'Swagatham' to mark opening ceremony
If the nation swayed to Pandit Ravi Shankar’s lifting composition ''Swagatam, Shubha Swagatam'' that gave the perfect start to the 1982 Asiad Games, it will be A R Rahman’s ''Swagatham'', dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, that is going to rock the opening ceremony of 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The Oscar-winning composer, who did not provide the media a peek into the song as was promised because it still needed to get some final “tweaking”, said his “Swagatham”, directed by veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal and produced by Bharatbala, would make every Indian proud.
A R Rahman spoke to the media on Monday after the Prime Minister-appointed Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy heard and approved the song on Sunday.
“I presented the theme song before the GoM and it was approved. I have been asked to tweak it and it will be released within the next 10 days. I think it would not be good to release the song without making the necessary changes,” Rahman told reporters.
“I wasn’t sure how the elderly in GoM were going to take to rock guitar, but by the end of it, they were humming along,” he quipped.
“I had the chorus in place some six months ago, and now some last minute tweaking is left. The song is about energy and winning and the ‘don’t give up’ attitude, and a lot of Hindi and a bit of English is there in the lyrics,” said the man whose “Jai Ho” in “Slumdog Millionaire” became an international hit apart from getting him the Oscar.
Earlier, Reddy had announced that “Swagatham” would close the opening ceremony.
“We want to release the song in a big way, so that it gets its place in the hearts of Indians. I want this theme song to make every Indian proud,” Rahman said. “When you hear the song you feel like India is calling you. I want the crowd to sing along with us. We have put in a lot of hard work into the song and we are all very excited to turn it into a memorable experience,” he said.
The composer, who was speaking in the presence of embattled CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, said that he had heard a lot of negative things about the preparation for the event in London, where he is these days in connection with a project.
“All I can say is, have patience and be positive. When I was in London, I heard some very bad things, that the press has done this, and the media has said that. But I know that we are working with some of the best professionals and that everything is going right. So, it is my humble request to the media to be positive and write positive things,” he said in what must have been sounded like the best of his music to Kalmadi’s ears.
“There are a lot of positive things happening and my song also reflects the feeling of togetherness and excitement… I do not get distracted by the negatives around. I urge the media to focus on the positives and portray a positive image of India and the Commonwealth Games to the international community,” he said.
Interestingly, Kalmadi did not reply to a question whether Rahman had been asked to speak along those lines, and simply left the spot in a huff when the media started asking him questions in this regard.