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AR Rahman shares ‘epic’ review he got for 99 Songs: ‘P Susheela said she wants her story to come out like this’

AR Rahman's 99 Songs is currently streaming on Netflix after releasing at theatres in April.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
Updated: May 24, 2021 12:26:54 pm
AR RahmanAR Rahman opened up on the best review he got for 99 Songs. (Photo: Express Archive)

AR Rahman’s 99 Songs is receiving overwhelming love from the media and his fans, but the one reaction that has made the award-winning composer feel successful is of the legendary singer P Susheela, who almost asked Rahman to make a biopic on her.

“Strangely she texted me – ‘How are you?’ So I called her and I asked her if she has watched my movie 99 Songs. I told her it is out on Netflix. She’s like – ‘What’s Netflix?’ Then her brother came in and told that they do have have Netflix. So, I asked him to type in 99 Songs and to show her the Telugu version of the film. She called back later and said in her own way, ‘This is very good.’ Then she is said – ‘I want my story to come out like this. Will you help me out?’ That was epic. I was like -WOW!. She is one of the legends that no one can ever match. She has sung thousands of songs and has seen at least seven decades of filmmakers. She is one of my favourites, and it was lovely to hear that generation responding to 99 Songs,” AR Rahman expressed during a virtual chat on Twitter with 99 Songs director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy.

The Oscar-winning composer added that he was nervous about the film even after its release. “I was like now they will walk off but they didn’t. So, I was like ‘oh they liked it.’ It (99 Songs) is the first baby. Cannot replicate this. Can become better or worse. The enthusiasm the whole team has given to the project is massive. They worked on it like it’s a big budgeted film. I know the sacrifices the team has made,” he said.

He said, unlike his usual projects, with this film he had the chance to experiment with the music, songs and narrative. “I had a chance to try it all. We used only 60 percent of ideas we had. It is a challenge to push yourself and see the possibility if you can do it and present it in the way people can accept it. I could have made 5 hit songs and make this film very commercial but I wanted to have character graph in the songs too,” he explained.

When asked about how his creative process has changed during the process of making the film, Rahman said, “What we discovered is that we can talk and criticise many things but doing it is different. Doing something that also means risking your whole career, taking the financial risk but still getting it done… you may think it is easy but it is not. There are so many places that can go wrong. Not just for the movie alone but even for the people involved in the film,” he said adding that how failing has never been an option for him. “For me, failing is not an option. Failure means lack of energy, research and preparation. Beyond that, I think it involves blessings. This movie even in all the odds, released at select theaters, which is a big success for us in the time when many of the big budgeted films are directly releasing to OTT. So, I am very grateful to God. Grateful to the team,” he concluded.

99 Songs is currently streaming on Netflix.

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