:::Capturing Every Moments In Life...:::




The name A.R.Rahman needs no introduction. The man who redefined contemporary Indian music and is the pride of the entire nation and an idol for millions all over the world needs no preamble. But if you happen to be one, still among the few unfortunate souls, who are a stranger to him and his heavenly music, then read on.


The year was 1991. Ace Tamil movie director Mani Ratnam was on the lookout for a new composer to give music for his films. His long standing fruitful association with the doyen of Tamil film music Illaiyaraja, which had spanned over 10 films and as many years had come to an end when the two had had a fallout after the latter reportedly made some sarcastic comments during the making of Mani Ratnam's then latest film 'Dalapati'. One day, at an awards function for excellence in the field of advertising, Mani Ratnam chanced upon a young man who received the award for the best ad jingle which he had composed for the popular Leo Coffee ad. At the celebrations party that followed the awards presentation ceremony, Mani Ratnam was introduced to the young composer by his cousin Sharada Trilok of Trish Productions for whose company the young man had produced some outstanding work. Sharada had words of high praise for the young composer. Mani was curious and requested him for a sample of his wares. The composer readily complied and invited the director over to his studio. Mani Ratnam turned up at the studio only after six months, where the 24 year old lad played out a tune that he had been pushed into composing by his school friend G.Bharat alias Bala when they both had been greatly disturbed by the socio-political tensions in South India over the Cauvery river waters issue. Listening to the tune that was played, Mani was hooked instantly. Without a second thought he signed on the composer to score the music for his next film. That film did not work out but Mani signed him on for a new film which was to be produced by the veteran Tamil director K.Balachander for his respected 'Kavithalayaa' banner. That film was 'Roja'. That tune would become the song "Tamizha Tamizha" in 'Roja'. The music of the film would be a phenomenal success that would revolutionise modern day Indian film music. The name of the 25-year old composer was A. R. Rahman. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Cut to the year 1998. Mani Ratnam's then latest film, his first in Hindi and his fifth with Rahman, 'Dil Se..' hit the screens. The movie all but bombed in India. But the music, yet again was a resounding success. The music sold like hot cakes even six months after it was released in the market. In a recession hit Indian Film industry, the two biggest hits of the year, 'Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya' and 'Ghulam' had sold 2 million cassettes each. Such was the confidence of the music company, Venus, in the Rahman-Ratnam combination that they started with an unprecedented initial run of 2 million cassettes, then notched up sales of 6 million and are still going strong. It even successfully survived the onslaught of what later became the year's biggest hit, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. So much so, that just on the strength of its music, Dil Se.. succeeded in gaining the distinction of being the first Asian film to enter the U.K. Top 10. Moviegoers in London said that it is the music that drew them to the movie halls. Such is the spell that the music from the Rahman-Ratnam combination has cast over music lovers.
The Rahman-Ratnam combination forged six years ago is now five films strong and has given the world of Indian films some of its best music. The combination has taken music to new heights that has succeeded in captivating millions of listeners not just across India but even in far flung corners of the world. Rahman says about his mentor, "I was blessed to be picked by a director like him. He encouraged me a lot. It was as if I studied in Mani's own university of music. He is like a brother to me."


Going back in History, the following question arises. Six years ago, who listened to Tamil music? Only Tamilians. Five years ago, what did teenagers dance to at discotheques? What else but Michael Jackson, Dr.Alban or the latest Western dance hit of the day. But one man singlehandedly changed all that. With his universally appealing tunes, A.R.Rahman has demolished all conventional rules in Indian film music. He amazes with the manner in which he seamlessly integrates traditionally incompatible harmonies. If anyone can make a perfect potpourri of the latest dancehall rhythms, electro-pop, Latin melodies, Western and Indian classical and pepper it all with a local folk touch or even something as otherworldly as Reggae and serve it all in a contemporary Indian manner that mesmerises listeners, it is A.R.Rahman. His music transcends all barriers - geographic, age or linguistic. Everyone from 6 to 60, Kashmir to Kanyakumari, as the cliché goes, are fans of his music. He was the first to successfully and solidly bridge the gap across the Vindhyas with Hindi speaking denizens who did not understand one word of Tamil enthusiastically lapping up his music. He gave film music a trendy legitimacy, a legitimacy that made Indian youth who were till then ashamed of admitting in public that they enjoyed Indian film music, dance to Humma Humma, Muqabla Muqabla, Musthafa Musthafa and Chaiyya Chaiyya at every pub, club and disco. Overnight, Indian film music considered 'infra-dig' by the youth became 'cool' and 'hep'. All in all, quite arguably, no one has influenced Indian music as much as Rahman has in recent times.
