Ar Rahman Biography

Birth name : A.S.Dileep Kumar

Born On:6 January 1967

Born In: Madras,Tamil Nadu

Nationality: Indian


  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • music director
  • music producer
  • arranger
  • film director
  • film producer

is an Indian music director, singer and music producer. His works are noted for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. With an in-house studio (Panchathan Record Inn in Chennai), Rahman’s film-scoring career began during the early 1990s with the Tamil film Roja. Among Rahman’s awards are six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Filmfare Awards and seventeen Filmfare Awards South. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India.

Early Life And Influences

A.R. Rahman was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India to a musically affluent Mudaliar Tamil family. His father R.K. Shekhar was a Chennai-based composer and conductor for Malayalam films. Rahman lost his father at a young age and his family rented out musical equipment as a source of income. He was raised by his mother Kareema (Kashturi).
During these formative years, Rahman served as a keyboard player and an arranger in bands such as “Roots”, with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja. Rahman is the founder of the Chennai-based rock group, “Nemesis Avenue”.
He played the keyboard and piano, the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar. His curiosity in the synthesizer, in particular increased because, he says, it was the “ideal combination of music and technology”.
He began early training in music under Master Dhanraj. At the age of 11, he joined, as a keyboardist, the troupe of Ilaiyaraaja, one of many composers to whom musical instruments belonging to Rahman’s father were rented.
Rahman later played in the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan Ramesh Naidu and Raj Koti, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music.


Film Scoring And Soundtracks

In 1992, Rahman began his own music recording and mixing studio attached to the backyard of his house called the Panchathan Record Inn, which was developed into India’s most advanced recording studio.
He initially composed music jingles for advertisements, Indian Television channels and music scores in documentaries, among other projects. In 1992, he was approached by film director Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for Ratnam’s Tamil film Roja.
Roja’s score met with high sales and acclaim, in its original and dubbed versions, bringing about a marked change in film music at the time, and Rahman followed this with successful scores for Tamil–language films of the Chennai film industry including Ratnam’s politically charged Bombay, the urbanite Kadhalan, Bharathiraaja’s Karuththamma, the saxophonic duet, Indira, and the romantic comedies Mr. Romeo and Love Birds, which gained him considerable notice.
Many successful scores for films including Dil Se and the percussive Taal followed. Sufi mysticism formed the basis of Chaiyya Chaiyya for the former and the composition “Zikr” from his score of the film Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero for which he created large orchestral and choral arrangements.
In 2006, Rahman launched his own music label, KM Music. Its first release was his score to the film Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. In 2008, he scored the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, for which he won a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards, becoming the first Indian citizen to do so. In the United States, the soundtrack topped the Dance/Electronic Albums chart and reached #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. The song “Jai Ho” reached #2 on the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles and #15 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Personal Life

He is married to Saira Banu and has three children, Khadijah, Rahima, and Aameen. Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, who is the son of Rahman’s elder sister, A. R. Reihana. He had become an atheist as a result of childhood struggles, he eventually converted to Islam in 1989, the religion of his mother’s family.
He is very devoted to his mother. During the Oscar Award, he paid her a tribute saying: “There is a Hindi dialogue ‘mere pass ma hai’ which means even if I have got nothing I have my mother here.”

Social Service

Rahman is involved in various charitable causes. In 2004, he was appointed as the Global Ambassador of the Stop TB Partnership, a project by WHO. He has shown support to charities including Save the Children, India, and worked with Cat Stevens /Yusuf Islam for his song “Indian Ocean”.
The song featured a keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and Travis drummer, Neil Primrose. The proceeds of the song went towards helping orphans in Banda Aceh, one of the areas worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. He produced the single “We Can Make It Better” by Don Asian alongside Mukhtar Sahota.
In 2008, Rahman opened his KM Music Conservatory partnered with Audio Media Education facility to tutor and train aspiring musicians in vocals, instruments, music technology and sound design. The conservatory – with preeminent musicians on its panel and a newly founded symphony orchestra – is located near his studio in Kodambakkam, Chennai, offering courses at Beginners, Foundation and Diploma level.
Rahman composed the theme music for a short film for The Banyan in 2006, in aid of destitute women in Chennai. In 2008, Rahman, along with percussionist Sivamani created a song titled “Jiya Se Jiya”, inspired by the Free Hugs Campaign and promoted it through a video shot in various cities in India.



  • Kalaimamani : Government of Tamil Nadu(1995):Awarded for contributions to music
  • Padma Shri : Government of India(2000):Fourth highest civilian award
  • Awadh Samman : Government of Uttar Pradesh(2001):Awarded for exceptional and meritorious contribution in music
  • National Lata Mangeshkar Award : Government of Madhya Pradesh(2004):Awarded for Contributions to music.
  • Padma Bhushan : Government of India(2010)Third-Highest civilian award

Honorary Doctorate

  • Anna University(2009).
  • Aligarh University(2009).
  • Middlesex University(2009).
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland(2014)
  • Berklee College of Music(2014).

