A. R. Rahman Biography • Allahrakka Rahman • A.S. Dileep Kumar • Composer

Allahrakka Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, musician, multi-instrumentalist and philanthropist. Creating a distinctive style of music and hypnotizing people around the world for over a decade is something only A R Rahman could do. His film career began in the early 1990s. He has worked with many of his country’s top music stars and a growing list of international celebrities, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain, L. Shankar, Apache Indian and David Byrne.

His music still has a South Indian influence. A.R. Rahman’s works are known for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. He has received two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe Award, four National Film Awards, fifteen Film Awards and fifteen Southern Film Awards. In 2010, he was honored by the Government of India with the third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.

A. R. Rahman was born A. S. Dileep Kumar on January 6, 1966, in Madras (now Chennai), India, into a musically well-to-do family. His father, R. K. Shekhar, was a composer and conductor of Tamil and Malayalam films; Rahman helped his father in the studio by playing keyboard.

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Dileep Kumar was born a Hindu in a Tamil-Mudali family, but converted to Islam in 1989 and took his current name Rahman. As a child he was more or less an atheist, but he was guided by Sufi Islam and converted to his mother’s religion, Islam. After his father’s early death, his family went through 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 dialogue in Hindi, just pass my hai, which means ‘even though I have nothing, I have my mother here. Before his speech, he said, “Ella puhajum irajwanukke” (“All glory to God” in Tamil, a translation of the Quran).

A. R. Rahman began learning piano when he was 4 years old and his father died when he was 9 years old. Pressed by the support of his family, he joined the Ilairaaji troupe as a keyboardist at the age of 11, which led him to drop out of school and travel the world with various orchestras.

Rahman’s musical interests and perspectives stem from his love of experimentation. Created in the spirit of Chennai’s past and contemporary film composers, Rahman’s compositions evoke the use of counterpoint, orchestration and the human voice, fusing Indian pop music with unique timbre, form and instrumentation. With these qualities, a variety of lyrics and a syncretic style, the appeal of his music cuts across the spectrum of classes and cultures in Indian society.

Rahman met one of India’s finest directors, Mani Ratnam. Ratnam heard several excerpts of Rahman’s music and was so impressed that he immediately signed a contract with Rahman for a musical composition for his film Roja (released in 1992). The music for the film brought him national success, recognition and fame.

In 2006, Rahman founded his own music label, KM Music. In 2003, he composed the music for the film Warriors of Heaven and Earth in Mandarin. Before composing the music, he researched Chinese and Japanese classical music. He won the Just Plain Folks Music Award for Best Album for his music in the film Varalaru (God the Father) (2006).

In 2008, Rahman directed his first feature film in Hollywood, the comedy Couples Retreat, which was released the following year and won the BMI London Award for Best Music. In 2008, Rahman directed Slumdog Millionaire, for which he became the first Asian to win a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards. The songs “Jai Ho” and “O…. Saya” from the film’s soundtrack became an international commercial success.

Rahman is married to Saira Banu and has three children, Khatiya, Rahima and Amin. Amin sang “NaNa” in “Resting Couples” and Khatiya sang “Pudhya Manidha” in “Enthiran.” Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar and the son of his older sister A. R. Reihana. Kumar’s first film work is a voice on Rahman’s “Chikku Bukku Raila” from his 1993 music for “Gentleman.” Reihana makes her film debut – she sings on “Vidai Kodu Engal Naadaye” Kannatila Muthamittala, she is the musical director. Rahmana’s younger sister, Fathima, heads the Chennai Conservatory. The youngest, Ishrat, runs a music studio. A.R.Rahman is the brother-counselor of the actor Rahman.


Name: Allahrakka Rahman (née A.S. Dileep Kumar)
Other names: A.R. Rahman, A.R. Rehman, Mozart of MadrasDate of birth:
January 6,
1967Star sign:
Chennai, Tamil Nadu,
IndiaEducation: Diploma in Western Classical MusicJob
: singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, music director, arranger, conductor


The family:

  • Children: Hatia Rahman, Amin Rahman, Rahima Rahman
  • Parents: R.K. Shekhar, Karima.
  • Woman: Saira Banu


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