Born in Madras, India, A. R. Rahman (Allah Rakha Rahman), also known as Dileep Kumar, is an Oscar Award winning Indian music composer, singer, songwriter, music producer, musician and philanthropist. He was born on the 6th of January in the year 1966 to a musical affluent family.
Rahman was born to R. K. Shekar, his father, who was both a film score composer and conductor of the Tamil and the Malayalam film industries. Rahman, as a young boy accompanied with and aided his father in the film studio, where he used to play and practice the Keyboard.
When he was about nine years old, Rahman’s father had passed away. After his father’s death, the only income provided to and supported the family was the rental fees of his father’s musical equipments.
With the demise of R. K. Shekar, Kashturi (now rechristened Kareema), his mother brought up young Rahman. A few years later, Rahman became an expert in the playing the Keyboard. He became an arranger of musical bands. He organized and arranged the concerts of various bands. One of the many bands was Roots. This band was arranged with the accompaniment of Sivamani, a childhood friend and percussionist, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, Jojo and Raja. These people along with Rahman founded together the Chennai based Rock group, Nemesis Avenue.
Along with the passage of time, Rahman mastered the art of playing the Keyboard, the Piano, the Synthesizer, the Harmonium and the Guitar. Rahman, as a music composer was specifically fascinated by the synthesizer as it was an instrument that incorporated music and technology into one.
The early ages of Rahman’s musical training and guidance were taken care of under the tutelage of his master, Dhanraj. When he was about 11 years old, he started to play in the orchestral group of a Malayalam composer, M. K. Arjunanan, who was a close friend of his father. Gradually, his fame in the field of music was rising high and started to perform with renowned music composers such as such as M. S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Ramesh Naidu and Raj-Koti. He also accompanied famous musicians such as Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar. He went on world tours for music concerts with these exponents and it earned him a scholarship from the Trinity College of London to the Trinity College of Music.
Rahman had his education in Madras. He went on to pursue music in college and he graduated with a Diploma in Western Classical Music. Born a Hindu, Rahman converted to Islam after his introduction to Qadirilslam when his younger sister fell seriously ill in the year 1984. Though his mother continued to be a practicing Hindu, Rahman converted to Islam with all of his other family members in the year 1989. When he was about twenty-three years old, he changed his name from R. S. Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman (A. R. Rahman).
Along the passage of time, Rahman got many opportunities to compose music for movies. Luck hit him in the year 1991. Rahman was given a colossal opportunity by a famous Tamil director to be the music composer for the film Roja. The music in Roja was so enticing to the listeners that Rahman’s compositions went on to create a new pack of followers and there has not been a setback ever since.
It can rightly be stated that Roja paved the entryway for Rahman into the film industry. Followed by Roja, he notched up a lot of other hit songs in movies like Bombay, Kadhalan, Indira, Minsaara Kanavu, Muthu and Love Birds, Swades, Rang De Basanti and Guru. He had a sense of peculiarity while composing music and this made all of his musical compositions unique and very different from that of the other musicians during the early ages.
Rahman entered Bollywood through the film Rangeela, which was directed by one of the most renowned directors, Ram Gopal Varma. He holds the privilege of having been given chances to work with the greatest of the directors in both the South Indian film industry and Bollywood.
Rahman’s personal musical label, the KM Music, was launched in the year 2006. The first music album to be released by this firm was the songs in the movie Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. All the songs in the movie were scored by Rahman himself.
Rahman’s fame and talent is not just limited to India but all across the world. He holds the privilege of being the composers for many international films. He has composed the music score and soundtrack for the Chinese film “Warriors of Heaven and Earth” in the year 2003. Many other international films could be credited to Rahman’s list of international fame.
He holds many honorary awards to his credit. He is the winner of two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards, fifteen Film fare Awards and fifteen Film fare. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India.