Other Honorary Awards

  • Sanskriti Award(1994) : Contributions to music awarded by the Sanskriti Foundation.
  • Bommai Nagi Reddy Award(1995).
  •  Mauritius National Award(1995) : Contributions to music awarded by Mauritius.
  •  Malaysian Award(1995) : Contributions to music awarded by Malaysia.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Award(1995)
  • ‘Gana Kaladhar(1996).
  • Al-Ameen Education Society Community Award(2001).
  • Amir Khusro Sangeet Nawaz Award(2002).
  • Mahavir-Mahatma Award(2005)
  • Honorary Award from Stanford University(2005)
  •  Sanatan Sangeet Puraskar(2006) : Contributions to music awarded by the Sanatan Sangeet Sanskriti.
  •  Swaralaya Yesudas Award(2006) : Swaralaya-Kairali-Yesudas Award for outstanding performance in the music field
  • Limca Book of Records Indian of the Year for Contribution to Popular Music(2007)
  • CNN-IBN Global Indian of the Year(2008).
  • NDTV Indian of the Year(2008).
  •  Rotary Club of Madras(2008):Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • CNN-IBN Entertainer of the Year(2009)
  • CNN-IBN Indian of the Year(2009).
  • NDTV Global Indian Entertainer Award(2009)
  • UK Asian Music Award for Outstanding Achievement(2009)
  •  Placed by Time magazine in List of World’s Most Influential People(2009)
  • 10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival(2010) : Special Achievement Award for Significant Contribution to the Globalization of Indian Music
  • British Asian Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Music(2010)
  •  Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration(2010).
  •  FICCI Global Icon(2010)
  • Crystal Award(2010)Lifetime Achievement Award instituted by World Economic Forum
  • Outstanding Achievement in Music at The Asian Awards(2010)
  • GQ Legend of the Year Award(2011)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival(2011)
  • Vuclip Icons of the Year 2012 – Most Admired Bollywood Music Composer(2012)
  •  Fukuoka Prize (Japan)(2016).
  • Lifetime Achievement Award From KISS Foundation(2018)
  • Global Icon Of Inspiration” (Behindwoods Gold Mic Music Awards)(2019)

Film awards

  • Academy Awards : Slumdog Millionaire(2009)Best Original Score,Best Original Song (shared with Gulzar) (for “Jai Ho”)
  • BAFTA Awards : Slumdog Millionaire(2009)Best Film Music.
  • Golden Globe Awards :  Slumdog Millionaire(2009)Best Original Score
  • Grammy Awards : Slumdog Millionaire(2009)Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media,Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (“Jai Ho”)
  • World Soundtrack Awards : Slumdog Millionaire(2009) : Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film,127 Hours(2011) : The Public Choice Award,Viceroy’s House(2017) : The Public Choice Award.
  • National Film Awards : Roja(1992),Minsara Kanavu(1996),Kannathil Muthamittal(2002),Kaatru Veliyidai(2017)Best Music Direction.
  • Tamil Nadu State Film Awards : Roja(1992),Gentleman(1993),Kadhalan(1994),Minsaara Kanavu(1996),Sangamam(1999),Kaaviya Thalaivan(2014)Best Music Direction.
  • Filmfare Awards South : Roja(1993),Gentleman(1994),Kadhalan(1995),Bombay(1996),Kadhal Desam(1997),Minsaara Kanavu(1998),Jeans(1999),Mudhalvan(2000),Alaipayuthey(2001),Sillunu Oru Kadhal(2007),Sivaji: The Boss(2008),Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa(2011),Kadal(2014),I(2016),Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada(2017),Mersal(2018).



  • 1992 : Roja.
  • 1993 : Uzhavan,Vandicholai,Chinraasu,Kizhakku Cheemayile,Pudhiya,Mannargal,Pudhiya Mugam,Gentleman.
  • 1994 : Pavithra,May Madham,Karuththamma,Kadhalan,Duet.
  • 1995 : Indira,Bombay,Muthu.
  • 1996 : Love Birds,Indian,Kadhal Desam,Mr. Romeo,Anthimanthaarai.
  • 1997 : Kanavu,Iruvar,Ratchagan.
  • 1998 : Jeans.
  • 1999 : En Swasa Kaatre,Jodi,Padayappa,Kadhalar Dhinam,Sangamam,Taj Mahal,Mudhalvan.
  • 2000 : Alaipayuthey,Kandukondain Kandukondain,Rhythm,Thenali.Alli Arjuna.
  • 2001 : Star,Paarthale Paravasam,
  • 2002 : Kannathil Muthamittal,Baba,Kadhal Virus.
  • 2003 : Udhaya,Parasuram,Boys,Enakku 20 Unakku 18,Kangalal Kaidhu Sei.
  • 2004 : Aaytha Ezhuthu,New.
  • 2005 : Anbe Aaruyire,.
  • 2006 : Varalaru,Sillunu Oru Kaadhal.
  • 2007 : Sivaji,Azhagiya Thamizh Magan.
  • 2008 : Sakkarakatti.
  • 2010 : Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa,Raavanan,Enthiran.
  • 2012 : Kadal.
  • 2013 : Maryan.
  • 2014 : Kochadaiiyaan,Kaaviya Thalaivan,I,Lingaa.
  • 2015 : O Kadhal Kanmani.
  • 2016 : 24,Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada,
  • 2017 : Kaatru Veliyidai,Mersal.
  • 2018 : 2.0,Chekka Chivantha Vaanam,Sarkar.
  • 2019 : Sarvam Thaala Mayam,Bigil


Biography Video