I met Rahman during a Channel V concert in 1998 when we performed Dooba dooba. He liked the sound of the band and how we emoted the song. Later I got a call from his Chennai office to come over for a recording. I saw him jam with Prasoon, saw a scratch becoming a full blown song. That was Khoon Chala for Rang De Basanti.
There is always a great energy in his studio that gets injected into you as well. He gives you suggestions on how to emote and lets you free when you hit the right frequency. He has a way of guiding subtly. He is sure of what he wants in a song. But he is also a flexible guy. He let me introduce the laughter track in Masakalli.
With the computer and the Internet, the world is shrinking, people are accepting music in a global way and he has this way of working on new things. He has access to world music and incorporates those sounds into his music.
He is also a very quiet guy, makes music out of silences. There are silences, spaces in his music. His music borders on spirituality.
He plays with voices, uses different styles and schools and instruments. I love the way the accordion wafts in and out of Masakalli.
He understands a film, the characters, feelings. His music accentuates emotions and underlines the theme.
His music has a beautiful energy to it. It has finesse, musicality. His music is not just for those with evolved tastes but common people too. It also makes the layman smile, laugh. It lifts you, connects to your soul. It is a complicated creation, yet wholesome as well.
My personal favourite is Yeh haseen vadiyaan from Roja; Yeh jo des hai tera from Swades and Vande Mataram.
As told to Namrata Joshi