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A.R.Rahman- Indian under Spotlight

A.R.Rahman- Indian under Spotlight

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Allah Rakha Rahman's music is a sublime gift just like his name that literally means 'the one who is watched over by God'.


A R Rahman


Considered as a musician whose music is modern, innovative, liberally using technology while respecting Indian cultural traditions, Rahman keeps attracting newer audiences in Indian and all over the globe.


Born A.S.Dileep Kumar in Chennai in 1966 to father R.K.Sekhar, a music composer for Malayalam films, and mother Kasthuri (now Kareema Begum), A.R. Rahman's music initiation started young at home and with Dhanraj Master. After his father's early demise, he took up playing keyboard, piano, synthesizer, guitar, harmonium and worked as arranger for music bands of his friends and associates such as Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, Illaiyaraja's troupe and as an accompanying orchestra person for artists such as M.S.Vishwanathan, Ramesh Naidu, Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. His experience helped me earn a scholarship for a degree in Western classical music from the prestigious Trinity College of Oxford University. The early training with different musical instruments, various composers and western sensibilities paved way for his genre of music that was experimental and a fusion of cultures and different musical inspirations.


Rahman's family converted to Islam after a family crisis when he was 23 and he thus adopted the name A.R.Rahman at the recommendations of musician Naushad Ali. His early music career, apart from working as arranger, involved advertising jingles, television programmes and international documentaries that gave him the much needed exposure to the music industry, a sense of discipline and an outlet for his creativity.


Rahman's film career began in 1992 after acclaimed director Mani Ratnam offered him the job of music composition for his film 'Roja'. After a reluctant and somewhat hesitant debut, the commercial and stupendous success of the film and its music throughout India made Rahman a household name. Contemporary history of Indian film music changed since then to elevate the expectations from 'filmi' music. The soundtrack for Roja was listed in TIME magazine's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time in 2005. Rahman further honed his musical skills by training in classical Hindustani, Carnatic, Qawwali and Western classical music under the guidance of various masters such as Dakshinamurthy, N. Gopalakrishnan, Krishnan Nair, Nithyanandham, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jacob John.
 A R Rahman


Successful musical scores, compositions and singing of other Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and mainstream Bollywood films such as 'Yodha' (1992), 'Gentleman' (1993), 'Thiruda Thiruda' (1993), 'Super Police' (1994), 'Gangmaster' (1994), 'Duet' (1994), 'Kadhalan', Mani Ratnam's Aamir Khan-Urmila Matondkar starrer superhit 'Rangeela' (1995) , 'Bombay' (1995), 'Dil se' (1998), 'Yuva' (2004), 'Guru' (2007), 'Raavan' (2010); 'Indian' (1996), Subhash Ghai's Aishwarya Rai starrer ''Taal - The Beat of Passion' (1999), Boney Kapoor's 'Pukaar' (2000), Shekhar Kapur's 'Bandit Queen', Aamir Khan's 'Lagaan' (2001), 'Nayak '2001), Deepa Mehta's trilogy 'Fire' (1996), 'Earth' (1998) and 'Water' (2005), 'Rang de Bastani' (2006), 'Ghajini' (2008), 'Delhi 6' (2009), 'Endhiran' (2010) followed to name only a few.


In 1997, Rahman composed his album 'Vande Mataram' (hail the motherland) with Sony Music to commeorate 50 years of Indian independence. This was the first album of Sony with a South-Asian artist and was eagerly lapped up by the public because of its pan-Indian modern appeal and its celebration of Indian culture and identity. Since then, a number of albums and musical tours in the United States, England, Australia and all over Asia followed. His music "Mumbai Theme Tune" (1997) featured in Nicolas Cage starrer Hollywood production 'Lord of War' (2005), "Chaiyya Chaiyya - Bollywood Joint" featured in Spike Lee's Denzel Washington starrer 'Inside Man' (2006), Cate Blanchett starrer Shekhar Kapur's 'Elizabeth- The golde age' (2007). Broadway and London musicals such as 'Bombay Dreams' with Sir Andrew Llyod Weber and 'Lord of the Rings' followed. French public may be familiar with his music for Sahara India's show 'Bharati'. Rahman's work has evolved music "passed the relatively static make-up of Western ensembles such as jazz bands and symphony orchestras and the rigid formula of American pop songs."*


AR Rahman's young career has regularly been punctuated with awards and honours. Amont others, the most notable being fourteen Filmfare Awards; four National Film Awards; six Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, two Grammy Awards; and for his score in Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionnaire' (2008), he received a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, a Golden Globe for Best original score and two Academy Awards. He has also been conferred Indian civilian honours of Padma Shri in 2000 and Padma Bhushan in 2010. On personal front, Rahman is married to Saira Banu and has three children.


Related reading

A.R.Rahman looking forward to his first French concert

Related events

A.R.Rahman 'Jai Ho' Concert in Paris


External links

A.R.Rahman's Official Website

A.R.Rahman- Composer Extraordinaire- complete biography


*"India/South India", Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples Todd Titon, Jeff; Linda Fujie, David Locke, David P. McAllester