The master music composer spoke about the stark difference between how audiences received many decades ago and how they go about it today
Last Updated: 05.19 PM, Apr 23, 2023
As much as Mani Ratnam's craft and vision have evolved over the years, the one constant that has remained with him for the longest time is the music of A.R. Rahman. The ace filmmaker is often bestowed with the credit of launching the composer into the mainstream ethos and since then, their collaborations have yielded some of the most memorable and long-enduring moments of Indian cinema. They both are 'masters of the game' in their own individual rights but when any title card reads both Mani Ratnam and A.R. Rahman, one hopes for and expects nothing short of a masterpiece.
And having evolved through this journey together, the duo has adapted itself well to the needs of each generation and its very specific demands. Technology has helped their music reach a larger audience and transcend boundaries but with this ease came along the pressures of scrutiny and judgements (mostly unwarranted), making them constantly redefine things. That isn't to say that the 'pre-digital' era was more conducive for music or art to thrive but for Rahman, the distinction is quite prominent.
"The whole of '80s and '90s, I used to wait for a Michael Jackson album to arrive, which might have happened once in 5 years. And then I wouldn't sleep for 3-4 days listening to it and I'd say 'oh, it's all bad'. But a couple of days later, you start humming something from that album and it goes on like that. Same thing happened in my case as well - people would buy my music and go through a similar journey. Nobody is buying music anymore - it's free so they can comment and say anything. It has to pass that judgmental phase to enter their hearts, before they can say, 'yeah, I wanna listen to that song again'. But now, they are listening to every inch of a song and they share specific time codes with one another. You feel that it's all worth it - the time you have put in mixing, arranging or composing," said the Ponniyin Selvan 2 music composer in a recent interaction with a media outlet.