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Encyclopedia > A.R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman

Allah Rakha Rahman, born January 6, 1967 as A.S. 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 RamGopal Verma's movie Rangeela (Colourful) (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.

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).

 with A.R. Rahman
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 Värttinä, is composing for the Lord of the Rings musical, set to open in London's West End in 2005.

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

Brief discography

Naani (Telugu)
New (Tamil)
Yuva (Hindi/Telugu)
Aayitha Ezhuthu (Tamil)
Meenaxi (Hindi)
Lakeer (Hindi)
Dil Ne Jise Apna Kaha (Hindi)
Swades (Hindi) Dubbed in Tamil as Desam
Kangalal Kaithu Sei (Tamil)
Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu/Enakku 20 Unakku 18 (Telugu/Tamil)
Kisna (Hindi)
Tehzeeb (Hindi)
Udhaya (Tamil)
Boys (Tamil)
Police Karthavyam (Telugu)
Parasuram (Tamil)
Return of the Thief of Baghdad
Tian di ying xiong (warriors of heaven and earth)
Saathiya (Hindi); remade from: Alai Payuthey (Tamil)
Kaadhal Virus (Tamil)
Spotlights & Saris: Making Bombay Dreams
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (Hindi)
Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil)
Paarthale Paravasam (Tamil)
Nayak (Hindi); 2 original tunes, reused tunes from Muthalvan (Tamil)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (Hindi)
One Two Ka Four
Alai Payuthey (Tamil)
Rhythm (Tamil)
Thenali (Tamil)
Fiza (Hindi) as a guest composer for 1 song
Kandukondain Kandukondain (Tamil)
Dil Hi Dil Mein (Hindi); dubbed from Kadhalar Dhinam (Tamil)
Kadhalar Dinam (Tamil)
Pukar (Hindi)
Mudhalvan (Tamil)
Padaiyappa (Tamil)
Sangamam (Tamil)
Taj Mahal (Tamil)
Thakshak (Hindi)
Thalam (Tamil); dubbed from Taal (Hindi)
Taal (Hindi)
Daud (Hindi)
Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (Hindi)
Jeans (Hindi); dubbed from Jeans (Tamil)
Jeans (Tamil)
Earth (English); dubbed from 1947/Earth (Hindi)
1947/Earth (Hindi)
Dil Se (Hindi)
Uyire (Tamil); dubbed from Dil Se (Hindi)
Kabhi Na Kabhi (Hindi)
Sapnay (Hindi); 1 original tune, remade from Minsaara Kanavu (Tamil)
Minsaara Kanavu (Tamil)
Vishwavidhaata (Hindi); remade from Pudhiya Mugam (Tamil)
Iruvar (Tamil)
Indira (Priyanka)
Kadhal Desam (Tamil)
Mr. Romeo (Tamil)
Fire (English)
Fire (Hindi)
Khel Khiladi Ka (Hindi); dubbed from Super Police (Telugu)
Love Birds (Hindi); dubbed from Love Birds (Tamil)
Love Birds (Tamil)
Love Birds (Telugu); dubbed from Love Birds (Tamil)
Indian (Tamil)
Bombay (film) (Hindi); dubbed from Bombay (Tamil)
Bombay (film) (Tamil)
Rangeela (Hindi)
Rangeela (Tamil); dubbed from Rangeela (Hindi)
Kizhakku Seemaiyile
Kadhalan (Tamil)
May Madham (Tamil)
Gentleman (Tamil)
Thiruda Thiruda (Tamil)
Puthiya Mugam (Tamil)
Super Police (Telugu)
Roja (Tamil)
Yodha (Malayalam)

Non-film discography

Deen Isai Maalai (1989) as Dilip Kumar
Set Me Free (1991)
Vandemataram (1997)
Jana Gana Mana (2000)
Bombay Dreams (2002) (Musical)
Ignited Minds (2003) (Unreleased but peformed in live concert)
Raga's Dance (2004) (from Vanessa Mae's Choreography)

External links

  • RahmanOnline.com (http://www.rahmanonline.com/)
  • The A.R.Rahman Fan Club (http://www.arrahmanfans.com/)
  • List of 'inspired' A R Rahman songs (http://www.iespana.es/i2fs/)
  • The Complete Biography of A.R. Rahman (http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrbio.html)
  • The Complete Discography of A.R. Rahman (http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrdisc.html)
  • Listen to A. R. Rahman's music (http://www.raaga.com/channels/tamil/music/AR%2E%5FRehman.html) - Online play station
  • Profile at Nilacharal (http://www.nilacharal.com/enter/celeb/arrahman.html)
  • MSN Entertainment: A.R. Rahman Artist Information (http://entertainment.msn.com/Artist/Default.aspx?artist=184132)

  Results from FactBites:
AR Rahman launches his new English album 'Pray For Me Brother', Mumbai. (2425 words)
AR Rahman launches his new English album 'Pray For Me Brother', Mumbai.
AR RAHMAN Sir is the priceless Gift that God had given for me in my life.
and nothing is there to win rahman he is the one of the great ang tallented and he is the scientist in musician.........
Desibaba » AR Rahman (71 words)
AR Rahman is a brilliant music director and his music is well recognised around the world.
We hear that Jagmohan Mundra waited four months until AR Rahman was free so that he could compose the music for his film Provoked.
Jagmohan says the wait for Rahman was worth it.
  More results at FactBites »



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