I don't think any Indian musician has won the Golden Globe award?
That's good. I see it as an honour for India, not just for me. More to come, hopefully.
The Golden Globe is seen as a precursor to the Oscars.
Let's hope so. I've my fingers crossed. When a film and my music get acceptance, it's the equivalent of an Oscar for me. For the people of India to get an Oscar is a big thing. So for their sake more than mine, I hope my song 'Jai Ho' and my music score in Slumdog Millionaire win the Oscar.
Freida Pinto says of the 4 Golden Globe Nominations for Slumdog Millionaire, yours makes her the proudest.
That's really sweet of her. I was in LA to have lunch with all the panel members of the Oscars. Also, to do press meets and promotion for Slumdog Millionaire which is getting a terrific response in LA. You know some critics in the US say it's one of the best films they've ever seen. It's not just about my music. It's the way the director Danny Boyle has put together the film.
The throbbing pulse of Mumbai is superbly captured in the film. Slumdog Millionaire (SM) is about suffering, hope and redemption. If my music in SM has made an impact in the West, it's because it's projected so effectively. Though some of the songs are in Hindi, nobody complained about them being boring or incomprehensible. 'Jai Ho', the song that has been nominated for the Golden Globe, 'O Saya' and 'Ringa Ringa' which is influenced by 'Choli Ke Peeche' are in a foreign language for them. But the Americans love it.
Were you in the US to lobby for the Oscar for 'Jai Ho'?
It's not about lobbying. It's about letting the jury members meet you, get to know you and decide if the person behind the creation is worth putting a vote for. As an artiste I need to be recognized on a human level. So I needed to go to Hollywood with my song 'Jai Ho'. I met all the top Hollywood soundtrack composers like Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and Danny Elfman.
And what did they have to say about your music?
They had genuinely warm comments for my music in Slumdog Millionaire. At first I thought they were just being sweet and polite. You know, LA is a kind of place where people in the entertainment industry say a lot of things they don't mean. So I double-checked. And these big guns in Hollywood really meant it. I think they love the Mumbai that they've seen in the film. And Danny has made terrific use of my music. The way he has mixed my songs, they're full-on, like a discotheque.
Has Mumbai's image suffered a setback in the US after 26/11?
Everyone is a bit shaken. Security has been tightened even more in the US. That's what I was subjected to in every hotel that I went. Everyone has to be more careful. There's a little bit of negativity about what happened. But the way they look at India, our music and cinema is very positive.
You sound really upbeat.
The image of Mumbai is still intact. Slumdog Millionaire has promoted Mumbai tourism to a great extent. I don't think any city in the world has been portrayed as vibrantly as Mumbai. I got the right vibes in LA. A lot of people want to come to India to collaborate in our entertainment industry. Akon and Nelly Furtado are interested. We just have need to carry it forward.
A.R Rahman who turned 43 on Jan 6, has won The Golden Globe Award for his music in Slumdog Millionaire, the first Indian musician to do so. Bringing you excerpts from the interview he gave to Subhash K Jha before he left for the Golden Globe.