AR Rahman is currently on a tour across the country to promote his upcoming film Ponniyin Selvan 1, directed by Mani Ratnam. In an interview, the Academy Award-winning composer expressed his displeasure with the remix culture. This happened after Neha Kakkar remixed Maine Paayal Hai Chhankaai and got slammed by audiences and Falguni Pathak herself.
Kakkar is somewhat known as the queen of remixing old songs…not in the best of ways. Pathak even said that she felt like ‘throwing up’ after listening to the song. Several of Rahman’s songs have also been remixed, receiving negative reception from audiences.
Rahman said that people need to be “respectful” of others’ work.
The more I see, the more it is distorted. The intention of the composer gets distorted. People say, ‘I am reimagining.’ Who are you to re-imagine? I am also very careful of taking someone else’s work. You have to be respectful and I think it is a grey area, we need to sort it out.AR Rahman, Composer
He dived deeper into the topic after being asked about the demands of makers to the musicians to remake his tunes into a modern-day appealing tracks. He said, “The other day, we had the Telugu music launch and the producers said every song that you two (Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman) make sounds fresh now because it is all done in digital mastering. It already has that quality and everyone appreciates it. So, if I need to do that, I need to recreate it.”
“Of course, people take permission, but you cannot take something recent and remake it again. It feels weird.”AR Rahman, Composer
AR Rahman himself has recreated songs. In 2007, the composer created a new rendition of the 1970 hit Ponmagal Vandhal The original chartbuster was from Sivaji’s film Sorgam.
This is not the first time that the Academy Award winner has criticized the remix culture. In 2020, a remixed version of Rahman’s iconic song Masakali was released to mass hatred. In response, the composer took to Twitter to express his views.
While he did not mention Masakali 2.0 by name, Rahman shared the link to the original song and talked about the efforts that go into making “music that can last generations”. He tagged the creative forces that went behind the original.
Well, he is not wrong.