What was it
like assisting AR. Rahman?
I have worked as an assistant to A.R Rahman Sir for
the past 14 years and it was a good experience. I
would take care of all song backup activities. Ever
since digital technology entered the music field,
I have been with him. That was the initial period
when we started using computers for song composing.
Initially, I had the major responsibility of maintaining
all the back-ups for the work done. In those days,
the work needed to be saved efficiently to avoid any
loss of composed work due to erratic power supply.
If that was not done properly, we might lose the entire
Is there any
memorable experience you can share?
There are many. It happened when we were working
for the movie Dil Se, the RR was going on and even
the release date was announced. Everyone was very
busy including 50 violinists. I did not have the time
to back-up as things were very hectic. Suddenly, there
was a power cut and the hard disc where the work was
stored got hung.
We tried to retrieve it in many ways and it was of
no use. However, AR Rahman sir was under the impression
that I must have taken the back-ups for the work in
hard disc. When I conveyed that I had not, he was
tensed and so was Mani Ratnam sir. The amount of loss
would have been in lakhs since the project involved
the work of many technicians and time.
As a technician, I knew nothing could really be done.
Nevertheless, I was trying to rectify the hard disc
error with the help of another senior technician Shiva
Kumar. We worked for the whole night but we had nothing
worked for us. Since all of us had not slept for a
week, the rest of the crew went home to sleep, the
hard disk seemed dead.
The next morning, Rahman Sir walked up to us... but
he seemed really cool in his voice and attitude. He
went in to the room for his prayers. He came back
after five minutes and asked me to switch on the hard
disc. I was totally shocked to see the hard disc was
ready to recover the back up. Though it was not working,
I was still able to copy the work stored in that.
I would say it was merely a miracle happened that
day and I can also say that was only because of AR
Rahman's true faith in God. I have never seen such
a wonderful and hardworking person like AR Rahman.
What is his composing
He has his own working style. He prefers to compose
music in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. During Rangeela,
he would work from his guest house in ECR. Normally,
he would come out of the composing area with many
tunes in hand and it was our responsibility to co-ordinate
with the film directors and edit the preferred track
accordingly. He composes alone.
What was it like
working for period films with him?
He likes period films and needs a heavy orchestra.
He would be very tensed and very involved 24x7. He
takes a lot of time for period films like Lagaan with
lot of players. There are many differences work-wise
compared to other films.
How did he react
to his Oscar nomination?
One evening we came to know about the Oscar nomination.
Normally, whatever the award, he would not make much
of it and continue with his work. Only we would be
happy and when we went to wish him, he would change
the subject by saying come let’s work. I was
there when he got nominated and he was very happy.
Then he stopped work and spent time on it. And he
was happy he had 2 Oscars. For the first time, he
really showed the happiness outside.
us about your first break
Even before I could start my composition
for the movie Vamsam, I had signed up for
the Aayiram Mutham which is almost ready for
its release now. The director of this movie
Shanmuga Raj was assisting director Cheran
earlier. I have composed Western based songs
for the film.
Working with Pandi Raj gave me
director Pandi Raj is a very good friend of Shanmuga
Raj and one fine day he came to listen to the tracks.
Initially, I started with the city based subject and
I was very comfortable with that. However, Vamsam is
totally a village based subject and initially I had
doubts about handling it but yet had the confidence
that I would manage to compose it.
I was a bit nervous when I started working and initially
I had no idea to shape the first song Mannadi Mannar.
I worked in bits and later on I was able to get it in
to a fantastic order of composition. The song has got
a lot of appreciation as well. I am really happy for
Working with Pandi Raj gave me more confidence since
he is a very soft natured and friendly person to move
with. I would say our combination worked and finally
we got what we had in ourselves. There was no tension
while working, he’s very understanding and I could
However, in particular he
mentioned that the Maruthani
song had come out very well
did A.R.Rahman feel about Vamsam’s music?
the audio release, he was not in town and returned
only after 2 months. He said he was very busy
and could not listen to all the tracks but said
he would. However, in particular he mentioned
that the Maruthani song had come out very well.
I also received a lot of appreciation from AR
Rahman's family members, especially from his
mother and sister who appreciated all the songs
saying that they were very good.
us about your musical experience with AR. Rahman?
I talk about the musical experiences which I
have gained from A.R. Rahman, I should also
be speaking about the experiences I have gained
to become a better human being. Those who have
worked with him will be different from the rest
of those in cinema. Musically, what I learnt
in those 14 years has enabled me to compose
for this film.
Musically, what I learnt in those
14 years has enabled me to
compose for this film.
After they heard it, there were
tears in their eyes
are you currently working on?
Chemmozhi Maanadu has a song for Tamilians across
the world. I received a similar opportunity
to make a song for Tamilians across the world
after Vamsam. The Srilankan magazine Veera Kesari
was to celebrate its 80th Anniversary and they
wanted a song. They approached Rahman and since
he was busy I got the opportunity. They asked
me to do something on the lines of the Chemmozhi
Maanadu song. Vairamuthu has penned the lyrics
and almost 12 singers including SPB, Anuradha
Sriram, Tippu and others have sung. This will
release soon. Some of the team had come to hear
the song and after they heard it, there were
tears in their eyes. Then I felt what I had
done was correct.