Rahman’s big O has run into big trouble — the singer’s Oscar awards, alleges composer Ismail Darbar, were ‘bought’, to which the 45-year-old Academy winner retorts, “Oscars cannot be bought. It’s 3000 people… how can it be possible!” The argument began at a recent press conference in Nagpur, where Mumbai-based Darbar, 46, claimed that AR Rahman, who has to his credit two Academy Awards — Best Original Score and Best Original Song — for his music in Slumdog Millionaire (2008), had ‘bought’ the honours and did not deserve them. “I just don’t understand how the music for that movie won the prestigious award. Aap hi bataiye us film ke music main Oscars jaisa kya tha … kuch bhi toh nahi tha (What was Oscar-worthy about it? Nothing). Agar Rahman ko Roja ya Bombay ke liye milta, toh samaj bhi aata aur main bhi khush hota… but not for Slumdog (I would have been happy had he won it for films like Roja or Bombay). He did not deserve it. Aur, mujhe pata hai ki ise kharida gaya hai (And, It know that it has been bought),” Darbar said. Darbar, however, refuses to reveal more about how he ‘knows’ that the award was ‘bought’. He also says it is not publicity that is driving him to make the allegation. “There are other ways to get publicity,” he says.
Meanwhile, others from the industry seem to support Rahman. “It’s sad if Darbar said that. Rahman has made us proud,” says composer Lalit Pandit. “I don’t think Rahman can ever do that,” says composer Sulaiman Merchant.