He is the man who helped south Indian cinema go national in a way that was considered impossible even a decade ago. He bridged the gap between Tamil (and even Telugu on occasion) and Hindi with that most universal of all languages: music. Predictably Rahman would later say "I hate the discrimination between south, north, Tamil, Hindi. If I represent India that is good enough for me. But we should cross all these barriers." Rahman did more: he made, to use film industry jargon, music a territory in its own right. Thus, the soundtrack of each movie was sold as if it were a separate entity from the film itself. And as if to prove him right, his music assumed a life of its own, flying off the shelves at record speed even when the film in question bombed at the boxoffice.
Rahman's strength lies not only in his perfect sense of melody and rhythm but also in his immaculate sound engineering. His music has been hailed as that of the digital age and has also been assailed for the very same reason. His music can never be adequately described in words. One has to personally experience the pleasure of his creations. Many of his compositions might actually sound ordinary the first time. But his music has this amazing capacity to grow on you and establish a firm hold on the listener. His compositions are an intriguing cocktail of musical pieces that literally blow your mind. His music is unique in its offbeat instrumental interludes, unconventional harmonies, and use of far from perfect voices and thumping rhythms.


A. R. Rahman or Allah Rakha Rahman was born actually A. S. Dileep Kumar on the 6th of January in the year 1967, in Madras (now Chennai), to a musically affluent Tamil Mudaliar family. The second of four children he had three sisters Kanchana, Bala (now Talat) and Israth, Kanchana being elder and the other two younger. His father R.K. Sekhar was a composer, arranger and conductor in Malayalam movies and had worked under the likes of Salil Chowdhary and Devarajan. His mother was Kasthuri (now Kareema Begum). Dileep's baptism in music happened early in life. Dileep's earliest memories of the studio are with his father. On one of those visits, a music director Sudarshanam Master found the four year old playing a tune on the harmonium. He covered the keys with a cloth. It made no difference. Dileep replayed the tune effortlessly. This impressed the music director who suggested that he be trained in music. Dileep started learning the piano at the tender age of four. He recieved his early training in music from Dhanraj Master.
But he wanted to grow up to be an electronics or computer engineer. He says today, in reminiscence " I was not crazy after music. I was more interested in technology". He was first drawn to music strongly when his father bought a synthesiser, one of the very first in film circles then, from Singapore. Till then he now says, "As a child, music seemed to be a means of earning bread and butter. I had no special fascination for it... it was associated purely with work. Yet I couldn't take my eyes away from the synthesiser, it was like a forbidden toy." This instrument was an object of much curiosity to the young Dileep and caught his fancy. Dileep used to spend hours experimenting with the novel instrument. This instrument was to shape the future of this child. It was perhaps divinely ordained that the synthesiser would become Dileep's favourite instrument since it was the ideal combination of music and technology.
Rahman's early years were one of struggle and hardships. At the age of 9, his father passed away following a mysterious illness with rumours abounding that he was the victim of black magic practised by his rivals. Unfortunately R. K. Shekhar passed away the very same day his first film as composer was released. It was at this time that Rahman's belief in God first took a beating. Much of his time was filled with hospital visits, pain and anxieties. It is an issue that Rahman outrightly refuses to discuss even today. After his father's death the pressure of supporting his family fell on the young Dileep. At first the family subsisted by lending out his father's musical instruments. At the age of 11, he joined Illaiyaraja's troupe as a keyboard player in order to earn for his family's upkeep. He also learnt to play the guitar. Thus Rahman formally entered the world of music. He also began to play the keyboard for programmes on television.
