When AR Rahman and Rasool Pookutty broke decade-old jinx in Indian Cinema, millions of hearts cried Jai Ho joining rest of the music lovers across the world. True to the song Jai Ho or “Be victorious,” the duo has emerged victorious in the world’s biggest film competition.
Though Rahman and Rasool have Satyajit Ray and Bhanu Athaiya as their predecessors, unlike them the duo won the Oscar in competitive fields. So their win has glory and it stands apart.
Ray was awarded a honourary Oscar in 1992 for Lifetime Achievement. Bhanu Athaiya bagged it for her costume designing in the Richard Attenborough movie Gandhi in 1982, the first Indian to win an Oscar. And now after 17 years of Oscar drought AR Rahman and Rasool Pookutty have brought top Oscar awards to their country making each Indian filled with pride.
AR Rahman has proved many times his musical genius through variety of songs and albums he has done. Yet, many from his music fraternity are reluctant to accept his mastery over music. Some consider him just as medley composer.
For those fault-finding cynics Rahman himself gave a sweet revenge at the Oscar award ceremony function with his brilliant on stage presentation of Oscar award winning score “Jai Ho.” Danny Boyle, in his speech after receiving his Best Director award, did not forget to mention the uniqueness of Rahman.
Lauding Rahman’s live performance, Boyle said, “The performance is a reply to those who say that he just mixes music.” But Rahman was as modest as ever even after winning his Oscars. Without taking the credit for the awards himself, he told about his success, “Music appeals when music and film go together.” It is AR Rahman’s musical vibrancy that really helped Slumdog Millionaire which might be regarded as a mediocre film. His music gave life to a film, which deals with an ordinary theme of slums and its aspirations.
In India, Slumdog Millionaire has been criticised as a film with a hidden agenda adding a political row over it. Cynics slammed British director Boyle as trying to sell Indian poverty.
Poverty may be a shame to fast developing India. But poverty is a universal reality. It is not just Indian, it is American and African as well. But the story of Slumdog Millionaire is not just the story of slums and its dwellers in Mumbai. It is the story of love, friendship, brotherhood and sacrifice.
The language of the film makes one forget that the story is happening in India where people are divided according to their languages spoken, region where they belong to and above all religion. We do not see a North Indian or South Indian or East Indian or West India there. Unlike other Indian movies the film does not frame the characters as Hindu, Muslim or Christian. From their very names, of course, an Indian can easily identify their religion, but not every other viewer.
Along with AR Rahman’s music and Rasool Pookuty’s excellent sound mixing, Boyle made the world listen to the voice of slums across the globe. By coining most despised word dog and slum, is he not asking the world not to treat those who are fatally fallen to live in slums as mere dogs?
Now, both Rahman and Rasool brought glory to their own homelands Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively.
Though Rasool has done so many good sound recordings in Indian movies, he has never got recognition from his home country. After accepting the Oscar for Best Sound Recordist, a highly emotional Rasool said, “For me this is not just a sound award. History is being handed over to me.” Definitely, Rasool will be known in the pages of Kerala history as the first person to bring Oscar to God’s own Country.
It is the same with AR Rahman too though he did not speak it out loudly to the millions who were watching the ceremony. He will be written as the first Oscar winner in Tamil Nadu.
But having a connection with Kerala, where his father had been a music composer for years, Kerala too rejoices in Rahman’s acclaim. When the Oscar for Original Score was announced, he seemed as moved as millions of his fans who have already taken his soulful voice and music to their hearts.
Though the song was co-composed by Gulzar, another living legendary lyricist, we can easily make it out that the very magical formation Jai Ho is Rahman’s contribution. Rahman is known for jibberish coinages like Hilkore Hilkore, Chikpuk Chikpuk, Mukala Mukala, Roobaroo, Fanaa etc.
Thanks Rahman, we, the Indians now got one more national theme in the genre of Jai Hind and Vande Matharam.....Jai Ho....