You are on page 1of 17

A. R.


Allah Rakha Rahman

Birth name A. S. Dileep Kumar
Also known as A. R. Rahman
January 6, 1966 (age 43) Chennai, Tamil
Nadu, India
Genre(s) Film score, Theatre, World Music
Composer, record producer, music director,
singer, instrumentalist, arranger, programmer
Years active 1985-present
Website A. R.

Allah Rakha Rahman (A. R. Rahman; born January 6, 1966 as A. S. Dileep Kumar in
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) is an Indian film composer, record producer, musician and
singer. His film scoring career began in the early 1990s. He has won thirteen Filmfare
Awards, four National Film Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and two
Academy Awards.[1]
Working in India's various film industries, international cinema and theatre, by 2003,
Rahman, in a career spanning over a decade, has sold more than 100 million records of
his film scores and soundtracks worldwide,[2] and sold over 200 million cassettes,[3]
making him one of the world's all-time top selling recording artists.

Time magazine has referred to him as the "Mozart of Madras" and several Tamil
commentators have coined him the nickname Isai Puyal (Tamil: Isaipuyal; English:
Music Storm).[4] In 2009, the magazine placed Rahman in the Time 100 list of 'World's
Most Influential People'.[5]

Early life and influences

A. R. Rahman was born in a musically affluent Tamil family. His father R. K. Shekhar,
was a Chennai based composer and conductor for Malayalam films. Rahman lost his
father at a young age and his family rented out musical equipment as a source of income.
He was raised by his mother Kareema (Kashturi), who was from a Muslim family[6].
During these formative years, Rahman served as a keyboard player and an arranger in
bands such as "Roots", with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony,
Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja.[7] Rahman is the founder of the Chennai-based rock group,
"Nemesis Avenue".[8] He played the keyboard and piano, the synthesizer, the harmonium
and the guitar. His curiosity in the synthesizer, in particular increased because, he says, it
was the “ideal combination of music and technology".[9] He began early training in music
under Master Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe of
Ilaiyaraaja,[9] one of many composers to whom musical instruments belonging to
Rahman's father were rented. Rahman later played in the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan
and Ramesh Naidu, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L.
Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music where
he graduated with a degree in Western classical music.[10]

Film scoring and soundtracks

In 1992, Rahman began his own music recording and mixing studio attached to the
backyard of his house called the Panchathan Record Inn, which was developed into
India's most advanced recording studio.[11] He initially composed music jingles for
advertisements, Indian Television channels and music scores in documentaries, among
other projects. In 1992, he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam to compose the
score and soundtrack for Ratnam's Tamil film Roja.[11] The debut led Rahman to receive
the Rajat Kamal award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards, the first
time ever by a first-time film composer. Rahman has since then gone on to win the award
three more times (for his scores for Minsaara Kanavu (Electric Dreams, Tamil) in 1997,
Lagaan (Tax, Hindi) in 2002, Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek, Tamil) in
2003, the most ever by any composer.[12]
Roja's score met with high sales and acclaim, in its original and dubbed versions,
bringing about a marked change in film music at the time, and Rahman followed this with
successful scores for Tamil–language films of the Chennai film industry including
Ratnam's politically charged Bombay, the urbanite Kadhalan, Bharathiraaja's
Karuththamma, the saxophonic Duet, Indira, and the romantic comedies Mr. Romeo and
Love Birds, which gained him considerable notice.[13][14] His fanbase in Japan increased
with Muthu 's success there.[15] His soundtracks gained him recognition in the Tamil
Nadu film industry and across the world for his stylistic versatality in his pieces including
in Western classical, Carnatic, Tamil traditional/folk, jazz, reggae and rock
music.[16][17][18] The Bombay Theme—from Ratnam's Bombay—would later reappear in
Deepa Mehta's Fire and various compilations and media. Rangeela, directed by Ram
Gopal Varma, marked Rahman's debut for Hindi-language films made in the Mumbai
film industry. Many successful scores for films including Dil Se and the percussive Taal
followed.[19][20] Sufi mysticism would form the basis of Chaiyya Chaiyya from the former
and the composition "Zikr" from his score of the film Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The
Forgotten Hero for which he created large orchestral and choral arrangements.[7] Musical
cues in scores for Sangamam and Iruvar employed Carnatic vocals and instruments such
as the veena with leads of rock guitar and jazz.[21] In the 2000s Rahman created hit scores
for Rajiv Menon's Kandukondain Kandukondain, Alaipayuthey, Ashutosh Gowariker's
Swades and Rang De Basanti.[22] He composed songs with Hindustani motifs for Water

