'Slumdog Millionaire' Composer Withholding 'Jai Ho' From Musical Adaptation Unless Danny Boyle Directs

Danny Boyle London Red Carpet - P 2012
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Danny Boyle London Red Carpet - P 2012

As long as the director is out of the picture, A.R. Rahman refuses to allow the use of his Oscar-winning song in a musical stage adaptation of the 2008 film.

If an executive producer for 2008's Slumdog Millionaire pushes forward with a musical adaptation sans Academy-Award-winning director Danny Boyle, then the film's composer will tighten his grip on "Jai Ho," the song that also scored two Oscars, in protest.

"As a team, we all took the position that we all work together," Rahman told THR in a phone interview, adding that Boyle "absolutely" deserves to helm a Slumdog stage show.

At issue: producer Paul Smith's alleged reluctance to guarantee the role of director to Boyle. Smith, who owns screen rights to the India-based adventure, recently recruited Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes for the project after talks fizzled with Boyle over creative differences, the New York Post reported last month. (On Tuesday, the paper cited a source as saying that Matthew Warchus, director of Ghost The Musical, declined the directing gig out of respect for Boyle.)

As for Rahman, he said he owns the rights to "Jai Ho," featured in the 2008 global hit film's finale dance scene, and, since "music is an integral part of things," confirmed that he would not allow Smith to use the music for a musical.

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Rahman, who composed the score for Disney's new dramedy People Like Us co-starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, said he thinks it's "so important" to have Boyle and the rest of the creative team involved in the production in order to "keep that (vision) alive."

A representative for Smith at his London-based company, Celador Entertaiment, did not respond to THR's request for comment.

He is one of the most successful producers in the U.K., and the creator of such series as Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Besides Slumdog, his other film credits include The Descent and Dirty Pretty Things.

Collaborators on Slumdog, which raked in $338 million at the worldwide box office, includes producer Christian Colson, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and Rahman, who won two Oscars for "Jai Ho."

Boyle, meanwhile, has a hit on his hands as helmer of the U.K. stage production of Frankenstein, which hit U.S. theaters this month. The iconic monster has also inspired Boyle's vision for the London Olympics opening ceremony, which he's overseeing.

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com