Inspired by the rags-to-riches story of Slumdog Millionaire,Academy Award winner A R Rahman has decided to provide that magical element that made the slumdog a millionaire: opportunity.
At the K M Music Conservatory,the classical music school started by Rahman,a set of 24 violins are waiting for students chosen from the Government-run MGR School next door. The only criterion is aptitude. This is just the beginning for the school that has arguably one of the best Western music training faculties and facilities. “The dream is to train them well enough to play a symphony. It is not an overnight project,” Jyoti said.
“Slumdog Millionaire seems to leave a positive effect on everybody including Rahman,who is now planning to reach out to the poor students who have interest in music. After all,he is a humble Sufi at heart,” Jyoti Nair Belliappa,the administrative officer of the school told The Indian Express.
Started by Rahman last March,K M Music Conservatory is a one of its kind school that teaches Indian and Western music in their purest,classical form. Classes are conducted by world-renowned professors while Rahman himself drops in whenever he can. While it is Rehman’s genius that has attracted students from faraway places,it is his humility and dedication that has impressed these youngsters after their interaction with him here.
“He is a person who is completely dedicated to music,a genius. But it is his humility that makes him who he is. We totally respect him,” said Jai,a Mumbaiite who has been in Chennai since last August to attend the foundation class at the school. Rahman also conducts small auditions to pick students to work with him with a few given chance of working with him in Delhi 6 recently.
Even as the institute basked in the glory of Rehman’s historic success at the Oscars,the students are busy preparing to perform for a grand event on Wednesday where they will share the stage with Rahman and 11-time Grammy award winning jazz master Herbie Hancock. They will pay musical tribute to the concept of non-violence at an event organised to welcome Martin Luther King III who is on a visit to India. The students will perform Jai Ho,which has become the signature song for Slumdog and a version of Vaishnava Janato,one of Gandhiji’s favourite songs,and We shall overcome,a favourite of Martin Luther King. Award-winning actor Kamal Hassan will recite King’s I have a dream,one of the most inspirations speeches of last century,while noted poet/lyricist Vairamuthu will present his poem Karuppu Mahatma (Black Mahatma),about King at the function organised by the US Consulate,Chennai.
“The Oscar,BAFTA and other awards are all very big. But we all know that this school and conservatory of music is his biggest dream. We are proud to be a part of his dream,we are getting ready to live up to that,” said Saurav,a student from Kolkata,getting back to his laptop.