A. R. Rahman

Missing image
AR Rahman


Fundamental Facts:

Full Name: Allah Rakha Rahman.

Original Name: A. Sekhar Dileep Kumar.

Pet Names: Indian Mozart, Child Prodigy.

Date of Birth: Thursday, 6th of January, 1966.

Birth Place: Chennai.

Born and Brought up in: Chennai.

Religion: Born Hindu, converted to Islam in 1989.

Languages known: Tamil (mother tongue), Telugu, Malayalam, English and Hindi.

School: Mainly Padma Sesadree Balabhavan, but shifted often.

College: Madras Chiristian College (Drop out)

Formal Qualifications in Music: Professional training in Hindustani, Carnatic classical styles. Degree in Western

Classical Music from Trinity College London. Oxford University's under scholarship.

Family Details:

Father: Late RK Sekhar, Malayalam music composer. Passed away in 1976.

Mother: Kasturi Sekhar (Now Kareema Begum), House wife

Siblings: 3 Sisters. Kanchana, Bala(Talath), Israth

Wife: Saira Banu (Arranged Marriage, 1995, Chennai)

Daughters: Kathija, Raheema.

Son: Roomi.

Debut As:

An Instrumentalist: 1979. In Ilaiyaraja's troupe as a keyboard player.

A Music Arranger: 1983. Arranged music for Ilaiyaraja, Ramesh Naidu, Raj Koti and others.

A Jingle Composer: 1987. For Allwyn's trendy watches, produced by: Isaac Thomas Kottukapally.

An Independent Musician: 'Deen and Isai Maalai', (1989, Tamil) Islamic Devotional Songs.

A Film Music Composer: 'Roja' (Tamil 1992).

A Vocalist: 'Roja' (Song: 'Chinna Chinna Aasai').

A Full Fledged Singer: 'Bombay' (Tamil 1994).

Loves: To experiment a lot.

Hates: Languages as a barrier for Music.

Believes in: Relentless labor, high enthusiasm and commitment.

Stresses on: Quality and Originality.

Attitude: Never say die!

Positive Quality: Down to earth!

Negative Quality: Does not take too much work!

Biggest Challenge: People's Expectations.

Biggest Achievement: Taking Tamil music to non-Tamilians.

About God: Not even an atom can move without the will of the Almighty.

About Religion and Patriotism: It is most important, but should be left to an individual.

About Success: It does not last forever.

Favorite Musical Instruments: Keyboards, Flute, Mridangam.

Favorite Past time: Meditation, Internet, Taking family to Durgah.

Allah Rakha Rahman (born Thursday January 6, 1966 as AS Dileep Kumar in Chennai, India) is a popular Indian film music composer. He made his debut with Mani Ratnam's movie, Roja (Rose) (1992) in Tamil and Ram Gopal Verma's movie Rangeela (Colorful) (1995) in Hindi.

Rahman is the only son of R. K. Sekhar, who was an arranger and conductor for Malayalam films. His father died when Rahman was nine years old and his family used to rent out the musical equipment to make ends meet. At the age of 11, Rahman joined the troupe of Indian composer Ilayaraja as a keyboard player. He later played on the orchestra of M.S. Vishwanathan and Ramesh Nadu, and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. The experience allowed him to obtain a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music at Oxford University, where he received a degree in Western Classical Music.

In 1989, Rahman began his own studio (which was attached to his house), called the Panchathan Record Inn. He initially composed music for use in advertisements, the title music on popular Indian television channels, and in documentaries, among other projects. 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" or 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 Rahman the job as composer of music for his upcoming film Roja, at a price of Rs. 25,000. Rahman accepted, and the movie's superhit 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. Rahman has since then gone on to win the award 3 more times (for Minsaara Kanavu in 1997, Lagaan in 2002 and Kannathil Muthamittal in 2003) the most ever by any composer.

A.R. Rahman combined the usage of technology and music. However, this usage of technology in music is sometimes dubbed as excessive and injurious by other music composers. But lately, Rahman has been successful in transcending such criticisms by creating his own style of composition by a symbiosis of the best elements of technology and the Indian classical instruments.

When Rahman arrived onto the Indian music scene with his first film Roja (1992), the music industry in India was going through a crisis with the retirement of older music composers and the lack of innovation in Indian film music. Roja was a massive hit, and Rahman followed it up with a number of other extremely popular films, including Bombay, Dil Se and Rangeela. The huge sales of these albums prompted movie producers to take film music more seriously. Today, Rahman is widely considered as the man who single-handedly revived public interest in Indian film songs in the 90's. The main reason why his songs were so popular was because everyone liked westernized Indian music.

