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The Untold Story of AR Rahman’s Interaction with Michael Jackson and a Missed Opportunity

Michael Jackson, famously known as the “King of Pop,” once extended an invitation to meet one of India’s most acclaimed singers, who astonishingly turned him down. Subsequently, the same Indian singer offered Jackson a song in a film starring Rajinikanth, a titan in Indian cinema, and intriguingly, Jackson agreed. However, fate had other plans, and the collaboration never came to be.

The singer who famously turned down Michael Jackson’s invitation is none other than the legendary AR Rahman. The music maestro recently shared details about this intriguing episode that transpired before Jackson’s untimely death in 2009. At a meet-and-greet event held in Malaysia, a video produced by Free Malaysia Today captured Rahman divulging that the King of Pop almost sang for the highly anticipated film, Enthiran, featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai.

In the video, Rahman recounts his visit to Los Angeles, USA, where he was introduced to an individual who managed Michael Jackson. Rahman expressed his desire to meet Jackson, saying, “I asked if I could meet him. He told me an email would be sent out to me, but there was no response for a week. Later, I got nominated for the Oscars for ‘Jai Ho’ from ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ Finally, Michael’s team emailed me, expressing his interest in meeting me. At that moment, I said I don’t want to meet him now; I’ll meet him when I’ve won an Oscar.”

Indeed, AR Rahman had to wait a short while before the stars aligned. After winning two Oscars for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and riding on the wave of elation, he agreed to meet Michael Jackson. “I met him at a home in LA the day after I won the Oscars. He was very kind; we spoke about music and world peace,” Rahman described.

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. “He even jested that we should collaborate on the next ‘We Are The World.’ He introduced me to his kids and demonstrated how he dances ‘from the heart.'”

At that time, Rahman was deeply engrossed in working on Rajinikanth’s Enthiran. Upon returning to India, he narrated his fascinating meeting with Michael Jackson to Shankar, the film’s director. Shankar, overwhelmed by the possibility, pondered if Jackson could lend his voice to a song in Enthiran. Rahman related this exciting conversation: “Shankar sir asked me if Michael would sing for the film. I said to myself, ‘Wow, will he really sing a Tamil song?’ I asked Michael Jackson, and he replied, ‘Whatever you say, we’ll do together.’ Sadly, the opportunity never materialized as Jackson passed away in June 2009 due to health issues.”

Despite the missed chance to have Michael Jackson croon in Enthiran, the film emerged as a monumental success. Enthiran, also starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, turned out to be a blockbuster, with its songs becoming chart-toppers.

As AR Rahman continues his illustrious journey in the music world, he is set to compose scores for numerous forthcoming Bollywood films, including “Chhava,” “Lahore 1947,” “Tere Ishk Mein,” and a highly ambitious project, “Ramayana.”

This intriguing brush with Michael Jackson remains one of the numerous fascinating chapters in AR Rahman’s storied career. It adds another layer of depth to the global musical connections that transcend cultures and geographies, highlighting the universal language that is music.

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