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AR Rahman remembers the Oscar-winning moment for Slumdog Millionaire: I felt like a gladiator and told myself, 'AR, don't react'

The Ponniyin Selvan composer says that he put the Oscars in his hand baggage after the event

AR Rahman remembers the Oscar-winning moment for Slumdog Millionaire: I felt like a gladiator and told myself, 'AR, don't react'
AR Rahman

Last Updated: 08.42 PM, Mar 03, 2023


Music composer AR Rahman was the first Indian to bring home the Oscars. The year was 2009 and the musician had won two Oscars for Danny Boyle's film, Slumdog Millionaire. In a video shared by the official handle of the Academy Awards, AR Rahman is seen reflecting on the moment he bagged the twin awards.

The composer is seen saying, "I went to all these amazing dinners before the Oscars and Danny Elfman said that I would get it. I was unsure. The whole of India was cheering and I felt like a gladiator."

He added, "When they announced my name for the score, I was wondering if it was real. 'Is it a dream?' Because I had to perform next. I was like, 'AR, don't react. There's this and more. Just be in the zen mode. Don't mess up your performance."

The Academy Awards speech had garnered a lot of attention at the Oscars. Not only did the composer speak in his mother tongue Tamil, but he also said between love and hate, he chose love. The composer says that his speech wasn't prepared and it was Penelope Cruz who inspired him to speak in his mother tongue. "My speech was not prepared. I said to myself that I would go by the flow and maximum I would say, thank you. But when I was sitting there and watching Penelope Cruz speak in Spanish, I was like, 'that's cool'. I went and said, "Ella Pugazhun Iraivanukke'. The phrase, 'All perfect praise belongs to God alone' is from a  holy book. It means I will remember you in happy and sad times. That was the happiest time of my life. I wanted to remember the god who is common to all of us."

He added, "The second time when they announced my name, I said,''The essence of the film is about optimism and the power of hope in our lives. The world was going through economic depression at that time. And Slumdog Millionaire was done in a way that anyone who saw it would feel high. All my life I have had a choice - of hate and love. I chose love and I am here."

He stated that some people misinterpreted his speech. "Some people misinterpreted that it was about religion. This is the state of every artist in the world. Love is about giving."

He also recalled a funny incident at the airport in India after he put the Oscars in his hand baggage. " After I got the Oscars, I put them in my hand baggage,  when I was getting to India, the security asked, 'can you wait?'. Soon there were hundreds of people at the security check. And everyone went, "Oh my god." "

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