The Mozart of Madras, A. R. Rahman is a name to reckon as he has made India proud by winning two Oscars for his music in “Slumdog Millionaire.” A man who is not restrained by any boundary and mixes music from East and West. He has brought East and West closer through his spiritual music. He is a multi-talented singer who is the reason behind the world looking at Indian music more seriously now. He is always experimenting and is open to fresh ideas. Rahman is a well-known humanitarian and philanthropist and donates money for numerous causes and charities.
A. R. Rahman was born on 6 January 1967 (age 53 years; as in 2020) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He did his schooling from Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan, Chennai. He went to Madras Christian College. He obtained a scholarship from Trinity College of Music, Oxford University, United Kingdom. He converted from Hinduism to Islam and changed his name from A. S. Dileep Kumar to A. R. Rahman (Allahrakka Rahman). Because of his father’s early demise, his family went through a rough patch. He was just 9 years old back then, and the responsibility to support his family came to him. He lived in a joint family. He always had a fascination with electronic gadgets, specifically musical instruments. He began earning money by playing his father’s keyboard and worked with renowned people like Illaya Raja and Raj Koti. He passed his board exams with 1st division and wanted to become a computer engineer. But due to the hardship of life, he started following his father’s track and started his training in music under Master Dhanraj. He got 50 (INR) as his first salary for operating a record player.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5”
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Family, Caste & Wife
A. R. Rahman is the son of R. K. Shekhar, who was a music composer. His mother is Kareema Beegum, earlier Kasturi Shekhar.
He has three sisters, A. R. Reihana, Fathima Rafiq, and Ishrath Qadri. In 1989, he, along with his family, converted to Islam from Hinduism; soon after his sister got relief from her severe illness. According to them, it was all because of the blessings of a Pir Qadri called Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani.
He tied the knot with Saira Banu. It was an arranged matrimonial alliance.
He and Saira have two beautiful daughters named, Khatija, Rahima and a son, Ameen.
A. R. Rahman began his career with a band called Roots (1984-88).
Along with being a part of this band, he also played keyboard for 10/12 Kannada films. Later, he joined a rock band called “Nemesis Avenue.”
In this band, he used to work as a producer-arranger and performed for a concert “Jive live” as well. In 1987, he started composing ad jingles. His first break was for Alwyn’s new trendy range of watches. He composed songs for around 300 ads in 5 years. Meanwhile, he worked on the album “Colours” with famous personalities like Shankar, Sivamani and Zakir Hussain.
Afterward, he met acclaimed director Mani Ratnam through a producer, Sharada Trilok in 1991. Mani Ratnam was highly impressed with Rahman’s work; as a result of which he got a breakthrough in the film “Roja” (1992).
After his debut in “Roja,” he became a household name throughout India. Being successful at selling almost 200 million cassettes and 150 million recordings of his soundtracks, he was placed among the world’s all-time top-selling recording artists in 2004. Even after achieving a lot, he did not stop learning and further polished his musical skills by getting trained in classical Hindustani, Carnatic, Qawwali and Western classical music under the guidance of different masters such as Dakshinamurthy, N. Gopalakrishnan, Krishnan Nair, Nithyanandham, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jacob John. To celebrate 50 years of Indian independence, he composed an album named “Vande Mataram” in collaboration with Sony Music in 1997. It was Sony’s first album with a South-Asian artist.
Branching out from Tamil to Hindi and then to English movies, his music became a global phenomenon. In 2007, he, along with Craig Armstrong, composed music for a biographical drama film, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” directed by Shekhar Kapur.
In 2008, he composed the song “Jai Ho” for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire“ for which he won the Oscar.
Later, Rahman composed the music for the Netflix series called “Daughters of Destiny,” directed by Vanessa Roth.
Besides this, he is a global ambassador of the WHO’s “Stop TB Partnership” and promotes “Save the Child” in India as well. In addition, he is the first-ever brand ambassador of Sikkim.
This Oscar-winning music composer is also the cultural ambassador of Seychelles for his contribution to the country’s art and culture development.
In 2017, Rahman made his directorial debut with the Indian virtual reality film “Le Musk” starring Nora Arnezeder, Guy Burnet, Munirih Grace, and Mariam Zohrabyan.
Harmony With A. R. Rahman, a wonderfully-shot show that was aired on Amazon Prime Video in 2018, features musicians from four parts of India- Maharashtra, Kerala, Sikkim, and Manipur. The focus of this series is on exploring the depths and roots of India’s rich musical heritage.
