Up until a few years ago, nobody outside of India (or maybe London) had ever heard of A.R. Rahman. But all that is changing. With over 300 million records sold and over 100 film soundtracks, he is indeed the most popular Indian composer in the world.
Bollywood films, like Bollywood itself (Bombay+Hollywood=Bollywood Film Industry), have been around for a while, but only after the huge success of Slum Dog Millionaire have Indian films become well known here. Slum Dog Millionaire swept the Academy Awards two years ago, A.R. Rahman did a sold-out KCRW World Festival show at at the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago (I was the host), and in a week we’ll have an encore performance, Journey to India. It will be a truly massive night.
Rahman can do anything. He writes, he conducts, he is nothing if not prolific. He grew up with music; his father, R.K. Shekhar, was a film music composer and conductor for Tamil films as well as films in the Malayalam language.
I’m hosting the big night again on Sunday, July 10th. Hope to see you at the Bowl.