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AR Rahman: Making songs about Bangabandhu a great honour

  • Published at 05:08 pm August 29th, 2021
AR Rahman
File photo of AR Rahman Reuters

In an interview with Sherif Al Sire, legendary Indian composer AR Rahman shares how he felt composing two songs about Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as well as composing music in Bangla

Oscar-winning Indian composer and singer AR Rahman composed and sang two theme songs in Bangla and Hindi for the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Both songs were penned by National Award-winning lyricist Zulfiqer Russell. This is the first time that the world-renowned musician has composed songs in Bangla and for Bangladesh, which will be released soon. On the other hand, the Hindi version of the song was played in the presence of Bangladesh Prime Minister 

Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on March 26, at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka.

How did it feel to compose the two theme songs on the occasion of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth centenary?

It was a great honour that they thought about me and came to India to do this. India and Bangladesh have always had a very special relationship. We share a language — Bangla. We share a bond, a culture.

Which aspect did you focus on when composing the songs?

The aspect I focused on was trying to be more sensitive towards what instrument I’m using, which melody I’m choosing. Especially when singing in Bangla, there were a lot of back-and-forth iterations on pronunciation. We wanted to make sure that we did it right.

How did you coordinate with the lyricist, Zulfiqer Russell?

Zulfiqer came to Chennai. He was here for a week. We met and it was nice to have him in Chennai for the recording, so that we could share the stuff and respond to it.

You sang a theme song in Bangla as well. How did you work in the linguistic space while doing that?

We all know from history that so many of our thinkers and intellectuals have come from the region of Bengal. I studied some of them in Islam, and we all share a common bond between the cultures [of the two countries]. And singing in Bangla... I think the sound of the language is very sweet. Like people call it the French of India – how French is very sweet. Bangla has a beautiful flavour, and any song sounds sweeter [in this language]. I am very grateful for the love I have always received from the people of Bangladesh, and the least I could do is to make a song that they [the people of Bangladesh] can all cherish. I hope they like it.

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