02 March, 2021

At Which Time Dilip Became Rahman

The Music and the Maker, the maestro's faith in Islam has found the twain makes for perfect consonance

At Which Time Dilip Became Rahman
Meeting someone for an hour-long interview is no entry ticket to a man’s soul, but with A.R. Rahman it seemed like that. The first time I met him was in November ’98 when he’d come to Delhi to accept a Channel V viewers’ award for most popular track of the year. Some three million viewers had voted for him, which wasn’t surprising, considering how his music was already conquering the film world, both in Tamil and Hindi. But what was unusual was the song this post-Chitrahaar, Def Leppard-adoring generation chose as their favourite song of the year, Vande Mataram. By then, a countrywide row had broken out over the compulsory singing of this ‘national song’ in schools, but Rahman’s popular, flag-waving rendering of it (Maa Tujhe Salaam) was met everywhere, especially among the young, with foot-tapping enthusiasm. I had to find out for myself how this young man with Jesus Christ locks, blue jeans and Muslim name had so cleverly subverted the mullahs and the Hindu fundoos by getting a whole generation hooked to...
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