How do background music and music complement each other in film? What are the principles of ragas and are they similar to principles of storytelling? Why have Indian mainstream films not registered in a big way in Europe and Hollywood? These were some of the questions that students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, put to Academy Award-winning music composer AR Rahman during a session organised online and moderated by the institute’s chairman, Shekhar Kapur, on Saturday.
The hour-long session began with a conversation between Kapur and Rahman, who have collaborated in the Cate Blanchett-starrer Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007 and several other projects, before almost 100 students, from various parts of the country, took over with their questions. Responding to them, Rahman talked about the healing power of Sufi music and the ragas that have inspired his compositions in films such as Lagaan. He mentioned how India has many schools for Indian classical music but almost none for Western classical music, a paucity that he has tried to address at his own school, KM Music Conservatory, in Chennai.
“Thanks to such an initiative by the FTII Chairman, our faculty and students got an opportunity to have an audience with an industry stalwart. Such initiatives will impart knowledge to a new generation of filmmakers,” said Bhupendra Kainthola, director, FTII. Rahman, who turned writer-producer with the film 99 Songs, also discussed filmmaking with the students and the deep impression that the film Matrix left on him.
To the filmmakers of tomorrow, Rahman offered a glimpse of a bright future in music composition. He said that India was raising a crop of musicians and singers, still in their teens, who were highly talented. He did not take names but added that he found that the new generation of singers in India was promising, constantly evolving and driven — which means that the country can look forward to memorable tunes.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines