Referred to as ‘The Mozart Of Madras’, music composer and singer A.R. Rahman has been an inspiration to many and his career and life are a testament to his rollercoaster journey. He’s well known for his soulful music and the plethora of awards and honours to his name, but still, there’s a lot about him that not many people know.
From rock to ballads to jazz to melodies, the man is a living legend and can create any genre of music with sheer ease and passion. On the occasion of A.R. Rahman’s birthday, here are some lesser known facts about the Oscar-winning singer-composer.
1. Rahman was born into a Hindu family as Dileep Kumar. At the age of 23, the music composer went ahead to embrace Islam, after he met his spiritual guru, Qadri Islam.
2. He shot to fame momentarily as a child. Before he stepped in the entertainment industry as a music maestro, Rahman was seen in Doordarshan’s Wonder Balloon as a kid where he shot to fame for being the kid who could play 4 keyboards at once.
3. Mani Ratnam was the first person to spot the talent in Rahman and got him to compose the music for his Tamil film Roja in 1992. He got a sum of Rs 25,000 for the project, and he became the recipient of the National Film Award along with huge success, popularity and admiration.
4. Music runs in his genes. Rahman did not randomly pick music as a career. His father, RK Shekhar, also had a keen interest in music and even composed songs in Tamil and Malayalam. Rahman married Saira and has three children namely- Ameen Khatija and Rahima. Interestingly, his son, Ameen shares the same birth date, that is 6th January.
5. Rahman is the first Asian to have won 2 Oscars in the same year for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri recipient has also won 4 National Awards.
6. Not many know that the Oscar winning song ‘Jai Ho’ was initially composed for the Salman Khan starrer- Yuvraaj.
7. The musician joined forces with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and Joss Stone to introduce a completely different kind of music under the title SuperHeavy. Stewart termed SuperHeavy as a ‘mad alchemist type experiment’.
8. Apart from Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has also composed great scores for other Hollywood films like 127 Hours and Lord Of War.
9. To honour the singer-composer, a street in Markham, Ontario, Canada, was named after him in November 2013.
10. Reportedly, Airtel’s signature tune which is composed by Rahman, is said to be the world’s most downloaded mobile music with over 150 million downloads.