It was his mother Kareema Begum who encouraged him to follow in his father's footsteps and fully supported him in his vocation. But all this had an adverse effect on his formal education. Infrequent attendance and an unaccommodative management forced him to shift schools from the prestigious Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan to the Madras Christian College and finally he dropped out of school altogether when he was doing his 11th grade. He also played on the orchestra of M.S.Vishwanathan, Raj-Koti and Ramesh Naidu and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. He also appeared playing the keyboard on a few popular music shows on televison like 'Wonder Balloon' on the Madras Doordarshan channel. He also supposedly composed a few short pieces of music in Ilaiyaraja's films, a notable one being the theme music in K.Balachander's 'Punnagai Mannan'.
All this experience enabled him to earn a scholarship to the famed Trinity College of Music at Oxford University from where he obtained a degree in Western Classical Music. He came back with a dream to bring an international and contemporary world perspective to Indian music. After he returned, he continued to be a part of various local music troupes. He was also a part of local rock bands like Roots, Magic and Nemesis Avenue where he performed with his future colleagues like Suresh Peters, Ranjit Barot and Sivamani Anandan. This, he says, was a very valuable learning experience. Thus Dileep came to be totally immersed in music. The only source of joy to him was music, so much so, that friends like guitarist John Anthony would say, "Who is the Prime Minister of India, do you know? Get out and see beyond your nose in Kodambakkam". But he was not at all sure he wanted to turn professional.
Dileep thus firmly established himself this way and worked for nearly 8 to 9 years with various music directors. He also worked as an arranger for Illaiyaraja, M.S.Vishwanathan, Ouseappachan and Raj-Koti. He has this to say of his stint with Illaiyaraja "Until then I thought you had to drink or take dope to be a good artist. But Ilayaraja was making such beautiful music and leading a pure life!'' " I was under the impression that if its music, whoever it is, they must have some bad habit. When I saw them with drinks and drugs I thought 'Oh! they are music people. They have to take drinks, smoke and cocaine to get their inspiration'. The man who changed these impressions altogether was only Ilayaraja. He proved that he can make good music without any bad habits! Even now he is an inspiration for me being so religious today."
But the young and enthusiastic Dileep felt shackled by just plain arranging and could barely withstand the monotony of playing in an orchestra all the time with all his creative urges being suppressed. The kind of sound he liked was already there in fusion - in L. Shankar and L. Subramaniam whom he worked with, and in the then popular 'Shakti' group. He played on the keyboard for T. V. Gopalakrishnan and Kadri Gopalnath, with Sivamani on the drums. He says, "It gave us some kicks.'' At this time, Vizi Manuel, the lead keyboard player in Illaiyaraja's troupe advised him to try other alternatives for pursuing a musical career, like advertising. This was a suggestion that appealed to him and he explored some avenues seriously. The complexes increased. "I thought, what if the film world ends? I learnt driving, so that I could survive as a driver.'' The restlessness pushed him into making jingles for ads. Fortunately for Dileep he soon got his first break in advertising when he was asked to compose the jingle to promote Allwyn's new Trendy range of watches, in 1987. The ads were a success and Dileep's work in them was appreciated. Dileep quit playing in orchestras and moved full time into advertising as a few more offers came his way. Thus began Dileep's 5-year successful saga in advertising where he went on to not only compose more than 300 jingles, but would also be the stepping stone to his entry into films. Working as a jingle composer not only gave him an outlet to his creative urges but also gave him the much needed exposure to the music industry. The people he came in contact with during his work in advertising gave him a pathway to the film world. During his stint in advertising, he released his first ever complete music album, of Islamic devotional songs, titled 'Deen Isai Malai', in Tamil. This was later followed by 'Set Me Free', an album of English songs which was the launch album of singer Malgudi Subha, by Magnasound, where Dileep set the songs to tune. Subha had earlier sung for Dileep in many jingles. Both the albums went somewhat unnoticed in the market. He also set to tune the poems of poet-author Randhir Khare.
