Monday, November 8, 2010

Will Rahman 'Bell the Cat'?

Should Rahman be Hollywood bound? This is the question I was left with after listening to his instrumental soundtracks of Danny Boyle’s latest 127 hours. If one pretty-good (and not the best by any stretch of imagination) work of Rahman could fetch him two Academy awards, should he not be aiming at further International glory by working with Hollywood directors who have an eye or rather ear for the importance of soundtracks in films? He has won the national awards, the prestigious padma award, awards from almost all Indian film industries wherever he has worked in. He has achieved all that is available in the Indian film industry & there is not much left for him to accomplish here. That makes his case to be Hollywood bound all the more momentous.

The other option (which is what he seems to be doing right now) is to be based in India, work with a restricted, selective set of Indian films, look for options from the West,sign for & work on apt films. This might look attractive for the legion of Rahmaniacs but unfortunately is not the best option for the single reason that the people from Hollywood aren’t going to seek someone based in India for sheer logistical reasons if not any other, even if the person is a two academy award winner!

That leaves him in the dilemma of whether to shift base or to work with the best in India. If he chooses the latter, it would add to the dearth of an Indian in the international scene and he would only be following the names of Ilaiyaraja & Kamal Haasan – People with tremendous class & yet not as internationally-famous as they deserve to be , thanks to either their disinterest (Ilaiyaraja’s case) or their restricted-scope (Kamal’s case). Thanks to Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has crossed both these hurdles with a solid exposure in the international scene & the only way for him is forward. It better be! And ironically, this statement comes from someone who is going to be utterly disappointed if & when Rahman decides to quit Indian cinema for good. Disappointed because of the angst that there wouldn’t be a lot more Indian Rahman music to look forward to. The good reasons that would balance out the disappointments are:

• His move would encourage other brilliant talents in Indian film industry to take the extra mile in seeking international exposure & Rahman’s success would only bring them confidence to try that out.

• The true worth of Rahman would be seen by those who still consider him to be no better than some relatively new, rising music directors in the background score department. If one Liberation track of 127 hours cannot convince them that they are wrong, a bombardment of such tracks in the future should and would!

• There would be no more Yuvvraajs,Delhi 6s,Jhootha Hi Sahis whose blissful tracks would get lost in the commercial failures of the films, for,in the international scene, acclaim gained by music is not correlated to the commercial success that the film gains.

So,Go on Rahman. Lead the way, like you have always done!

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