A.R. Rahman is a world renowned Academy and Grammy Award winning film composer, singer and songwriter who is best known for his innovative method of integrating various music genres and forms from a wide spectrum of musical traditions, both contemporary (electronic sounds) as well as classical (traditional orchestra). In the last three decades, Rahman has worked across several film industries within India as well in international film projects, along with several solo projects, all of which continue till date. His most widely acclaimed musical scores include films such as Roja
(1995), Dil Se..
(2002) and Slumdog Millionaire
(2008). For his revolutionary beginnings in Tamil cinema as well as Telugu films, he is often referred to as the “Mozart of the South.”
Born as A S Dileep Kumar, after which he converted to Islam and took the name Allah-Rakha Rahman, he played the keyboard in his formative years as a part of musical bands such as Roots and was later a part of Malayalam composer, M K Arjunan's orchestra. For most part of the late 80s and early 90s, he worked on jingles, documentaries and television shows. Later, he received critical acclaim for his musical score for Mani Ratnam's Roja
(1992). The film won him the prestigious Silver Lotus at the National Awards. For a large chunk of the 90s, Rahman continued to primarily work in Tamil films, with films like Bombay
(1998), Dil Se..
(1997) and Taal
(1999) making Rahman's characteristic musical fusion style an integral part of Hindi films as well. His compositions soon became an integral part of films, often an independent component for its success. In recent times he worked with the Tamil super hit O Kadhal Kanmani
(2015), and Tamasha
Rahman's ability to blend folk musical traditions, Carnatic sangeet and classical western music in his compositions changed the lexicon of music within Indian cinema and eventually got him a more widespread presence in world music. One of his first international projects, Rahman composed music for Weber's “Bollywood musical”, Bombay Dreams (2002) and became a global success. After that, Rahman worked on Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire (2008) for which he went on to win two Academy Awards, the BAFTA Award and the prestigious Grammy Award. With this, he became the first South Asian composer to win an Oscar. Time magazine also included his name in their 2009 list of the world’s most influential people. Apart from his career as a musician, A R Rahman has also undertaken numerous charitable endeavours towards social causes, including that of tuberculosis awareness and protection, children's causes. He also opened up the K M Music Conservatory, his own establishment that intended to train potential musicians in various elements of music making.