, for example. He might sing in different raga, but no matter what he sings, you know that this is a Rafi song. It is also like a RD Burman track. No matter what he composes, you know this is a RD Burman composition by the way it sounds, by the way the instruments are arranged, and by the way the song flows. It is possible that every musical composition is imbued with a bit of the personality of the composer.
When I compose, I am not conscious of a particular style, but yes, people do say that there is something called a Rahman sound.” Speaking about his inspiration he stated, “Personally, I would say that a sense of spirituality helps a great deal. And it is important that you study life as well. Both these things will make a better human being, and therefore, a better composer out of you. Life teaches you what real pain and happiness are, and these things help in creating better compositions. It works like this: if the film demands happy music the composer only has to tap into the wellspring of happy experiences from his own life to create the right ambience for that tune. I think this is more improtant than learning all the technical gymnastics of music.”
Explaining his reasons for staying away from the limelight, he stated “I always wanted my music to be famous, not me. But I accept that people relate the music to the person. I have tried to stay away from becoming a commodity. I have tried to stay away from becoming a face on a soft drink commercial or something like that, and it has worked fine so far. The advantage with this is that the day these people drop me, nobody will get the impression that I am over and done with, musically.”
On March 23 Rahman won his 13th Filmfare Award for his music in the film Alai Payuthey at the south Filmfare Awards. Sony Music unleashed the pre-release publicity for the music of Lagaan revealing that it would be released on April 6th. The anticipation of the music heightened among the public. After a long series of collaboration in Bharatbala’s ‘India Pride’ series like Vandemataram, Desh Ka Salaam, Jana Gana Mana and Jaya He, Rahman teamed up with him once again to score the background music for a short film called ‘India on IMAX’.
The film directed by Bharatbala was shot in IMAX and was meant to showcase the diversity of India using the power of the IMAX technology. The short film was screened for the first time at the inauguration of India’s first IMAX theatre, set up in Mumbai by the Adlabs group, on the 25th of March. The film would later be screened at IMAX theatres across the world. Rahman was also present at the launch of this IMAX theatre. After opting out of his first film ‘Gaja Gamini’, Rahman agreed to compose for reknowned painter M.F.Hussain’s second film ‘Do Kadam Chal Ke Dekho’. The movie ‘Kaante’ was officially launched and the movie was a multi-composer filmwhich would involve other composers like Viju Shah, Lucky Ali, Adnan Sami and Salim and Suleiman Merchant. Rahman was no longer involved in the movie.
On March 31 Rahman participated in a charity music show in Chennai titled ‘Netru Indru Naalai’ to raise funds for the organisation ‘The Banyan’ involved in caring for disabled children. The concert which was centered around children had Rahman conducting the music for two songs, ‘Achcham Illai’ from Indira and ‘Chanda Suraj’ from Vandemataram. He later made a public donation for the organisation. It was speculated that Rahman would score the music for Kamalhassan’s next film ‘Pammal Sambandham’.
But it turned out that Deva was doing the music. He lost the national award to Anu Malik’s Refugee for which he was in contention with scores like Kandukondain Kandukondain, Alai Payuthey and Zubeidaa. The Times of India caused a furore by reporting that Shankar had replaced Rahman with Harris Jeyaraj in Robot. But it turned out that it was false news. There was also news that Shankar was launching another movie titled ‘Power’ starring Aishwarya Rai, Lara Dutta and Prashanth. But there was no confirmation if Rahman would score the music for the film.
Bharatbala revealed more information on India’s first IMAX film, Taj Mahal. The film would be released in August 2002 and would be exhibited all over the world. To be produced by Scott Swofford of Vineyard Productions the film received financing from India Lotus Inc, a consortium of Indian tech enterpreneurs like Kanwal Rekhi, K B Chandrasekhar, B V Jagdeesh and Gururaj Deshpande, and the IMAX Corporation. Rahman seemed to be on an uncharacteristic signing spree and the latest film in his kitty was ‘Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha’ starring Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Sohail Khan and directed by debutant director Atul Agnihotri. Rahman, participated in a special feature in the Tamil children’s magazine Chutti Vikatan wherein he replied to queries from children.
A special show on the music of ‘Lagaan’ was aired on DD Metro on April 1 and had everyone in raptures about the music. ‘Lagaan’ which was scheduled to be released on April 6 was premiered on Doordarshan on April 1 and was actually available in overseas markets on April 3. The score was also released on the internet before the official release. Thye music was outstanding and was fully in consonance with the period and story of the film. The soundtrack sold out within hours of release. Rahman appeared at the soundtrack release in Planet M, New Delhi to promote the soundtrack of Lagaan. Rahman also put in appearances at Planet M in Mumbai to promote the music of Lagaan. On April 8 he recieved his 13th Filmfare Award, for ‘Alai Payuthey’ at the Filmfare Awards ceremony in Hyderabad. He accepted an offer to compose for actor-director Parthiban’s film ‘Yelelo’.
