Double Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman, who shares a 25-year-long relationship with filmmaker Mani Ratnam, says he sees the Roja director as a brother and mentor rolled into one.
Rahman spoke about his long-standing relationship with Ratnam, his vision for his institute and his music beliefs, in a chat for digital platform Film Companion.
Ratnam launched Rahman in his 1992 Tamil film Roja.
On celebrating 25 years of Roja by reuniting with Ratnam for upcoming Tamil romantic-drama Kaatru Veliyidai, he said: "More than a director and filmmaker, he is someone who is very special to me. He gave me my first break.
"He's like a mentor and brother rolled into one. He is a good human being. Sometimes you stick to people not because of the power but because of their humanness."
In a career spanning over two decades, Rahman has succeeded in maintaining freshness in his music.
Asked how he avoids monotony in music, he said: "I don't do movies when makers come with requests of repetition. If I feel I can't do anything new, I try to dodge it.
"So many movies which I was supposed to do, I decided against. Sometimes there may be a very small movie but it might trigger something interesting for me and I go ahead and do it."
In 2008, Rahman founded KM Music Conservatory with the aim to pass on his legacy and nurture budding musicians.
He says his sister Fatima -- who is the director of the institute -- and her team look after the management.
"My sister is very musically sensitive about things as well. It is a good team we have and they know the vibe and what they should do," he said.
Despite his popularity, Rahman says he remains humble because of spirituality.
"The foundation lies in spirituality. When you want to reinvent, you need to take off all the old luggage and throw it off and go marching with nothing," he added.
Having expressed his desire to direct a film not long ago, Rahman said he was pushed into it.
"I don't have the time and attention span to do a 2D movie but virtual reality is something we have been researching and checking out for the past one and a half years.
"We could not find a director for that and as I was so involved in the previous events, everybody said I should do it. It's not like directing. We had to reinvent all laws, techniques for virtual reality. It's completely different," he said.
Last year, Rahman launched a Visual Reality version of his iconic song Vande Mataram at the 10th edition of NFDC Film Bazaar in Goa, and said he had plans to make more such films using the technology.