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The Master of Many Moods: A R Rahman

Quick question. What is common between theme music of NDTV India, the music that is played to NDTV’s Hindi speaking viewers and “Muqabala Muqabala”, the iconic song of 90s which made moves of Prabhudeva legendary?

Answer: The man behind both these recognizable tunes is the same. Legendary music composer Mr. A. R. Rahman.

Now that we have an idea the vast genres of music Rahaman masters, let us dwell into the awards and accolades on his curriculum vitae.

A R Rahman boasts of Academy, Grammys, BAFTA, Golden globe, Nationals and a countless of other rewards and recognitions.

In totality the musician has 125 awards and 139 nominations against his name .

FYI, Wikipedia has a separate page titled “List of awards and nominations received by A. R. Rahman”.

Achievers don’t have things easy. Same was with Rahman.

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A teen Rahman during his initial days

Born in a Hindu Tamil family Rahman started playing music by a tender age of 5 and it was only after his father’s demise that his mother decided to give wings to Rahman’s talent.

Flair was always there, all it needed was that little push.

During his formative years Rahman listened from Jim Reevs to Naushad Ali and everything in between. Such was and still is his penchant for music. Might be this is the reason that his music appeals to a nonagenarian and a teen alike.

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A R Rahman with his Family

His carving for music led him to put together a band before he took off for Trinity college of Music, London to study western classical music.

The year is 1992 and a movie made around the issue of militancy in Kashmir, Roja, hits Indian theaters. Originally made in Tamil the Hindi dubbed version makes critics and viewers sit up and take notice of a young music composer. The man was none other than Rahman.

His work in Roja made him win a plethora of awards. Such was the melody in his compositions that even after 24 years songs “Ye Haseen Vadiyaan” and “Dil hai chota sa” still make their way in many people’s playlists.  A great composer in making? Arguably yes, as years later Times magazine dubbed him as “Mozart of Madras”.

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A.R Rahman on his Marriage

Life changed for good as Rahman shot to fame churning out one melody after another.

Of the numerous national projects that he has worked on Rangeela, Bombay, Dil se, Lagaan, Swades, Rang de Basanti and Jodha Akhbar deserves special mention. Again each project vastly different from the previous one highlighting his knack in mixing and experimenting with music.

Internationally he has been involved in various capacities for projects like 127 Hours, Million Dollar Arm, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Slumdog Millionaire, Muhammad: The messenger of God, Pele: Birth of a legend and countless more.

Of all these Slumdog Millionaire remains the milestone event of his career as it brought to him 2 Academy awards, 2 Grammy awards and one each of BAFTA and Golden Globe award. 127 Hours was not that successful a venture in terms of awards but nevertheless equally impressive one.

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Rahman, who was initially a keyboardist with a local band called Nemesis Avenue

Acknowledging his stunning International success, Songlines named his as one of “Tomorrow’s World Music Icon” in August 2011.  Rahman is now an international brand in himself but he remains ever so patriotic to his motherland. His composition “Vande Maatram” is a testimony to the fact.

Awards, recognitions, honors, money and fame tends to get into the heads of artists and celebrities who then tend to get swayed by all this and get derailed from their artistic and creative pursuits. Rahman though is a human being on another level.

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A.R Rahman with his Family

He still remains humble and firmly rooted to ground. The musician credits his simplicity to Islam, the religion which he adopted at the age of 23. A certain Dileep Kumar became more known to the world as Allah Rakha Rahman or simply A R Rahman.

In his interview to The Guardian Rahman had this to say:

“What appealed to me about Islam was that this is a religion based on unconditional love and a belief in one god and one love, and I was especially drawn to Sufism which has a rich musical tradition. I never skip prayers. I find it releases me from tension and gives me hope and confidence that Allah is with me, that this is not the only world”

His philanthropic venture The A R Rahamn foundation, music single ‘Pray for me brother’ and services to The United Nations speaks volume about the innate nature of the person.

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Rahman enjoying International Success 

His international tours and concerts attracts people from all across the globe. Sell outs is a word that Rahman has grown used to. When he plays or sings the world holds its breath in anticipation of something epic and Rahman never disappoints.

Rahman has now given more than half of his life to Indian music Industry. He has tried, tested mixed genres like Indian classical music, electronic music world music and traditional orchestra.

In the process he has taken Indian music to new heights and to the corners of the world where it earlier did not exist. His contributions has given the world of music a much needed facelift.

The world of music and Indian music in particular will forever remain indebted to the superstar called A R Rahman. From “Lukka Chippi” to “Loose Control” Rahman has done it all and he truly is “The Master of Many Moods”.

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