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Famous Like Me > Composer > R > A.R. Rahman

Profile of A.R. Rahman on Famous Like Me

Name: A.R. Rahman  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 5th January 1966
Place of Birth: Madras (now Chennai), India
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Allah Rakha Rahman (born Friday January 6, 1967 as A.S. Dileep Kumar in Chennai, India) is a popular Indian film music composer. He made his debut in 1992 with Mani Ratnam's Tamil movie, Roja (Rose), which was subsequently dubbed into many languages. Ram Gopal Verma's Rangeela (Colorful) (1995) was the first Hindi movie to have Rahman as the music director.

Early Years

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 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 Naidu, 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.

Music Career

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 music 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. He has been successful in creating his own style of composition by a symbiosis of the best elements of technology and the Indian classical instruments. However some critics allege that he makes excessive usage of technology in his music.

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.

Another point worth noting is that while Ilayaraaja brought western music in Indian Instruments, A.R.Rahman pioneered the art of composing Indian classical Carnatic and Hindustani music and using western Instruments to play those tunes.

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, Jeans, Mudhalvan, Nayak and Boys).and back ground score in director santhosh narayanan film margazhi

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.

His Latest Work Includes Mani Ratnams's Yuva, Bose - the forgotten hero (the Biography of Subash Chandra Bose), Swades, and Mangal Pandey - The Rising.

International Accolades

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 Toronto on March 23, 2006.

Rahman received more international attention with this article in the TIME magazine. Rahman's first movie album "Roja" was listed in TIME magazine's TOP 10 Movie Soundtracks of all time; source. According to BBC Rahman has sold 100 million albums in India, as of 2003.


Partial discography


YEAR Tamil Telugu Hindi Malayalam Marathi
1992 Roja Roja Roja (1994) Roja Roja
1992 Ashokan (1993) Yoddha (1995) Dharam Yodha (1993) Yodha
1993 Uzhavan
1993 Thiruda Thiruda Donga Donga Chor Chor (1996)
1993 Pudhiya Mugam Padmavyuham
1993 Gentleman Gentleman
1994 Vandicholai Chinnaraasu Bobili Paparayudu
1994 Super Police Super Police Khel Khiladi Ka (1996)
1994 Pudhiya Mannargal
1994 Pavithra
1994 May Madham Hridayaanjali (1999)
1994 Kizhakku Cheemayile Palnati Pourusham
1994 Karuthamma Vanitha/Osey Krishnamma
1994 Kadhalan Premikudu (1995) Humse Hai Muqabla
1994 Duet Duet Tu Hi Mera Dil
1995 Indira Indira Priyanka
1995 Bombay Bombay Bombay
1994 Manitha Manitha Gang Master
1995 Rangeela Rangeli Rangeela
1995 Muthu Muthu Muthu Maharaja (2001)
1996 Love Birds Love Birds Love Birds
1996 Indian Bharateeyudu Hindustani
1996 Kadhal Desam Prema Desam Duniya Dilwalon Ki
1996 Fire (Hindi/English)
1996 Mr Romeo Mr Romeo Mr Romeo (1997)
1996 Anthimantharai
1997 Minsara Kanavu Merupu Kalalu Sapnay
1997 Iruvar Iddaru
1997 Ottam (non-film) 50-50 Daud - fun on the run
1997 Ratchagan Rakshakudu
1997 Mona Lisa Kabhi Na Kabhi
1997 Vishwa Vidhaata
1998 Jeans Jeans Jeans
1998 Uyire Prematho.. Dil Se..
1998 1947/Earth
1998 Doli Saja Ke Rakhna
1999 En Swasa Kaatre Premante Pranamistha
1999 Jodi Jodi
1999 Padaiyappa Narasimha
1999 Taalam Taal
1999 Thakshak
1999 Kadhalar Dhinam Premikula Roju Dil Hi Dil Mein
1999 Pukar
1999 Sangamam
1999 Taj Mahal
1999 Mudhalvan Oke Okkadu Nayak
2000 Alai Payuthey Sakhi
2000 Kandukondain Kandukondain Priyuralu Pilichindi
2000 Rhythm Rhythm/Jeevithamma Chirunavva
2000 Thenali Tenali
2000 Zubeidaa
2001 One 2 Ka 4
2001 Love You Hamesha
2001 Star
2001 Lagaan
2001 Paarthale Paravasam Paravasam
2001 Nayak
2001 Alli Arjuna
2002 Kannathil Muthamittal Amrutha
2002 The Legend of Bhagat Singh
2002 Baba Baba
2002 Kadhal Virus
2002 Saathiya
2003 Udhaya
2003 Parasuram Police Kartavyam
2003 Boys Boys
2003 Enakku 20 Unakku 18 Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu
2003 Kangalal Kaidhu Sei
2003 Tehzeeb
2004 Lakeer
2004 Meenaxi - A Tale of 3 Cities
2004 Aytha Ezuthu Yuva Yuva
2004 New Naani
2004 Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa (3 out of 8 songs)
2004 Desam Swades
2004 Kisna - The Warrior Poet (6 out of 16 tracks)
2005 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose - The Forgotten Hero
2005 The Rising - Ballad of Mangal Pandey
2005 Ah Aah (Anbe Aaruyire/Best Friend)
2005 Water

Note: "Year" indicates the year the earliest version of any multi-language movie was released.

  • The films Nayak (2001, Hindi) and Saathiya (2002, Hindi) were remakes of the films Mudhalvan (1999, Tamil) and Alai Payuthey (2000, Tamil), respectively. The soundtracks were reused with changes and additional songs.
  • A. R. Rahman has also composed the score for the film Warriors of Heaven and Earth/Tian di ying xiong (2003, Mandarin)
  • He has contributed one song to Fiza (1999, Hindi).
  • The soundtracks of the films Roja (1992) and Gentleman (1993), were also released as instrumental versions.

The following films had soundtracks reused from previous albums:

  • Vishwa Vidhaata (1997, Hindi) from Pudhiya Mugam (1993, Tamil)
  • Jodi (1999, Tamil) from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1999, Hindi), with 3 new songs added
  • Love You Hamesha (2001, Hindi) from May Madham (1994, Tamil)
  • Star (2001, Tamil) from Thakshak (1999, Hindi - 3 songs) and 1947/Earth (1998, Hindi - 1 song), with 1 new song added

The soundtrack of Nicolas Cage's Lord Of War (2005), features the song "Mumbai Theme" from the Tamil/Hindi movie Bombay


  • Return of the Thief of Baghdad (Yet to be released) (2003)
  • Deen Isai Maalai (1989) as AS Dilip Kumar
  • Set Me Free (1991)
  • Vande Mataram (1997)
  • Jana Gana Mana (2000)
  • Bombay Dreams (2002) (Musical)
  • Ignited Minds (2003) (Unreleased but peformed in live concert)
  • Raga's Dance (2004) (for Vanessa Mae's album called Choreography)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article A.R. Rahman