London, Pop legend Michael Jackson, who died Saturday, was reading poetry by Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore during the last days of his life, and had commissioned Oscar-winning music maestro A.R. Rahman to create a unity anthem for his new album.
Rahman got the job after his Academy Award success courtesy Danny Boyle’s multiple Oscar-winning underdog drama “Slumdog Millionaire” early this year.
Jackson’s last brushes with Tagore suggest he was developing a special bond with India, reports contactmusic.com.
“A.R. Rahman met Michael Jackson after the Oscars in Los Angeles and Michael asked him to compose a unity anthem for him…Michael’s planned new album would have had a huge Indian feel to it…Michael was reportedly working with Adnan Sami, which was to include Indian musical instruments like the sarangi, tabla, and dholak,” said an insider close to Rahman.
The unity anthem wasn’t the first time the pair would have worked together, as they collaborated earlier on a track titled “Ekam satyam”.
A source suggested Jackson’s brother Jermaine encouraged the King of Pop to explore Indian music, as “Jermaine’s wife Halima reportedly lived in Chandigarh in India for some time”.
Jackson was secretly also studying Hinduism in the last years.
“Michael reportedly learned how to meditate and he was a vegetarian. When he was presented statues of Hindu deities Ganesha and Nataraja, Michael knew who they were. He was also very anxious to meet Mother Teresa before her death. He had a great interest in all things India for some time,” said Rajan Zed, the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism.