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A.R. Rahman has put Indian music on the map, with his latest achievement of two Oscars – a look at how he got there… Today, A.R.Rahman is the face of India at the Oscars. The rise of the humble Chennaiite who made his way to the grand Red Carpet has certainly been awe-inspiring. Born as Dileep to keyboardist and music director Sekar, Rahman got roped into keyboard training when he was quite young. Acquiring quite a bit of experience and expertise, he began to p lay as an arranger in the local private rock bands. Later, his shining talent started to take him places. He accompanied popular musicians’ troupes. Rahman has played in maestro Ilayaraja, M.S.Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu’s orchestras and has accompanied many eminent musicians during their world tours. Deciding to equip himself with theoretical knowledge, he then took up exams at the Trinity College of London and received a certification in western classical music. It was then Rahman recognized the craving in him to compose. In 1991, he opened his recording studio in Chennai and the opportunity-filled ad world was his first step into composition. Several jingles he composed attracted attention and acquired quick recognition among the public and then Maniratnam’s Roja offer came.
From any movie buff’s perspective, Roja music was like a whiff of fresh air and it simply reversed the trends that prevailed till then in the field of Tamil cinema. Cinema music took a swift turn from thereon. And for Rahman, a string of successful movie albums followed. Lagaan, Kannathil Muthamittaal, Bombay, Karuthamma, Indira are a few among the many. What is so special about the Rahman style? His style is an enthralling combination of latest technology and the rich, indigenous nuances of music. In some of his compositions, his technical aspects show, in some, the musical aspects show. But from ordinary listeners to the contemporary, avant-garde aficionados, everybody could easily immerse themselves in the sweet-sounding compositions and Rahman’s musicality got well-communicated. What else can gauge a musician’s reach? Soon, his glory travelled to Hollywood and Rahman composed music for many crossover and Hollywood productions; Shekar Kapoor’s Elizabeth, The Golden Age is a remarkable among the lot.
Without resting on his laurels, Rahman gave back all he has achieved through his own music label, the KM Music conservatory. Through it, the visionary composer looks forward to tailor-make world-class orchestra here in India.
The Oscar-moments came through his recent score for the Hollywood production Slumdog Millionairre. ‘Ella Pugazhum Iraivanukke’ is his most common prelude to all his public speeches. Looking at his achievement and his whole journey, it truly looks like God and his constant benediction has been with him, forever.
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