AR Rahman says he composed for Fire, a ‘lesbian movie’: ‘Those are not my values… but I can stand for humanity’

AR Rahman can keep his personal beliefs separate from the politics of a film. The composer says he can take up a project even if it doesn’t align with his “values” as long as he feels what a film is trying to say is important.

Citing the example of Deepa Mehta’s 1996 romantic drama Fire, Rahman said he chose to compose for the film despite the fact that those were not his “values”. Starring Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi, Fire was the first Indian film to feature a lesbian relationship.

In an interview with Galatta Plus, Rahman was asked if he is able to separate his personal feelings from what a film stands for. The composer said he has lived a life full of varied experiences, which have formed his world view, but have never interfered with the art that he makes.

“I have seen everything. My concrete house was next to a slum. Next to my house was dance master Thankappan, who Kamal Haasan was an assistant to. The conscious decisions I take while I am speaking or what I stand for… It’s not like I am Buddha. I have seen everything, I have watched all kind of films, so I know as a professional I have to deal with that stuff.

“As a personal choice, what I stand for is different. Even when I did Fire, it was a lesbian movie. Those are not my values or what I stand for but I feel like I can stand for humanity. When somebody I pushed to a core… I felt like I needed to do the movie because she is trying to say something important. Similarly, with this (Ponniyin Selvan: II) there’s killing and all that stuff but that’s history, you can’t change it,” he added.

Fire had a stormy release in the country, with backlash and protests by socio-political outfits for ‘tarnishing’ Indian culture. Rahman’s recent film work is Mani Ratnam’s much-awaited sequel, Ponniyin Selvan: II.

The epic historical action adventure, starring Vikram, Ravi, Karthi, Trisha Krishnan, Aishwarya Lekshmi and Shobhita Dhulipala, is scheduled to release on April 28.


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