“Yes, the Oscar changed my life. I can"t even attend places of prayer without being recognized. Even when I"m at malls in the US kids freeze in recognition when they see me. I need to concentrate on my music. I"m not the kind of guy who can pull himself away from my music, attend function, give interviews and get back to what I"m supposed to. It"s like entering and leaving new cities."
The past one week has been a time of record-breaking travel for Rahman. “It"s been a full rollercoaster ride for me in the past week…from New York to Dubai to Calicut, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai…. everyday I"ve been in two cities. Can"t be helped. Everywhere they want to felicitate me and I can"t say no. How can I? Everyone was excited about my Oscar and wanted to share their excitement with me." “I"m slowly getting back to normal now," says Rahman blocking away the Oscar euphoria to focus on his current work.
Being voted one among the 100 most influential people by Time magazine has also made a huge difference to Rahman"s recognizability. “At the function I was on the same table as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the CEO of Time magazine. When I went up to stage a chant of Jai ho went up in the house."
Says Rahman, “The impact of the Slumdog Millionaire has been tremendous. The western perception of third-world countries has changed. Earlier when some of the most talented musicians of Asia would approach western companies they"d encounter stumbling blocks. Today that has changed. The West is ready to listen to us."
A R Rahman has changed the way the West looks at Indian music. Ironically the Oscar has also changed his own life beyond recognition. He admits he is not able to spend time with his children. “Luckily all three of my children are into music. So my kids and I are on the same wave-length. My wife dreamt of walking the red carpet with me to the Oscars. She can now dream of walking to the Oscars with our children."
Recently when the Mozart of Madras was facilitated by Time magazine, the entire congregation of the 100 most influential people in the world got up and chanted, 'Jai ho!" Rahman admits dealing with the huge amount of attention after the Oscars has been an unnerving experience.