A.R. Rahman set to debut as writer-producer with ’99 Songs’

A.R. Rahman

Indian music maestro A.R. Rahman forays into script writing and film production with the upcoming musical-romance drama “99 Songs”. The experience, the Oscar-winning singer-composer says, was quite a challenge.

“When you are composing the music of a film, you have a director who is very experienced, you have a lyrics writer and there is the producer, too. So, we usually sit, and then jam and exchange ideas. But in this film, I am the writer. So, the writer does something which the producer doesn’t like — who incidentally is also me (laughs).

Then, if I come out it, he (points at the film’s director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy) doesn’t like it. So, we did three to four versions of each song with different tunes and arrangements. Till three months back, a lot of things were changing and now it is in front of you. It was an exhausting but beautiful experience,” Rahman said.

He was accompanied by co-writer and director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy and film’s lead actor Ehan Bhatt. Besides winning two Oscars for “Slumdog Millionaire” (Best Original Song and Best Original Score), Rahman has also won six National Film Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award, besides numerous popular awards in Bollywood and down South. In 2010, the government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan, the nation’s third-highest civilian award.

Does his stature as a world figure in contemporary music make it easy for his film to find a worldwide release? “That’s the hope. Jio (Studios) is involved with our film and they have the plans. Whatever we will do, we will follow their plans. We are just like students waiting for them to say the magical words. They have been great so far and I hope they push it up and take your (media) suggestion seriously,” he said.

Backed by Rahman’s production company YM Movies, “99 Songs” is presented by Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Studios. Set to release in the summer, the film will play in three languages, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. ’99 Songs’ is directed by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, former frontman of the hardcore band Scribe, who has previously helmed the MTV shows “The Dewarists” and “Bring On The Night”.