A. R. Rahman, today

You’ve heard the phrase “gateway drug”?  

Usually it refers marijuana, with some  folks asserting that smoking pot is not as harmless as most people think, rather, it’s the start of a slippery slope, serving as a gateway to harder drugs.

For me, the 1998 release Dil Se was a gateway film, in so many ways.

It was the first Mani Ratnam film I ever saw.

It was also the first time I ever heard Sukhwinder Singh, lending his very distinctive voice to the  now hugely famous Chayya Chayya song, while Shah Rukh danced atop a moving train with Malaika Arora.

And it was the first time I was hearing the work of A.R. Rahman, the wunderkind of Indian film music: composer, singer, musician, in Hindi, in Tamil, on Broadway.   He makes most of us look like slackers.

That was 10 years ago.  

Like I was back then –  at a hastily added midnight showing of Dil Se – I am still stunned by what he can create, with such beauty and such variety, from the haunting instrumental theme of another Mani Ratnam film, Bombay, to the rippling, joyful Pachai Nirame (a.k.a. Saathiya), to the swirling Yenna Solla Pogirai of Kandukondain Kandukondain and the aching beauty of Tere Bina, a love song from yet another Mani Ratnam, Guru.

The maestro himself will be a guest today on SAJA’s blogtalkradio webinar, at 12 noon, New York time, answering questions and talking about his music and his career.

Details about how to connect and listen to a recording of the webcast  here.

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