In fact Ilayaraaja made Tamil people (who were listening Hindi songs) to listen Tamil Songs, where as A.R.Rahman made Hindi people(who were listening Hindi songs) to listen Tamil Songs. Another point worth noting is that while Ilayaraaja brought western music in Indian Instruments, A.R.Rahman pioneered the art of composing Indian classical Carnatic and Hindustani Music and using western Instruments to play those tunes

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) (see list of movies by Mani Ratnam featuring A R Rahman), all of which have been musical superhits. Also notable is his collaboration with the director Shankar (Gentleman, Kadhalan, Indian, Mudhalvan, Jeans and Boys).

Missing image
Lord Lloyd-Webber with A.R. Rahman

He 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.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, a well known composer of musicals, was impressed with Rahman's unique style and therefore hired him to compose his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams (2002). This play was well received in England and opened him up to new vistas in Hollywood. Currently (as of May 2004) Rahman, along with the Finnish folk music band Vrttin, is composing for the Lord of the Rings musical, set to open in Toronto in March 2006.

Rahman received more international attention with this article (http://www.time.com/time/columnist/corliss/article/0,9565,1013198-1,00.html) in the [TIME] magazine.

According to BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3211258.stm) Rahman has sold 100 million albums in India, as of 2003.

His Latest Work Includes Mani Ratnams's Yuva, Bose- the forgotten hero(the Biography of Subash Chandra Bose),Swades, and the much awaited, The Rising. His music for Swades is the strong contender for this year's Indian National Film Awards.

Partial discography


1992 Roja Roja Roja
1993 Gentleman Gentleman The Gentleman
1993 Kizhakku Cheemayilae
1993 Pudhiya Mugam
1993 Thiruda Thiruda Donga Donga Chor Chor
1993 Uzhavan
1994 Duet
1994 Kadhalan Humse hai Muqabala
1994 Karuthamma
1994 May Madham
1994 Puthiya Manargal
1994 Vandi Solai Chinnaraasu
1994 Pavithra
1994 Super Police
1994 Gang Master
1995 Bombay Bombay Bombay
1995 Indira
1995 Muthu
1995 Rangeela Rangeela
1996 Indian Bharateeyudu Hindustani
1996 Kadhal Desam Prema Desam Duniya Dilwalon Ki
1996 Love Birds
1996 Mr Romeo
1997 Iruvar
1997 Minsara Kanavu Merupu Kalalu Sapnay
1997 Ratchagan Rakshakudu
1997 Daud
1998 Jeans Jeans Jeans
1998 Uyire Hruthayanjali Dil Se
1998 Doli Saja Ke Rakhna
1998 Kabhi Na Kabhi
1999 Mudhalvan Oke Okkadu Nayak
1999 Taj Mahal
1999 Sangamam
1999 Kadhalar Dhinam Premikula Roju
1999 Jodi
1999 Thaalam Taal
1999 En Swasa Kaatre
1999 Padaiyappa
1999 1947 Earth
1999 Thakshak
1999 Pukar
2000 Alai Payuthey Sakhi Saathiya
2000 Kandukonden Kandukonden Priyuralu Pilichindi
2000 Rhythm Rhythm
2000 Thenali Tenali
2000 Dil Hi Dil Mein
2001 Star
2001 Paarthale Paravasam Paravasam
2001 Alli Arjuna
2001 Zubeidaa
2001 One 2 Ka 4
2001 Love You Hamesha
2001 Lagaan
2002 Kannathil Muthamittal Amrutha
2002 Baba
2002 Kadhal Virus
2002 The Legend of Bhagat Singh
2002 Saathiya
2003 Udhaya
2003 Parasuram
2003 Boys Boys
2003 Enakku 20 Unakku 18 Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu
2003 Kangalal Kaidhu Sei
2003 Tehzeeb
2004 Aaiyutha Ezhuthu Yuva Yuva
2004 New Naani
2004 Desam Swades
2004 Lakeer
2004 Meenaxi - A Tale of 3 Cities
2004 Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa
2004 Kisna
2005 Bose - The Forgotten Hero
  • Note: "Year" indicates the year the earliest version of any multi-language movie was released.

A. R. Rahman has also composed the score for the following movies:

He has also contributed one song to Fiza (1999, Hindi).


Return of the Thief of Baghdad (Yet to be released) (2003)
Deen Isai Maalai (1989) as AS Dilip Kumar
Set Me Free (1991)
Vande Mataram (1997)
Jana Gana Mana (2000)
Bombay Dreams (2002) (Musical)
Ignited Minds (2003) (Unreleased but peformed in live concert)
Raga's Dance (2004) (for Vanessa Mae's album called Choreography)

To view the complete Discography of AR Rahman, please visit http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrdisc.html

See also

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