Indian music maestro A.R. Rahman forays into scriptwriting and film production with the upcoming musical-romance drama 99 Songs. The experience, the Oscar-winning singer-composer says, was quite a challenge.
“When you are composing the music of a film, you have a director who is very experienced, you have a lyrics writer and there is the producer, too. So, we usually sit, and then jam and exchange ideas. But in this film, I am the writer. So, the writer does something which the producer doesn’t like — who incidentally is also me (laughs). Then, if I come out it, he (points at the film’s director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy) doesn’t like it. So, we did three to four versions of each song with different tunes and arrangements. Till three months back, a lot of things were changing and now it is in front of you. It was an exhausting but beautiful experience,” said Rahman, while interacting with the media at the music launch of the film.
He was accompanied by co-writer and director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy and film’s lead actor Ehan Bhatt.
Besides winning two Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire (Best Original Song and Best Original Score), Rahman has also won six National Film Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award, besides numerous popular awards in Bollywood and down South. In 2010, the government of Indi awarded him Padma Bhushan, the nation’s third-highest civilian award.
Does his stature as a world figure in contemporary music make it easy for his film to find a worldwide release? “That’s the hope. Jio (Studios) is involved with our film and they have the plans. Whatever we will do, we will follow their plans. We are just like students waiting for them to say the magical words. They have been great so far and I hope they push it up and take your (media) suggestion seriously,” he said.
Backed by Rahman’s production company YM Movies, 99 Songs is presented by Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Studios. Set to release in the summer, the film will play in three languages, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
99 Songs is directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, former frontman of the hardcore band Scribe, who has previously helmed the MTV shows The Dewarists and Bring On The Night.
Besides co-writing and producing the film, Rahman has also composed the original score and 15 songs for the film, starring newcomers Ehan Bhat and Edilsey Vargas. The film also features Rahul Ram of the rock band Indian Ocean, composer Ranjit Barot, with actors Manisha Koirala and Lisa Ray.
Watch the trailer