Imtiaz Ali on Rockstar

Interview of Imtiaz Ali about music of Rockstar and A.R.Rahman

My favorite parts from interview:

He calls Rahman a ‘very difficult guy to work with’. “He never explains the beauty of what he is offering. He may offer you an uncut diamond on a platter. But if you fail to see it, he will not insist you look again. He will say - okay, chuck it, here is something else.”

Though their first discussion on Rockstar didn’t go anywhere, Imtiaz approached Rahman again last February. “He instantly went - Oh my god, I have no time! There is no way I can do this,” Imtiaz pauses and smiles. “But I will do it. I want to do it - Rahman said. I felt relieved. He was in the thick of a hundred commitments - recording in LA, performing at concerts, jamming with SuperHeavy, Hollywood, Bollywood and Tamil movies. But he said let’s do it. That was good enough for me.”

Imtiaz felt there was a need to demonstrate this craze with an anthem song. “Lyricist Irshad Kamil and I spent a lot of time just thinking of phrases, such as Ban jaa, Banjaara, before stumbling on Sadda Haq, Aithay Rakh ((It’s) Our right, keep it here).

At that point in the film, Ranbir’s character is asking for his right to be himself. A human being is nature and society has no right to make him plastic. That eventually became the hook. In no time, Rahman roped in Orianthi Panagaris, one of the zaniest contemporary guitarists who also performed with Michael Jackson. At his LA studio, Rahman recorded her loud guitars for six hours. I was on Skype throughout,” says Imtiaz.

With its dreamy guitar-work, Jo bhi main is probably the most scintillating track of the album. “Jordan feels - I have beautiful thoughts in my mind. But when I try to express them in words, it gets clerical and the beauty of the thought gets destroyed with the first word I speak. Irshad came up with - Jo bhi main, kehna chahoon, barbaad karey, alphaaz mere - and Rahman improvised on it.”

 “Rahman doesn’t inspire confidence in the conventional sense. You never feel - Arre yaar yeh toh Rahman hai, yeh sambhaal lega. You always feel that you better do the right thing, nahi toh yeh aadmi toh duba dega (laughs). What he does is he draws out the best from whoever he works with.

“Rahman says, sometimes, you have to go against your grain for a greater experience, to experience life better than be bound by the limits of your personality.”

[These extracts are just for my personal collection. Please DO READ the complete interview if you want to know Rahman Sir and his style much better.]

Pratyush Mittal @pratyush