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.
DO SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF ENCOUNTERS WITH CELEBRITIES.