Winner of two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, among numerous other prestigious honors, A.R. Rahman (Allah Rakha Rahman) is unanimously acknowledged to be the top movie composer in India today.
. Nazih showed hospitality and generally let the Indian guest speak, agreeing with his opinions and overtaking the role of anchor at times, asking his own questions.
different aspects and steps of the film music production, helping the process run smoothly.
Probably best known globally for the 2008 hit, ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ A. R. Rahman’s presence during the CIFF is linked not only to his being an internationally acclaimed musician,but also in celebration of his new role as co-producer of ‘No Land’s Man,’whose score he also composed. It’s an American-Bangladeshi-Indian drama directed by Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, and stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Megan Mitchell.
The composers spoke about inspirations and difficulties they have in common, from personal issues like creative blocks and the challenges of being an introvert, to industry matters, like teamwork and professional communication.
According to Rahman, the biggest inspiration that keeps him going is the feeling of giving back to the community. Having received training in Indian and classical music from childhood, he is still a fan of traditional and live music: “It is always a luxury to hear the live sound of an orchestra, especially in our age when almost anyone can do loops on a computer.” He strongly stated that it is a composer’s responsibility, like himself and Nazih, to introduce the traditional things to coming generations, before the culture of raga and maqam music disappears.
A.R. Rahman has been honored by the CIFF during a special gala on 28 November. He was also featured in a talk on the same day, before the first screening of the film ‘No Land’s Man’ at the Cairo Opera House, where the film had its MENA premiere. The talk was moderated by the renowned film analyst Alaa Karkouti, CEO and co-founder of MAD Solutions and co-founder of the Arab Cinema Center (ACC).
Both musicians said that “one big challenge for a film composer is dealing with the director and accepting his use of your art.” A.R. Rahman confessed that when he first heard the way his music was used in a film, he felt heartbroken. Since then, his solutionto dealing with this stress is “not to watch the movie after production. Anyway, you have to respect the work of the director and trust his vision,” the composer explained.
In his latest experiments, Rahman has blended Indian, Western and Middle Eastern traditions and tunes from a new perspective. His recent project, an all- women ensemble Firdaus Orchestra, united 50 female musicians of 23 nationalities from all across the Middle East for a performance at the Dubai Expo 2020.
From the Egyptian side, composer Hesham Nazih joined the discussion. His work includes soundtracks for a number of successful Egyptian films, including ‘Hysteria’, ‘Tito’, and ‘Elfeel El Azraq’ (‘The Blue Elephant’), as well as television series ‘Sharbat Louz’ (‘Almond Nectar’), ‘NiranSadiqa’ (‘Friendly Fire’) and ‘Al-Aahd’
“Trust is the most important thing in this industry,” agreed Nazih. For him, the best moment is when you get the job and feel happy and proud that you’ve been entrusted with the task of creating the music for a film.” On the flip side, he added that “the most difficult [part] is rejection, when you have to swallow your artistic pride and follow what has to be done.”
The guests underlined the parallels between Egyptian and Indian film music, which both refer to the Golden era between the 1950s and 1970s. Commenting on the contemporary trend for minimalistic soundtracks in cinema, in which sound design is used rather than music, A.R. Rahman doubted that it would stay. He pointed out that after all, “it is the music that brings the audience back to the cinema to watch the same movie again.”
Rahman observed that the Indian film industries are still developing professional teamwork in this field. In Hollywood, however, there are specialists such as music editors and supervisors that facilitate