Today is a very special day for music lovers. It is the birthday of A.R. Rahman, one of the most talented and profilic music composers of Tamil cinema.
For Dileep, son of Shekar, a composer/ conductor in Malayalam cinema, the rise to A.R. Rahman, the most sought-after music director, his rise was phenomenal.
Rahman’s association with music began very early. In school, he took up a part-time job as a keyboard player and arranger in private rock bands. The effect and prospect of mixing and presenting various sounds for the concerts kindled his curiosity. The vast potential of music lured him and this interest sparked off the beginning of his journey into the world of composing. With eagerness to master the nuances and technicalities of music, he then enrolled with Master Dhanraj Pillai for proper training.
At age 11, he joined music director Ilayaraja’s troupe as a keyboardist. Simultaneously, he also played in several music directors’ troupes and toured the world with great concert performers such as Zakir Hussain, L.Vaidyanathan and Ramesh Naidu. Learning from all these varied and valuable experiences, Rahman graduated from Trinity College of Music, London in western classical music. In 1991, he opened his recording studio in Chennai and began composing music for jingles and documentary film strips.
Mani Ratnam’s Roja marked his entry into the world of cinema. Roja won the National award and A.R. Rahman stepped into the limelight. A string of successes followed: Lagaan, Kannathil Muthamittal, Bombay, Karuthamm and Indira are but a few. His music created a new trend, scaled astonishing heights of appreciation and grew to become a sensation. Rahman’s speciality lies in his experimentation. His is a well-knit combination of technology and art. The songs he compose illustrate the distinctly rich aspects of music, yet carry many contemporary motifs. The result of this accomplishment is a production of mind-freshening masterpieces comprising melodies, raps and hip-hops.
Films aside, Rahman has also worked in a diverse variety of projects. He has toured the world several times and has worked with several musical stalwarts and legends. Many crossover movies and Hollywood productions such as Shekhar Kapoor’s Elizabeth – The Golden Age, Slumdog Millionairre too add variety to his career.
Rahman is a prestigious winner of many national and international awards. Roja, his musical debut, was listed in TIME’s ‘Top 10 musical Soundtracks of the year’. The recently-launched KM Music Conservatory, Rahman’s own musical label, has taken his dreams to the next level. Rahman’s vision is to compose and present world-class orchestra in Chennai.
Beyond and above his musical talent, it is Rahman’s great modesty that warms the hearts of listeners and fans worldwide. Almost every time he receives an award or accolade, we have seen him attributing it to the Almighty. ‘Ella Pughazhum Iraivanukke’ is Rahman’s most popular and most-liked prelude to his public speeches.
Rahman is married to Saira Bhanu and the couple is blessed with three children: Kadhija, Rahim and Aman. May the ‘Mozart of Madras’ blessed with the best in his life! Happy Birthday, Rahman Bhai!