Around this time, in 1988, one of his sisters fell seriously ill and numerous attempts to cure her failed. Her condition progressively worsened. The family tried everything from medicine to religious methods like havans and prayers in the church. The family had given up all hope when they came in close contact with a Muslim Pir - Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani or Pir Qadri as he was popularly known. The family had earlier gone to the Pir when his father had similar troubles, but were too late to save him. With his prayers and blessings, Dileep's sister made a miraculous recovery. Rattled by the bad experiences earlier in the case of his father and now his sister and influenced by the teachings of the Pir and the succour that they found in him the entire family converted to Islam. Thus A. S. Dileep Kumar became Allah Rakha Rahman. Today, Rahman says 'Islam has given me peace. As Dileep I had an inferiority complex. As A. R. Rahman I feel like I have been born again.'
Both his father and mother were believers in Astrology. His mother took him along once to a astrologer to get the horoscope of Bala (Talat) done. She asked the astrologer to suggest an Islamic name for Dilip. The astrologer on seeing Dilip immediately told his mother to name him as Abdul Rahman and shorten it to A. R. Rahman. When his mother asked the astrologer why the other initial 'R', the astrologer replied "Give him a name with two initials and mark my words, he will grow up to be a great man". His mother did accordingly. But the A and R would later become Allah Rakha on the suggestion of reknowned composer Naushad Ali.
In an interview, he was to say about his father, " My father passed away when I was 9 years old. My mother used to narrate many tales about my father which used to make me very happy. My father was regarded to be highly knowledgeable in music by many people. I still listen to many of the old songs tuned by him. I think that its his enormous knowledge of music that has come down to me by the grace of God".
When asked what prompted him to convert to Islam, he says "I remember my father suffering. He was taken to eight to nine hospitals, including the CMC hospital in Vellore and the Vijaya hospital in Madras. I saw him suffering physical pain... I remember the Christian priests who would read from the Bible beside his hospital bed... I remember the pujas and the yagnas performed by the pundits... by the time, the Muslim pirs came , it was too late. He had already left us. After my father passed away, for some years when I was a teenager I believed there was no God. But there was a feeling of restlessness within me. I realised that there can be no life without a force governing us... without one God. And I found what I was looking for in Islam. I would go with my mother to durgahs. And pirsaab Karim Mullashah Qadri would advise us. When we shifted to this house, we resolved to stick to the faith."
Rahman became a very religious and devout Muslim. After this period his career graph began to take the upward path. More and more advertising offers came his way. In 1989 Rahman was very intent on having an own studio so that he would have dedicated recording facilities where he could not only equip himself with the latest infrastucture but also experiment with music at his convenience. At this time, the Pir came to his house and blessed him saying that he would attain unparalled success. The very next day the Pir passed away. Thus Rahman decided to establish his studio at the very spot where he had been blessed by the Pir. He called his studio Panchathan Record Inn and it was attached to his house in Kodambakkam. Even today, the first thing that you notice when you enter his studio is a framed photograph of the Pir. The studio abounds with Islamic inscriptions. This studio would later develop into one of India's most well equipped and advanced recording studios. In his established state-of-the-art sound and recording studio he began experimenting in sound engineering, design and production. He also began a collection of sound samples, creating one of the most comprehensive sonic libraries in Asia.
Continuing with his stint in the advertising world Rahman did a lot of popular ads like those for Parry's, Leo Coffee, Springz Mineral Water, Boost featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, Titan, Remanika Sarees, Premier Pressure Cooker, MRF Tyres, Hero Puch, The Hindu Young World and Asian Paints. He also scored the title music for television channels like JJTV, Sun TV, and Asianet. He also scored the music for numerous television and radio commercials, scores for corporate films and documentaries, multi-media audio-visual scores national integration programmes, social awareness and public campaign programmes and international documentaries in many languages. These scores range from 10 seconds to a complete hour. The jingles that he composed for the Leo Coffee ad starring Aravind Swamy and the Asian Paints ad directed by Rajeev Menon also won him awards and recognition. He also won an award for composing the theme music of the Madras Telugu Academy's Spirit of Unity Concerts. Later he would say about his stint in advertising " Working in ads contributed to the precision in my music. In jingles, you only have a few seconds to create a mood, or convey a message or emotion. Jingles taught me discipline."


