A R Rahman

Music Director A R RahmanThe 90's saw a new music genius, A.R.Rahman graduated to film music from composing music for advertisements. His first film Roja made him a national sensation and he won the Country's best music director award. He uses all the modern equipment's and facilities to compose his tunes.Every year he composes music only for a handful of movies . He silenced his critics who criticised his slow speed by producing quality music. He carefully selects his movies and directors , He has worked with all the major directors like Maniratnam (Roja, Thiruda Thiruda, Bombay, Iruvar, Vuirye(yet to be released)), Shankar (Gentleman, Kathalan, Indian), Balachandar (Duet), Barathiraaja(Kizhaku cheemaile, Karuthamma) In Hindi he has worked with Ram Gopal Varma (Rangeela, Daud), He has scored music for Telugu movies also (Gang Master, Super Police). Recently he released a music album Vanthe Matharam(Sony Music) to commemorate India's Fiftieth Year of Independence

A R Rahman is the undisputed king of Indian music. A shy guy from Chennai with long curly hair, he took the music scene by storm in 1992, and hasn't looked back ever since.

Rahman brought a new sound to film music, fusing folk, rustic melody with foot-tapping music. And the Rahman cliché has had fans swooning, from Roja, Rangeela, Bombay, Dil Se and Kandukondain kandukondain to Alai payuthey, Zubeida, Meenaxi and Yuva.

Trying times

Hailed as a musical genius, the prodigy had a tough childhood. He was born as Duleep Kumar on January 6, 1966 in Madras (now Chennai) to Kareema Begum and K A Sekar. He later embraced Islam and changed his name to Allah Rakha Rahman.

Rahman's father was an arranger and conductor of Malyalam film music, but he passed away when his son was barely nine-years-old. Despite this personal loss, Rahman held on to his music and at 11, began playing the keyboard for a well-known troupe.

He then went on to play with renowned artists like Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and Zakir Hussain. He also earned a scholarship to the coveted Trinity College Of Music, University of Oxford, where he studied Western Classical music.

At 16, he quit school and began working full-time as a session musician on soundtracks, under the popular south Indian composer, Illaiyaraja.

Rahman also set up a recording studio, where he experimented with his own kind of sound. He even tried his hand at television commercials, eventually composing over 300 jingles in just five years (including the famous one for Titan watches)!

His first break in movies came with Mani Ratnam's Roja. Roja became an instant hit, and the music director won a National Award for it.

On higher ground...

Rahman soon became a star to reckon with -- music albums would create record sales just on the Rahman tag. From 1992-97, he created music for many a blockbuster, including Pudhiya Mugam, Gentleman, Kizhaku Seemaiyilae, Duet, Kadalan, Bombay, Indian and others. His soundtrack for Bombay crossed the 5-million sales mark, and Rahman sold more than 40 million copies over a period of three years.

During 1997-2000, Rahman continued to ride high on the waves of success with soundtracks like Dil Se, Taal, Jeans, Thakshak, Sapnay, Dil hi dil mein, Kabhi na kabhi and Earth among others. If any of these albums failed, it was probably due to the failure of the movies at the box office rather than the music.

At this time, Rahman also teamed up with Bharat Bala to produce Vandemataram -- an album that paid tribute to India's 50th year of independence. The album featured Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the vocals, and met with resounding success, selling over a million copies.

Turn of the millennium

By the new millennium, Rahman's popularity was at its peak. His new films also revealed a subtle shift in style, as he began experimenting with newer sounds. Rahman appeared keen to prove his versatility to his critics.

While Pukar, Lagaan, Saathiya, Zubeidaa and Meenaxi veered towards a very Indian folk-classical feel, Tehzeeb, Yuva and Lakeer featured a generous helping of trance and hip-hop.

Rahman also broke boundaries in 2000 by composing the music for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, Bombay Dreams.

And for Rahman fans, surely the best is still to come, as the music director gears up to hit the rock the charts with Subhash Ghai's Kisna, Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black and Ketan Mehta's Rising, amongst others. This maestro is clearly set to give us many more years of music and melody.

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