I knew Rahman would go international: Reihana
Monday, February 23, 2009, (Silicon Valley)
This is Kamla Bhatt; today my guest is A R Reihana, who is A R Rahman's elder sister and we are talking to her right after her brother won two Oscars, which is a record for anybody from the Indian Film Industry. Welcome to the show Reihana.
Kamla: So you are clearly happy.
Reihana: Yeah, obviously.
Kamla: Is this something that he always dreamt of?
Reihana: He dreamt of -- I do not know, in Rahman's dream it must have been there. But I knew he would go international, but I did not know that he would get an Oscar.
Kamla: So, after he came back from the Golden Globes you all had a small family get together. At that time what was his mood like when he knew that he was up for the Oscars?
Reihana: He was very cool and he did not react much. He was like bit tired because he had travelled a long way and immediately he went on to give interviews.
Kamla: What has been the mood and reaction in your house?
Reihana: In my house we were happy. We were like happy and elated, but we were not celebrating or there were not any gala events. We were just happy. That is all.
Kamla: When is he expected to come back to Chennai?
Reihana: I do not know. Maybe now he should be getting Hollywood offers, so may be he will stick there a little longer? I do not know.
Kamla: What would be your mothers' reaction for Rahman winning not one but two awards? He then clearly thanked your mother. He quoted that "Deewar" dialogue. Were you surprised when he said that?
Reihana: No, why should I be surprised? He is a mother's kid always and he was the apple of her eyes. So they both share a wonderful relationship. My mother's prayers are always there for him continuously, non stop. So, I think this was one of the reasons that he won the Oscars.
Kamla: When I say surprised I meant that he quoted that Hindi dialogue and not a Tamil or an English dialogue.
Reihana: Probably because he is now with a lot of Hindi people. He is working with Hindi people.
Kamla: He does not speak Hindi, does he?
Reihana: He knows a bit of Hindi. He is doing a lot of Hindi movies. He must have picked up. He is quite sharp enough.
Kamla: Can you translate for us what your brother said in Tamil?
Reihana: All praise to Allah.
Kamla: So tell me when he was making the music for "Slumdog Millionaire", when was the first time you heard the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack?
Reihana: It was very late because actually nobody knew about it. It was suddenly made and it suddenly came.
Kamla: What was your reaction when you first heard the sound track of "Slumdog?"
Reihana: I liked the sound track. But with the movie it was sounding much better. First I heard it in the CD, it was quite impressive, but not very impressive. But when I saw it in the movie it looked like the sound was so good and it fitted the movie exactly and I thought. It was brilliant work.
Kamla: Have you spoken to his kids? I guess they are here in Chennai.
Reihana: Yeah, just yesterday his daughter called me and she said tomorrow Oscars are being shown; the red carpet is at a particular time. She also saw me on the TV and she said Athai (Aunty) you are beautiful. So I was surprised to hear from her.
Kamla: It was a huge win for the entire family and all of you are musically talented. What does it mean for your family?
Reihana: See every success or win, whether it is small or big, it means something for our family. When such a huge success has happened it is not only for our family, it is for the whole of India it matters because Indian music will go global. We are much richer than them in music. We have Hindustani, we have Carnatic, we have so many dance forms, we have so many instruments, so many cultures and this has all not gone global at all. Now, I guess it will be open and everybody will be listening to Indian music. There will be a lot of Indian music, which will be going global. It means a better market and a better earning capacity for Indians.
Kamla: Do you plan to speak to your brother any time soon?
Reihana: I should. I will try calling him now if at all otherwise may be when he comes to Chennai. I will go and congratulate him personally.
Kamla: Is there a Rahman fan club that has been in touch with you?
Reihana: Yeah, I have been with Rahman's fan club and the people here. It was thrilling to watch with them, we were all dancing and really rocking out here. It was a happy moment for all of us.
Kamla: Where were you watching the Oscars?
Reihana: In my house, of course! I invited them all with the press and the people here. I mean Rahman's fans and my friends also.
Kamla: How many people do you have at your home right now?
Reihana: Right now we are 10 to 12, but previously we had around 15 to 20.
Kamla: Mood must have been electrifying out there?
Reihana: Yeah they were thoroughly happy. Some people were emotionally crying.
Kamla: And this is a great moment also for Sridhar...
Reihana: I know he would have been really happy if he had been there. It is unfortunate. Probably he would have been doing the sound mixing but since he is not there it had gone to Bombay.
Kamla: And what about Resul Pookutty?
Reihana: I didn't know him till now. I wanted to do my movie with Sridhar only. As Sridhar passed away it was like a difficult choice of whom to select. And now I think the choice is quite clear.
Kamla: And Reihana, as his older sister what makes your brother so different?
Reihana: Different from others is that he has dedicated his whole life to music and apart from music he has his prayers to God that is it. It is very simple you can just say he is a musical man who is God's fearing. That is all, just that.
Kamla: And your father, how do you think he would have reacted.
Reihana: Oh, if he had been alive, he would have really been proud and would have been really happy. I think my brother has realized his dream.
Kamla: Of your father?
Reihana: And even more may be even more.
Kamla: And of course, it goes without saying that your mother must be over the moon with this.
Kamla: Anything else that you would like to add?
Reihana: So, now I know that you do not have to do any lobbying, you do not have to do anything to get an award. If you are truly talented you will get it. It gives hope and optimism for everybody.
Kamla: And for you to, right?
Reihana: Yes, certainly.
Kamla: Thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me.
You were listening to A R Reihana, who is the older sister of Oscar winner A R Rehman. This is Kamla Bhatt and thank you for tuning in.