On April 14th Rahman was present at the launch of ‘Yelelo’ along with stalwarts like Mani Ratnam, Shankar and Kamal Hassan. At the ceremony Rahman revealed that he had accepted the film because of its rural subject and would try to blend Irish folk music with Tamil folk music in the film. Sudha Raghunathan, the acclaimed Carnatic classical singer rendered the title song of the movie at the launch function. He won over another serious filmmaker when veteran director M.S.Sathyu signed him up for his next film, ‘Neecha Aasmaan’. On April 30, Rahman was awarded the Awadh Samman, a honour conferred on outstanding artistes by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
Rahman received the same from Vishnu Hari Shastri, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Speaking to a newspaper, Andrew Llyod Webber commented on the upcoming ‘Bombay Dreams’ thus, “I haven’t heard a musical in the last 20 years which has got such good tunes. Rahman is fantastic. His music is so beautiful, and I believe what he is writing is so far ahead of the game that we could be talking about the future of musicals for a very long time. I really look on Rahman as someone I can pass the mantle on to.” The M.S.Sathyu film was titled ‘Neechcha Aasmaan’. The pre-release promotions for Lagaan spoke of Rahman visiting Bhuj thrice with all his accompaniments to get the right feel for the score.
The music of ‘Star’ released in May. There were five songs, one original, one resued from Earth and three reused from ‘Thakshak’. The album was way below the mark. All the songs dubbed from the Hindi originals were infintely better in their inital avatar. The new song was no great shakes either. Coming a full 7 months after his last Tamil release , ‘Tenali’, ‘Star’ did precious little to regain the ground Rahman had lost to composers like Harris Jayaraj(Minnale) and Karthik Raja(Dumm Dumm Dumm) in 2001. Some new films for Rahman were producer Tahir Hussain’s ‘Ada’ in Hindi. Kamal Hassan revealed in Filmfare in June that Rahman had been signed to do the music of his forthcoming film to be directed by K.S.Ravikumar, post-Pammal Sambandham.
Rahman also gave the nod to Mani Ratnam’s next, their seventh together, tentatively titled ‘Kannathil Muthammittal’. In an interview to Minnambalam ezine Illaiyaraja clarified about a controversy that erupted three years ago in 1998 regarding a ring. In a musical function arranged to felicitate musical greats Illayaraja and M S Vishwanathan, a ring was presented to each of them. A R Rahman had presented the rings and put them on their fingers.
Raja immediately removed the ring and presented it back to Rahman. Explaining what had transpired that day, Raja clarified that he does not wear gold ornaments and also disliked jewellery. When the ring was put on his finger he was caught unawares. The first thing that he did was put it back on Rahman’s finger. He had refused rings even from MGR on stage once. The press had blown it out of proportion and written negatively about his relation with Rahman. He didn’t do it to insult anyone, he explained. In June, noted cricket expert Harsha Bhogle revealed when writing in The Week magazine that the New Zealand born coach of the Indian cricket team, John Wright, had along with the Star Sports channel, used videos set to the music of Rahman’s Maa Tujhe Salaam to motivate the Indian cricket team during a tough series against Australia earlier in the year.
Co-inciding with the summit between Indian Prime Mnister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Parvez Musharaff, there were reports that Rahman would perform in two concerts in Pakistan later in the year as a part of the effort to increase the people-to-people contact between the two countries. On July 5th the music of ‘Nayak’was released to a characteristically disappointed response. Five of the songs were carried over from the original, Mudhalvan while there were two new songs which sounded like a half-hearted effort from Rahman.
Rahman made a donation of Rs. 5 lakhs for earthquake relief in Gujarat. Rahman was awarded the Best Music Director Award for his work in 2000 by Film Today, a Tamil film magazine. Rahman accepted Producer K Prabhakaran’s Ashoka starring Arjun and directed by Shaji Kailas. Rahman had early done a movie called Love Story for the same producer but that movie never saw the light of the day. The Rahman composition Bombay Theme was used in ad for a Mineral water in France starring the famous French footballer Zenadine Zidane. Erstwhile Rahman flunkey Harris Jayaraj’s second release Majnu, wholly reminiscent of his first Minnale took the charts by storm.
