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Updated on June 10, 2012


Allah Rakha Rahman was born A.S.Dileep Kumar on the 6th of January 1966, in Madras.

His father K.A.Sekhar was an arranger and conductor in Malayalam movies and had worked under Salil Chowdhary and Devarajan.

AR Rahman ( Dileep ) started learning the piano at the tender age of four.

A R Rahman’s father passed away following a mysterious illness, suspected black magic by his competitors.

At the tender age of 11 Dileep’s had to face the pressure of supporting his family.

He joined Illaiyaraja's troupe as a keyboard player. It was his mother Kareema Begum who encouraged him to follow in his father's footsteps.

His musical career at 11 had an adverse effect on his education.

Infrequent attendance and a tough school management forced him to shift schools from the prestigious Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan to the MadrasChristianCollege.

Finally he was forced to drop out of school.

In 1988, one of his sisters fell seriously ill and numerous attempts to cure her failed.

Her condition progressively worsened.

The family had given up all hope when they came in contact with a Muslim, Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani.

With Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani’s prayers and blessings, Dileep's sister made a miraculous recovery.

influenced by the teachings of Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani, the entire family converted to Islam.

So A.S.Dileep Kumar became Allah Rakha Rahman.


In 1989, he started a small studio of his own, called Panchathan Record Inn, attached to his house.

This small studio later developed into one of India's most well equipped and modern recording studios.

A R RAHMAN used his established state of the art sound and recording studio, to experiment sound engineering, design and production.

He also began a collection of sound samples, creating one of the most comprehensive sonic libraries in Asia.


Vizi Manuel, the lead keyboard player in Illaiyaraja's troupe, advised him to try other alternatives like advertising.

In 1987, Dileep he got his first break in advertising when he was asked to compose the jingle to promote Allwyn's new Trendy range of watches.

The advertisement was a success and AR RAHMAN's work in them was appreciated.

AR RAHMAN moved full time into advertising as a few offers came his way.

Thus began AR RAHMAN's 5-years journey in advertising where he went on to compose more than 300 jingles.

A R Rahman did many popular adverts like those for Parry's, Leo Coffee, Boost (featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev), Titan, Premier Pressure Cooker, Hero and Asian Paints.

The jingles that he composed for the Leo Coffee ad starring Aravind Swamy and the Asian Paints adverts directed by Rajeev Menon also won him awards and recognition.

He also won an award for composing the theme music of the MadrasTeluguAcademy's Spirit of Unity Concerts.


At an advertising awards function he met a young man receiving the award for the best ad jingle which he had composed for the popular Leo Coffee ad.

At the party that followed the awards presentation ceremony, he was introduced to the famous tamil movie director Maniratnam (Nayagan..fame)

Maniratnam requested for a sample of his wares.

The composer readily complied and invited the director over to his studio where he played out a tune that he had been pushed into composing by his school friend G.Bharat

Maniratnam was very impressed. He signed on the composer to score the music for his next film which was to be produced by the veteran Tamil director K.Balachander.

That film was Roja. 

The rest, as they say, is history.

He went on to compose several great hits for Tamil-language films before composing the score and songs for his first Hindi-language film, Rangeela (1995).

The enormous success of his first Hindi venture was followed by the chart-topping soundtrack albums of films such as:
BOMBAY (1995) ,
Dil Se.. (1998),
Taal (1999),
Zubeidaa (2001), and
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), which was nominated for best foreign-language film at the 2002 Academy Awards.

More recently, he worked with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Shekhar Kapur (director of Elizabeth (1998)) on a musical called "Bombay Dreams."


In the movie "Bombay" Rahman formally took to playback singing.

Rahman had lent his voice to his compositions earlier too but they had been part of the chorus or bit pieces like `Marhaba' in `Urvashi' in `Kadhalan' or background pieces and interludes like `Yelelo' in `Chinna Chinna Aasai' in `Roja'.

But `Hamma Hamma' in `Bombay' was Rahman's first complete song.


In 1996, when Rahman had gone to Bombay to attend the Screen Awards ceremony, he met his childhood friend G.Bharat.

During this meeting both had discussed a proposal for an album to commemorate 50 years of Indian Independence in 1997.

In 1997, the International music giant, Sony Music, whose portfolio included the likes of Michael Jackson, entered the Indian market in a big way. They were looking to promote Indian artistes internationally. And the first person to be signed up by Sony Music from the Indian sub-continent was A.R.Rahman, on a 3-album contract.

Rahman suggested the idea that he had discussed with Bharat to Sony Music India and was immediately accepted. Called `Vandemataram'

It was a tribute to the motherland and featured songs to mark the 3 colours of the Indian Flag.

`Vandemataram' was released simultaneously in 28 countries across the world under the prestigious Columbia Label of Sony Music on August 15th 1997.
Rahman performed live at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence to a packed audience that included the Prime Minister of India.

The album sold over 1.2 million copies in India.


His greatest achievement came when he got a rare opportunity to handle the music score for the British film "SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE" produced by British film producer DANNY BOYLE 

The film centered on a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

The film wins 8 OSCARS including 2 oscars for AR RAHMAN..

He later won a GRAMMY AWARD for the song JAI HO from the same film.

 At 44 years old, A.R. Rahman has revolutionized Indian film music and one can only expect this musical genius to reach greater heights. 


