Sunday, February 22, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Top Indian film composer to conduct Birmingham's orchestra

AR Rahman to Conduct Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Called One to Watch by the NY Times

The Guardian (UK) reports that AR Rahman, the now international super-composer following his success with Bombay Dreams, will in two weeks time, take the baton for two successive nights of music from the Indian film industry, including much of his own work.

"The CBSO, which achieved international status during the tenure of conductor Sir Simon Rattle, is determined to find new audiences closer to home, by persuading Indian and Pakistani audiences into its Symphony Hall headquarters.

Tickets for the 2,200-seat auditorium are already selling fast among the city's south Asian population and, according to the orchestra's chief executive, Stephen Maddock, the Bollywood nights promise to pull in the largest ever non-white audience for a mainstream British orchestra. "

In more AR Rahman news, the New York Times, has labelled him one of the eight to watch onstage and behind the scenes. I guess the Times picked up this story because of his work on Bombay Dreams, which is set to open at the Broadway Theater on April 29th (with previews beginning a month prior).

"The composer A. R. Rahman has written the soundtracks for more than 100 Indian films, by his own count, and released some 70 albums that have reportedly sold at least 100 million copies worldwide. Most of the albums are in Tamil, Hindi or Telugu. But five of them are in English, and if until now he has been comparatively unknown in the West, his English-language musical, "Bombay Dreams," produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, was an audience hit (reviews were mixed) when it opened in London in 2002.

I'd never done a stage musical before," Mr. Rahman, 38, said by telephone from Saudi Arabia, where he had recently gone on hajj, the requisite pilgrimage to Mecca for every Muslim. (Born A. S. Dileep Kumar, he converted to Islam in 1988 and took an Islamic name, Allah Rakha Rahman.) "In the movies, when you finish a song, it's finished. In the theater, you need to tweak it forever. I kind of like that."

While I was in New York this past week, I walked past the Broadway theater, which happens to be right next door to the Ed Sullivan Theater (home of David Letterman's show), where they have all kinds of promo billboards for the show. Kind of rare to see Desis on such large Billboards right on Broadway, and for that matter, to see anything Desi on Broadway.

To find out more about the show, including the full cast listings check out

From "Heading the cast of the musical, which begins previews March 29, will be Manu Narayan (as Akaash), Anisha Nagarajan (as Priya), Ayesha Dharker (as Rani), Sriram Ganesan (as Sweetie), Marvin L. Ishmael (as Madan), Deep Katdare (as Vikram) and Madhur Jaffrey (as Shanti). The ensemble comprises Jolly Abraham, Mueen Jahan Ahmad, Aaron J. Albano, Celine Alwyn, Anjali Bhimani, Shane Bland, Wendy Calio, Tiffany Cooper, Sheetal Ghandi, Krystal Kiran Garib, Tania Marie Hakim, Dell Howlett, Dani Jazzar, Suresh John, Ian Jutsun, Aalok Mehta, Ron Nahass, Michelle Nigalan, Zahf Paroo, Danny Pathan, Bobby Petska, Kafi Pierre, Sarah Ripard, Darryl Semira, Lisa Stevens, Kirk Torigoe, James R. Whittington and Nicole Winhoffer."

A couple notables in the cast: Madhur Jaffrey, Ayesha Dharker (who was brilliant in "The Terrorist,"), Deep Katdare from American Desi, and Aalok Mehta, who was the lead in American Chai. I also hope you noticed the misspelling of the last name Gandhi.


Post a Comment

<< Home