Friday, February 27, 2009


Now it can be told….Last year, I was lucky enough to meet India’s two-time Oscar-winner, the toast of tinsel-town, the pride of the nation – A R Rahman. Not just meet, as in gawping at a crowded party, but meet, as in working for him (for a small copywriting project, which I am under obligation not to name).

In my near-four years in Mumbai, the only two other celebrities I have seen are the cute-but-past-her-prime Juhi Chawla (at the airport) and the disheveled-but-energetic music director Monty Sharma (at a Crossword bookstore). Friends and relations outside Mumbai constantly tease me about the lack of stardust in my life, even though I stay in a city choc-a-bloc with celestial bodies.

But I am so very happy (and, ahem, proud) that I had a bona-fide encounter with a genuine celebrity – a celebrity who is a superstar not because he has money, or is somebody’s son…but because of his trailblazing, undeniable, 1000-watt talent. His star-power is something you simply cannot argue about, like Amitabh Bachchan, another man whose stardom is beyond debate. Interestingly, Rahman mentioned this very fact; when he was explaining to me the effect a particular character would have on the audience, he said, “You know, like Amitabh Bachchan’s entry…everybody automatically will become silent.” (The spouse, as bigtime an AB-fan as I, was thrilled when I recounted this.)

Rahman’s music is ground-breakingly innovative, yet the man himself is completely rooted to the ground. My friend (who is a very creative and successful concept artist, and who was the person who introduced me to ARR and recommended me for the project) and I met Rahman past midnight in his hotel suite after what must surely have been a very hectic day, yet he was fresh and alert and brimming with ideas. Very soft-spoken, very unassuming and a good listener, he soon put me (I was at my nervous, strung-up, sweaty-palmed worst) at ease. As we discussed the project and came up with the inevitable idea-blocks, he simply flowed like a river over the rocky parts. As we left, he went back, not to sleep, but to his laptop, where he creates and stores his stupendous music.

Rahman is one of the very few stars who seem to generate only goodwill, and that is as much because of his humility as his humongous talent. I might not have met too many stars or moons or asteroids, but I will forever remember my encounter with the SUN.

P.S : Rahman approved of my contribution to the project. That chapter is closed, but the memories remain.



lopamudra said...

wow! that is something to recount to your grandkids! well done!

Anonymous said...

I have met many but meeting Neetu aunty and Ranbir was the best memory.

my space said...

lucky girl..its great to meet a celebrity who excels in his field..

Kavi said...

You met who? Holy cow !

The closest celebrity that i have met is my building association's secretary !!


Some folks get lucky !!!

Thanks for sharing !

Koel said...

wow...thats great....

seanag said...

It seems that all the acclaim and prizes that Slumdog Millionaire has garnered could not have come at a better time for the morale of the citizens of Mumbai. I hope everyone is partying long and heartily!

Peter Rozovsky said...

I was sloppily dressed when I attended a play a sweltering summer day in Massachusetts. I saw a woman sitting alone at a table in the lobby, a shock of white running through her black hair. It was Susan Sontag.

I approached, told her I had enjoyed her work, and asked if she would sign the only paper object I had with me: my copy of Primo Levi's "The Periodic Table," which I was reading at the time.

She said, in an apologetic tone, that she could not sign it because it was not one of her books, "but it's an excellent book, though."

I pretended to scold her: "I've read two of your books. I'd have brought them if I'd known you would be here!" She didn't sign the book, but she did laugh. A nice laugh she had, too.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks for the comments and for the memories of celebrity-close-ups.

Mina Jade said...

You are fortunate, really.
Well, I once met one member of the Pa-Dö-Dő (the name is from Pas De Deux, the pop band has two members, two very unique ladies, they are a bit overweighed, their hair looks punk style, they are very cheerful and their music, too).
Now I'd be overenthusiastic to meet Madonna during her Budapest concert in August... this is my dream, meeting Madonna. And Elfriede Jelinek. Meryl Streep would not be bad either.

Mampi said...

Wow girl, you make us, lesser mortals, jealous but proud at the same time.
The best thing is that you learnt from him-you had positive vibes from him.