Interviewer: Sindhu Vijayakumar | Camera : Vivek | Text - Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Video Editor : Kader
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Reihana, sister of A R Rahman and mother of G V Prakash is creating a space for herself as a music composer in the upcoming Malayalam film Manchottile Veedu. In an exclusive interview to, she talks about her career, her legendary brother A R Rahman and her talented son G V Prakash.

Reihana the Singer

Kannathil Muthamittal was Rahman’s music and I have sung in it. I have not collaborated in it. I have also done Aadatha Aattamellam, Machi, Pesuvadarkillaya and then Kaadhalaagi.

The composer in you

When I started as a composer, I just took whatever came in my way and was not very picky. I was less experienced and did not have a vision. When opportunities came my way, I realized I could compose. But I think one should not do that. I learnt that later from my son (G VPrakash) and brother (A R Rahman) that you have to wait for the project that will really platform you properly and you should be prepared for that.

After so many years, I have prepared myself so well and realize that there is a composer in me. Now I have a vision as how I have to come out. And this particular movie I accepted because this director saw one of my movies Pesuvadharkillaya where the songs have turned out well and unfortunately the film did not do well. The director told me that he liked my work in the film and wanted me to work with him in the Malayalam film. It was nice because he saw my work in a film that did not do well but still wanted me as a music director. I did not even talk about remuneration and agreed immediately.

I did not even talk about


Your foray into Malayalam music

Now I have a vision as to how I should present my music and it will be a different experience for the audience. The songs have turned up really well suiting the film rather than suiting my taste. And also the RR would be very special. As the director really likes my work and gives me full freedom, the music has turned out really well.

On Manchottile Veedu, the Malayalam film

It is a different type of story about love, family, rivalry, goodness, intelligence etc. I am looking forward to this movie as I have done a good job. It is basically in Malayalam; it will also be in Tamil and Kannada.

I would love to put Madhushri,

Sadhana Sargam ji, Shreya

Ghosal or even Chithra ji

On your favorite singers for the film

I cannot sing all the songs in the film. The writer asked me to sing one particular number which is a very sad one. I really don’t know why he said that because I am a cheerful person. Anyways, I hope people appreciate it. I have many favorite singers. One of them would be Javed Ali for sure. I think Atif Aslam would be suitable if he is available. I would like him to be part of my music because he sings Western and Indian very well. I would love to put Madhushri, Sadhana Sargam ji, Shreya Ghosal or even Chithra ji


Kadappuram sir and Damodaran Nambiyar are doing the lyrics. I think in Tamil, Vairmuthu sir would be doing the lyrics. I am yet to confirm that. In Kannada, you will have someone who is as famous as Kadappuram and Vairamuthu sir.

Reihana as a stage singer

On stage, I am very clear that it should be the thumping kind of songs where I need to shout. I want to show the audience what a powerful voice I have got. When it comes to recording, I want to experiment with my voice with different genres like western, melody, folk, Sufi, Khawali and so many.

I want to show the audience

what a powerful voice I have got

Rahman was a genius kid

On your Academy Award winning brother A R Rahman

Rahman was a genius kid. He used to help my dad in composition occasionally when he was learning music. I was just learning music along with him. I never took music seriously then as it was fun for me because in my house it was like the male had to earn and the women have to get married. Fortunately for me I realized the passion in me and understood that this is my direction and I went ahead in it.

Being in a family of musicians

It is great and a blessing to be in a family of musicians. Prakash treats me as equal and we generally share a lot of tips and it is more from his side to me rather than the other way round. Prakash is an angel. He is ready to help me in any ways be it from technical side or from voice side or from composing side.

Prakash treats me as equal

I would love to criticize

Prakash’s work

As a critic of G V Prakash

I would love to criticize his work. He is a complete musician; I don’t need to criticize him. Sometimes I would suggest something but he always has an answer for everything and so it is better to appreciate him.

There are not many female composers in Kollywood

The moment I am going to become successful, there are going to be umpteen number of female music composers. Of course there is Bhavadharini and Shruthi Haasan. But right now I am lonely. Since I come from a family of music directors, I am inspired to become one. Music is passion; if you are passionate, you can succeed. But you need to learn technology, music, orchestration and sounds. Everyday technology is improving and it is a challenge to learn.

I am lonely right now

Computers and music

For Prakash, he has been learning computers right from when he was five years old. But for me it’s not like that and for people like me, it is a pain to sit in front of the computers to learn. After so many years of learning, I am now comfortable with computers.

How do you handle the pressures as a music director?

When you are looking at it as a job that has to be completed within a deadline, you are pressured. But when you enjoy and start appreciating it, it is not pressure. In the case of Manchottile Veedu, he gives me ten days and asks me to compose- which could be one tune or ten tunes. Then I give 2 tunes and then I go around the place as I have ten days.

On your favorite place and inspiration for music

One of my favorite places is where I sleep where I get tunes when I go to sleep and where I get tunes when I wake up. I would like to go to nature to get inspiration. Birds might inspire you to get a sound or weather or travel. I love my house very much. I also like Switzerland, Malaysia and all of Europe.

On your world tour with A R Rahman

Experience of singing with him on stage along with singers is really great and they are all my friends and we gel very well.

As a successful RJ in FM radio

I am happy that I am successful, its news to me. I should thank my M.D for this. For the first time when I went live on air, I was shouting and craving for attention. And as soon as my first link was over, I got a call from my M.D who said “extraordinary”. It still stays with me. It is not for the payment they give, it’s not for anything else but that word he said, I am so grateful to him. And I am an R J now.
Tags : Reihana, Rahman, G V Prakash, Shreya Ghosal
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