Rahman has worked with Indian poets and lyricists such as Gulzar, Mehboob,
Vairamuthu and Vaali. His collaborations with some film directors have always resulted
in successful soundtracks, particularly with the director Mani Ratnam who he has worked
with since Roja, all of which have been hits, and the director S. Shankar in the films
Gentleman, Kadhalan, Indian, Jeans, Mudhalvan, Nayak, Boys and Sivaji.[23]

Rahman attached and opened a developed extension studio to his Panchathan Record Inn
in 2005 called AM Studios in Kodambakkam, Chennai — considered to be the most
developed, equipped and high tech studio in Asia.[24][25] In 2006, Rahman launched his
own music label, KM Music.[26] Its first release was his score to the film Sillunu Oru
Kaadhal. Rahman scored the Mandarin language picture Warriors of Heaven and Earth
in 2003 after researching and utilizing Chinese and Japanese classical music, and co-
scored the Shekhar Kapoor helmed Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007. His compositions
have been reused in scores within India[27] and have made appearances in Inside Man,
Lord of War and The Accidental Husband. In 2008, he scored the Slumdog Millionaire
soundtrack, for which he won a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards, becoming the
first Indian citizen to do so.
Slumdog Millionaire - Rahman won two Academy Awards for the film's soundtrack.

Other works

Rahman has been involved in several projects aside from film. He made an album Vande
Mataram (1997) on India's 50th anniversary of independence to commercial
success.[28][29] He followed it up with an album for the Bharat Bala–directed video Jana
Gana Mana, a conglomeration of performances by many leading exponents/artists of
Indian classical music. Rahman has written jingles for ads and composed several
orchestrations for athletic events, T.V. and internet media publications, documentaries
and short films.

In 1999 Rahman, along with choreographers Shobhana and Prabhu Deva Sundaram and a
Tamil cinema dancing troupe performed with Michael Jackson in Munich, Germany, for
his "Michael Jackson and Friends Concert." In 2002, he composed his maiden stage
production Bombay Dreams (2002) following a commission from musical theatre
composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a success in London's West End. With Finnish folk
music band Värttinä, he wrote the music for The Lord of the Rings theatre production and
in 2004, Rahman composed the piece "Raga's Dance" for Vanessa-Mae's album

In the last six years, Rahman has performed three successful world tours of his concerts
to audiences in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Dubai, UK, Canada, the US (Hollywood
Bowl and 3d tour) and India.[12] He has been collaborating with Karen David for her
upcoming studio album. A two-disc soundtrack, Introducing A. R. Rahman (2006)
featuring 25 pieces he composed from his Tamil film scores was released in May 2006.
His non-film album, Connections was launched on 12 December, 2008.

Music style and impact

Skilled in Carnatic music,[30] Western classical, Hindustani music and the Qawwali style
of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahman has been noted to write film songs that amalgamate
elements of these music systems and other genres, layering instruments from differing
music idioms in an improvisatory manner.[7] Symphonic orchestral themes have
accompanied his scores, where he has employed leitmotif. In the 1980s, Rahman
recorded and played arrangements on mono, synonymous with the era of predecessors
such as K. V. Mahadevan and Vishwanathan–Ramamoorthy, but later his methodology
changed. Rahman worked and experimented on fusing traditional instruments with new
electronic sounds and technology.[7]

His interest and outlook in music stems from his love of experimentation.[10] Rahman's
compositions, in the vein of past and contemporary Chennai film composers, bring out
auteuristic uses of counterpoint, orchestration and the human voice, evolving Indian pop
music with unique timbres, forms and instrumentation. By virtue of these qualities, broad
ranging lyrics and his syncretic style, his themes appeal to several sections of Indian

His first soundtrack for Roja was listed in TIME's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time in
2005. Film critic Richard Corliss felt the "astonishing debut work parades Rahman's gift
for alchemizing outside influences until they are totally Tamil, totally Rahman."[32]
Rahman's initial global reach is attributed to the South Asian diaspora. Described as one
of the most innovative composers to ever work in the industry, his unique style and
immense success transformed film music in the 1990s prompting several film producers
to take film music more seriously.[33] The music producer Ron Fair considers Rahman to
be "one of the world's great living composers in any medium".[34]