The man behind the music is still much of an enigma. "If a music artiste wants to blossom into a full-pledged person, it's not enough if he knows only classical music; nor it's enough if he's well-versed only in raagaas and techniques. Instead, he should be a knowledgeable person interested in life and philosophy. In his personal life there should be, atleast in some corner of his heart, a tinge of lingering sorrow," he says.
When asked if turning religious helped his work, he says "After a point, it is energy which comes from above and removes your insecurity. Then you can go ahead. The world can abuse you but your confidence cannot be shaken. You want fame, but once you get it you lose your head. So just leave it to God and carry on with your work. It makes it all easy. If I put it in my head that I did it, then I fall flat because I can't take the next step. When asked why there is so much back-biting about him, he says "See, you can never be a better person to everyone,'' he says ingenuously. "To achieve something you have to offend someone. I am doing five films and someone says, do mine too. I say no. And he goes around saying, "Rahman? Bullshit!'' because I'm no longer useful to him. Besides, so much is happening outside, you need to hang on to something peaceful''. When asked if he is scared of disappointments he states frankly "Disappointments? Failures? The holy book says they test you. A few years down the line you see the setback was a good thing, it stopped disaster''. He wants to be like a boat on a river without a sail, the currents having freeplay. 'I am like a boat in the river, I go where ever it takes me', he says. Rahman's visits to dargahs and long prayer sessions have been criticised as unprofessional interruptions of his schedule."If there's no mental peace, what schedule? I need that spiritual cleansing, I meet the friends of God who have learnt so much and helped so many.'' He sees dargahs as beyond religious conflicts. The Sufi way of love answers his need. Rahman discloses also that with that gain in confidence, he has become more considerate towards others.
If all this reveals a man mature beyond his years, he responds by saying " I have been with older people since I was eleven.Only when I saw my photograph in the newspaper while scoring for Roja did I discover I didn't have grey hair, why, I was quite young!'' He continues "I know there is no point in all this success. I remember father, I remember how he suffered. And I learnt the hard lesson. When a musician is in demand everyone flocks around him... otherwise he's abandoned like a shirt that is torn and tattered. I've seen the callousness of the world with my very own eyes at a young age. Today, I know that success doesn't last forever. It could disappear suddenly one day. In fact,I feel every new film that I take up will be my last one. If I'm wanted today, I could be discarded tomorrow. they'll simply say, 'look this boy has failed and he thought he was in a position of advantage.' " He adds, "Each movie is like a child to me. If the child is beautiful, its a matter of pride for me."
Rahman, for whom music is not just a profession but 'a spiritual experience', completed 9 years in the film industry on August 15th 2001. In this short span he changed the very face of film music in India and touched heights that no music director ever had previously. He has built up a repertoire of scintillating scores that anybody would kill for. He has become a national icon. He is also arguably the most well known Indian composer of popular music internationally. He has successfully taken popular Indian music international. He has fans not just among expatriate Indians but also among natives of places like Brazil, Sweden and Australia. He changed the image of a music director from being a paan-chewing, harmonium-clutching copycat to that of a technology-savvy person. He took Tamil music global and established the universal appeal of his music, whatever the language the lyrics be in. He set the standards by which music came to be rated in India. The benchmarks set by him were what others aimed to achieve. The soundtracks of his unsuccessful scores sold more than the soundtracks of the successful scores of other composers. He also collected inumerable accolades for his work - a Padmashri, 14 Filmfare Awards in 10 years (9 years on the trot in Tamil and 5 in Hindi), 3 National Awards, 6 Tamil Nadu State Awards and numerous others - a feat unparalleled and not likely to be overhauled in the foreseeable future. Every director of repute yearns to work with him and every actor hopes to dance to his tunes, literally.
