“I had a choice between love and hate, and I chose love. That’s why I am here today.” – AR Rahman on winning his second Oscar.
The Mozart from Madras created history on February 23, 2009 in Los Angeles and sent entire India into a euphoric frenzy. A special mention here for the hugely talented Resul Pookutty as well, who brought home the third Oscar for Sound Mixing.
The reverberations of Rahman’s two Oscar wins will be felt for a long time and also celebrated by brands that the music maestro endorses. Rahman’s association with these brands has been long and epoch making. He has given them a lot of credibility, respect, immense value addition in terms of brand positioning and a lot of social causes that the brands got associated with through him.
Congratulating Rahman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group CEO, Bharti Enterprises, said, “The global acclaim for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ mirrors the growth story of India. This signals the arrival of India on the world entertainment stage. In particular, AR Rahman’s unique double Oscar win has made all of us very proud. Airtel has shared a long friendship with Rahman, who composed the Airtel signature tune, which is synonymous with the brand today. Our heartiest congratulations to Rahman and the entire ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ team.”
Nearly two years back, the opening song of Spike Lee’s movie ‘Inside Man’ had made many in the audience feel that a wrong soundtrack was being played. But as the air cleared, it made every Indian who watched that movie enjoy the magic of Rahman’s music in a Hollywood flick for the first time.
The song was ‘Chaiya Chaiya’, originally from the SRK-starrer ‘Dil Se’. Rahman had also enthralled the London West End with his music for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘Bombay Dreams’.
Thus, even before the Oscars, Rahman had introduced the world to his unique brand of melody. The Golden Statuettes are just a culmination of that popularity. The road to the Oscars was paved with wins at the British Academy Award (BAFTA) and Golden Globe.
An exclusive note from Airtel gives a brief history of Rahman’s association with the brand. The music maestro became Airtel’s brand ambassador in 2002. The brand campaign for Airtel in 2002 featuring Rahman was the first time he appeared in a television commercial. When Rahman composed the tune, Airtel had two million customers. Today, Airtel claims to have over 90 million customers. The Airtel signature tune composed by Rahman is stated to be the world’s most downloaded piece of mobile music with over 60 million downloads. Incidentally, this tune has made its appearance in several forms, including car reverse music.
Chandrasekar Radhakrishnan, Senior VP - Marketing, Airtel, said, “We would like to congratulate AR Rahman for winning the most coveted prize in world cinema and setting new benchmarks for the Indian music industry. Our association with Rahman goes back a long way. He embodies the Airtel value of leadership and trust in his field of music. Music is a key platform for Airtel to express the brand – exhibited through various products and associations. With time, he has become synonymous with the music of our brand through the evergreen Airtel tune, background scores for key advertising campaigns and his presence in music sponsorships/ associations. Rahman is without doubt one of the finest artists that our country has seen and Airtel is proud of the achievements of its brand ambassador in the world arena.”
Speaking on Rahman as a brand ambassador, Ramnuj Shastry, CCO, Rediffusion Y&R, said, “AR Rahman’s Oscar feat is just a worldwide acknowledgement of something that we Indians always knew – that the man is a genius. Rahman, who has scored the Airtel tune, has been a brand ambassador of Airtel for the longest time. Through the universal language of music, he has always done what Airtel stands for – breaking barriers. And these awards shall just re-emphasise the fact that both the brand and the brand ambassador are world class.” Rediffusion Y&R is the creative agency for Airtel.
Rahman has also been Nokia’s brand ambassador quite a few times. Other than being associated with Nokia’s various products and features, he had taken up the social cause of eradicating poverty and facilitating education for under-privileged children by joining hands with Nokia NSeries.
Rahman’s Oscar wins has Chennai FM stations and other music media in a frenzy to celebrate the maestro’s feat. Big FM Chennai has rolled out programmes where Rahman’s songs are being played on-air throughout the day. Listeners are invited to call up on-air and wish Rahman, RJs are meeting listeners during outdoor shows and taking their wishes on-air, and celebrities, too, are dropping in with their wishes for Rahman on-air.
Talking about their programmes dedicated to Rahman, Niladri Bose, RJ Guru, Hello FM, Chennai, said, “We have just concluded a two-week celebration on Rahman quite differently from the other stations here, who had decided to rather wait till the Oscars. We were very confident about his win and, therefore, we celebrated the culmination of the two-week long programme on the Oscars evening by organising a programme at the Madras Race Club, where we had performers like Naresh Iyer and Deva. Now, the second phase starts as there is no end to celebrating Rahman, and all the more because he is our hometown boy.”
Jai Ho Rahman! Jai Ho India!