a-r-rahman

Allah-Rakha Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, musician and philanthropist. A. R. Rahman’s works are noted for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. Among his awards are two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards, fifteen Filmfare Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards South. Rahman’s body of work for film and stage has given him the nickname of “the Mozart of Madras”, and Tamil commentators and fans call him Isai Puyal.In 2009, Time included Rahman on its list of the world’s most influential people.The UK-based world-music magazine Songlines named him one of “Tomorrow’s World Music Icons” in August 2011.

Skilled in Carnatic music, Western and Hindustani classical music and the Qawwali style of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahman is noted for film songs amalgamating elements of these and other genres, layering instruments from different musical idioms in an improvisational style.Symphonic orchestral themes accompany his scores, occasionally using a leitmotif. During the 1980s Rahman recorded monaural arrangements in common with his musical predecessors, K. V. Mahadevan and Vishwanathan–Ramamoorthy. In later years his methodology changed, as he experimented with the fusion of traditional instruments with new electronic sounds and technology.Rahman’s musical interests and outlook originate in his love of experimentation. His compositions have an auteuristic use of counterpoint, orchestration and the human voice, melding Indian pop music with a unique timbre, form and instrumentation. With this syncretic style and wide-ranging lyrics, the appeal of Rahman’s music crosses classes and cultures in Indian society.

His first soundtrack, for Roja, was listed on Time’s all-time “10 Best Soundtracks” in 2005. Film critic Richard Corliss said that the composer’s “astonishing debut work parades Rahman’s gift for alchemizing outside influences until they are totally Tamil, totally Rahman”,and his initial global success is attributed to the South Asian diaspora. Music producer Ron Fair considers Rahman “one of the world’s great living composers in any medium”.

Rahman is married to Saira Banu and has three children: Khatija, Rahima and Ameen. Ameen has sung “NaNa” from Couples Retreat, and Khatija has sung “Pudhiya Manidha” from Enthiran.Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, the son of his older sister A. R. Reihana.Kumar’s first film work was singing on Rahman’s “Chikku Bukku Rayile”, from his score for 1993’s Gentleman. Reihana’s film debut was singing on “Vidai Kodu Engal Naadae” from Kannathil Muthamittal, and she is a music director. Rahman’s younger sister, Fathima, heads his music conservatory in Chennai. The youngest, Ishrath, has a music studio. Rahman is the brother-in-law of film actor Rahman.

An atheist during much of his childhood, in 1989 Rahman converted to Islam from Hinduism.After the early death of his father, his family experienced difficult times; Sufism influenced his mother who was a practicing Hindu and, eventually, his family. During the 81st Academy Awards ceremony Rahman paid tribute to his mother: “There is a Hindi dialogue, mere pass ma hai, which means ‘even if I have got nothing I have my mother here’.” He said, “Ella pughazhum iraivanukke” before his speech.

Rahman is involved with a number of charitable causes. In 2004 he was appointed global ambassador of the Stop TB Partnership, a WHO project. Rahman has supported Save the Children India and worked with Yusuf Islam on “Indian Ocean”, a song featuring a-ha keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and Travis drummer Neil Primrose. Proceeds from the song went to help orphans in Banda Aceh who were affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.He produced the single “We Can Make It Better” by Don Asian with Mukhtar Sahota. In 2008 Rahman opened the KM Music Conservatory with an audio-media education facility to train aspiring musicians in vocals, instruments, music technology and sound design. The conservatory (with prominent musicians on staff and a symphony orchestra) is located near his studio in Kodambakkam, Chennai and offers courses at several levels. Violinist L. Subramaniam is on its advisory board.Several of Rahman’s proteges from the studio have scored feature films. He composed the theme music for a 2006 short film for The Banyan to aid poor women in Chennai.

In 2008 Rahman and noted percussionist Sivamani created a song, “Jiya Se Jiya”, inspired by the Free Hugs Campaign and promoted it with a video filmed in a number of Indian cities.