Liz Phair and AR Rahman set aside cultural differences to unite for film

Washington: Indie rocker Liz Phair and film composer A.R. Rahman have teamed up on the score of Alex Kurtzman’s ‘People Like Us’, thereby marking a change of pace for both artists.

The two artists are unfamiliar with each other.

The 46-year-old composer is a Bollywood megastar who is said to have sold more than 350 million albums globally, while Phair is currently without a label, having released her last album direct to the Web.

“I was not familiar with her, no,” LA Times quoted Rahman as saying.

“She’s in a whole genre of music I’ve never been in before,” he said.

The film’s single mom character of Frankie (played by Elizabeth Banks) was inspired, in part, by Phair’s music.

Frankie is vulnerable, yet putting up an independent front, recalling the spirit of Phair’s best work. Her casualness and Rahman’s studied professionalism unite on the film’s closing song, ‘Dotted Line’, which weaves Rahman’s rich orchestral score with her acoustic strummed guitar. The song marks an important departure for each artist, both in their mid-40s.

The score, the first Rahman composed in his new L.A. home, is a change of pace for the composer, representing his desire to do “a really emotional” American film.

Unlike his acclaimed accompaniment to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, the feel of the music to ‘People Like Us’ is that of a lullaby.

Phair, meanwhile, is plotting a comeback, working, she says, on a rock record, and what would be her first proper release since splitting with Capitol after 2005’s timid adult-pop effort ‘Somebody’s Miracle’.

“When I listened to her, I tried to listen from Alex’s point of view and see how he used her voice,” Rahman said.

“There’s agony and rebelliousness all mixed together in her music. It was a fantastic combination. I was sure we could work together. She’s a true spirit,” she said.

Kurtzman’s film, which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, takes music seriously.


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