Javed Akhtar on AR Rahman’s unusual habit: ‘He lights a candle in a well-lit room…'

The veteran lyricist-screenwriter has collaborated with Rahman on many films like Lagaan (2001), Swades (2004), Jodhaa Akbar (2008) among others
Javed Akhtar and AR Rahman
Javed Akhtar and AR Rahman

Javed Akhtar recently revealed in a conversation on the unusual habit of music composer AR Rahman of lighting a candle in a well-lit room. Javed has collaborated with Rahman as a lyricist on films like Lagaan (2001), Swades (2004), Jodhaa Akbar (2008) among others.

In an interview with O2India, Javed said, “Rahman is a very unusual man. He is not a usual person. Let me share something unique yet strange. Once we entered the music room. This was when we began working together. There used to be a candle in the room. After entering the room, he used to light the candle. I used to wonder what is the need of the candle when the room is lit? However, I never asked him anything.”

He added, “One day, I think he noticed my curiosity and told me the reason behind his habit of lighting a candle. He said, ‘Everything is mechanical here. Everything is a machine. There should be something that’s not a machine. Something real. This candle is not a machine. Its light is not a machine. It is not a bulb. It makes us realise that there are other things in life which is beyond machines.”

Javed also revealed how the music composer had once told him a piece of wisdom that stayed with him. He recalled, “Though he is younger to me, he said something very wise to me which I will never forget. We were working for a producer, who made useless suggestions for a song. After he left, I felt irritated and commented, ‘How can he talk such nonsense? That too with so much confidence?”

He added, “Rahman replied, ‘No worries. We must listen to them. We should not compromise with our work, but at the same time when we listen to different opinions and try to satisfy them without losing our standard, we will do different kind of work. If we do only what we like, then there will be a similarity in the work. Our work will become monotonous.’ What a wise thing to say? These two statements of Rahman, I will never forget.”

Javed’s last work as a lyricist was for the coming-of-age film Kho Gaye Hum Kahan (2023) where he wrote two songs, ‘Hone Do Jo Hota Hai’ which was sung by Savera and Lothika Jha and ‘Kho Gaye hum Kahan’ which was sung by Achint.

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