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Rahman ‘Jai Ho’ for Gulzar lyrics

Chennai, Feb. 26: A.R. Rahman today said the music for Slumdog Millionaire may not represent his best but one reason it won the Oscar could be that it appealed to the western ear.

He gave the credit to Gulzar for making the lyrics phonetically so rich. “It (the music) was like an ornament on a beautiful woman (the film).”

At a crowded media briefing after his return to Chennai, the composer revealed that Jai Ho was not originally part of the closing scene but he brought it in after the scene had been shot.

“The words ‘Jai Ho’ were very apt since it gave the song an extraordinary release of energy. It represented a burst of joy after a tough journey by the hero.”

On the award’s importance, Rahman said: “The Oscar represents the aspirations of all Indian artistes. It legitimises our music in the (eyes of the) world. For example, my photos were on page one in Bosnian newspapers.”

Rahman was given an enthusiastic welcome at the airport and at his home by his fans and film-industry friends though his flight arrived at an unearthly 2.30am. At the 4pm news conference at a hotel, the answers came quick and direct.

Asked if he had rehearsed his acceptance speech, Rahman said: “I had just 20 seconds after winning the first Oscar since I had to present my song next. Singing on the Oscar stage was a greater pride. So I had no expectations about the award.

“The whole evening (prior to the awards ceremony) I was like a zombie concentrating only on the rehearsals than what I was going to say.”

He said his comment at the event — that he had chosen love over hate — was a political statement. “There is so much division on the basis of north and south, east and west, Hindus and Muslims and castes, and only love can overcome all these divisions.”

As for his Tamil one-liner – “Ella pugazhum iraivanukkey (all glory to God)” — he said that at all his public appearances.

“So saying it was easy. And since Hollywood is a world stage where Chinese and Japanese have won awards for music — (and now that) it was India’s time — it was natural that I should have reacted in Tamil.”

Would Slumdog Millionaire have won so many awards had it been made by an Indian? If it had been made this well, definitely yes, Rahman said.

If there was one Indian film for which he would have liked to have won an Oscar, it would be Lagaan, he said. Would he continue to make music for Indian films after, as he said, he had two Hollywood offers? “I would do music for any good film,” Rahman said.

Resul Pookutty, who won the Oscar for sound mixing, said he had “blacked out” when the honour was announced, a PTI report said. “I had completely blacked out. I didn’t know how to react. I took me a while to come to my senses and speak about what I spoke,” Pookutty said, adding: “I won it for the country.”

The sound engineer arrived in Mumbai today with Slumdog actor Irrfan Khan, who said: “This reception (at the airport) is even bigger than winning the Oscars.”

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