You might know him best as the man behind "Jai Ho" and the soundtrack to 'Slumdog Millionaire'. As a composer, Rahman is known for challenging himself and delivering above the expectations of his audiences. Speaking with Anita Barar , Rahman talks about the secrets of his magical melodies.
Allah-Rakha Rahman, popularly known as AR Rahman, needs no introduction to Indian audiences.
Rahman is an Indian composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, musician and philanthropist -and now he's headed to Australia for an exclusive performance with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) on 16th February.
His music is known for fusion of Eastern classical music with Western electronic music and he's probably best recognised by Western audiences for providing much of the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's 2008 award-winning film 'Slumdog Millionaire' -which also earned him an Oscar for Best Original Music Score.
Rahman has received numerous other national and international accolades including two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe.
But most significantly, Rahman was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India for his contribution to Indian film and music industry.
“Without music, I would be a dead man,” says maestro AR Rahman speaking with Anita Barar in an exclusive interview for SBS Hindi.
Listen to AR Rahman’s exclusive interview (in English) with Anita Barar of SBS Hindi here:
Today, Rahman is one of the world’s all-time best-selling recording artists. In his three-decade long career, he has redefined Indian film music.
Here is a guide to some of his most popular songs of all time:
‘Yeh Haseen Vadiyaan’ from Roja
Rahman started his career, in the 1980s, composing jingles for documentaries and advertisements. In 1992, he was approached by director Mani Ratnam to compose the music for his Tamil film, Roja. Roja’s score was critically and commercially successful in both its original and dubbed versions.
And the rest is history!
‘Tu hi re’ from Bombay
Another milestone came with Bombay. This 1995 film not only became one of the highest-grossing films of the Tamil film industry but the film's soundtrack sold 15 million units, thus also becoming one of the best-selling film soundtracks of all time.
‘Chikku Bukku Rayile’ from Gentleman
Soon, Rahman collaborated with a number top and emerging filmmakers.
Shankar’s Gentleman with its popular dance song – ‘Chikku Bukku Rayile’ was another major hit.
This song established Prabhu Deva’s reputation as Indian Michael Jackson.
‘Tanha Tanha’ from Rangeela
Similarly, Rahman’s music for Ram Gopal Verma’s debut Hindi movie Rangeela was a major hit with Bollywood audiences.
‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ from Dil Se
The impact of Sufi mysticism can also be seen on Rahman’s music compositions. Especially in ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ from the film Dil Se.
‘Chale Chalo’ from Lagaan
Rahman's soundtrack to the Bollywood blockbuster Lagaan in 2001 was critically acclaimed as a brilliant blend of sacred tradition and innovation.
Craig Armstrong and A.R. Rahman’s soundtrack from Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Once established in India, Rahman started collaborating with Hollywood filmamkers.
In 2007, he co-scored Shekhar Kapur's first British film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
‘Jai ho’ from Slumdog Millionaire
His scores composed for Indian films have also appeared in Inside Man, Lord of War, Divine Intervention and The Accidental Husband.
Rahman's music for 2008's Slumdog Millionaire made him a household name in the West.
It won him a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards for popular song ‘Jai Ho.’
A.R. Rahman Downunder
In 2005, Rahman visited Australia to perform in a show organised by Charindaa.
Australian director Baz Luhrmann has commented: "I had come to the music of A. R. Rahman through the emotional and haunting score of Bombay and the wit and celebration of Lagaan.
"But the more of AR's music I encountered the more I was to be amazed at the sheer diversity of styles: from swinging brass bands to triumphant anthems; from joyous pop to West-End musicals. Whatever the style, A. R. Rahman's music always possesses a profound sense of humanity and spirit, qualities that inspire me the most.”
As a composer, Rahman is known for challenging himself and delivering above the expectations of his audiences.
Rahman is set to perform LIVE in Melbourne, Australia, on the 16 February 2017.
WATCH VIDEO: The Music of A.R. Rahman at Asia TOPA | Feb 16