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Rahman was born in Chennai in 1966 to a musically affluent Mudaliar 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).

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.

Rahman is the founder of the Chennai-based rock group, "Nemesis Avenue". 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".

He began early training in music under Master Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe
of Ilaiyaraaja, 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 Ramesh Naidu and Raj Koti, 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.

He is married to Saira Banu and has three children, Khadijah, Rahima, and Aameen. Rahman has always kept
his kids away from the media glare.

Rahman had become an atheist as a result of childhood struggles, but eventually converted to Islam in 1989, the
religion of his mother's family. He is very devoted to his mother. During the Oscar Award also 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."

Now coming to his professional graph, 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. 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. 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 debutant film composer.

Rahman has since then gone on to win the award three more times (for his scores for Minsaara Kanavu(Tamil) in
1997, Lagaan in 2002,Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) in 2003, the most ever by any composer.

His fanbase in Japan increased with Muthu's success there. 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.

Rangeela, directed by Ram Gopal Varma, marked Rahman's debut for Hindi-language films. In the 2000s
Rahman created hit scores for Rajiv Menon'sKandukondain Kandukondain, Alaipayuthey, Ashutosh
Gowariker's Swades and Rang De Basanti. Music of both Swades andRang De Basanti was a hit.
He composed songs with Hindustani motifs for ater (2005). Rahman has worked with poets and lyricists such
as Javed Akhtar, Gulzar,Anand Bakshi, PK Mishra, Mehboob, Vairamuthu and Vaali.

Rahman attached and opened a developed extension studio to his Panchathan Record Inn in 2005 called AM
Studios in odambakkam, Chennai ² considered to be the most developed, equipped and high tech studio in

Rahman scored the Mandarin language picture arriors of Heaven and Earth in 2003 after researching and
utilising Chinese and Japanese classical music.

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.

In the United States, the soundtrack topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart and reached Number 4 on the
Billboard 200 chart.

The song Jai Ho reached number 2 on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles and Number 15 on the US Billboard Hot

The music composer, who has done India proud by winning the prestigious trophy now has his hands full.
Rahman has a project with Mick Jagger and has also got a new studio in Los Angeles.

Rahman has got two Grammy nominations, one in Best Song Written For Motion Picture, and no surprises the
anthem, which has had the world singing Jai Ho as well as a nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack for the

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. 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, TVand 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

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.

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." In 2009, the magazine placed Rahman in the Time 100 list of 'World's Most
Influential People'.

Rahman, in a career spanning over a decade, has sold more than 100 million records of his film scores and
soundtracks worldwide and sold over 200 million cassettes, making him one of the world's all-time top selling
recording artists. Time magazine referred to him as the "Mozart of Madras" and several Tamil commentators
have coined him the nickname Isai Puyal which means "Music Storm". ‘