Rahman got involved in a controversy when he composed music for a biopic on Prophet Muhammad called “Muhammad: The Messenger of God.”
- Best Music Director for the movie “Roja” in 1992
- Best Music Director for the movie “Minsara Kanavuin” in 1996
- Best Music Director for the movie “Lagaan” in 2001
- Best Music Director for the movie “Kannathil Muthamittal” in 2002
- Best Music Director for the movie “Kaatru Veliyidai” in 2017
- Best Music Director for the movie “Mom” in 2017
- Best Original Score and Best Original Song for the song “Jai Ho” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009
- Best Film Music for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009
- Best Compilation Soundtrack Album and Best Song Written for the song “Jai Ho” of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009
- Kalaimamani by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1995
- Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2000
- Awadh Samman by the Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2001
- National Lata Mangeshkar Award by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in 2004
- Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2010
- Food: Palak Paneer, Rasam-Rice
- Musicians: Ilayaraja, Michael Jackson
- Destinations: Chennai, Mumbai, London
Rahman owns a bungalow in Kodambakkam, Chennai.
A. R. Rahman gets around Rs. 5-8 crore per film.
A. R. Rahman has a net worth of Rs. 163 crores.
- Rahman likes playing the Keyboard in his leisure time.
- He is the founder of KM College of Music and Technology in Chennai which was inaugurated by Mukesh Ambani in the year 2008.
- In 2012, Barack Obama, the then President of the United States at the White House, sent him a Christmas card and invited him to dinner as well.
- Rahman and his son, Ameen’s birthday falls on the same date, 6 January.
- In an interview, he revealed that he contemplated suicide on a daily basis until age 25 and hated his original name- Dileep Kumar.
- A street in Markham, Ontario, Canada is named after him as a tribute to him.
- He composes music at night as compared to other musicians and avoids picking up calls from anyone. In an interview “The Nightingale of India,” Lata Mangeshkar said that he made an exception by working during the daytime while working with her, which is unusual.
- He started a social media platform called “Qyuki” along with filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor. Through this social networking media platform, story writers can exchange their thoughts.
- On 20 January 2017, he accompanied members of the Nadigar Sangam and went on a one-day fast to encourage the people of Tamil Nadu protesting against the ban on Jallikattu, a bull-taming event.
- In 2005, the soundtrack of the film “Roja” was listed among TIME’s “10 Best Soundtracks” of all time.
- Not many people know that “Yodha” (1992), a Malayalam film was actually the first film for which he was hired to compose music.
- He prefers composing music for the romantic genre over others.
- The Oscar-winning song “Jai Ho” was composed for the Bollywood film “Yuvvraaj” (2008) in the first place, but finally became a part of “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008).
- A 90-minute long documentary called “Jai Ho,” directed by Umesh Aggarwal, based on the life of the music maestro A. R. Rahman was made for his fans. It was the first time he found his way into the White House for the movie screening.
- He has over 120 movie scores to his name.
- The “A R Rahman Store” on his official website, is presently selling 7 items and planning to further extend the list to include pre-sale tickets and DVDs.
- His mother noticed Saira Banu, A. R. Rahman’s wife, at the same temple where she used to visit frequently. She liked her and arranged a meeting with Rahman.
- He practices at a place near Mahabalipuram which helps him connect with music. At that moment, he says that he feels like delivering a prayer to God.
- He is really fond of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
- Shoes are banned from his recording studio because he worships music.
- A. R. Ameen, A. R. Rahman’s son sang a song called “NaNa” with other singers in the Hollywood film, “Couples Retreat” at the age of 6. The music for this song was composed by A. R. Rahman.
- In 2009, Rahman was awarded the doctorate in Media Sciences by Anna University.
- A. R. Rahman received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music for his extraordinary contribution to the arts, on 24 October 2014.
- The Limca Book of Records honoured A. R. Rahman in the “People Of The Year” category for their 2007 edition.
A. R. Rahman worked with will.i.am, the renowned Hollywood Rapper to remake one of his classic songs, “Urvashi.” He wrote about it on Twitter “Excited to creatively partner with iamwill to recreate an early popular track of mine in a new flavor.”
- He established his studio named “The Panchathan Record Inn & AM Studios” on his street at Kodambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu in 1989.