In this regular column Gopal Srinivasan writes on a particular topic related to AR Rahman. This time Gops writes about A R Rahman and Filmfare awards.

Its that time of the year again. Especially in Bollywood. The season of awards. Much awaited appreciation for hard work put in the previous year. One person who had put in a lot of effort was Ismail Darbar and was certainly in the running for the music awards. But unfortunately for him he ran into ARR. This year round ARR has virtually swept all of them. Starting from the newly instituted Stardust Cine Honours to the now familiar Screen Awards to the Big Daddy of them all, the Filmfare Awards. He’s picked them up all for his blockbuster music in Taal. Though not many may feel that Taal would figure among ARR’s all time best scores, what clicked for Taal was that the score was more in the style of Bollywood than most Rahman scores.

According to respected bollywood trade expert Amod Mehra, Taal has one of Bollywood’s all time highest sales. till date it has sold 75,00,000 cassettes and is still selling. Anyway, on the way he also grabbed the little known Filmgoers Award and the Dinakaran Cine Awards for Mudhalvan and Kadhalar Dhinam in Tamil cinema. And the icing on the cake was when he was honoured with the Padmashri by the Government of India for his contribution to the field of arts. Coming up on March 11th is the Zee Cine Awards followed by the Bollywood International Awards in New York in May and the MTV, Zee Sangeet Awards and a host of other regional awards later in the year. Coming to think of it, maybe I should institute my own set of awards and give them all to ARR, at a private ceremony of course. I can’t afford elaborate shows of grandeur you see!

The Filmfare Awards instituted by India’s largest selling film magazine, Filmfare from the Times of India group is close to a 50 years old. Its been described as ‘India’s Oscars’ and is arguably India’s most coveted movie award. The stylish trophy was designed by a late Times of India staffer named Clare Mendonca and in true Oscar fashion was even called ‘The Clares’ for some time. And I am not kidding. You can call up Filmfare and ask them. Sorry that’s out of another age. You can e-mail them and ask. ARR, has, in his relatively short career had a highly favourable relationship with the Filmfare Awards. In his 8 years in the film industry he has won as many as 11 Filmfare Awards. And he is now only third in the list of all time highest Filmfare Award winners, behind Gulzar with 14 and Kamalhaasan with 18. Of the 11, he has won 7 for Tamil films and 4 for Hindi films.

ARR bagged his first Filmfare Award in 1993 for his debut film Roja. He went on stage looking like a school kid who had lost his way and wandered into the wrong place and received the award from former Miss India and actress Nafisa Ali. And he’s never looked back since then. From that year onwards other composers were virtually ruled out as contenders for the Tamil Filmfare Awards. From 1993 to 1999, 7 years on the trot ARR has retained the award. Surely that must be a record for any kind of award anywhere. And I am almost certain he will repeat the feat this year too. ARR also probably owes it to the fact that he has little competition from other composers down south. So much so that if he’s had even one release that year he’s almost assured of the award next year.

His second award was in 1994, for ‘Gentleman’. And the third in 1995 when he bagged the first R.D. Burman-Filmfare Award for best upcoming musical talent for Roja, instituted in honour of the legendary RD following his premature death in 1994. This was his first Hindi Filmfare Award. the same year he pocketed the tamil Filmfare Award for ‘Kadhalan’. In 1995 ARR stormed Bollywood with a spectacular score in Rangeela and picked up his second Hindi Filmfare award and fifth overall in February 1996. Later the same year he bagged the tamil award for ‘Bombay’. In 1997, he was not in contention for the Hindi Awards since he had no release the previous year. ‘Kadhal Desam’ won him his seventh trophy that year.

In 1998 he was virtually assured of the Tamil award for Minsara kanavu since he had already bagged the National Award for the movie. That made it eight trophies. ‘Daud’ was not even nominated at the Hindi awards. In 1999 he notched up a second double when he first picked up the Hindi award for Dil Dil Se.. and later the Tamil award for Jeans, hitting double figures. While ARR lost out to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in most of the awards that year(whether KKHH deserved it over Dil Se.. will require another article altogether), quite expectedly Filmfare gave him the award. This is not to suggest that Filmfare has a bias towards to ARR. But Filmfare certainly seems to have a soft corner for ARR! And ARR began his journey into the second ten by picking up the Hindi award for Taal in february 2000 , this being his 11th overall and 4th for Hindi.

Interestingly, ARR has received 9 of his 11 awards in person. The first one he missed was in 1997, the one for kadhal desam, because he was away in Canada recording for Earth. A videographed message from ARR was played at the function where he announced the impending release of vandemataram. This award was collected on his behalf by Shankar. The other one he missed was this year , for Taal (collected on his behalf by Amrish puri), for reasons we don’t know yet. Some say he’s already moved to london to work on Andrew lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. We don’t know yet!! Also ARR’s first public performance in India was at the 1997 Hindi Filmfare Awards ceremony where he sang Mustafa Mustafa and featured tracks from Fire. So, as we see ARR has had an extra special relationship with The Filmfare Awards. In fact the only brand endorsement ARR has ever made is for Filmfare!! Out of gratitude perhaps! So as we await another round of applause for ARR, this is Gops signing off for rahmanonline.com.

© Gopal Srinivasan

Original Article Revived from Rahmanonline.com which was one of the famous fan websites created by Satish Subramanian in early 2000’s.