When Bollywood saw AR Rahman’s success as ‘fluke’ but he turned out to be the first successful pan-Indian artist


The success of the Baahubali of SS Rajamouli is often cited as a turning point in Indian film as was the case with the film, with movies breaking the barriers to belonging to a particular region and becoming pan-Indian. From Baahubali, a wave of pan-Indian films invaded the country. Films are no longer limited to one language and, although not everyone enjoys reading subtitles, copying is a great way to make regional films more appealing to audiences. But before the success of Baahubali, when Bollywood and other regional film industries were seen as chalk and cheese, and it was one event in which artists and industry experts worked in another, AR Rahman led the pan-Indian transformation with its music and included all man – from north to south.

We often hear that music breaks the language barriers even in a country like ours, where vernacular languages ​​and languages ​​change in all cities, there can be no unifying element better than music but somehow, a popular culture arose from this awareness longer than expected. When Mani Ratnam’s Roja was released in 1992, the film was a huge success but what captured the audience was its music, it was something they had never heard of before, and it was the first time that a music composer – AR Rahman. In an interview with The Times of India in 2017, Mani Ratnam was asked if Rahman’s unique musical nature made her wonder, ‘What if people don’t get it?’ the music he played was heard that winter – the cold in that place. So, I did not worry that anyone would find it. I was getting it. Also, I thought it would be great fun and it would enhance the things I see, ”he said.
Roja’s music was a success, not only in Tamil but also in Hindi, and it amazed Rahman. “We did not know that music would work in Hindi, but it was very loud in Hindi. So, the next film, Bombay was such a challenge. This is one of the reasons why we are getting used to phonetics. Humma Humma or Chaiyya Chaiyya, they are all phonetics in some way, so we can avoid the ambiguity of a particular region, ”Rahman said in a similar interview when discussing the pan-Indian state of his music.

Roja’s uber success earned Rahman the National Medal, and while he continued to be a Tamil cinematographer, Hindi cinema saw it as “pale.” Ram Gopal Varma, who was Rahman’s first director with his Hindi film Rangeela, shared on his blog in 2013 that his investors at the time saw Roja’s success as extraordinary. “My investors prefer Anu Malik, as they feel that the success of Roja’s version of the music is a fluke, and that this genre will not work in Hindi. The fact that AR was not signed by any major Hindi filmmaker after Roja is sufficient proof, they think, ”he wrote.
Suddenly, Rangeela’s music left them stunned. “His songs were the first in his interpretation of the mood so much that the normal ear would take time to let it in,” wrote RGV. Tamil films like Minsra Kanavu, Kadhalan, Indian, Mr. Romeo, Kadhal Desam, Jeans among many others from the late 90s had their songs come out in many languages ​​including Hindi because Rahman’s music transcended all regional boundaries, thus making him the first pan- Indian artist who could work in any language. , and succeeded in it. Not all Tamil films at that time were big in the Hindi-speaking provinces, but Rahman’s named music was sold in all the cassette stores and the maestro had a large army of fans behind him and before he started composing in other languages.

Rahman is also one of the only Indian composers to have fans around the world, which gained momentum after his Slumdog Millionaire song became a major hit. One of the very few Indians to win the BAFTA, the Golden Globe and the Academy Award – Rahman’s international appeal is further proof that it is often the music industry’s gatekeepers who decide what one should listen to, and when they should. to them, we would still listen to the composed versions of Rahman’s songs, as we did back in the days of Roja.

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