Rahman’s almost year long absence from the Tamil scene save for the reused ‘Star’ which bombed, was taking a toll on his stature in the Tamil film industry. Rahman was likely to score the music for Rajnikanth’s forthcoming film. Rahman received a double nomination in the Zee Gold Bollywood Music Awards scheduled to be held in New York on the 10th of November. He was nominated for ‘Zubeidaa’ and ‘Lagaan’. Rahman’s ‘Bombay Theme’ was featured in two other international albums, ‘Paradisiac’ and ‘Flying Carpet’. Further ‘Kehna Hi Kya’ was included in the music curriculum in Ontario in Canada.
On August 15th 2001, Rahman completed 9 years in the Indian Film Industry. Director Rakesh Mehra stated that Rahman was doing the music for his next film ‘Samjhauta Express’, earlier titled ‘Awaaz’. In an interview to MTV, Rahman revealed that he was working on Tanveer Ahmed’s ‘Ada’, Shyam Benegal’s next ‘Ganga’ and Khalid Mohammed’s “Tehzeeb’ starring Shabana Azmi and Tabu.
On August 25th, Rahman was felicitated by the Al-Ameen Foundation in Bangalore and was awarded the Al-Ameen Community Award. Shaad Ali, assistant to Mani Ratnam sounded out Rahman to work on his Hindi remake of Alai Payuthey which was being produced by Yash Chopra. For the Tanveer Ahmed film, Ada, produced by Jhamu Sughand and starring Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, Rahman completed recording six songs.
Rahman was nominated twice, for Lagaan and Zubeidaa, at the International Bollywood Music Awards to be held in New York on Novermber 10th. In early October, Malaysian information minister Khalil Yaakob, who was on a visit to India to study the Indian film industry led a delegation on a vist of Rahman’s hi-tech Panchathan Record Inn as well. Rahman came in for another round of severe criticism for his slow pace of work. It was more than a year since he had had an original release in Tamil. Films like ‘Udhaya’, ‘Alli Arjuna’ and ‘Paarthale Paravasam’ were said to be delayed because of his failure to record the songs on time. In October Rahman gave the nod to Tamil actor Nasser’s directorial venture, ‘Dheem Tharakita Thom’, starring Mohanlal in the lead.
Going back to one of the very first languages he worked in, Rahman agreed to compose for director Priyadarshan’s dream project on the weavers of Kancheepuram to be made in Malayalam on a shoestring budget. An American company called Mondo released an album of Rahman’s Hindi and Tamil songs along with one song each of R D Burman and Vishal, called Mondo India to promote his music in the western world and it drew rave reviews wherein Rahman was described as “possibly the greatest of the modern filmi composers, and a man who can seamlessly marry Indian and Western melodies, instruments, and techniques in a way no one has managed before.
He is to the Bollywood scene what Ennio Morricone or Nino Rota have been to European cinema: people who transcend the idea of score and soundtrack to bring forth pieces like “Dheeme Dheeme” that can stand alone as pieces of music.” The music of Paarthale Paravasam which was due to be released in late October was delayed amidst reports of several music labels fighting over the rights to the soundtrack. ‘Bombay Theme’ was featured in yet another International compilation ‘Cafe Del Mar Vol 5 ‘ in what was the fifth occasion after ‘Anokha’, ‘Chakra’, Paradisiac’ and ‘Flying Carpet’.
The Bombay Theme was featured in yet another French compilation titled ‘Fly’ and was also used in the ad for a French brand of mineral water titled ‘Volvic’ featuring footballer Zinedine Zidane. Paarthale Paravasam finally released amidst a mjor controversy over the rights between HMV, Challenge Music and Hit Music. K. Balachander sold the rights of Paarthale Paravasam to both Challenge Music, a Pondicherry based company and HMV. When HMV learnt of it they questioned KB who offered to buy back the rights from Challenge music.
Challenge Music, for whom Paarthale Paravasam was the first major release, refused and went ahead with the production of the cassettes. HMV went to court and obtained a stay order from the Madras High Court restraining Challenge Music from producing or selling cassettes of Paarthale Paravasam. Defying the stay order, Challenge Music went ahead and distributed the cassettes saying that it had already manufactured 3.5 lakh cassettes and would be ruined if it was not allowed to sell them. Armed with the stay order HMV organised police raids to seize cassettes released by Challenge Music. Finally the music released on all the labels though HMV’s was claimed to be the genuine one. The music was very experimental and unlike Rahman and received a overwhelmingly positive response from fans but was received very badly by listeners by and large. K.Balachander and Rahman-The Duet duo-failed to love up to the massive expectations and both music and film met a sorry fate.
