AR Rahman on his Hollywood experience: I was the only brown person there
The music composer won two Academy Awards in 2009 for his work in the film, Slumdog Millionaire
Indian music composer AR Rahman recently opened up on his experience in Hollywood, recalling instances when he was ‘the only brown guy’ in the room. In an interview, Rahman spoke about his exposure to the industry after winning two Academy Awards in 2009, for his work in the film, Slumdog Millionaire. He said in the interview, “The doors that opened were… everyone knows me in Hollywood even if I don’t know them. I was the only brown guy I think (sic).”
The composer recounted an incident from a party that he attended, saying, “I remember going to the Disney party and I was doing Million Dollar Arm (at the time), so they invited me for Frozen (party). It was also the 90th birthday of Walt Disney so there was a statue of him. So I was taking a selfie (with the statue), I look back and 100 people were looking at me. I was the only brown person there (sic).”
Rahman also shared in the interview that after winning the Oscar he would be invited to various parties as he was also made a member of the Academy. “Because I’m a member of the Academy, I’ll get all those invitations. Spielberg invites you, JJ Abrams invites you, Disney invites you so I went for everything. So all the stuff I never did. I went and met people, and even though I would not stay there much, I would just stay for 10-15 minutes, because of loud music and people drinking and claustrophobia. So I will just say hey… (and leave) (sic),” the composer said in the interview.
Rahman won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song at the ceremony in 2009. The inclusivity of Indians in Hollywood has always been low but now, things are changing slowly with actors like Priyanka Chopra appearing in many projects in the west. Tamil actor Dhanush also made his Hollywood debut recently, with the Netflix film, The Gray Man.