Allah Rakha Rahman
One of India's legendary film music composers
A legendary figure in India since 1990s, Rahman has broken many a mould to get that Oscar statuette, and having completely changed film music in India. He has been inspiring and influencing a whole generation of new singers.
In 1991, Rahman set up his own studio and started composing music for use in advertisements, the title music of Indian television channels and music in documentaries. When he composed for upcoming Tamil language film Roja, in 1992, it became a super hit and thus he became a household name in Tamil Nadu. Roja was even listed in Time magazine's 'Top 10 Movie Soundtracks of All Time.'
Rahman's style of music in classical, folk, jazz, reggae and soft rock gained him recognition not only in the Tamil film industry but also across India. He followed it up with a number of other popular Indian films.
Rahman began to be noticed abroad too. He went on to collaborate with the best of talent - from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (for Guru of Peace) to Andrew Lloyds Webber in Bombay Dreams, his biggest shot in the global entertainment arena before Slumdog Millionaire.
Chinese director He Ping tapped Rahman to compose the score and soundtrack for his Chinese film, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, in 2003, to a great success.
He worked with Yusuf Islam for his song 'Indian Ocean' the proceeds of the song went to help orphans in Banda Aceh, one of the areas worst affected by the Tsunami.
Rahman composed Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage production Bombay Dreams (2003) as well as The Lord of the Rings theatre production (2006) along with the Finnish folk music band. His current projects include Disney's Million Dollar Arm, a biographical sports drama by Australian director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Fright Night), and The Monkeys of Bollywood, a musical film to be directed by Kevin Lima (Enchanted) with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell).
His K M Music Conservatory has moved from its humble backyard origins to a purpose-built home occupying 40,000 sq. ft. It now has 80 full-time students, a teaching staff from the UK, US, and Russia as well as India, and academic tie-ups with advanced music colleges in London and Glasgow.
It is even more surprising when you consider that Rahman, who has notched up to 400m album sales and has 16m followers on his Facebook page, is enjoying a new career in Tinseltown, which exists, on a different creative planet from both India and Europe.
With two Oscars (2009), a Golden Globe, a Padmashree, four national and 21 Filmfare awards behind him, Rahman known around the world as the 'Mozart from Madras' has become synonymous with musical excellence - and with exiting experimentation and innovation too. In 2009, he won a Bafta and a Golden Globe for his soundtrack to the multi award-winning Slumdog Millionaire. In 2010, he won two Grammy Awards at the prestigious music ceremony in Los Angeles, further recognition of his enormous talents.
His early interest in synthesizer, harmonium and guitar led him to gain a scholarship to Trinity College at Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music.
He was born Dileep Kumar, a Hindu, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, and the only son of a composer and conductor for Malayalam films. A visit by a Sufi to his home led him to convert to Islam, changing his name to Allah Rakha Rahman. A shy and deeply spiritual Rahman creates music from the silence surrounding him that has reached across and interacted with the entire world - bridging the global East-West musical divide.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan