Early Life of A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman was born on 6th January 1967 in Chennai as A. S. Dileep Kumar. A. R. Rahman is the only son of R. K. Sekhar, who was a composer, arranger and conductor for Malayalam films. His father died when A. R. Rahmann was nine years, something he found very difficult to cope up with. During those hard times, a Sufi saint helped them spiritually. This led Dileep to convert to Islam, changing his name to Allah Rakha Rahman. At the age of 11, A. R. Rahman joined the troupe of Indian composer Ilayaraaja as a keyboardist. A. R. Rahman later played on the orchestra of M.S. Vishwanathan and Ramesh Naidu, and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. The experience allowed him to obtain a scholarship to Trinity College at Oxford University, where he received a degree in Western classical music.
Career of A. R. Rahman
In 1991, A R Rahman began his own studio called the Panchathan Record Inn. He initially composed music for use in advertisements, the title music on popular Indian TV channels and music in documentaries, among other projects. A. R. Rahman was, at first, hesitant about composing music for the Indian film industry primarily because most film makers at the time used songs as 'fillers' - a means by which the audience was given a break from the movie's plot. In 1991 he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam, who offered A.R. Rahman the job as composer of music for his upcoming film Roja, and the movie's super hit debut made him a household name in Tamil Nadu virtually overnight and led Rahman to receive the Rajat Kamal Award for best music director at the Indian National Film Awards, the first time ever by a debutant. A. R. Rahman has since then gone on to win the award 3 more times (for Minsaara Kanavu in 1997, Lagaan in 2002 and Kannathil Muthamittal, the most ever by any composer.
A. R. Rahman's work is also unique in the fact that his collaborations with a few movie directors have always resulted in hugely successful albums. In particular, he has worked with Mani Ratnam on eight movies (until 2004), all of which have been musical superhits. Also notable is his collaboration with the director S. Shankar. A. R. Rahman made an album Vande Mataram (1996) on India's national song. Recently, he also came up with an album called Jana Gana Mana, a huge conglomeration of performances by all the leading exponents/artists of Indian classical music.
His work also includes Mani Ratnams's Yuva, Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities, Bose - The Forgotten Hero, Swades, Mangal Pandey - The Rising and Rang De Basanti. He has also worked on Mani Ratnam's venture Guru and on one of Shyam Benegal's most expensive ventures, Chamki Chameli, which released in 2007. Other movies through which he prominently left his mark in the Hindi film industry include Taal, Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Raanjhanaa and many others. In 2008, Rahman scored his first Hollywood picture, the comedy Couples Retreat released the next year, which won him the BMI London Award for Best Score. Rahman created background scores for the romance films Slumdog Millionaire, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, blockbuster sci-fi romance film Enthiran, Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, Maryan, Jodhaa Akbar, Padayappa, Alaipayuthey and others. He has also done playback singing for some of his compositions.
Other Ventures of A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman is also involved in humanitarian activities. He has supported a few charitable organizations like Save the Children. He was also appointed as for the Stop TB Partnership, a project by WHO, as the Global Ambassador. He launched his KM Music Conservatory in 2008 in collaboration with Audio Media Education facility for imparting training to the aspiring musicians in different fields of music. He also worked for Yusuf Islam for the song "Indian Ocean" the proceeds of which were utilized for helping the orphans in Banda Aceh, a region affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Achievements of A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman was honoured with a number of awards for his unmatched compositions. He had won two awards at The Oscars for the film Slumdog Millionaire. He has also received 4 National Film Awards, 5 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, 15 Filmfare Awards, 13 Filmfare Awards south, 2 Global Indian Film Awards, 11 IIFA Awards, 9 Star Screen Awards, 7 Zee Cine Awards along with numerous other accolades. He has been honoured with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in the years 2000 and 2010 respectively. He has also received several international awards including Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, UK Asian Music Awards, Satellite Awards, Denver Film Critics Society Awards, Black Reel Awards and many others.
Personal Life of A. R. Rahman
Rahman is married to Saira Banu and has three children Khatija, Rahima, and Ameen. Rahman's younger sister Fathima is in charge of his Music Conservatory in Chennai. The youngest Ishrath has her own music studio. A. R. Rahman is the co-brother of film actor Rahman.