I am well aware that Behindwoods is a breeding ground for movie & music reviews. Hence, in the first place I find it irrelevant to review a book here. But, considering the fact that the book is an authorized biography of A.R.Rahman, I felt it would be ideal to share my thoughts here. Let me confess a few things before I go on with the review. I am a die-hard Rahmaniac having an up-to-date collection of his works. There is a never-ending google search about him, everyday I log on to my computer and a regular browsing of his fan sites jus to fight with fellow Rahmaniacs over the extent to which we know him. Leave alone the impact his music has on me, I am more curious about the human being in him as well. So, here comes the answer in the form of "A.R.Rahman-The Spirit of Music" which is in the form of a conversation between the author Nasreen Munni Kabir(NMK) & ARR.
The author has come up with a comprehensive set of questions that exploits an inherent personality deep down in ARR.NMK was certainly unable to control her excitement conversing with ARR and hence she poses random questions that transcends on a highly versatile note as ARR answers each & every question in depth which he seldom does in interviews. Hence, the conversation moves from Roja to Oscars to Rang De Basanti to Kaadhalan to Thiruda Thiruda to Vande Mataram to Water to Mangal-Pandey to Michael Jackson to Mani Ratnam to Sufism. ARR is very critical about the fact that he "embraced" Islam rather than converting to the same.
A few years back, there was a biography on ARR called "The Musical Storm" by Kamini Mathai who collected the facts from people closest to ARR over a prolonged period and made it into a seamless play that narrated the tale of ARR from rags to riches. There was a great deal of information about ARR's Dileep Kumar days. ARR bashed it saying that it is an unauthorized one. He refuses to talk much about his Dileep days because Dileep was a guy who had suicidal thoughts.
Getting back to this, ARR talks in detail about the process that goes beyond the making of his songs right from creating a scratch tune to recording, mixing and mastering a song and background piece. He highlights the importance of learning classical music to create a composition that stands unique and emphasizes the need for a Symphony orchestra in India. To Sum it up, he talks about the various stuff that provides an insight into his spiritual journey and correlates it with an eternal peace that flows through his songs. There are a number of quotes he gave, out of which my favorites are....
1) "Music comes through me & not from me"
2)"A beautiful music on its own can signify anything because the imagination is limitless while listening to music"
3)"The inspiration for music may come from nature, a landscape or a poem about love. If your imagination runs free, it can bring a spiritual feel to a melody and can develop its own character and be of a higher plane".
The book also contains rarest of rare pictures of ARR and "CONNECTIONS" album cd (The one that was released on Nokia Express Music) with a complete discography of his soundtracks and forthcoming projects...I wish the book extended rather than being restricted to jus 127 pages!!!....
P.S:"Ellapugazhum Iraivanukke" s written in Tamil in the first page.
Pinayour Chandrasekaran Sathish