Indian composer A.R. Rahman is rarely at rest. He has scored more than 100 film soundtracks, including the Academy Award – winning one for Slumdog Millionaire. Reached after midnight
back home in Chennai, he had just finished the music
for The Hundred-Foot Journey for producers Steven
Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, and was starting on his
next project, an Indian film called Baani.
JWM: How many places has work taken you
to in the past year?
AR: Los Angeles, Mumbai and then New York; a
couple of trips to London, then a couple of concerts
in Malaysia and Singapore. Also North India: Kolkata,
Bhopal and Gujarat, Ahmedabad.
JWM: What about vacations?
AR: I don’t have vacations. As a composer, I can never
take a break. Once I finish one movie, another comes
up and I’m already behind schedule — or a mix for an
album or a concert. But it’s fun. When you love what
you do, everything seems to be all right.
JWM: any favorite spots in your work travels?
AR: Yes, so far we all love going to Los Angeles — the
whole family. When I’m in India I work a lot, and when
I’m there, it’s less work and more going out. The Grove
[an outdoor mall] is our favorite place.
JWM: Do you have a packing routine?
AR: There’s a bag ready for me to go. It has a little
laptop, some software and hard discs, some favorite
perfume oils and sometimes a prayer mat.
JWM: How do you deal with jet lag?
AR: I normally figure out the time I have to wake up
the next day, and then I try to sleep the exact same
hours the day before I leave.
JWM: any other tricks to help you acclimate
to new places?
AR: I do meditation sometimes. It always helps, spiri-
JWM: Do you have any favorite souvenirs
tually and mentally, because it makes you feel cleansed
in a way. When you’re traveling alone, sometimes
depression strikes you. You feel lonely when everybody
else around you has a family. But when I’m working
I don’t feel that. Also Skype helps. Five years back it
was so difficult. Now when you come home, it’s, “Oh,
yeah. I was just speaking to you.”
from your travels?
AR: I’m a tech freak because of my job, so the first
thing I do in New York is go to the Apple Store. And
then probably Guitar Center.
JWM: What do you listen to on the road?
AR: When I’m traveling I don’t listen to music at all.
I’m making music, producing music, scoring, mixing.
I even watch movies without music. I put the subtitles
on and watch. I need a relief. Then when I come back
to music, it’s beautiful. p
Composer A.R. Rahman prefers his
travels without a soundtrack.
[fEllo W trAvElEr]
seems to be