After working with A.R. Rahman on several projects, percussionist Anandan Sivamani says the Oscar-winning composer knows how to bring out the best in him and that their bond goes beyond just work. “I got closer to A.R. Rahman when he began his musical journey. I have played for some of his popular film scores including Bombay, Kadhal Desam and Bombay Dreams.

We are childhood friends and Rahman is like a brother to me,” Sivamani, who performed at Live Arena at the Palm Expo in Mumbai – a three-day organised by HARMAN earlier this month, said.

Born in 1959, he has been playing percussion instruments for the last 35 years. Talking about his relationship with Rahman, Sivamani added: “I have done a number of concerts and world tours with him, including the recent UN General Assembly Concert where I played the black electrified ghatam. “I feel honoured and blessed to be associated with a living legend like him. We have also done a few jugalbandis together in India and across other countries; the latest one being in Las Vegas.”

He said that his relationship with the maestro has matured over time. “During early years of our career, he would never interrupt during recordings and record whatever I played in his studio. And once the recording is complete, he would select and choose pieces of the recordings to use in his compositions. He knows how to bring out the best in me and I have always loved working with the multi-Oscar winning maestro,” Sivamani added.