He has not stopped making music for even a brief period. It is this that perhaps made AR Rahman’s fans nearly forget that the musician had not released a solo album or single for 14 years. That, however, changed with the announcement of his new single, Infinite Love, which has been shot in Africa, Hong Kong, India and the US. The song (originally written in English, but has a Hindi version too) talks about matters that he has cared about and have therefore been intermittently touched upon throughout his career — those of love, peace and unity.
The focus of this single, however, is more the artiste’s concerns with the boundaries that he believes have been created everywhere. “Collective consciousness can change destiny,” he said, following the unveiling of the single at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Bandra Kurla Complex, on Thursday evening. “In oneness, many good things happen and humanity has proved this before. But now, we have borders in our minds about everything — race, religion and nationality.” Eventually, he says, the song will find its way onto an EP, one that will deal with “branches of the same theme”.
In recent times, much like every other music project Rahman has ever been associated with, his music for Jab Tak Hai Jaan and the upcoming Tamil film Kadal have been great topics of discussion. While the former was not particularly well-received, the latter has been much more so. The fate of Jab Tak Hai Jaan’s music, however, he attributes to the fact that “expectations were sky high”. “We had to cater to what they wanted for the script. Aditya Chopra and Yashji (late filmmaker Yash Chopra, director of the film) loved the tunes, so we went with their taste.”
The music of Kadal, on the other hand, is being talked about for Rahman’s former soulful style from the ’90s. Some of that, he says, was because the music was written while out at sea. “During writing sessions, both Maniji (Mani Ratnam, the director of the film) and I went out to the sea on a boat. The sea always inspires you,” he says, with a laugh. “I wanted to go back to the kind of music that people aren’t attempting anymore, simple songs with chord progressions and nostalgic music,” he adds.
Film projects apart, one of the many things that brought Rahman into the spotlight last year was his association with Mick Jagger and a number of other musicians for a project titled “SuperHeavy”.
Jagger, Rahman, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and Damian Marley came together to form the band that eventually released a self-titled album in September, to mostly positive reviews. Since then, however, there has been little activity on that front. “‘SuperHeavy’ was hot and we got invitations from all over the world, but some of our members became very busy with other projects,” he says.