August 15, 1992 was a noteworthy day for Bollywood music. That day, AR Rahman left a striking impression on music lovers by composing one of the best soundtracks of Indian cinema for Mani Ratnam’s Roja. Roja’s music especially Bharat Humko sung by Hariharan strikes a chord with Indian music lovers even today.
No doubt, the dubbed Hindi versions of Roja and Bombay brought AR Rahman into the limelight but what truly changed Bollywood music was Rangeela. Since then there was no turning back for this Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys and BAFTA winner.
Over the years, AR Rahman has mesmerised us with brilliant soundtracks for films like Guru, Jodhaa Akbar, Tamasha, Saathiya, Rockstar, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti and very recently the magnum opus - Ponniyin Selvan: I.
AR Rahman – the recipient of the esteemed Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, is perhaps one of the very few Indian music directors who with his Carnatic, Hindustani classical and Western influence has garnered admiration, love and support all over the world.
But did you know that this undisputed musical genius has also created multiple advertising jingles before becoming an iconic figure?
Composing and writing jingles for these legendary brands set the landscape for his future work. On the occasion of his 56th birthday, let’s take a look at some of these ads which helped these brands attract various stakeholders, all thanks to the catchy jingles of Rahman.
Airtel - India's first private cellular network operator Airtel’s first ad came out in 2002. The acclaimed music in the ad and the brand tune by Rahman, helped turn Airtel into a household brand. It remains to this day one of India's most iconic and easily recognisable brand tune. Airtel has had a few hits with music since, but Rahman set the benchmark with the very first.
Hero MotoCorp - With 'Hum Main Hai Hero' for Hero MotoCop, AR Rahman spotlighted the everyday moments of courage. This ad jingle was no doubt instrumental in energizing a brand and giving Indians a stirring brand anthem they could sing.
Asian Paints – The local setting and theme of Pongal in the Asian Paints ad was well-suited to AR Rahman’s abilities and tastes. The song that the maestro composed for the ad takes one back in time. Considering Indian traditions and aesthetics, Rahman showcased the culture and norms of Indian society in a family setting through his tune.
Titan Watches – When Rahman composed the jingle for Titan years ago, little did he know that despite adopting Mozart’s 25th symphony for the song, decades later the Indian audience will remember it as Titan’s tune whenever they hear it. Interestingly, the Titan ad for Diwali featured Aishwarya Rai who was a newcomer and was known as the girl from the Pepsi ad back then.
Renault – During the making of Re Re Re Raftaar for Renault, AR Rahman shared that he aims to make his ad tunes simple and catchy so that they appeal to anyone who listens to them for the first time. The old man in the ad turns on the radio in a Renault car – this is a subtle hint to the viewers about AR Rahman creating the jingle. The ad had superstar Ranbir Kapoor and AR Rahman’s melodious music which worked wonders for Renault.