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Exclusive! AR Rahman initially declined to be part of Mohanlal’s Aaraattu, here’s who eventually convinced him

The Oscar-winning music director will be seen playing himself in B Unnikrishnan’s Malayalam directorial

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 01.12 AM, Feb 10, 2022

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Exclusive! AR Rahman initially declined to be part of Mohanlal’s Aaraattu, here’s who eventually convinced him
Mohanlal and AR Rahman during the shoot of Aaraattu

Oscar-winning music director AR Rahman, who had last composed for a Malayalam film 30 years ago, will be making his comeback to the industry through B Unnikrishnan’s Mohanlal-starrer Aaraattu, albeit in a cameo appearance as an actor.

AR Rahman, who had made his Malayalam debut as a music director through Mohanlal’s 1991 film Yodha, will be playing himself in the upcoming ‘mass’ entertainer, which is scheduled to hit theatres on February 18. In an exclusive interview to OTTplay, the movie’s director Unnikrishnan tells us what went into roping in the maestro for a role in Aaraattu.

“His sequence is the core of the movie. When (scriptwriter) Udaykrishna had narrated the story idea itself, his character was there. Back then I told him it was impossible because AR Rahman is camera shy. Mohanlal sir also said that it will be hard to get him on board and we should look at an alternative too,” says the filmmaker. “But there’s no one other than him that Malayalis connect with at such a level.”

Unnikrishnan tells us that when he first approached the music director, his team said that he wouldn’t do it. “Then actor Rahman helped us,” says the filmmaker. Actor Rahman is AR Rahman’s co-brother. “After Lal sir asked me to talk to Rahman, he was the one who had passed the synopsis to AR Rahman. He talked to him several times about it and then AR Rahman agreed to have a virtual meeting with me,” Unnikrishnan explains.

On what eventually convinced the composer to come onboard, the director says, “I narrated the entire story to him and told him it’s a tribute to his music that touches upon the bond between Malayalis and himself. That’s when he said, ‘I grew up watching Malayalam movies and working with great music directors in Malayalam’. That’s how he finally came onboard, after laying down certain conditions.”

AR Rahman shot for his portions in Chennai in March 2021. Aaraattu, which also has Kannada actors Shraddha Srinath and KGF fame Ramachandra Raju in pivotal roles, is a ‘mass’ entertainer revolving around Mohanlal’s character Neyyattinkara Gopan.

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