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Rah­man backed The Dhar­avi Project gives wings to stu­dents of a mu­sic and dance school in Dhar­avi, which aims to iden­tify and groom home-grown tal­ent. Here, one stu­dent dis­plays his prow­ess. a global stage, heartily chirps in, “I’ll never for­give him for that.”

On a sunny af­ter­noon bustling with en­ergy and mer­ri­ment, Rah­man finds his si­lence be­fore he takes to the mic to re­veal, “Some­thing told me this will be [a] spe­cial [project], and that I have to do it right. We [in In­dia] have to dis­play what­ever we had. I had prob­a­bly one week [to work on the com­po­si­tion], and stretched it. For that, I got a lot of galis. Yet, I felt some­thing be­yond all this telling me [that] this was spe­cial.” In an in­ter­view taken in the in­terim be­tween the an­nounce­ment of the nom­i­na­tions and the big night, Rah­man had ex­pressed his de­sire to an in­ter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tion stat­ing, “It would be a great hon­our [if I won the Os­car]... It would help me do big­ger things.” Seated be­fore us 10 years af­ter he made that state­ment, we ask him what his Os­car nod has af­forded him. “I got the best of ev­ery­thing af­ter the win. It’s by choice that I moved away for a few years. I had a movie I was di­rect­ing [Le Musk] and there were things I learnt, in­clud­ing film-mak­ing, [and ex­plor­ing] new tech­nol­ogy. The best thing is that I have a base there. I have a house and stu­dio that I can head to at any time. And I’ve done main­stream Hollywood films like, 127 Hours, Peo­ple Like Us, Cou­ples Re­treat, Mil­lion Dol­lar Arm, all of which are not con­nected with In­dian cul­ture. I wanted to try them.” He also counts be­ing with “su­per heavy­weights” like Mick Jag­ger, among his high­lights. Yet, the pa­tri­otic In­dian resur­faces when he says, “I wanted to see what one could ac­quire here [Hollywood] and give back to peo­ple at home [In­dia], and what could be taken from here and given to them [Hollywood]. [I have pro­moted that] ex­change in my own small way.”

Rah­man feeds Sukhwinder Singh cake at the event

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