Rahman’s brush with death before the Oscars

Mumbai, February 28: His double win at the Oscars has been celebrated and talked about. But not many know that A.R. Rahman had a close shave while rehearsing for his performance at the Academy Awards – a chandelier came crashing down seconds after the music maestro moved away from the spot.
‘I really don’t know what happened. Two days before the Oscars we were rehearsing at one of the theatres for the Oscars, the ‘Jay Leno Show’ and the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ when a massive chandelier, covering a portion of the ceiling, crashed to the spot just a split second after I moved away,’ Rahman told IANS, recalling the nerve-wracking experience.

‘If I hadn’t moved way I’d have become history in no time at all. The chandelier crashed exactly at the spot I was standing just seconds before. It left me shaken but not terrified. I guess it was god’s warning not to take any of the good things that are happening to me too seriously,’ he said.

The musician, who won two Oscars for his work in British filmmaker Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, said the accident could have proved to be catastrophic.

‘I think the love and prayers of all those who love me saved me. As I walked from the left side of the stage to the right I could feel (something) heavy drop from the air, like water rushing down from a height of 30 to 40 feet. So with the good came the rude reminder of how quickly it can all be snatched away,’ Rahman said in hindsight.

‘When I did Oprah Winfrey’s show for the Oscars she asked me what ‘Jai ho’ meant. I said it meant, ‘May victory be yours’. She wished the same back for me and I could see she meant it. It’s the best wishes from the world over that saved my life that day,’ he added.

Rahman said he isn’t scared of death as it is inevitable.

‘What has to happen will happen. I believe one is constantly walking hand-in-hand with death. Death is like a constant companion. But let’s not go into dark spaces right now,’ he said.

Rahman won two golden statuettes for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ for best original score and best original song for ‘Jai Ho’. They were among the eight Academy Awards bagged by rags-to-riches story set in Mumbai.