A.R. Rahman Biography
Rahman started learning piano at the tender age of four. He lost his father during his childhood. As a result, the pressure of supporting the family fell on young Rahman.
At the age of 11, he joined Ilayaraja’s troupe as a keyboardist. He also played on the orchestra of M. S.Vishwanathan and Ramesh Naidu and went with Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world visits.
The experience allowed him to obtain a scholarship at Trinity College of Music at Oxford University, where he received a degree in Western Classical Music.
After his return from the foreign tours, he continued to be a part of various musical groups.
Rahman also joined local rock bands like Roots, Magic and Nemesis Avenue, where he performed with his future colleagues like Ranjit Barot and Sivamani.
In 1987, he got an opportunity to form a jingle to advance Allwyn’s new stylish scope of watches. His work was valued and he got numerous more offers.
He has done jingles for famous promotions like Parry’s, Leo Coffee, Boost, Titan, Premier Pressure Cooker, Asian Paints, and so on Rahman went on to compose more than 300 jingles and received awards and recognition for his work and he continued in advertising for five years.
In 1989, he started a small studio of his own, called Panchathan Record Inn, attached to his house, where he began experimenting in sound engineering, design, and production. At first, he was, hesitant about composing music for the Indian film industry, primarily because most filmmakers at the time used songs as “fillers” – a means by which the audience was given a break from the movie’s plot.
In 1991, director Mani Ratnam approached him and offered a job as composer of music for his upcoming film Roja, at a price of 25,000.
Rahman got the national award for the best music director that year. From then, there was no looking back for him.
He got offers from a lot of directors of the south and the Hindi film industry. Rangeela and later Mumbai established his popularity in the north too. Rahman’s music wave arrived with a big bang in the tinsel world with sales of more than 40 million albums over a period of 3 years.
He has also dabbled in playback singing with songs like ‘Hamma Hamma’ in Mumbai, ‘Dil Se Re’ in Dil Se etc.
Apart from films, Rahman has also done compositions for patriotic albums like Vande Mataram’ a tribute to the motherland released simultaneously in 28 countries across the world.
He has also performed with internationally reputed artists such as Apache Indian, David Byrne, Michael Jackson and Andrew Webber Lloyd for his album, ‘Mumbai Dreams’. He has received numerous awards in recognition of his talent.
He received the Padmashree from the government of India in 2000. He has received many honorary awards for his contributions to global music. In 2009, for his score of many Oscar-winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Rahman won the Critics’ Choice Award, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and two Academy Awards for Best Original Music, Score and Best Original Song for ‘Jai Ho’. He is the first Indian to win two Oscars in one year.
In 2010, Rahman composed scores for the blockbuster sci-fi romance film Enthiran and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. He received the Padma Bhushan Award the same year. Rahman won Lifetime Achievement Award in Dubai International Film Festival in December 2011. He is the first musician to win this award.
In Summer 2012, Rahman composed a Punjabi song for the London Olympics opening ceremony, organized by Danny Boyle. On 20 December 2012, he released the single “Infinite Love” in both English and Hindi commemorating the last day of the Mayan calendar to spread hope, peace, and love.
On 7 May 2012, he has conferred Honorary Doctorate from the Miami University, Ohio. He also received a Christmas card from the US President’s family and an Invitation for the dinner at White House.