A.R. Rahman is an Indian composer, singer, and music producer, who has worked in the Indian film industry as well as internationally. He is one of the most successful and influential composers in the world and is known for his unique sound that fuses Indian classical music with electronic music and world music.
At A Glance: A. R. Rahman’s Life
Rahman was named A. S. Dileep Kumar when he was born in Madras, Tamil Nadu, on January 6, 1967. His father, R. K. Shekhar, was a film-score composer as well as a conductor for Tamil and Malayalam films. A.R. Rahman started his schooling at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan. However, he was dismissed from school due to poor academic results.
Later he was admitted to Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School and showed his musical talent. But, he dropped out the school to pursue a music career. Then, he started musical training under Master Dhanraj.
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Rahman’s big break came in 1992 when he was asked to compose the score for the Tamil film “Roja.” The soundtrack was a huge success and established Rahman as one of the leading film composers in India. He went on to compose music for many other successful films, including “Bombay,” “Taal,” “Lagaan,” “Rang De Basanti,” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” which earned him two Academy Awards.
Rahman has also composed music for stage productions, including the “Bombay Dreams” and the Toronto productions of “The Lord of the Rings.” In addition to his work in film and theater, Rahman has also released several solo albums and worked on various philanthropic projects.
Rahman has received numerous awards and accolades for his work, including six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, and two Grammy Awards. He has also been honored with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards in India, and the Padma Shri, another prestigious award given by the Indian government.
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10 Lesser-Known Facts About A. R. Rahman
Composer A. R. Rahman is well known for his musical achievements, but the following are some of the lesser-known facts about him that everyone is less concerned about.
Converted to Islam
Although Rahman was born a Hindu, he along with other family members converted to Islam at the age of 2023 in 1989 and changed his name to Allah Rakha Rahman (A. R. Rahman).
Musical Training Under Master Dhanraj
Rahman took a music lesson from Ustad Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined the orchestra of renowned Malayalam composer MK Arjunan, a close friend of his father, as a player. He quickly mastered vocals, guitar, percussion, drums, harpsichord, fingerboard, keyboard, piano, accordion, goblet, drums, concert harp, etc. Impressed by his talent, renowned composers like MS Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu, Raj Koti also offered him an opportunity to work with them.
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Scholarship in Trinity College of Music
He embarked on a world tour with Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, and L Shankar in his teenage. At that time, Rahman got a scholarship from Trinity College London to the Trinity College of Music. Later, while studying in Madras, he obtained a diploma in ‘Western Classical Music’ from a local school.
A.R. Rahman Indian composer
Started his Career by Composing Jingles
Before he converted to Islam and entered the film industry, A. R. Rahman started his music career by composing scores for documentaries and jingles for Indian television channels and advertisements. In 1987, he created jingles for a watch collection by Allwyn. Some of the jingles he arranged became incredibly popular, including the one for Titan Watches, which featured a theme from Mozart’s Symphony no.25.
Panchathan Record Inn
In 1992, he started his own music world through a small studio called ‘Panchathan Record Inn.’ It later became one of the best sound recording studios in India and also one of Asia’s most sophisticated and high-tech studios.
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The 2009 TIME 100 List
In 2009, Rahman’s name was included in the list of the world’s top 100 most influential personalities in Time Magazine in the Artists and Entertainers category. By bringing together Indian and Western musical styles, he has made a significant contribution to the global music scene.
He was added to Time Magazine’s list because of his incredible artistic talent and his work in the entertainment industry. Also, his influence stretches beyond the music industry as he has been an active voice for different social causes.
National Award in His Debut Movie Music
His first work in a movie was in Roja film in 1992. A.R. Rahman was the music director for “Roja” in both Tamil and Hindi languages. And all the songs in both languages became super hits. As a result, he got the National Film Award for his debut movie, which to date, is the only precedent in the history of India.
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Music Blending Criteria
AR Rahman prefers Carnatic music, Western classical, and Indian music, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan influenced Qawali style while directing music.
Rahman was given an honorary award by ‘Stanford University’ in 2006 for his contribution to world music. Moreover, several universities, including Middlesex University, Aligarh Muslim University, and Anna University, conferred honorary doctorate degrees on him. Two-time Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman also received a dinner invitation at the White House from the President of the United States. In November 2013, a street in Markham, Ontario, Canada, was named after him.
Involved with several charities, Rahman served as the Global Representative of the World Health Organization’s ‘Stop TB’ program in 2004. He also participated in several development activities based in India called ‘Save the Children’ and ‘Indian Ocean.’ In 2004, Rahman raised money through concerts for people affected by the Tsunami, various times to help orphans.
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AR Rahman directed the music for free in the feature film made to help the poor and oppressed people. In 2006, he composed the theme music for a short film called ‘The Banyan’ to help poor women in Chennai. Inspired by the ‘Free Hug Campaign’ in 2008, Rahman and Sivamani composed a song titled “Jiya Se Jiya” and campaigned in different cities of India.
A.R. Rahman is a highly talented and influential composer who has made a significant contribution to the world of music. His unique sound and philanthropic efforts have earned him numerous awards and accolades. Today, January 6, is the 56th birthday of the Indian musician and his talent and dedication continue to inspire people around the world.
Source: United News of Bangladesh