AR Rahman not only has fans in India, but internationally too he has massive admirers; his songs are played and adored all around the world. Even the musicians of today’s generation look after him and try to grab a chance to work with the legendary singer. However, in one of the interviews, singer Alka Yagnik recalled the time when she was rejected to sing in Roja just because she wasn’t aware of the composer.
The 1992 film directed by Mani Ratnam, stars Arvind Swami and Madhoo in the lead. The movie marked the debut of Rahman as a music composer. For the film, he won a National Award, Filmfare Award and Tamil Nadu State Film Award.
In an interview with the O2india series, Rahman Music Sheets, Alka Yagnik spoke about regretting not working with the music composer in Roja, she said, “I got a call from AR Rahman office saying that there’s this composer AR Rahman who would want you to come to Chennai for recording the songs for his new film which is called Roja and I haven’t heard of him.”
Alka Yagnik further shared, “I got a call saying that, ‘he would love to have you, he loves your voice and he would love to have you,’ I said ‘but I’m not free I don’t have any dates because I’m totally, you know my schedule is completely tight’ so they said me, ‘he has really requested you because he would love you to sing the songs and they are just the kind tailor-made for your voice and we want you and Kumar Sanu both of you to do the entire album for this film,’ so I said ‘okay I’ll let you know’.”
“I called up Mr. Kumar Sanu, I asked him did you get a call from some AR Rahman, he said ‘yes yes, I did get a call and they want me to come also and do all the male songs,’ so I said, ‘are you going,’ he said, ‘nahi, kaun jayega, main toh nahi jaunga, kaun AR Rahman.’ None of us went, I refused and said ‘i am sorry,’ he also didn’t go,” she added.
However, Alka Yagnik says she was stunned when she heard the songs for the first time and said, “When I heard the song of Roja, I could have banged my head on the wall, because it was such a big loss. That’s the first time I heard his (AR Rahman) composition on radio.”
“They were beautiful songs and that’s something I regret to this day having missed out on those songs. Then when I went to sing for him the first thing when he saw me said is ‘you didn’t sing my Roja songs’ and I felt so bad. He just said that one line and smiled and that was it then we started working on the song.”
Alka Yagnik says AR Rahman kept on taunting her that she didn’t sing Roja songs, she adds, “That was probably the biggest mistake of my life, career if would say.”