Rahman gave the nod to a new film, ‘Naran’ starring Kamal Haasan and Amitabh Bachchan to be directed by K S Ravikumar which said to be man and beast story. While the movie was a Tamil-Hindi bilingual Rahman suggested that the movie be made in Hindi as well. Rahman was also signed up for the Hindi remake of Alai Payuthey , ‘Saathiya’ to be directed by Shaad Ali, Mani Ratnam’s assistant. The film would feature music from Alai Payuthey along with new compositions.
Rahman took up a Telugu assignment after nearly 7 years when he accepted producer A.M.Rathnam’s film that was launching his son Jyothi Krishna as director. In an interview to the Tamil magazine Anandha Vikatan cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar revealed that he was a great fan of Rahman’s music. At a delayed ceremony, Rahman was awarded the prestigious V Shantaram Award for Best Composer for ‘Taal’. There were reports that Rahman had opted out of Nasser’s ‘Dheem Tharakita Thom’ which was retitled ‘Popcorn’ with Yuvan Shankar Raja as composer. Even Parthiban who launched ‘Yelelo’ with much fanfare seemed to have abandoned the project and moved on to other things.
Mani Ratnam held a press conference to announce the completion of ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ with the music expected to be released in late December. Director Vasanth said in an interview to The Hindu that he was working on making a ‘different’ love story titled ‘9-30 to 10-00’ that would have music by Rahman. Shankar too put his mega-project ‘Robot’ on the backburner and commenced work on a small budget movie called ‘Boys’ with Rahman’s music. There was no word yet on Rajinikanth’s next movie. Rahman meanwhile started work on Raj Kumar Santoshi’s ambitious ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’.
The song that he recorded was described by the producer Kumar Taurani of TIPS Films as “It is a unique song which, besides giving the periodic feel, has a fresh feel about it.” The newspaper Dinmani reported that a 9-th standard schoolgirl called Vidya had sung for Rahman in ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’. Rahman had chosen the girl from his alma mater Padma Sheshadri Bala Bhavan. Sify.com carried a story that Paarthale Paravasam had flopped because of the delay in the release of the music and added that record companies were demanding that Rahman scores be released atleast 45 days prior to the release of the movie and TIPS was sore about Rahman not delivering the music of Kannathil Muthamittal on time.
Meera Syal, the writer who was writing the script for ‘Bombay Dreams’ said in an interview to Savvy Magazine that it was Rahman’s involvement that finally made her accept and that his music was fabulous and as a person he was intense yet unassuming. Rahman’s sister Rehana, in an interview to Kungumam magazine spoke in depth about her relationship with him, ‘He’s a born genius’, we kept fighting with each other while we were kids, the whole family lives for Rahman by doing everything we can to support him, Rahman is also interested in photography but doesnt get adequate time to explore it further.”
The music of Alli Arjuna finally released on 19 December. The music was a rehash of songs from multiple movies , ‘1947’, ‘Pukar’ and ‘One 2 Ka 4’ and took Rahman to a new low. Meanwhile the music if Kannathil Muthamittal and its Telugu avatar ‘Amrutha’ was eagerly awaited. Participating in a seminar organised by the Indian Performing Rights Society in Chennai on December 22, Rahman spoke about the importance of valuing Intellectual Property Rights and was also felicitated by the IPRS on the occasion. Rahman received his felicitation from Naushad.
2001 was every bit unlike what we have seen from Rahman thus far. He had just one original release in Tamil, Paarthale Paravasam which was a massive non-success. His other two releases Star and Alli Arjuna were irresponsible rehashes of his earlier work. Coupled with the massive success of other composers like Harris Jeyraj, Karthik Raja and Yuvan Shankar , Rahman’s stock in the Tamil industry probably touched its lowest level ever. People were questioning his commitment to the Tamil industry.
His forays in Bollywood were not particularly memorable either. Though no one can accuse him of being lackadaisical in his score for One 2 Ka 4 , which was probably the best conventional Bollywood score from Rahman so far, the fact that the movie was terrible took the music down with it, calling into question Rahman’s choice of films and filmmakers. His score in Nayak, partly reused from Mudhalvan, was also torn to shreds. Zubeidaa, the music of which released in 2001, received much critical acclaim but did not attract attention independent of the film itself which was aimed at a niche audience. The saving grace for Rahman in an abysmal 2001 was Lagaan. A film with massive expectations and lot of hype that could have proved counter-productive. But Rahman delivered. And the music became a massive hit. But the appeal of the music was largely in context of the film itself. By way of awards Rahman picked up the usual bunch of Filmfare and assorted other awards. But without question 2001 was the most subdued and lacklustre year in Rahman’s 10 year long career, making one hope that all the attention Rahman was paying towards Bombay Dreams would pay off in the subsequent year.