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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Indian film composer for Rings
AR Rahman
AR Rahman wrote the score for Bollywood Dreams
The West End version of Tolkien epic Lord of the Rings will have a score written by a top Indian composer.

AR Rahman, who also wrote the music for Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Bombay Dreams,has been commissioned to produce a raft of original songs.

Rahman is a star in his native India and has sold more than 100 million albums, composing the soundtracks to more than 50 Bollywood films.

The 8m musical is due to open in the spring of 2005.

'Brilliant melodies'

Producer Kevin Wallace said: "We are recreating Middle Earth and we needed the music that goes with it to be unique.

"AR Rahman writes brilliant melodies with an exotic quality and we know he will write something which audiences will adore."

Rahman will collaborate with Finnish folk group Varttina for the show.

Rahman will write some of the songs himself, Varttina will write others, and they will also co-write some numbers.

Varttina have been chosen for their Finnish background - Tolkien was said to have used the Kalevala, Finland's national epic of mythological songs, poems and stories, as inspiration for his books and the Elvish language he invented.

The Lord of the Rings
The third Lord of the Rings movie will be released in December
The show's budget is 1.5m more than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, currently the most expensive show on the West End.

"To do justice to the Lord of the Rings you have to pull out all the stops," Mr Wallace said.

The launch of the stage show will come 50 years after Tolkien's trilogy was first published as one volume.

The book's popularity has soared in the past two years, since New Zealand director Peter Jackson released the first two Rings films, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.

The two films are already in the top 10 most successful films of all time.

The third film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is due to be released around the world on 17 December.

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