AR Rahman on working with Mani Ratnam in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam and what makes them click

Haricharan Pudipeddi

October 14, 2018 09:31:32 IST

The multi-starrer Tamil gangster drama, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which has emerged a box office winner, is the 14th collaboration of filmmaker Mani Ratnam and composer AR Rahman. For 26 years, the duo has been working together and Rahman believes it’s their camaraderie and trust for each other makes them click as a pair.

Still from Amazon Prime Exclusive Harmony with AR Rahman.

AR Rahman.

“There’s mutual respect for each other. The fans have respect towards me and his movies. Both of us value our relationship and trust each other. World over, we see certain filmmakers collaborating with the same composers. Steven Spielberg likes to work with John Williams, who is in his 80s. They value their relationship. Steve won’t stop working with John because he’s old,” Rahman said in a group interaction. Elaborating more on their equation, he said: “Both of us never feel we’ve worked with each other enough. When we team up, I am always willing to learn more from that experience. Not that I don’t learn from my other projects, but with him it’s even more special.”

As the conversation veered towards Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which is being considered Ratnam’s glorious return to form and his biggest box office success till date, Rahman said the film took him by surprise. “It was a U-turn from what he (Ratnam) was doing, but I could totally understand his creative outburst. I did whatever I could in that space.” Talking more on the experience of working on the project, Rahman said: “Originally, there was space for only two songs in the film. After I saw the trailer, I composed two more songs in a contemporary mode. What still amazes me is how he (Ratnam) used the songs in the film. One time, he took me to a resort in Goa where there was no internet connectivity. It was beautiful with just the sea. I composed ten ideas in two days and asked him to use whatever he likes. One among them was the track 'Mazhai Kuruvi'. He really liked the tune and felt Vairamuthu’s poetry would be apt.”

On being asked about why most of his songs take time to grow on the listener and he says: “While some filmmakers want something new, others prefer taking the tried-and-tested route.” Rahman also said he knows if a song would work while composing. “It has come with experience. Like 70-80 percent of the times, I can predict if a song will be appreciated or criticised. But there are exceptional cases where I come across surprise reactions.” Commenting on the mixed response the first single of Vijay’s Sarkar elicited, he said: “In this case, fans went by what was previously delivered in this combination. It took them over a month to get used to the song.”

Rahman feels that no matter how hard one works, there’s always an aspiration to reach higher level. “There are many factors which limit us. It could be health or time. Beyond these factors, I strive to push myself. We are currently working on two productions.” He also confirmed he has a YouTube original show titled ARRived in the pipeline. “We are doing this from Qyuki. I can talk more about it in a few weeks. All I can say right now is that it won’t be another reality contest. We’re looking at a new format to nurture young talent.”

ARR is currently working on Sivakarthikeyan’s upcoming yet-untitled Tamil science-fiction film. “It’s going to be a very interesting film. It has a unique script and a very competent director.” In a recent chat with Firstpost, Sivakarthikeyan revealed had that the film’s opening track will be crooned by Rahman.

Updated Date: Oct 14, 2018 09:31 AM