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interview with A.R. Rahman

Aired June 14, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, HOST (voice-over): He's the man behind the global anthem, "Jai Ho" and has sold hundreds of millions of albums.


ANDERSON: And now, A.R. Rahman has taken to the stage, with sold out tour venues around the world.


ANDERSON: The Chennai born musician first started composing in a makeshift studio in his backyard, but he quickly became the leading name of Bollywood soundtracks.


ANDERSON: He grabbed international recognition with his track for best picture winning "Slumdog Millionaire," earning him a series of awards, increasingly two Oscars. Named as one of "Time's" 100 Most Influential People, Rahman combines style and conscience to deliver an eclectic array of songs.

Giving the world a universal beat, A.R. Rahman is your Connector of the Day.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And earlier, Becky sat down with the legendary composer and began by asking him about his new tour.


A.R. RAHMAN, MUSICIAN: We are a full blown production with Western dial (ph) and Eastern dial altogether with a very different prospect to -- of the music I've been doing for 18 years.

ANDERSON: We saw a bit of your concert in the profile that we did of you just earlier on. But let's take a quick look behind the scenes.

CNN did some filming at the recent (INAUDIBLE).


ANDERSON: A.R. You've been a phenomenon in -- in India for a long time. Your fans include a number of our former Connectors -- film sensations in -- in Bollywood. But in the last couple of years, you've really cracked it in the West.

What is it, do you think, about your music that resonates with people around the world?

RAHMAN: My music is mostly for the music. And it gives the liberty to do anything which I want. And nobody limits me to one genre of music. But I learn from life and I try to give back to life, in a way, whether it's the thought of the song or whether it's the approach to the arrangement or anything.

So it's probably embracing everything which -- which is good.

ANDERSON: Your award winning breakthrough, of course, came with the music for "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2008.

Let's just have a little listen to that.


ANDERSON: "Slumdog Millionaire" there.

Well, Saideep has written to us. And he says: "What do you enjoy more, scoring for film or privately composing?"

RAHMAN: I enjoy both, because scoring for films gives an inspiration to write music immediately, most -- most of the times. And when you -- you're private, you're just think -- trying to have your own thoughts. And that's also good. So scoring for films makes me do more work and now that's -- yes, I get more out.

ANDERSON: So you don't mind that?

You don't mind the hard work, evidently.

Keira from New York says: "If you could redo the soundtrack of any classic film, either Hollywood or Bollywood, which movie would it be and why?"

RAHMAN: Well, my all time favorite is "The Sound of Music" those days and still is. And I wouldn't like to re -- redo it. It's perfect. And I would (INAUDIBLE) that.

ANDERSON: But would you now?

RAHMAN: No. There are much more things to be explored.

ANDERSON: Including a Bollywood version of "The Sound of Music."

All right, S.N. Mathur says: "You became a household name with "Slumdog Millionaire." Are you using that fame and money to better the lives of people?"

RAHMAN: Yes, in my own way. I've got a foundation. And I started a school. And the school is trying to educate underprivileged kids into music and stuff so they can get into all kinds of music. So it's a slow kind of process, but it's slow and steady and there's a lot of goodwill in that.

ANDERSON: You work with the great and the good of Bollywood -- famous -- an industry famous for its egos.

There's a question from Jay. And he asks: "What is your secret of working with so many talented people and getting the best out of them, whatever their attitude?"

RAHMAN: I think, first of all, they know that -- they have a kind of respect for me, for my work and everything. And so I just -- that's half the job there.


FOSTER: Well, tomorrow's Connector of the Day is best known for her high profile marriage to real estate tycoon Donald Trump. Ivana married the multi-millionaire developer in 1977. She's since remarried twice and has developed a line of jewelry, clothing and is also writing a number of best-selling books.

Don't forget to send us your questions from our Connector of the Day. Head to