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When Mani Ratnam blackmailed Rahman

In the first part of an exclusive interview with A R Rahman, the maestro spoke about how Shah Rukh Khan was made a 'bakra,' and how he made Bappi Lahiri sing in Guru.

In the second and last part, Rahman talks more about Mani Ratnam's Guru, and his other projects.

On dedicating the song Tere Bina to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

When I began working on the soundtrack of Guru, I happened to listen to one of Nusrat saab's softest songs called Sajna Tera Bina. It is simple and heart stirring. There is great beauty in it. I was inspired by it and started composing Tere Bina about eight months ago.

Originally, the song was about 25 minutes long. You know I often write six or seven mukhdas and then there are many variations. I also recorded the song Ay Hairathe for the film but Mani sir felt it was too heavy to be at the start of the film. He thought of using Tere Bina.

Suddenly, the song got a life of its own. But there was one hurdle (chuckles). I had recorded it in the voice of Qadir Khan and he did an excellent job. But Mani sir wanted me to sing it. I said, Qadir will get hurt, and I did not want to hurt him. But there was no way of getting out. It became something like: Either you sing it or it won't be there.

So it was a blackmail?

But in a good way (chuckles). I also told Mani sir that I was fasting then and didn't have the energy to sing it. He said he would wait. (The song as it is has some of Murtaza Khan and Qadir's voices in the Dham Dara Dham Dara part at the beginning. Chinmayee joins Rahman later in the song.)

Interview: Arthur J Pais in New York
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