The golden boy of Indian music, A R Rahman turns 44

The golden boy of Indian music, A R Rahman turns 44

The golden boy of Indian music, A R Rahman turns 44

The composer who won two Grammy nominations for his soundtrack from "Slumdog Millionaire", has never been the one for raucous celebrations and ringed in his birthday with close family and friends.

From performing for US President Barack Obama to collaborating with international artistes, including Pussy Cat Dolls and Kylie Minogue to becoming the first Indian to win a Golden Globe and two Academy awards, Rahman has become one of the most sought after names in the industry.

Last year, he scored soundtracks for Bollywood films "Dilli 6" and "Blue" along with his maiden Hollywood venture "Couple's Retreat". Hailed by Time magazine as the 'Mozart of Madras', Rahman, according to a BBC estimate, has sold over 150 million copies of his work comprising music from more than 100 soundtracks and albums across over half a dozen languages.

An alumni of London's Trinity College of Music, he was also honoured by his alma mater last year.

Rahman was born in Chennai on January 6, 1966 as S Dileep Kumar. The musical genius lost his musician father R K Sekar when he was only nine years and had to support the family. Rahman's family converted to Islam in the 1970s.

Starting his career by composing ad jingles, Rahman was first noticed for the music he gave for a Bombay Dyeing commercial which became very popular.

Shortly after that in 1992, he was approached by Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for his Tamil film "Roja".

The music of the film clicked with the audiences thanks to its refreshing melodies and gave Rahman a Best Music Director trophy at the National Film Awards, the first time ever by a debutante film composer. Rahman entered the Hindi film industry with "Rangeela", directed by Ram Gopal Varma. The music of the film became a rage and the genius continued to give some brilliant compositions for films like "Bombay", "Dil Se", "Taal", "Lagaan" and "Rang De Basanti" among others.

Rahman pioneered a distinct phase in Indian film music combining Western influences with Indian sounds, ranging from classical instruments to folk music. While his 1998 superhit composition 'Chaiyya chaiyya' ("Dil Se") was deeply rooted in Sufi mysticism his latest film "Blue" saw him amalgamating techno pop with bhangra.

In 2002, he gave the music for his maiden stage production "Bombay Dreams" directed by legendary musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Rahman's music was a hit from London's 'West End' to New York's 'Broadway'.

In 2004 with Finnish folk music band Varttina, he composed the music for "The Lord of the Rings" theatre production. Rahman's composition 'Jai ho' for British director Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire", earned him two Academy awards and the song reached an anthem status, playing everywhere from John Galliano's fashion show to radio stations across India.

A four-time National Award winner, Rahman was conferred the Padma Shri and has received six awards at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, besides eleven Filmfare and Filmfare Awards South each.

In 2006, he received an honorary award from Stanford University for his contributions to global music. In 1995, he also received the Mauritius National Award and the Malaysian Award. The music director who is known for his humble demeanour gave a new definition to patriotism with his modern rendition of 'Vande Mataram'.
From the dusty bylanes of Chennai, Rahman has travelled far in the world of music, managing to enthrall people across the globe with his compositions as he continues to set new standards in the world of music.

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