Music genius and Academy Awards winner AR Rahman turns 44. One of the most acclaimed music directors of the present time, he in a career spanning over a decade has delivered some of the most memorable music in films like Roja, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti , Guru, Taal, Bombay, Dil Se, Rangeela and the most recently Slumdog Millionaire.
For his score of Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman won 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.
Rahman, the "Mozart of Madras", was born in 1966 as AS Dileep Kumar, a Hindu, to RK Shekhar, a composer, arranger and conductor for Malayalam-language films. However, he later got converted into a Muslim.
Rahman began his independent career with Mani Ratnam's Roja in Tamil in 1992 after assisting the doyen of Tamil film music Illaiyaraja for nearly a decade. He was awarded the Rajat Kamal award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards for the film, the first time ever by a first-time film composer and since then he never looked back.
The film was also listed in TIME's "Top 10 Movie Soundtracks of All Time". Rahman went on to win the national award three more times (for his scores for Minsaara Kanavu in 1997, Lagaan in 2002 and Kannathil Muthamittal, the most ever by any composer. The music director is known for his versatility in classical, folk, jazz, reggae, soft rock and other styles in his pieces. Rahman's debut Hindi film was Rangeela. He has also been awarded the Padam Shri for his outstanding contribution to music.
Some of his recent work includes Jodhaa Akbar, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Yuvraaj, Delhi-6 and Ghajini. Rahman scored the Mandarin language picture Warriors of Heaven and Earth in 2003 after researching and utilizing Chinese and Japanese classical music, and co-scored the Shekhar Kapoor helmed Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007.
Known for keeping his personal life away from the media glare, Rahman is married to Saira and has three children - Khatija, Rahima and Amin. Rahman attached and opened a developed extension studio to his Panchathan Record Inn in 2005, called AM Studios in Kodambakkam, Chennai - considered to be the most developed, equipped and high tech studio in Asia.
In 2006, he launched his own music label, KM Music. After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has become selective and is working on a few Bollywood projects; his last Hindi release was 'Blue'. After winning couple of academy awards with Slumdog Millionaire, the "Mozart of Madras" has been approached with many Hollywood offers. He recently made his first foray into composing music for an American film with Universal Pictures' forthcoming romantic comedy, Couples Retreat.
Rahman will also score music for more Hollywood films including Danny Boyle’s tentatively titled 127 Hours and Ashok Amritraj’s Street Dancing. The master composer’s next big Bollywood venture is with his 'Roja' director Mani Ratnam in 'Raavan.
- With Inputs From News Tomorrow