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A.R. Rahman


A.R. Rahman was born on January 6, 1967 at Madras, India. He belong a rich Tamil family. His birth name was A.S. Dileep Kumar. Rahman’s father was R.K. Shekhar. R.K. Sekhar was also a composer and a conductor for Malayalam and Tamil songs.

After his father's death when Rahman was nine years old, the rental of his father's musical equipment provided his family's income. Raised by his mother, Kareema (born Kashturi), Rahman was a keyboard player and arranger for bands such as Roots (with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja) and founded the Chennai-based rock group Nemesis Avenue. He mastered the keyboard, piano, synthesizer, harmonium and guitar, and was particularly interested in the synthesizer because it was the "ideal combination of music and technology".


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Rahman began his early musical training under Master Dhanraj, and at age 11 began playing in the orchestra of Malayalam composer (and close friend of his father) M. K. Arjunan. He soon began working with other composers, such as M. S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Ramesh Naidu and Raj-Koti, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship from Trinity College London to the Trinity College of Music.

Studying in Madras, Rahman graduated with a diploma in Western classical music from the school. Rahman was introduced to Qadiri Islam when his younger sister was seriously ill in 1984. His mother was a practicing Hindu. He converted to Islam with other members of his family in 1989 at age 23, changing his name from R. S. Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman (A. R. Rahman).



He later graduated from the Trinity College at Oxford University, with a degree in Western classical music. His lucky break came when he was asked by famous director to compose the music for his movie Roja in 1991. Roja's music went on to create waves and there was no looking back ever since.

Rahman notched up many other hits like Bombay, Kadhalan, Indira, Minsaara Kanavu, Muthu and Love Birds, Swades, Rang De Basanti and Guru. His music was very different from the rest of the pack. He made his debut in Bollywood with the film Rangeela, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. He has worked with all the leading directors both in Bollywood as well as in the South Indian film industry. He has won international acclaim. He composed the score and soundtrack for the Chinese film Warriors of Heaven and Earth in 2003. The famous international composer Andrew Lloyd Webber hired Rahman to compose the music for his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams in 2002.

Over the years Rahman has had the distinction of working with some of the best personalities in the Indian entertainment industry like Javed Akhtar, Mehboob, Gulzar, Vairamuthu, Anand Bakshi, Vaali and P.K.Mishra. Rahman's studio, Panchathan Record Inn, was inaugurated in 2005 and is regarded as among the finest of its kind in Asia with regards to equipments and overall development.

KM Music, the personal music label of AR Rahman was launched in 2006. Its first release was the music of Sillunu Oru Kaadhal scored by Rahman himself. He has also been involved in a number of prestigious international projects such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age that was directed by Shekhar Kapoor in 2007. Rahman also scored the music for Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. This work fetched him two Oscars and a Golden Globe. The music was extremely popular with Jai Ho reaching number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 at the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles.


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Personal life

Rahman is married to Saira Banu and has three children: Khatija, Rahima and Ameen. Ameen has sung "NaNa" from Couples Retreat, and Khatija has sung "Pudhiya Manidha" from Enthiran. Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, the son of his older sister A. R. Reihana. Kumar's first film work was singing on Rahman's "Chikku Bukku Rayile", from his score for 1993's Gentleman. Reihana's film debut was singing on "Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae" from Kannathil Muthamittal, and she is a music director. Rahman's younger sister, Fathima, heads his music conservatory in Chennai. The youngest, Ishrath, has a music studio. A.R.Rahman is the co-brother of film actor Rahman.

Dileep Kumar converted to Islam in 1989 and assumed his present name, Rahman. After the early death of his father, his family experienced difficult times; Sufism influenced his mother who was a practicing Hindu and, eventually, his family. During the 81st Academy Awards ceremony Rahman paid tribute to his mother: "There is a Hindi dialogue, mere pass ma hai, which means 'even if I have got nothing I have my mother here'." He said, "Ella pughazhum iraivanukke" ("All praise to God" in Tamil, a translation from the Quran) before his speech.



1994 – Sanskriti Award

1995 – Kalaimamani from Government of Tamil Nadu

1995 – Bommai Nagi Reddy Award

1995 – Mauritius National Award

1995 – Malaysian Award

1995 – Rajiv Gandhi Award

1996 – 'Gana Kaladhar'

2000 – Padma Shri from Government of India

2001 – Awadh Samman from Government of Uttar Pradesh

2001 – Al-Ameen Education Society Community Award

2002 – Amir Khusro Sangeet Nawaz Award

2004 – National Lata Mangeshkar Award from Government of Madhya Pradesh

2005 – Mahavir-Mahatma Award

2006 – Honorary Award from Stanford University

2006 – Sanatan Sangeet Puraskar

2006 – Swaralaya Yesudas Award

2007 – Limca Book of Records Indian of the Year for Contribution to Popular Music

2008 – CNN-IBN Global Indian of the Year

2008 – NDTV Indian of the Year

2008 – Rotary Club of Madras

2009 – CNN-IBN Entertainer of the Year

2009 – CNN-IBN Indian of the Year

2009 – NDTV Global Indian Entertainer Award

2009 – UK Asian Music Award for Outstanding Achievement

2009 – Placed by Time magazine in List of World's Most Influential People.

2010 – 10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival

2010 – Padma Bhushan from Government of India

2010 – British Asian Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Music

2010 – Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration

2010 – FICCI Global Icon

2010 – "Crystal Award"

2010 – Outstanding Achievement in Music at the Asian Awards

2011 – GQ Legend of the Year Award

2011 – Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival

2012 – Vuclip Icons of the Year 2012 – Most Admired Bollywood Music Composer


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