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.
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.