AR Rahman Says He Declined To Meet Michael Jackson Due To ‘No Response’ Before Oscar: ‘I Won And Next Day…’

AR Rahman revealed that he once declined to meet Michael Jackson after the late singer did not respond to his email for a week. Rahman said that after he was nominated for the Oscars, he received a reply that Michael wanted to meet him. However, Rahman declined the invitation and vowed to only meet him after his Oscar win.

In a video shared by Free Malaysia Today on YouTube, AR Rahman said, “At the beginning of 2009, I was in LA with my agent. He introduced me to another person, his friend, who managed Michael Jackson. I tested my waters. I said, ‘Can I meet Michael Jackson?’ And he said, ‘Sure, I’ll send out an email’. There was no response in the first week. I was just quiet, and I said, ‘It’s fine’.”

Rahman continued, “And then the nominations happened, and I got nominated for the Oscars. Then, the email came in, and it said, ‘Michael wants to meet you’. But I said, ‘I don’t want to meet him now’.” Rahman added, “I said, ‘I don’t want to meet him. If I win an Oscar, I’ll meet him, otherwise, I won’t.’ I was sure I was going to win. I won, and the next day, I went to meet him. It was almost 6:30 pm, and the sun was going down. And then, somebody opened the door with gloves on…”

AR Rahman recalled speaking to Michael Jackson about his iconic dance moves, music and world peace. He said that the late singer praised his music for Slumdog Millionaire and asked questions about the technicalities of music. “He introduced me to his kids, but I was jet-lagged because I’d been working day and night. I was waiting to return to India… It was unforgettable,” he said.

Rahman said that when he returned to India, he started working on the music of Rajinikanth’s Enthiran, directed by Shankar. Shankar then prompted him about a collaboration with Michael Jackson. Rahman recalled, “I said, ‘Wow, will he do a Tamil song?’ And I called him, and we spoke that week. He said, ‘Whatever you say, we will do it together’. We met again, but unfortunately, he passed away in 2009. He was sick at the time.”

Meanwhile, Rahman’s documentary ‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’, directed by Rohit Gupta, will get a world premiere at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2024, Australia. The film explores the fascinating journey in Nagaland, of rhythm and sound, tracing the evolution of music across cultures, tribes and generations. From the ancient traditions of headhunting tribes to the musical renaissance in the state (Nagaland), taking audiences on an immersive and enlightening musical anthropological odyssey.

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