His latest single Infinite Love is not just about music. It is about living life with positivity, A.R. Rahman tells HARSHIKAA UDASI
It was an endearing conversation which his son Ameen had with his wife two years ago that gave A.R. Rahman the idea for his latest single – Infinite Love. “Ameen usually tells me that he loves me first and then his mom. But that day, he and my wife were having this conversation which I overheard where he told her that he loves her to infinity! He is a smart kid; knows to appease both his parents!” says the Oscar-winning composer-singer at the unveiling of his first single after 15 years of reintroducing the nation to Vande Mataram. Rahman says he felt the urge to expand this thought of infinite love, suggested unwittingly by his son, to a larger platform. “Children are the leaders of the world and they have the power of unconditional love. I wanted to expand this and conceptualise a borderless world without making love sound clichéd,” says Rahman.
Infinite Love is the outcome of two years of Rahman’s work and has been shot over the last six months in Mumbai, Africa, Hong Kong and Los Angeles with the support of Nita and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Foundation. Released under Sony Music, the reggae-styled song has been penned in English (Rahman, BlaaZe and Gil Levy) as well as in Hindi (Irshad Kamil). The video has been shot by Paul Boyd who has done videos for Metallica. Rahman says that he’d rather not stop at the single and expand it to an EP (extended play) at least, if not a complete album.
When asked why he felt the need to collaborate with the Ambanis when he could have independently handled this project, he says, “Mukesh and Nita were destined to be part of this project. I met Mukesh at a private function six months ago and he said to me, ‘My wife loves Dil Se, so much so that whenever she gets upset with me I sing the song to her!’ He also expressed his desire to make a world anthem. I was so stunned. Here I was, with something of a global message song and he was thinking on the same lines! I told him I had it and he told me that he would support the initiative in every way. I couldn’t have afforded shooting in four global destinations; I have a school to run too. They never held back their support. So it was my idea that the alien ship seen in the video should bear the ‘R’ of Reliance Foundation. It was kind of my payback,” he says.
Rahman is deeply influenced by Sufism and he says that its teachings guide him through life. “I wouldn’t be able to sustain without positivity. We are usually so caught up in our lives that we overlook the simple things. I try not to do that. I try to overlook the hatred; there is so much of it that each of us faces. There are some formulae to living life and I follow them. One of them is that anger plus anger equals violence but anger plus love equals tolerance,” he mulls philosophically. “I often think that there are so many talented people out there, possibly more than me, so do I really deserve this? And if I have got it then what can I give back to a society in which a lot of negativity prevails. I truly think the answer is love.”
Through Infinite Love, the composer wants to portray India as the land of creative leadership to the world. “We have a lot within us. But we underestimate. We don’t recognise. I wish this song sows the seed of creative leadership in us. I hope it arouses a collective consciousness in us,” he says in reaction to the brutal rape and assault case of the collegian in Delhi who is now battling for life. “There is a collective voice rising for justice. What we are witnessing now is a decay of humanity. An assault on women is a brutal assault on humanity itself. There is no bigger Doomsday prediction than that,” he adds. He also says that he would like to compose something for victims of violence, abuse and other forms of hatred. “But it is a multi-step effort. It’s time will also come.”
From India, with love
Rahman is unhappy that he missed witnessing his 10-year-old son Ameen’s debut piano performance in Chennai recently. “I think he is late in giving his public performance. He should have done it either at eight or nine. His teacher tells me that he is very talented but lacks focus. But in the last six months, I have noticed that he is getting more aware of his responsibilities and giving serious attention to music too.”
Rahman hopes that through his efforts he can bring about some change in India’s global perception. His social networking platform Qyuki.com in collaboration with filmmaker Shekhar Kapur is also a step in that direction, he says. “I am trying to say, ‘Hey look, this message of love and harmony comes from India. We have it in us and we just need creative leaders. Infinite Love could just be a small step in that direction.”