Did you know? Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu were offered to sing in “Roja” by AR Rahman, but they refused thinking “Who AR Rahman?”

When Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu turned down AR Rahman’s offer to sing Roja (Photo credit: Facebook, poster)

AR Rahman not only has fans in India but also internationally he has many admirers; his songs are played and adored all over the world. Even the current generation musicians look up to him and try to seize the opportunity 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 simply because she did not know the composer.

The 1992 film directed by Mani Ratnam, stars Arvind Swami and Madhoo in the lead. The film marked Rahman’s debut as a music composer. For the film, he won a National Award, a Filmfare Award and a Tamil Nadu State Film Award.

In an interview with 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’s office saying that there is this composer AR Rahman who would like you to come to Chennai to record the songs for his new movie called Roja and I haven’t heard of him.

Alka Yagnik further shared, “I got a call saying he would like to have you, he likes your voice and he would like to have you”, I said “but I’m not free, I don’t because I’m totally, you know my schedule is completely tight’ so they said to me, ‘he really asked you because he would like you to sing the songs and they’re just du like custom made for your voice and we want you and Kumar Sanu to both of you to do the whole album for this movie”, so I said “okay, I’ll let you know”.

“I called Mr. Kumar Sanu, I asked him if you got a call from an AR Rahman, he said ‘yes yes, I got a call and they want me to come too 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 declined and said ‘I’m sorry’, he didn’t either,” she added.

However, Alka Yagnik says she was stunned when she first heard the songs and said, “When I heard Roja’s song, I could have banged my head against the wall, because it was such a great loss. This is the first time I hear his composition (AR Rahman) on the radio.

“They were beautiful songs and it’s something that I regret to this day that I missed those songs. Then when I went to sing for him the first thing when he saw me said ‘you n didn’t sing my Roja songs” and I felt so bad. He just said that line and smiled and that was it, then we started working on the song.

Alka Yagnik says AR Rahman kept taunting her saying she didn’t sing Roja’s songs, she adds: “That was probably the biggest mistake of my life, of my career if I would say. “

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