Technology in music is as important as the music itself.
In those days, Indian music fans were longing to get crystal clear sound quality in Indian music, which could only be experienced in western songs. They’d got bored of listening to Indian music in mono-tones. Roja which released with superior recording quality, and the they were all thrilled. They wondered how Rahman brought about such a tremendous improvement in sound quality.
Roja was dubbed into various languages, and was a huge success everywhere. After 18 years of the release, it has been dubbed into English for the international audience. One of the most important reasons for this is A.R.Rahman.
“Singing with Rahman is always a new experience. Nothing is ready when we go to recording. He keeps composing the basic chords and feeding them. It will all be incomprehensible initially. But, within a few minutes, we can feel the magic as we get transported to another world when listening to it on headphones. His music inspires us to try new things. He gives complete freedom to all musicians and singers, and picks and chooses from the best of the recordings. I’ve not seen this technique being used by anyone else”, says singer Srinivas.
Post the success of Roja, producers started queuing up in front of Rahman’s house, to sign him up for their next projects. This was a new experience for Rahman himself. He was overwhelmed by the reach of this medium. He understood the power of film industry as it took his music to millions of fans. He also realized whey Naushad kept advising him to enter the film industry.
“I was happy that I could create a new sound pattern – a new stamp for myself, in my movie itself. I believe that it is all God’s grace and Mani sir’s guidance that have helped in introducing this style of music as ‘Rahman’s style’ to the music buffs”, says Rahman.
Mani Ratnam was elated by the stupendous success of Roja. “When I signed up Rahman for Roja, my intention was not to uplift Rahman or his career. All my thoughts were focused on the music for my film. The sample music that he gave me was excellent. I didn’t think of the successes he would get in future. The only thing, which struck me then, was that he was the best person to compose music for Roja. I His new way of thinking, and his desire to break the traditions and try new things impressed me. I was looking for some one like that. He acted as a bridge between Indian music and the world technology.
He didn’t accept the several offers that he got, after Roja. He didn’t want to get into that usual routine followed in the film industry – reach the studio by 8.30 am, and complete at least one pallavi by noon. He wanted to bring in a new style in composing and recording.
In the west, most composers had a recording studio of their own. Similarly, Rahman also had set up his own studio in his house, and he started composing only from there. The musicians and singers who came there for recordings, got a sweet surprise as they were not used to the new style of recording. They were also astonished by Rahman’s simplicity and composure. The freedom that he gave for the singers and instrumentalists, and the innovations he brought about in composing and recording, were nothing short of a revolution. Moreover, singers were thrilled to be recording at about 3 am in the night.
Harini talks about her experience – “I was just a school kid when I started singing, but he treated me with so much respect. He gave me so much freedom and room for improvisations. Recording for him at midnight is an unforgettable experience. I get a bit nervous when singing for other composers, but with Rahman sir that has never been the case. I really enjoyed my music”
Rahman, who had captured the hearts of the youth, next joined hands with another man who also captured the attention of the youth – Director Shankar.
Article Credits to Vikatan Magazine. Original article was published in Tamil and was exclusively translated to english by Aravind AM.