A.S. Dileep Kumar to a Tamil Hindu family, his father R.K. Shekhar, a composer
who directed music for Malayalam movies, died when he was just nine. The family
was forced to rent out musical equipment. Two years later, the 11-year-old
budding maestro joined noted composer Ilayaraja's troupe as a keyboardist and
computer programmer to support his mother and three sisters.
After working with several renowned composers like Zakir Hussain and L. Shankar,
he set out on his own to compose jingles and scores for popular Indian
television features and has composed more than 300 jingles.
During this period, he also earned a degree in western classical music from the
Trinity College of Music, London, and went on to set up his own in-house studio
at Chennai, said to be Asia's most sophisticated and hi-tech studio.
In 1989, Dileep Kumar converted to Islam along with his family due to personal
reasons. He became A.R. Rahman.
The Bollywood debut came a couple of years later. And there was no looking back
The musical genius not only won hearts in India but also made a mark on the
global music scene.
He got his first international break when Andrew Lloyd Webber invited him to
compose music for the Broadway musical "Bombay Dreams", which won him
He also composed for the stage adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord Of The
Rings" that premiered in Canada in 2006 and in London in 2007.
Apart from composing music Rahman is also involved in social work. He launched
the A.R. Rahman Foundation to tackle the issue of poverty by providing education
to the poor and equipping them with knowledge and skills to earn a living.