B.H.Harsh wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Allah Rakha Rehman or A. R. Rahman (real name Dileep Kumar ) was born on 6th of January, 1966 in Madras (now Chennai). He is second of the four children to his parents, R. S.Shekhar and Kareema Begum. Rahman was just 9 when his father, a music director, passed away. All the pressure of supporting the family on financial terms fell on Rahman and his mother. They used to rent musical instruments for generating Income. This was the period when Rahman embraced Islam. Meanwhile, Rehman did his primary schooling at PSBB, Lake Area School, Nungambakkam but dropped out of it soon due to financial problems and joined Illayaraja’s troupe as a Keyboard player. He also accompanied Zakir Hussain on a few tours. Soon, Rahman moved to composing jingles and composed over 300 of them. 2 years later, he made a studio “Panchathan Record Inn”.
Rehman got his first break when he met Mani Ratnam at an advertising awards function. Mani Sir offered him to compose music for his next film, Roja (Tamil 1992, dub in Hindi, 1993). Rahman entered the scene with a bang-on soundtrack, and Roja’s music was a huge hit. Rehman also won a National award for this film for best music, and Filmfare R.D.Burman award (in Feb 1995) for one of the most promising talent in music, And he didn’t look back after that.
His unique sound in the sound-tracks of Humse Hai Muqabla (1994), Rangeela (1995) and Bombay (1995), stormed the Hindi Film music scenario. His music for Shankar’s Indian (1996) (Hindustani in Hindi) was hugely popular. Then came 1997 witnessed a comparatively low year for him, but Sapnay’s songs were very popular never-the-less. In 1998, His music for Mani Ratnam’s Dil se was not only was a huge hit, but also got noticed in the West. He swept all the awards that year for his haunting soundtrack. A year later came Taal (1999), which simply took him notched higher than all the peers.
Rahman succeeded in retaining his Numero Uno spot for many more years to come. His music for Lagaan (2001), The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) and Saathiya (2002) just re-iterated his cut above the rest. However, he did have a bad patch when his only album Tehzeeb (2003) had no hit songs. And although his music for Swades (2004) was liked by most, it wasn’t such a big hit. Also, his songs for Aamir khan’s come back film The Rising (2005) didn’t cut any ice with the audience. But he broke through with a foot-tapping and soulful music for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti (2006). His old touch was evident, which proved why he is the best music director in the nation. His music for Mani Ratnam’s Guru (2007) was not as big a hit, but still had his own following. Meanwhile, Rahman has been composing for South-indian films, many of which have been dubbed to Hindi and have been popular.
A.R.Rahman has been winning awards right from his debut in the Hindi film Industry. His Music for Roja (1993) won many awards for Roja including the National award. He later won national award for Minsaara Kanavu (1997), Lagaan (2001), Kannathil Muthamittal (2003). He has also won Filmfare awards for Rangeela (1995), Dil se (1998), Taal (1999), Lagaan (2001), Saathiya (2002) and Rang De Basanti (2006). Rahman was also awarded Padma Shri in the year 2000 for his outstanding Contribution to Hindi Film music.
In 2008, Rahman scored for the period film Jodhaa Akbar and then the youthful Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na. Both the albums became huge success. He has many films on hand at present, Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraaj and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6 being the biggest of them.
He was also appointed as the Golbal embassador for Stop TB partnership, one of WHO’s projects. A.R.rahman is the brand ambassador of Airtel. He was the first Indian music director to compose for A Western Musical stage play Bombay Dreams by Andrew Lloyd Webber. He also composed music for The oscar winning Hollywood film The Lord of the Rings (2004). On the 50th Independence day, Rehman composed an entire album, Vande Mataram (1997) as an ode to India’s culture and traditions.