in between flicks of the scrollwheel on his P990 smartphone, he talks about freedom.
Think Jana Gana Mana, and think India in all her avatars, and that's what inspired the Bharatbala-Rahman combine to create audio and visual renderings of the National Anthem, originally penned by Rabindranath Tagore.
This album, released on Times Music, is a tribute to the feeling of pride and unity evoked by the anthem.
"India's progressing very well economically but there should be more tolerance. People need to have balance in whatever they do," Rahman muses.
True to his musical versatility, he's also done a symphonic version of the National Anthem. "I used around 80 instruments for this one. It took a while for us to put it all together."
Four years, to be precise. And it's not just Rahman who's added his prodigious talents to this project. That singular emotion of patriotism has been rendered by the likes of Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Lata Mageshkar, Pt Jasraj, Asha Bhonsle, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt Shivkumar Sharma and Jagjit Singh, to name a few.
Speaking about the kind of treatment they visualised for the songs, Kanika Myer, of the production house, adds, "We wanted to re-render it keeping the original tunes in mind. We didn't want it to sound like something you have to listen to but rather like something you'd want to listen to."
And indeed, there's no song which thrills the heartbeat of a nation as successfully as our anthem. "It is important to give people what they love," says the maestro.
A perfectionist to the core, he adds, "I spend a lot of time on whatever I do. The older you become, the more you like melody and soothing music. There's so much of chaos out there in the world, I feel like doing something which calms the mind."
And what does he listen to when he wants peace? "Sometimes, it's just pure classical like Andrea Bocelli," he says.
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