The director Baz Luhrmann notes

"I had come to the music of A. R. Rahman through the emotional and haunting score of
Bombay and the wit and celebration of Lagaan. But the more of AR's music I
encountered the more I was to be amazed at the sheer diversity of styles: from swinging
brass bands to triumphant anthems; from joyous pop to West-End musicals. Whatever the
style, A. R. Rahman's music always possesses a profound sense of humanity and spirit,
qualities that inspire me the most.[35]

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by A. R. Rahman

Rahman was the 1995 recipient of the Mauritius National Award and the Malaysian
Award for contributions to music. He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for
his first West-End production. A four-time National Film Award winner and conferred
the Padma Shri from the Government of India, Rahman has also received six Tamil Nadu
State Film Awards, thirteen Filmfare Awards and twelve Filmfare Awards South for his
music and scores. In 2006, he received an honorary award from Stanford University for
contributions to global music.[36] In 2009, for his score of Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman
won the Critics' Choice Award, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score,[37] the
BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and two Academy Awards for Best Original Music
Score and Best Original Song at the 2009 Oscars. Middlesex University and Aligarh
Muslim University have announced that they plan to bestow honorary doctorates on
Personal life
He is married to Saira Banu and has three children, Khadijah, Rahima, and Aameen.
Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, who is the son of Rahman's elder
sister, A. R. Reihana. He is related to south indian actor Rahman. Rahman is a practising
Sufi Muslim. He had become an atheist as a result of childhood struggles, he eventually
converted in to Islam in 1989, the religion of his mother's family[40].

He is very devoted to his mother. During the Oscar Award, he paid her a tribute saying:
"There is a Hindi dialogue 'mere pass ma hai' which means even if I have got nothing I
have my mother here."[41]

Social service
Rahman is involved in various charitable causes. In 2004, he was appointed as the Global
Ambassador of the Stop TB Partnership, a project by WHO.[12] He has shown support to
charities including Save the Children, India, and worked with Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam
for his song "Indian Ocean" . The song featured a-ha keyboard player Magne Furuholmen
and Travis drummer, Neil Primrose. The proceeds of the song went towards helping
orphans in Banda Aceh, one of the areas worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean
Tsunami. He produced the single "We Can Make It Better" by Don Asian alongside
Mukhtar Sahota.[42] In 2008, Rahman opened his KM Music Conservatory partnered with
Audio Media Education facility to tutor and train aspiring musicians in vocals,
instruments, music technology and sound design. The conservatory – with preeminent
musicians on its panel and a newly founded symphony orchestra – is located near his
studio in Kodambakkam, Chennai, offering courses at Beginners, Foundation and
Diploma level.[43] Rahman composed the theme music for a short film for The Banyan in
2006, in aid of destitute women in Chennai. In 2008, Rahman, along with percussionist
Sivamani created a song titled "Jiya Se Jiya", inspired by the Free Hugs Campaign and
promoted it through a video shot in various cities in India.
Further information: A. R. Rahman discography

As music director

Year Film Language Notes

Winner, National Film Award for Best

Music Direction
Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award
for Best Music Director
Roja Tamil
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
1992 Award (Tamil)
Listed in TIME's "10 Best Soundtracks"
of all time in 2005 [32]

Yodha Malayalam

Pudhiya Mugam Tamil

Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award

for Best Music Director
Gentleman Tamil
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Award (Tamil)
Kizhakku Cheemayile Tamil

Uzhavan Tamil

Thiruda Thiruda Tamil

Vandicholai Chinraasu Tamil

Super Police Telugu

Duet Tamil

May Madham Tamil

Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award

for Best Music Director
Kadhalan Tamil
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Award (Tamil)

Pavithra Tamil

Karuththamma Tamil

Pudhiya Mannargal Tamil

Manitha Manitha Tamil

Gangmaster Telugu

Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award

1995 Bombay for Best Music Director
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Award (Tamil)

Indira Tamil

Rangeela Hindi Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Winner, Filmfare RD Burman Award
for New Music Talent

Most successful Indian soundtrack in

Muthu Tamil
Japan [15]

Love Birds Tamil

Indian Tamil

1996 Kadhal Desam Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Award (Tamil)

Fire Hindi

Mr. Romeo Tamil

Anthimanthaarai Tamil

Winner, National Film Award for Best

Music Direction
Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award
Minsara Kanavu (Sapnay) Tamil
for Best Music Director
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Award (Tamil)

