You get success, then a movie gets ripped off: A.R. Rahman (Interview)

By Robin Bansal, IANS
Saturday, January 22, 2011

NEW DELHI - Indian maestro A.R. Rahman says that after the mega sweep of “Slumdog Millionaire” at various awards, a solo win so far for the music of Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” has caused “great suffering” to the entire team.

“It’s so strange that when you get great success, the second movie gets really ripped off. It’s been a great suffering for the whole team,” Rahman told IANS in a telephonic interview from Los Angeles.

This week he lost out at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards for “127 Hours” to “The Social Network”. However, the Mozart of Madras, as he is fondly called, is happy with the people’s response and nominations.

“But getting a nomination in itself is a great thing among all the extraordinary talent. It’s got great reviews and people are loving the movie. I think it’s been a good ride so far,” said the ace composer, who also has to his credit the background score of Vince Vaughn-starrer “Couples Retreat”.

The shy musician has been nominated for the forthcoming British Academy of Films and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for original music in the biopic. This is the Chennai-based composer’s second stint at Hollywood’s prestigious annual movie prizes after “Slumdog”.

“I don’t think I’ll get any award, but I’m grateful for the nominations. A lot of other movies are there and other very good talent, but I hope Danny Boyle gets the best director (award) and the film gets best film (trophy),” he said.

In 2009, the 45-year-old exploded on to the world stage with two gongs at the Oscars for the Danny Boyle-directed Mumbai-based underdog drama but is not sure he will repeat history with the British filmmaker’s new film “127 Hours”.

“I’ll be happy if I get nominations but I’ve got enough Oscars already for one lifetime. I don’t think I’ll get an Oscar. I’ll enjoy the function and see it, but I don’t think I’ll be getting it,” he said, as the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be announced Jan 25.

But will he attend the ceremony?

“If I get a nomination, I’ll definitely attend,” said Rahman, sounding exhausted considering it was already past-midnight in LA.

Apart from its score, the soundtrack of “127 Hours” is also being praised for the popular song, “If I Rise”, a collaboration between Rahman and pop star Dido, and won the Indian composer the best original song at the 16th Critics’ Choice Movie awards. So far this is the only win for the music of the movie.

Speaking of the score in “127 Hours”, he said: “The music itself is like driving emotions not in a way that is over the top where you feel irritated or you feel drowned but meditative and pushing it forward. It is a balance between trippy and meditative and pushing it forward - all three together.”

Getting another opportunity to work with Boyle came as a surprise for the Padma Bhushan awardee.

“I was very excited that Danny came (to me) for this movie. I expected him to take a pure American composer for this one,” said the composer, who was described by Time magazine as India’s most prominent movie song writer in 2005.

Starring “Spider-Man” star James Franco, “127 Hours” is a biopic about mountaineer Aron Ralston, who was trapped in a canyon for five days by a boulder that fell on his arm and freed himself by amputating the limb.

“The movie is about courage. Most of the people think it is about arm cutting, but it is about courage that anyone could face in the world. It requires sometimes to get out from a real big problem and sacrifice something and you have to look at the bigger picture,” said Rahman.

“Metaphorically in this movie it’s about the arm. He had to take a decision whether it’s his life or his arm. It is a very inspiring movie to watch,” he added.

Rahman’s future projects include Bollywood movie “Rockstar” and international animated project “Monkeys of Bollywood” with Gurinder Chadha.

(Robin Bansal can be contacted at

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