At the age of 35, when many others are just starting out, Rahman has garnered achievements that many others cannot in a lifetime. He has already worked with internationally reputed artistes like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Michael Jackson, Jean Michel Jarre, Sir Andrew LLoyd Webber, Deep Forest, Apache Indian, Zakir Hussain, Dominic Miller, L.Shankar, David Byrne, Kadri Gopalnath, Vikku Vinayakram, Ustad Sultan Khan and Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt among many others. On a recent trip to India, David Byrne met Rahman and was so impressed that he went on to record some sessions with Rahman for a projecthe is currently completing (as yet unreleased). It can be safely said that the current modern era will be considered as to have been greatly influenced by the 'Rahman School of Music'. Rahman lists among his musical favourites Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Carpenters, Carnatic, Rock and fusion and among film composers Naushad, S. D. and R. D. Burman and in Tamil K. V. Mahadevan and Vishwanathan-Ramamoorthy.
When asked what music means to him, he says "Many things. Its hard to define: bread and butter, peace, happiness, and devotion. When you are working on a piece and it turns out to be good its like a moment of magic. It gives you a lot of happiness when you think that millions are listening to your music. Its also a whole process- making it likeable to myself first andthen taking it towards perfection. Music is beyond description and without boundaries. We have to keep expanding our horizons and make room for new things. take a small butterfly or insect - if you look at it closely you discover so many new things. When I do something, I want to be original. I sit, just blank my mind and pray. and I come up with something. Mostly its good and gets approved. It could be so simple and even a child could have composed it, but to give it soul that's what's important. Music is a spiritual thing not a formula. "If a music artiste wants to blossom into a full-pledged person, it's not enough if he knows only classical music; nor it's enough if he's well-versed only in raagaas and techniques. Instead, he should be a knowledgeable person interested in life and philosophy. In his personal life there should be, atleast in some corner of his heart, a tinge of lingering sorrow."
"I'm inspired any time I watch a good musician playing. When I'm programming my music on my own, I always think of some great drummer or some great bass guitarist. When I'm playing on the keyboards, I think of how beautifully another musician plays the instrument. And that inspires me to play." "When I see Mughal-e-Azam I feel the whole sound track has been produced with a continuous, intense feeling. No cracks, no jerks. It took Naushad two years of concentration, as if he couldn't see anything else''.
When asked if dealing with constant pressures of delivering somthting different would lead to a burnout, Rahman says, "I believe that a burnout occurs when one is not happy with what he is doing. Probabaly he's doing it out of family pressures or financial hassles. But not for the passion of it. But I am in this profession because I thoroughly enjoy doing what I do, and wouldn't want to do anything else. That's the reason why I have never felt overworked or then felt like taking a break from my work. At times, all I want to do is absorb the things happening around me and study more about music. But everything that I do has to be related only to music. So, there's no concept of a burnout occuring in my life. God forbid." "Above all I am a strong believer in destiny. I also believe that destiny can be changed by prayers."
"I am surprised when good things happen. I am cool when something bad happens, also. I trust God and in that way helps me to get rid of unnecessary things like jealousy, greed and all that stuff. Although I'm not fully out of it, at least I am almost at the surface of getting out of it. These things kind of give me a security for doing music. I don't have to worry if whether I'll be good, if I'll be successful, I'll be a failure or if I'll be thrown out or anything like that. Your almost like a vacuum, straight about everything. Which gives you a completely sublime, lonely feeling apart from others."
Never one to boast or brag about his accomplishments, he credits all his inspiration and success to Allah. "I am whatever because of my parents' prayers to Allah. I am whatever I am because the prayers I pray conscientiously, sincerely and with full faith five times a day. I will be whatever I am only because of Allah, I know it. He has given me everything. He can take everything away and I accept His decision without any questions, without a murmur. Allah is my everything. I am just an infinitesimal creation of His. He has created me for a specific mission. I will be committing a sin if I don't fulfil that mission. That's my only belief. That's the only thing that matters to me. I don't care for all the other temptations of the world. I am born for music. I live for music. I will live for music till the very end. That's Allah's will. That's all I Know", Rahman says. "The problem is, you can create only as long as you have the gift, only as long as the almighty wishes. After that, you can stand on your head, it still won't come. If God wills it so, it may happen to me too. I can take that. I belive that every individual, even an atom, can move only with the will of God. I don't take credit for doing all this. If I did, then I would fall flat. '' "Destiny has been the biggest influence in my life. Without the will of God I would have never reached where I have. That's why I believe I am like a boat in a river without a sail and a firm destination".
