Jai Ho AR Rahman

Gayatri Sankar

Allah Rakha Rahman, who began his career as an assistant to legendry music composer Ilaya Raja became Bollywood’s most popular music directors soon after the release of Mani Ratnam’s critically applauded film ‘Roja’. The maestro rose to stardom with his first Hindi film and eventually went on to become an internationally acclaimed musician because of his riveting compositions.

With ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Rahman became the third Indian, only after costume designer Bhanu Atthaiya and filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor to bring the Oscar Awards home. The film gave the 44-year old music composer, a huge international platform, making him one of the most sought after celebrities worldwide. His chart buster ‘Jai Ho’ from ‘Slumdog’ has become an international jingle. The track is so irresistible in appeal that music lovers from across the globe have not been able to stop themselves from tapping their feet to this song. The sound track topped the Electronic Albums chart in the US and ranked fourth on the Billboard 200 chart. The track stood second on the Eurochart Hot single 100.

The Academy Award winner has also won the Golden Globe nominations in December last year for Best Original Score for his composition in ‘127 Hours’, directed by Danny Boyle. He is also planning to join hands with singing sensation Dido once again, after having worked with him on Danny’s film. He recently tweeted that he is planning a world premiere for his new music video.

AR Rahman is now a brand name. The super talented music composer has several international projects to his credit. He had worked on global projects even before ‘Slumdog’ and had carved a niche for himself in the field of music. He collaborated with classical dancer Shobhna and South Indian superstar Prabhu Deva to perform with dancing legend Michael Jackson in Germany at the latter’s ‘Michael Jackson and Friends’ concert in 1999. He composed the music for his first stage production ‘Bombay Dreams’ in 2002. The production was commissioned by the famous Andre Lloyd Webber. The multi-talented personality also teamed up with Finnish band ‘Varttina’ to compose music for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ theatre show in 2004. He also had ‘Raga’s Dance’ for Vanessa-Mae’s album ‘Choreography’ to his hit list.

Rahman is known for his innovative compositions and has played a pivotal role in bringing about a transformation in film music. His distinct style and passion for music has provoked filmmakers and producers to take music seriously. Ace director Mani Ratnam makes it a point to have the genius on board for all his projects. He moves mountains, changes his schedule drastically only to get the music composer work for him. Not only Ratnam, even international music composer Ron Fair is of the opinion that Rahman is “one of the world`s great living composers in any medium”.

Talking about Rahman, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann had once said, “I had come to the music of AR Rahman through the emotional and haunting score of ‘Bombay’ and the wit and celebration of ‘Lagaan’. But the more of AR`s music I encountered the more I was to be amazed at the sheer diversity of styles: from swinging brass bands to triumphant anthems; from joyous pop to West-End musicals. Whatever the style, AR Rahman`s music always possesses a profound sense of humanity and spirit, qualities that inspire me the most.”

This goes to show Rahman’s stature and his standing in the international arena. Rahman is now into the third decade of his glorious career. The stalwart has sold more than 150 million records of his work and over 200 million cassettes. With such mammoth sales records, he went on to become one of the world’s all time top selling artists. In 2005, Time magazine named him ‘India’s most prominent songwriter’ for having achieved this rare feat.

The maestro has several laurels to his credit, which include 14 Filmfare Awards (Bollywood), 11 Filmfare Awards (South Indian Film Industry), 4 National Film Awards, 2 Academy Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Awards.

The stupendous music composer, who graduated in Western Classical Music from Trinity College of Music featured in the list of ‘World’s Most Influential People’ on Time magazine in 2009.

He is undoubtedly God’s gift to music lovers. Indeed, he is an institution, an inspiration to many inclined towards music.

Here’s wishing AR Rahman, a very Happy Birthday and a wonderful year ahead.

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