Oscar and Grammy-winning Indian composer AR Rahman announced his next directorial venture at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Titled Confessions, the project is still at the scripting stage.
Confessions will mark Rahman’s second attempt at direction as she has previously directed Le Musk, which premiered at the Cannes Film Market’s Cannes XR program.
“Now this (Le Musk) is finished and we’re happy about it, we just want to do something which is much simpler, but deeper in emotion,” Rahman told Variety.
“I see technology as a tool to bring out a very different kind of emotion to transport people,” Rahman said, adding that his Le Musk team had worked tirelessly solely on the project for six years.
Le Musk, which evolved from an idea from Rahman’s wife Saira, is a transporting experience involving haptics, aroma, and motion, experienced at an immersive VR chair by Los Angeles-based company Positron.
It follows heiress and musician Juliet Merdinian, who, 20 years since she was orphaned, seeks out the men who changed her destiny with one powerful memory — that of their scent. Saira has an “incredible sense of smell,” says Rahman, with a dressing table packed with 150 perfumes, and can identify scents at 10 paces. Her olfactory sense is so keen that she advises Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on his choice of perfume, Rahman says.
The process was a journey of discovery for Rahman and his team who were on a quest to keep the experience as subtle and comfortable as possible without the usual VR complaints of nausea and fatigue. To this end, the film was cut down from its original 75 minutes to 36 and the edits were honed to keep the transitions as subtle as possible.
“I think there’s a lot of things to discover – how much the human mind can take, how much can your eyes take, how much can the ears take,” says Rahman.
Nora Arnezeder, who plays Merdinian, says that the Le Musk experience was more of a “feeling” and “sensation” than acting. When she watched the film, “I honestly felt like I was flying,” says Arnezeder, who is currently in Paramount+ series “The Offer” and has Gonzalo López-Gallego’s “American Star” alongside Fanny Ardant and Ian McShane coming up.
“I guess acting is acting to an extent anywhere you do it, but it is very, very different in terms of medium,” says Guy Burnet who plays the key role of a music conductor in “Le Musk” of his experience on the film. “I do see VR as the next medium because it is different. And you got to approach it differently.”
Le Musk is headed next to renowned museums and theme parks, with several partners ready to collaborate, Rahman says. Ravindra Velhal, global content technologist, Intel Corporation, and executive producer and VR technology director of Le Musk is planning to leverage the Cannes platform for wider exposure.