Apart from the Almighty he credits all his success to his mother who encouraged him to take up music when his interest lay in electronics. His maxim is that only total dedication and concentration to one's profession can help in producing good work. Rahman is certain that this dedication must increase with fame. Rahman makes his presence felt again despite maintaining a low profile in public life. It is well known that he is seldom seen at social gatherings, film parties or functions. "Fans, VIPs wanting to meet you, functions, parties - the moment you stop making good music all will stop. The only formula is - yes, we are back to it - total concentration on the work." All this success has not uprooted him from his roots, "Beyond what people achieve and strive for the only things that are really important are - personal values, family and friends." Ever the great improviser he never stops till he is fully satisfied. "If an album is to please all age groups, go beyond current fads, it must have a couple of memorable melodies. 'Hai rabbas' don't satisfy me. They make hits but are soon forgotten. You want to do something that lasts.''
Rahman treats his compositions with a Sufi's dedication. When a tune comes to him he ceases to function normally. "When music comes to me," he confessed in an unguarded moment, "I stop sleeping. I continue to work on spontaneously at nights for seven to eight hours at a stretch. When I finally pop off to sleep early in the morning I have these dreams that people are waiting for me. I can't even complete these dreams ."
In response to all the acclaim he has received, he says "It's a great responsibility. I am trying my best to combine traditional and contemporary styles. But sometimes the result isn't in my hands at all. It depends on the film and the director. Trends come and go but I have to keep doing my own thing.". "You have to learn from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is only teacher and that is your soul.
For Rahman, who eats music, thinks music, breathes music and lives music, the bottomline is that his music should reach out to the soul of humankind. "I know there are many people who say I don't know what music is. There are so many who say that what I create is not music. But I know the people are with me. The people love my music. I know Allah is with me all the time while I am creating and with Allah by my side I know nothing can go wrong. My music comes from somewhere deep within me. I could have created any kind of music but I create only that kind of music that comes from within my being. My music has a mission. It has to reach the bodies, the souls of the millions for whom I strive to create my music, music that springs from deep within me. I am a within man more than without. It is the language of the heart and the soul together that makes my music. And I don't have to make great efforts because my kind of music does not come by force or necessity. It has to flow from within me. That's the only way I know how to create. There's no other way. Let the people who don't like my music say what they want, I say again and again. Allah be with them. It is this music which he helps me create which appeals to both the body and the soul that is going to be one of the greatest forces that will help people from all over the world come closer, become one in body and soul in the millennium to come. I am working on that music for the future."
Amidst all this heady success, Rahman remains unchanged. He is as humble, modest, shy, low profile, unassuming, self-affacing, devout and down-to-earth as he was at the beginning of his career. A man of few words he believes in letting his work do all the talking. He prefers to save his energies for his work instead of fighting out numerous controversies. His personality is summed up in his favourite prayer which goes thus "O God, if I worship thee for fear of hell, burn me in hell, and if I worship thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise, but if I worship thee for thy own sake, grudge me not thy everlasting beauty." The man has given immense pleasure to millions of music lovers world-wide with his compositions, music that brings a cheer to one's face and helps in forgetting one's troubles. It is probably these very divine qualities that made him the great man he is and the same will hopefully help him touch greater heights and touch newer glories and keep millions enchanted with his blissful music for years to come.


Anonymous said...


The language in your profile is too bad..there is not a single sentence that makes sense..and moreover you lifted this entire post from a tripod member's site..which published Rahman's biography. Atleast you should have given credit to the site from where you lifted the entire text! This is the site: http://members.tripod.com/gopalhome/arrbio.html