A. R. Rahman

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A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman

Allahrakka Rahman was born in Madras, India. His father, R. K. Shekhar, was a film-score composer and conductor for Tamil and Malayalam films; Rahman assisted his father in the studio, playing the keyboard.

After his father's death when Rahman was nine years old, the rental of his father's musical equipment provided his family's income. Raised by his mother, Kareema (born Kashturi), Rahman was a keyboard player and arranger for bands such as Roots (with childhood friend and percussionist Sivamani, John Anthony, Suresh Peters, JoJo and Raja) and founded the Chennai-based rock group Nemesis Avenue. He mastered the keyboard, piano, synthesizer, harmonium and guitar, and was particularly interested in the synthesizer because it was the "ideal combination of music and technology".

Rahman began his early musical training under Master Dhanraj, and at age 11 began playing in the orchestra of Malayalam composer (and close friend of his father) M. K. Arjunan. He soon began working with other composers, such as M. S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Ramesh Naidu and Raj-Koti, accompanied Zakir Hussain, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and L. Shankar on world tours and obtained a scholarship from Trinity College London to the Trinity College of Music Studying in Madras, Rahman graduated with a diploma in Western classical music from the school.

Rahman initially composed scores for documentaries and jingles for advertisements and Indian television channels. In 1987 Rahman, then still known as Dileep, composed jingles for a line of watches introduced by Allwyn. He also arranged the jingles for some advertisements that went on to become very popular, including the popular jingle for Titan Watches, in which he used the theme from Mozart's Symphony.

Two smiling men holding a record award Rahman receiving a platinum award at the MagnaSound Awards; MagnaSound released his first film soundtrack, Roja, in 1992. In 1992, he was approached by director Mani Ratnam to compose the score and soundtrack for his Tamil film, Roja.

Rahman is married to Saira Banu (not to be confused with actress Saira Banu) and has three children: Khatija, Rahima and Ameen. Ameen has sung "NaNa" from Couples Retreat, and Khatija has sung "Pudhiya Manidha" from Enthiran. Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, the son of his elder sister A. R. Reihana. Rahman's younger sister, Fathima, heads his music conservatory in Chennai.[citation needed] The youngest, Ishrath, has a music studio. A.R.Rahman is the co-brother[definition needed] of film actor Rahman.

A. R. Rahman's works are noted for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. Among his awards are four National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, fifteen Filmfare Awards and sixteen Filmfare Awards South.

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