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Rahman: reaching new heights

IndiaGlitz [Sunday, January 06, 2008]
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Inspiring the millions

 Listen to AR. Rahman's Birthday Special!

The music wizard, who made India proud, turns 42 today (January 6). The gifted musician, son of musician R.K. Shekhar, has reached incredible heights at this young age.

Consider these facts: His first ever movie album 'Roja' was listed in Time magazine's "Top 10 Movie Soundtracks of All Time". He has composed the score for the Chinese film Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003). He has scored music for Hollywood movies like 'Provoked' and co-scored for 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'. He has received the prestigious Padma Sree award. He has now become an important name in global music scenario.

This is definitely an amazing and incredible travel for a boy, who lost his father at the age of nine. His family had to manage its living by renting out musical equipments of the Shekhar.

The earlier days

Rahman had been served as a keyboardist and an arranger in bands such as "Roots" and "Nemesis Avenue" with friends including Sivamani, embracing numerous music genres. He played the keyboard and piano, in addition to, among others, the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar. The young genius began his training in music under Master Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe of composer Ilayaraja. The boy later played in the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu. He also accompanied the likes of Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship to Trinity College of Music, where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music. The young man with hunger for achieving something started his own music recording and mixing studio, called the Panchathan Record Inn in 1991. He started composing music for advertisements, TV channels, and documentaries. The break came in 1992, when he was approached by director Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for 'Roja'. The dream debut declared to the entire world about the arrival of a genius. It sealed his place as a unique musician. Young Rahman received the prestigious Rajat Kamal award for Best Music Director at the National Film Awards. It was the first time that a film composer receiving the award.

Awards pour in

Rahman's dream run continued and awards became a routine for him. He got National Awards for three more times after 'Roja', for the films 'Minsaara Kanavu' (1997), 'Lagaan' (2002) and 'Kannathil Muthamittal' (2003), the most ever by any composer. He gave distinctive musical scores for number of films like 'Bombay', 'Kadhalan', 'Indira', 'Jeans', 'Muthu', 'Indian', 'Mudhalvan' 'Kandukondein Kandukondein', 'Rhythm' and 'Love Birds'. His latest works in Tamil, 'Sivaji' and 'Azhagiya Tamil Magan' too have created a lot of sensation. Rahman has also made distinctive mark in Bollywood. He made his debut in 'Rangeela', directed by Ram Gopal Varma. He followed it up with many super hit scores for films including 'Dil Se' and 'Taal'. The sales of these albums created new records in the musical industry. Now the magical musician is working on 'Chamki Chameli' and 'Jodhaa Akbar' set for release in 2008, along with Hindi version of Tamil blockbuster "Ghajini". Rahman's versatility in classical, folk, jazz, reggae, soft rock and other styles make his works so special that people go mad over his music. He is well versed in various genres of music including Carnatic music, Western classical, Hindustani and the Qawwali. His scores have a variety covering all these genres. The way he experiments with sound is something unprecedented in Indian musical scenario. He has also made many experiments with various kinds of voices.

Global recognition

In 2002, he composed his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams (2002) following a commission from famous musical theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Furthermore, Rahman, along with the Finnish folk music band Värttinä, composed the music for The Lord of the Rings theatre production. He composed the piece "Raga's Dance" for Vanessa Mae's album Choreography (2004). In the last six years, he has performed in three successful world tours of his concerts to audiences in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Dubai, UK, Canada, the US (Hollywood Bowl and 3d tour) and India. A two-disc soundtrack, Introducing A. R. Rahman, (2006) featuring 25 pieces he composed from his Tamil film scores was released in May 2006.

Inspiring the millions

Though he is liked by youth very much, the older generation too is enthralled by his creativity. He made the entire nation proud when he came up with his album 'Vande Matharam' in 1997, India's 50th anniversary of independence. It won't be an exaggeration to say that the album rekindled the feeling of freedom struggle and a deep sense of patriotism. He did the same magic when he released him 'Jana Gana Mana' album last year. He has utilised the great voices and instrumental artists of India Today to bring out the feeling of worshiping our beloved motherland.

IndiaGlitz wishes this amazing man, who can even be considered for the highest civilian award 'Bharath Rathna', with many more successes and honors.




A book on the making of ‘Sivaji’





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