By Rodrigo Perez
Danny Boyle’s crowd-pleasing “Slumdog Millionaire” is taking the indie-movie world by storm, and the kinetic and propulsive film is garnering so much buzz (it was the toast of the Telluride and Toronto film festivals) that there’s talk its slow roll-out plan could hit on a mass level, even with Oscar.
A big part of the reason why is the pulsating and thrilling music by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, who collaborated with Sri Lankan Rapper M.I.A. on the original track, “O… Saya.” The soundtrack CD comes out tomorrow via M.I.A.'s new Interscope imprint N.E.E.T., and it also features M.I.A’s big summer hit, “Paper Planes” that became a hit because of the “Pineapple Express” trailer.
Some of you might think that Boyle jacked ‘Planes’ from the ‘Pineapple’ trailer, but Boyle’s a huge M.I.A fan and the track was a crucial one he had in mind from minute one. “I actually travelled to India with that song with me, it was a key song,” Boyle told MTV News. “And originally it was featured very early on in the film, but then we moved it to the halfway mark, and then the song was used in ‘Pineapple Express’,” he groaned. “What can you do?”
Many have commented on how the music and story are completely symbiotic and the film’s thrilling rush is codependent on its rhythm, but Boyle insists he gave A.R. Rahman (a man he calls the “Michael Jackson of India… a superstar”) and M.I.A. little in the way of direction.
“You give a few thoughts, but basically you let people go off on their own,” Boyle said. “[Maya And Rahman] are so talented and they watch the film and they just get it. I’m not a musician and I know what I like, and I know how to make music work in film, but I can’t write it, so I loved handing it over to them – that’s the best way to do it. And then you give a few hints. They just go for it. And we were very pleased; there was a super nice energy across them all.”
M.I.A noted that she had just announced her retirement plans at Bonaroo when Boyle called her and offered the gig. “How could I turn it down? You want to slow down, but then you get offered a chance like this and Danny’s brilliant so I couldn’t say no. The film was just wonderful.”
Many might remember original reports when Boyle was first starting the project he wanted Jack White of the White Stripes to score the film.
“I wrote [White’s] people a letter a long time ago and I don’t even know if he received,” he said, claiming the musician was too busy to help out regardless. “It was naïve of me really, thinking he could come to India for a year and work on music. He’s got albums to work on!” he laughed. Could he want to work with him again in the future? “Oh yeah!” Boyle exclaimed. “I’m a huge fan of his work.”
A big Bollywood musical dance sequence ends the film and some are already noting it could garner Oscar support. “Well, it stands for the union of the couple, their future and their happiness together and it’s a celebration of that really,” Boyle said of the number. “Who knows it would certainly liven up the ceremonies wouldn’t it?’ he laughed. Imagine a full-blown Bollywood sequence on the Oscars? “Oh it would be great, it’s almost like, ‘Go on, and give us a chance! But who knows we’ll see.”
As for what’s next? Boyle’s not sure; it’s up in the air. Earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival he mentioned he was working on an adaptation of a Terry Prachertt live-action/half-animated project with “Millions” screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, but noted that that concept had already fallen through.
He did mention the “28 Months Later” film and the sequel to “Trainspotting,” but both sounded far off. A break sounds in order. “I need a pause. I’m not one to line up project after project, really. Sometimes it's necessary to take a break.”