AR RAH­MAN SINGS MONEY

The dou­ble Os­car­win­ning com­poser has just re­leased a song about de­mon­eti­sa­tion

HT Cafe - - Front Page - Sa­marth Goyal n sa­marth.goyal@htlive.com

The first an­niver­sary of one of the big­gest eco­nomic ex­er­cises in In­dia — the Novem­ber 8, 2016, dec­la­ra­tion of de­mon­eti­sa­tion by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi — is round the cor­ner. And AR Rah­man has a song for the oc­ca­sion. The Os­car-win­ning com­poser has re­leased a 19minute track, the Fly­ing Lo­tus, about de­mon­eti­sa­tion and its im­pact on so­ci­ety. He in­sists that he isn’t crit­i­cis­ing the move, say­ing that the song is open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

“I don’t see any pol­i­tics in the move,” says Rah­man. “I be­lieve that his­toric mo­ments like these need to be recorded ar­tis­ti­cally. For ex­am­ple, the ini­tial mo­tif of Beethoven’s (Ger­man com­poser) Fifth Sym­phony is cred­ited with sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance as a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of fate knock­ing at the door. When the Prime Min­is­ter made the an­nounce­ment, it was a big mo­ment for In­dia, sim­i­larly, and I felt like talk­ing about it through my mu­sic.”

Though Rah­man says that he wasn’t di­rectly af­fected by de­mon­eti­sa­tion, he turned to the com­mon man to gauge their re­ac­tion. “I thought the com­mon man felt ex­tremely good about the move. I like to live a very nor­mal life; I live in a nor­mal neigh­bour­hood. For this song, my voice is [the com­mon peo­ple’s] voice,” says the com­poser. “Some­times, I trav­elled econ­omy class to un­der­stand what peo­ple thought about it. You can’t live a com­fort­able life and then have an opin­ion about some­thing. You have to see both sides of the world, and de­rive your opin­ion from it.”

PHOTO: RAAJESSH KASHYAP/HT

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