        1995 - Kalaimamani

§                         Contributions to music awarded by the Government of Tamil Nadu

§      1995 - Mauritius National Award

§             Contributions to music awarded by Mauritius

§       1995 - Malaysian Award

§               Contributions to music awarded by Malaysia

§       2000 - Padma Shri

§                 Fourth highest civilian award awarded by Government of India

§           2004 - National Lata Mangeshkar Award 

§                  Contributions to music awarded by the Government of Madhya Pradesh

§          2005 - Mahavir-Mahatma Award 

§          2006 - Swaralaya Yesudas Award

§                  Swaralaya-Kairali-Yesudas Award for outstanding performance in the music field

§          2006 - Honorary Award from Stanford University

§          2008 - Rotary Club of Madras

§                   Lifetime Achievement Award

§          2009 - Honorary Doctorate from Anna University

§          2009 - Honorary Doctorate from Aligarh University

§           2009 - Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University

§           2010 - Padma Bhushan

§                  Third highest civilian award awarded by Government of India

 Film awards
National Film Awards

1993 - National Film Award for Best Music Direction - Roja
1997 - National Film Award for Best Music Direction - Minsaara Kanavu
2002 - National Film Award for Best Music Direction - Lagaan
2003 - National Film Award for Best Music Direction - Kannathil Muthamittal

Filmfare Awards
1995 - Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent
1996 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Rangeela
1999 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Dil Se
2000 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Taal
2002 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Lagaan
2003 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Saathiya
2003 - Filmfare Best Background Score - The Legend of Bhagat Singh
2005 - Filmfare Best Background Score - Swades
2007 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Rang de Basanti
2008 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Guru
2008 - Filmfare Best Background Score - Guru
2009 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
2009 - Filmfare Best Background Score - Jodhaa Akbar
2010 - Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Delhi 6

Filmfare Awards South
1992 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Roja
1993 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Gentleman
1994 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Kadhalan
1995 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Bombay
1996 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Kadhal Desam
1997 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Minsaara Kanavu
1998 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Jeans
1999 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Mudhalvan
2000 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Alaipayuthey
2002 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Kannathil Muthamittal
2006 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Sillunu Oru Kadhal
2007 - Best Music Direction (Tamil) - Sivaji: The Boss

Bollywood Movie Awards
2002 - Best Music Direction - Lagaan
2003 - Best Music Direction - Saathiya

Global Indian Film Awards (GIFA)
2007 - GIFA Award for Best Music - Rang De Basanti
2007 - GIFA Award for Best Background Music - Rang De Basanti

International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA)
2000 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Taal
2002 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Lagaan
2003 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Saathiya
2007 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Rang De Basanti
2008 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Guru
2008 - IIFA Best Background Music - Guru
2008 - Outstanding contribution by an Indian in International Cinema
2009 - IIFA Best Music Direction - Jodhaa Akbar
2009 - IIFA Best Background Music - Jodhaa Akbar
2009 - IIFA Music Director of the Decade

International Film awards

  • Academy Awards (Oscars) (United States)
    • 2009 - Best Original Music Score - Slumdog Millionaire
    • 2009 - Best Original Song - "Jai Ho" - Slumdog Millionaire - and Gulzar
  • Golden Globe Awards (United States)
    • 2009 - Best Original Score - Slumdog Millionaire
  • British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) (United Kingdom)
    • 2009 - Anthony Asquith Award for Best Film Music - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (United States)
    • 2008 - Critics' Choice Award for Best Composer - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Black Reel Awards
    • 2008 - Best Original Soundtrack - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (United States)
    • 2008 - Best Music Score - Slumdog Millionaire
  • New York Film Critics Online Awards (United States)
    • 2008 - NYFCO Best Score Award - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards
    • 2008 - Best Original Score - Slumdog Millionaire
  • San Diego Film Critics Society Awards (United States)
    • 2008 - Best Score - Slumdog Millionaire
  • Satellite Awards (United States)
    • 2008 - Satellite Award for Best Original Score - Slumdog Millionaire

Other awards

  • Grammy Awards 
    • 2009 - Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media - Slumdog Millionaire
    • 2009 - Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media - "Jai Ho" - Slumdog Millionaire



British director Danny Boyle takes another intriguing career turn with this heartfelt underdog tale.

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a street kid (or "slumdog") who has landed an appearance on India's version of the hit TV game show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?

Jamal exceeds expectations on the show, and the producers alert the police after they become suspicious of his methods. The young contestant is subsequently arrested and is interrogated at the hands of a nameless police inspector (played by Bollywood star Irfan Khan). As the interrogation proceeds, Boyle tells Jamal's story through harrowing flashbacks that both show the terrible poverty of Mumbai and help explain how he knew the answers to the MILLIONAIRE questions.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a tightly woven story that has been expertly edited into shape.

The contrast between Jamal's upbringing and his chance of escaping it on the show are adeptly juxtaposed.

Mumbai is portrayed as a place of terrifying poverty and unforgettable brutality, and Jamal and his brother get into a never-ending succession of challenging situations.

But the way Boyle ties together Jamal's life experiences with his answers on the show is quite brilliant, and the film really does run the full gamut of emotions as we see him growing up, falling in love, coming close to death, and teetering on the brink of escaping from his terrible predicament.

The film belongs to Boyle's cast, who are mostly unknown outside of India.

Patel, in particular, gives a startlingly mature performance that audiences are likely to remember long after the credits role on this affecting feature




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