A.R. Rahman is the top most music director in Indian film industry. With his music style, he revolutionized Indian film music. A. R. Rahman's birth name was A.S. Dileep Kumar, which he changed to Allah Rakha Rahman when he accepted Islam due to some incidence in his life.
A.R. Rahman was born on 6th January, 1966, in Madras in a musically rich family. His father R. K. Sekhar Mudhaliar was a composer, arranger and conductor for Malayalam films. Rahman started playing piano at the age of four. Rahman lost his father at very young age of nine and his family caught into the financial problems. They used to rent out the musical equipments to solve their financial problems. Also his sister gets suffered from an unexplainable illness, from which she gets recovered when a Sufi saint visited their house. The incidence led his family to convert into Islam and that changed A.S. Dileep Kumar's name to Allah Rakha Rahman (A.R. Rahman).
A.R. Rahman is the second amongst four siblings, so the responsibility to support family came to him. To fulfill the needs of his family Rahman joined composer Ilayaraja's troupe as a keyboard player. At that time he was only of 11 years old. Also Ilayaraja was the one composer to whom musical equipments of his father were given on rent. Rahman later also performed at various orchestras. He traveled all around the world along with table master Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. Later he won the scholarship from the Trinity College of Music at Oxford University (UK), where he took degree in Western classical music.
Rahman started his music career by composing for TV commercials. He composed over 300 advertisements in five years. In 1989, Rahman opened his own studio named Panchathan Record Inn. attached to his home. The studio is now one of the well-equipped recording studios of India. A big break came to Rahman's way when he met the ace director Mani Ratnam at some advertising award function. Rahman showed some of his compositions to Mani Ratnam. Ratnam liked his work and offered him to compose music for his Tamil movie Roja. And the rest is history. Rahman went on to give hits from his very first film.
Music of Roja was an instant hit. For the film he won his first National Award as Best Music Direction. He became the first composer to win a National Award for his very first film composition. Rahman also had won three more National Awards for films Minsaara Kanavu (Tamil) in 1997, Lagaan (Hindi) in 2002 and Kannathil Muthamittal (Tamil) in 2003.
After Roja, Rahman went on to give number of hits in many Tamil films. Rahman turned to Hindi cinema with Ram Gopal Varma's Rangeela (1995), which was again become instant hit among listeners. Like this he carved his niche in Bollywood (Indian Hindi Film Industry) as well. His other popular compositions in Bollywood includes films Dil Se, Taal, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, Saathiya, Swades, Rang De Basanti and the latest Mani Ratnam's film Guru.
Apart from film music, Rahman also worked on a musical 'Bombay Dreams' in 2002 along with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Shekhar Kapur. The musical was performed in Apollo Theatre, West End, London, and on Broadway in New York City. The show earned him a nomination at Laurence Olivier Theatre Award as a Best New Musical of 2002.
Also he released an album called 'Vande Mataram', in celebration of India's 50th Independence Day. It was tribute to motherland India. The album was hit. The song plays every time on Indian Independence Day and Indian Republic Day at every corner of India.
Rahman also had formed a foundation named 'A. R. Rahman Foundation' to fight against poverty. The aim of the foundation is to remove poverty from globe and help children to pursue education who can't afford. Rahman recently released an album called 'Pray For My Brother', which had anti-poverty theme.
The veteran musician in just 40 now and has long time to stay in the industry.