One Heart: The A R Rahman Concert Film - A Teen's Exclusive Review

Soul-stirring music and the talent of the musical genius apart, here’s a teenager’s perspective on the important lessons she learnt from this documentary

By Bhavadharini

One Heart: The A R Rahman Concert Film - A Teen's Exclusive Review

He burst into the music scene in India with immense talent and refreshing sound, which is so different from what we have ever heard. Grammy awardee and Oscar-winning maestro, A R Rahman’s tunes have mesmerised people all over the world and from children to adults, everyone loves and identifies with his unique brand of music. The maestro is an inspiration to youngsters who want to take up music as a career.

This film is a befitting salute to the musical genius, who came from a humble background and captured the imagination of music lovers all over the world.

The first concert film of India, One Heart is actually a documentary on Rahman’s The Intimate Concert in the United States in 2015, where his 10-member band performed some of his greatest songs across 14 cities. It is an 87-minute movie that focusses on his multi-faceted and extraordinarily talented band and has 15 popular songs of the composer performed by them. Some of them include Dil Se Re, Patakha Guddi, Saathiya, Nenjukulle, Ishq Bina, Jai Ho and Munbe Vaa -- the selection of the songs is appealing and convincing. The concert also had a few hit pieces like Warriors of Heaven and Earth, which not many would be familiar with.

There are some interesting moments -- Rahman talking about how he works on and composes a particular song. He would stay all alone in a room, begin with nothing and end up getting something that everyone loves. The maestro also mentions his early days, when he would be nervous and feel the pressure every time he went on stage. His inspiration, he says, came every time he faced the crowd to deliver the best music he could. The song selection, according to the band is mostly instinctive.

The film highlights the motivation behind this grand concert. It is an inside view of what it really takes to put together a concert of such a large scale and the talent pool behind it. Interviews of the band members, show them speaking with nostalgia about how they became part of the exclusive band of the Mozart of Madras and thrilling moments they have shared during the concert’s journey. The 10-member band is diverse, in terms of talent and culture. The crew comprised of Haricharan, Jonita Gandhi and Annette Philip as vocalists, Karthick on the keyboard, Ranjith Barot on the drums, Mohini Dey on the bass guitar, Keba Jeremiah from Chennai on the guitar, Ann Marie Calhoun on the violin and of course the maestro himself on the piano and keyboard.

Additionally, there was a solo dancer named Devi Rani Najev who gave a wonderful performance. Rahman talks endearingly about the talents of his crew. In one scene he mentions that Jonita Gandhi, who beautifully sang Munbe Vaa, is ‘pitch perfect.’

The film rarely moves away from the concert, so those wanting to see how the great musician is off stage may be a tad disappointed. But there are some precious moments -- a rare sneek peek into Rahman’s vacation with his wife and daughter and the maestro video-chatting with his daughter on a hot air balloon. There are also some glimpses of the crew’s night hopping at the Nashville Jazz Club.

The film also highlighted a bit about the latest technology named Curie, which helps the musicians perform on stage without the physical presence of instruments. 

For young people, who are students of music, this concert film gives some valuable lessons in following your heart and honing your talent. It also shows how perseverance and hard work always brings out a winner.

5 things to watch out for in the movie 

1. The amazing music in different genres and languages.

2. The experience of seeing a live concert on the movie screen.

3. A glimpse of the life of artistes, apart from their music.

4. The attention to detail and the clever editing, which makes it a watchable concert film.

5. The maestro and his superbly talented band, who offer a unique musical experience.

5 lessons we learn from the movie and the maestro

  • Teamwork and appreciation – The band works amazingly as a team and Rahman keeps appreciating their effort to entertain the audience
  • Hard work and dedication – The film shows the hours of hard work and effort put in to bring a diverse band together and to perform live on stage
  • Perseverance – Through Rahman’s interviews we know how he emerged as a performer from being a shy kid and the sleepless nights he endured before every performance
  • Humility -- His polite and soft-spoken nature, and the importance he gives to the audience, shows his humility
  • Nurturing talent – The film also describes how the band members were picked from the best in music.