A.S. Dileep Kumar who for some personal reasons changed his religion to Islam and his name to Allah Rakha Rahman is an Indian musician and music-composer, who won two Academy Awards for Slumdog Millionaire a movie directed by Danny Boyle.
Here’s my take on this legend.
A Short Biography of Rahman:
A.R. Rahman was born on January 6th 1966, in an affluent Hindu Tamil family. His father composed music for Malayalam films. He lost his father at a very young age and it was somewhere around that time when he and his entire family decided to change their religion and convert to Islam. According to this article here AR Rahman’s mother (Kareema) was a Muslim and after his Hindu father’s death, the family reconverted to Islam and acquired Muslim names. The reason why he changed his religion is still shrouded in mystery, however, it’s said that he did it to save his sister’s life.
Rahman is married to Saira Banu (not the emaciated yesteryear beauty though!)
An Interesting Bollywood Coincidence, which will make more sense to Indians:
Here it goes.
Saira Banu (of vintage Bollywood variety) married Dilip Kumar, who changed his name from Muhammad Yusuf Khan to Dilip Kumar – she did have to struggle with Yusuf Khan’s polygamous nature though. However Yusuf Khan took up the name Dileep Kumar only as a screen name with a wider appeal, and saw he was never on the wrong side of the law by having more than one wife.
Saira Banu (wife of AR Rahman) married AR Rahman, who changed his name from Dileep kumar (don’t worry about the spelling) to AR Rahman.
Coincidences happen in a chaotic world…right?
A. R. Rahman’s Meteoric Rise:
Rahman’s rise in Bollywood began with his meeting with Mani Ratnam in an advertising awards function, after which he gave music for Roja in 1992 (Note that Rahman was paid 25K INR (about USD 1000 in those days) to compose music for Roja, this is in stark contrast to around Rs. 5 Crores equivalent of USD 1 Million for composing the Commonwealth Games 2010 Anthem) After Roja, he created music for many Tamil films, until he got the opportunity to compose the songs for Rangeela. After the success of Rangeela’s songs, Rahman continued to work for the Mumbai Film Industry to compose many hit songs. Among his noteworthy films are: Rangeela, Dil Se, Taal, Rang De Basanti, Bombay!
His Album “Vande Mataram“, which he released on August 15, 1997 (the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence,) sold more than a Million copies in India.
Find an extremely detailed biography of Rehman here.
Rahman’s Jai Ho wins him the Oscars:
In 2009, Rahman wrote the score for “Jai Ho“, which helped him win the first two Oscars for India. He got the Oscars for Danny Boyle directed movie “Slumdog Millionnaire”. (Unfortunately, the only movie about India that became internationally famous is an extremely biased movie, which completely ignores the positives of India to accentuate and glorify its poverty.) The two Academy Awards that he won were for Best Original Music Score and Best Original Song.
Rahman in News Again:
The newest news on the international scene is that AR Rehman has bagged 2 Oscar nominations for Danny Boyle’s 127 hours. What’s noteworthy is the ease with which Rahman has been able to establish a long-term relationship with Danny Boyle – I’d have loved to see him work with other Hollywood Directors too…but Rahman is a steady goat, isn’t he? I hope he gets the Oscars this year, because after the CWG Anthem fiasco, which gave us a soggy song (read about it here) touted to be better than Shakira’s waka-waka, I’d love to get a confirmation that the awards were for the musical score and not for a fantastic rendering of India’s poverty. Go Rahman Go! Get those awards and win back my trust…if you’d care to.
Want to know if I am an ARR fan?
I love some of his work – if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have drawn his caricature here:) But I saw him on the CWG stage – and I don’t think that if his…what was the CWG Anthem again?…well that anthem needed the crutches of Jai ho, especially when after the whole corruption scandal we were waiting for him to spin gold or silver at least…so – my current status is “NOT FAN!”
I believe there are things that are bigger than money, fame, and even Oscars. A sense of pride in being what you are and carrying it through with your head held high. I’d never work for a Slumdog Millionnaire nor would I ever charge Rs. 5 Crores for composing an anthem for my country. (Remember that it was the first time in its history that India was hosting a sports event at International scale!) But I guess I am being the milkmaid, if you know what I mean:)