Iruvar Tamil

Daud: Fun On The Run Hindi

Ratchagan Tamil
Mona Lisa Tamil

Vishwavidhaata Hindi

Kabhi Na Kabhi Hindi

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Jeans Tamil
Award (Tamil)

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Dil Se Hindi "Chaiyya Chaiyya" was 9th in BBC
1998 World Service top 10 songs of all time

Earth Hindi

Doli Saja Ke Rakhna Hindi

En Swasa Kaatre Tamil


Padayappa Tamil

Kadhalar Dhinam Tamil

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Taal Hindi

Winner, Tamil Nadu State Film Award

Sangamam Tamil
for Best Music Director
Jodi Tamil

Takshak Hindi

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Mudhalvan Tamil
Award (Tamil)

Taj Mahal Tamil

Pukar Hindi

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Alaipayuthey Tamil
Award (Tamil)

Kandukondain Kandukondain Tamil

Fiza Hindi 1 song (Piya Haji Ali)

Rhythm Tamil

Thenali Tamil

Zubeidaa Hindi

One 2 Ka 4 Hindi

Nayak: The Real Hero Hindi

Love You Hamesha Hindi

Winner, National Film Award for Best
Music Direction
Lagaan Hindi
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Star Tamil

Parthale Paravasam Tamil

Alli Arjuna Tamil

Winner, National Film Award for Best

Music Direction
Kannathil Muthamittal Tamil
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Award (Tamil)

Winner, Filmfare Best Background

The Legend of Bhagat Singh Hindi
2002 Score Award

Baba Tamil

Kadhal Virus Tamil

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Saathiya Hindi

2003 Parasuram Tamil

Boys Tamil

Warriors of Heaven and Mandarin,

Earth Hindi

Enakku 20 Unakku 18 Tamil

Kangalal Kaithu Sei Tamil

Tehzeeb Hindi

Udhaya Tamil

Lakeer - Forbidden Lines Hindi

Meenaxi: A Tale of Three


Aayitha Ezhuthu Tamil

Yuva Hindi

New Tamil

Naani Telugu

Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa Hindi 3 songs

Winner, Filmfare Best Background

Score Award
Swades Hindi
Nominated, Filmfare Best Music
Director Award
Kisna - The Warrior Poet Hindi 2 song

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose:

The Forgotten Hero

Mangal Pandey - The Rising Hindi

Anbe Aaruyire Tamil

5 songs
1 song longlisted for 2007 Academy
Water Hindi
Award for Best Original Song

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Rang De Basanti Hindi 2 songs longlisted for 2007 Academy
Award for Best Original Song
nomination [45]
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Sillunu Oru Kaadhal Tamil
Award (Tamil)

Varalaru Tamil

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Guru Hindi
Winner, Filmfare Best Background
2007 Score Award

Sajni Kannada

Provoked Hindi
Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director
Sivaji: The Boss Tamil
Award (Tamil)

Azhagiya Thamizh Magan Tamil

Elizabeth: The Golden Age English With Craig Armstrong

Winner, Filmfare Best Background

Nominated, Filmfare Best Music
Jodhaa Akbar Hindi
Director Award
Nominated, Asian Film Award for Best
Composer [46]

Winner, Filmfare Best Music Director

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na Hindi

ADA: A Way of Life Hindi

Sakkarakatti Tamil

Yuvvraaj Hindi

Nominated, Filmfare Best Music

Ghajini Hindi
Director Award

Winner, Academy Award for Best

Original Music Score
Winner, Academy Award for Best
English, Original Song for "Jai Ho"
Slumdog Millionaire
Hindi Winner, BAFTA Award for Best Film
Winner, Golden Globe Award for Best
Original Score
Delhi 6 Hindi

Nair San Filming

Blue Hindi Filming

Puli Telugu Filming

Ashokavanam Tamil Filming

Raavan Hindi Filming


Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikalam Tamil Filming

Manavar Dhinam Tamil Filming

Sultan The Warrior Tamil Filming

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya Tamil Filming

Couples Retreat English Filming, Hollywood Debut

The Desire Filming, Only Background Score

Endhiran Tamil Filming

The 19th Step Tamil, Filming

Urimai Kural Tamil Confirmed

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

…Dedicated To A.R. Rahman Fans…

…Comment on This…

…Thanks …