A.R.Rahman: the Mozart of Madras
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
Allah Rakha Rahman (Tamil: அல்லா ரக்கா ரகுமான்; born 6 January 1966 as A. S. Dileep Kumar) is an Indian film composer, record producer, musician and singer. His film scoring career began in the early 1990s. He has won fourteen Filmfare Awards, four National Film Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, two Grammy Awards, and two Academy Awards. Working in India’s various film industries, international cinema and theatre, by 2004, Rahman, in a career spanning over a decade, had sold more than 150 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide, and sold over 200 million cassettes, making him one of the world’s all-time top selling recording artists. Time magazine has referred to him as the “Mozart of Madras” and several Tamil commentators have coined him the nickname Isai Puyal (Tamil: இசைப் புயல்; English: Music Storm). In 2009, the magazine placed Rahman in the Time 100 list of World’s Most Influential People. •
Early life and influences
A. R. Rahman was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India to a musically affluent Mudaliar Tamil family. His father R. K. Shekhar, was a Chennai based composer and conductor for Malayalam films. Rahman lost his father at a young age and his family rented out musical equipment as a source of income. He was raised by his mother Kareema (Kashturi). He was introduced to Sufism when his younger sister fell severely sick and as per the advise of a family friend, the family would pray at a mosque and vow conversion to Islam if she got well. The prayers were answered and accordingly, he along with other members of his family then converted to Islam in the year 1989 at the age of 23 and changed his name to Rahman. During these formative years, Rahman served as a keyboard player and an arranger in bands such as “Roots”, with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja. Rahman is the founder of the Chennai-based rock group, “Nemesis Avenue”.
He played the keyboard and piano, the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar. His curiosity in the synthesizer, in particular increased because, he says, it was the “ideal combination of music and technology”. He began early training in music under Master Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe of Ilaiyaraaja, one of many composers to whom musical instruments belonging to Rahman’s father were rented. Rahman later played in the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan Ramesh Naidu and Raj Koti, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music. Career
Film scoring and soundtracks
In 1992, Rahman began the Panchathan Record Inn, a music recording and mixing studio attached to the backyard of his house. Over time it would become the most advanced recording studio in India. He initially composed scores for documentaries, jingles for advertisements and Indian Television channels and other projects. In 1992, he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for Ratnam’s Tamil film Roja. The debut led Rahman to receive the Rajat Kamal award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards, an unprecedented win for a first-time film composer. Rahman has since been awarded the Silver Lotus three more times for Minsaara Kanavu (Electric Dreams, Tamil) in 1997, Lagaan (Tax, Hindi) in 2002, Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek, Tamil) in 2003, the most ever by any composer. Roja’s score met with high sales and acclaim in both its original and dubbed versions, bringing about a marked change in film music at the time.
Rahman followed this with successful scores for Tamil–language films of the Chennai film industry including Ratnam’s politically charged Bombay, the urbanite Kadhalan, Bharathiraaja’s Karuththamma, the saxophonic Duet, Indira, and the romantic comedies Mr. Romeo and Love Birds, which gained him considerable notice. His fanbase in Japan increased with Muthu ‘s success there. His soundtracks gained him recognition in the Tamil Nadu film industry and around the world for his stylistic versatility incorporating Western classical, Carnatic and Tamil traditional/folk music traditions, jazz, reggae and rock music. The Bombay Theme—from Ratnam’s Bombay—would later reappear in Deepa Mehta’s Fire and various compilations and media.