AR Rahman makes India proud at the Oscars

24Allah Rakkha Rahman, born on January 6, 1967, has won many awards in his career as a composer. But none will probably rival this, his two Oscars for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. So far, the composer has already won four National Awards, seven Filmfare National Awards, twelve Tamil Filmfare Music Director Awards, besides winning the BAFTA, the Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice Award for his work. And now he can add the Oscars to his large kitty of awards.

In a career spanning a little over a decade, Rahman has emerged as one of the leading, all-time top-selling recording artist in the world. He has been bestowed many titles, including the ‘Mozart of Madras.’ A keyboard whiz, the composer is equally adept at the piano, the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar.He began his career as a keyboard player and served as an arranger for bands like ‘Roots’ with his childhood buddy Sivamani. He honed his skills by playing in the orchestras of composer Illyaiaraaja and even accompanied tabla maestro Zakir Hussian and L Shankar on world tours. He even obtained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music in London, from where he graduated with a degree in Western Classical music. Besides his knowledge of Western classical music, Rahman is also skilled in Hindustani classical music and the quwali style of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Rahman has his own music recording and mixing studio, AM Studios, which is considered to be the most developed and well equipped in Asia. He launched his own label, KM Music, in 2006 and its first release was his score for ‘Warriors Of Heaven and Earth’ a Mandarin language film. He followed it up with his score for Shekhar Kapoor’s ‘Elizabeth: the Golden Age’ in 2007.’ In 2002, he composed his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams, following a commission from the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber. He also collaborated with the Finnish folk music band Varttina for the music score of the theatrical production of ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

However, it was his association with the noted director, Mani Ratnam, which changed the course of his life altogether. This composer of jingles and documentaries as catapulted to fame when he was asked to compose for Roja in 1992. The rest, as they say, is history. Besides his sojourn in Tamil cinema, he has composed for Hindi films like Bombay, Dil Se, Lagaan, Rangeela, Taal, Swades, Rang De Basanti, the recent Jodhaa Akbar and Delhi 6. Rahman’s USP has been his ability to improvise with different genres and music systems, fusing the traditional with the electronic, and developing a style which is as diverse as it is unique. Slumdog Millionaire has catapulted him on to a level, where the whole world is his stage today

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