It’s official. Oscar-winning music composer A. R. Rahman’s song “Swagatham-Welcome” will be the theme song for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi this October.
Mr. Rahman presented his song to a committee of ministers recently appointed to oversee the progress of the six-billion-dollar Games organization, which has been plagued by delays and accusations of corruption Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy heads the group, which includes Sports Minister M.S. Gill and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, among others.
“The song is about energy, winning and not giving up,” composer Mr. Rahman said at a press conference organized Monday by the Games’ Organizing Committee. “Once you hear it I think you’ll like it.”
Mr. Rahman seemed reluctant at first to reveal much more about the song, saying he was still tweaking the lyrics and that it would be released in 10 days.
But the journalists were persistent. “It’s kind of ‘Waka Waka’?” one journalist asked, referring to the song Colombian pop star Shakira sang for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year.
“Exactly no,” said Mr. Rahman. “We wanted to go further and do something else. And doing same thing like ‘Waka Waka’ was not my thing.”
Finally Mr. Rahman sang the first line of the song: “Oh Yaaron! Yeh India, Bulaa Liya…(Oh Friends! India has called you…).” Pratik Prakashbapu Patil, India’s junior sports minister, told the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house on Thursday that Mr. Rahman will sing the theme song at the opening ceremony for the Games.
Mr. Rahman is being paid 55.5 million rupees ($1.1 million) for composing the song and for his appearance, inclusive of service tax.
The Games organizers no doubt hope that Mr. Rahman can bring a little “Jai Ho” magic to the event. Last year Mr. Rahman won an Oscar for that song from the 2008 movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” which also won Best Picture in 2009. The movie won two Oscars for Mr. Rahman, including for original score and original song.
LISTEN THE EXCLUSIVE SCORE OF AR RAHMAN FOR THE DELHI COMMONWEALTH GAMES