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A. R. Rahman

  • Indian musician
  • Born January 6, 1967

Allahrakka Rahman pronunciation ; born A. S. Dileep Kumar) known professionally as A. R. Rahman, is an Indian music director, composer, musician and singer. His works are noted for integrating Indian classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. Among his awards are six National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Filmfare Awards and seventeen Filmfare Awards South. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2010 by the Government of India.


It's true that I love to connect with my fans on the social networking sites, but I try not to go overboard, ever. I just give people a peek into my mind space, but never bombard them with my tweets.




A good film demands its own score, and if you are a musician, your conscience will never allow you to do something mediocre for a good film.




It's like driving your car. If you drive too fast on the highway, you will topple, so you better maintain your speed. Life is similar to that, and that's the way you have to control your head.




Bollywood music is definitely a big part of Indian music and can be a great way to introduce people to the sound. But I hope to continue to incorporate other types of Indian music into my work.




Every time I sit for a song, I feel I am finished. It's like a beggar sitting waiting for God to fill your bowl with the right thought. In every song, I ask help from Him. Everybody around is so good, so to create music that will connect with so many people is not humanly possible without inspiration.




I compose music for films, and by the grace of God, I've got a few awards. That's it.




When you do something with a lot of honesty, appetite and commitment, the input reflects in the output.




Comedy is a universal language. I grew up watching Nagesh, Surilirajan, Thenga Srinivasan and S.V. Shekhar's comedies. And, of course, Charlie Chaplin! These artists are so blessed: they can make other people happy.




The idea of music is to liberate the listener and lead him to a frame where he feels he is elevated.




After a point of time, when you get success and fame, money and everything, the purpose of life has to be redefined. For me, I think that purpose is to build bridges. Artists can do that very easily, more than politicians.




My music is mostly for the music. And it gives the liberty to do anything which I want. And nobody limits me to one genre of music. But I learn from life and I try to give back to life, in a way, whether it's the thought of the song or whether it's the approach to the arrangement or anything.




I feel blessed and humbled that people have loved my music. Nothing would be possible without their acceptance.




For me, there is no day or night for music. I often work through the night - without phone calls disturbing me.




Success comes to those who dedicate everything to their passion in life. To be successful, it is also very important to be humble and never let fame or money travel to your head.




I'm a Sufi Muslim, I would say. I believe in using the medium to create a good vibration because art is so important to society. Some projects I don't do because I feel that it's going to create a bad vibe. I don't do propaganda films that are anti another religion, anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu.




I grew up on Bach and Beethoven, and now I'm listening to more modern composers who I can't even name. But since I'm constantly doing music, it's difficult to have that quality time to listen to music and do classical stuff.




I divide criticism into two categories - one coming from those who understand music, who are worthy of being critical because they are knowledgeable about what they are saying; and then there is another category of people who would criticise you anyway, whether your work is good or bad.




The institution of marriage works better when there's a spiritual connection. If you're marrying just for the sake of the woman, then you may lose interest in each other very soon. When we marry in the interest of the Holy Spirit with the intention of serving God and humanity, then it gives a much larger perspective.




Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other's experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination.




The demand in India is to have a hit, which becomes a promotion for the movie and makes people come to the theater. You have five songs and different promotions based on those. But when I do Western films, the need for originality is greater. Then I become very conscious about the writing.




Sometimes, a remix is good because it reaches a whole new generation. But when it gets too much, it's irritating. Also, the original composer needs to be credited properly.




Your inner voice is the voice of divinity. To hear it, we need to be in solitude, even in crowded places.




My mother's belief in spiritual healers grew stronger after our family went through a rough patch following my father's death. Sufi saint Karimullah Shah Kadri changed our lives, and all of us converted to Sufism. But it wasn't an instantaneous decision - it took us 10 years to convert. The change in religion was like washing away the past.




The more dollars the studio producers put in, the less freedom we have. If the budget hits $100m, they get scared - they'll take the existing score of a successful movie and expect composers to copy it, like wallpaper. The biggest challenge for any composer in Hollywood is to be as creative as possible within those boundaries.




I am the kind of person who does not like to carry baggage. In fact, I don't go back and listen to my own music. I believe in closing chapters and moving forward. That's what gives me peace.




I want young Indian composers to be able to do more than just film music. I want to give them the skills that will enable them to create their own palette of sounds instead of having to write formulaic music. It doesn't matter if they become sound engineers, producers, composers or performers - I want them to be as imaginative as they like.




I was a common man, and I will always remain a common man. No amount of stardom will ever consume my soul. Money comes, money goes. Fame comes, fame goes. I believe every human being is a celebrity in their own right.




I have too many responsibilities and principles. There's no time for 'guilty' pleasures.




Compared with other Indian film composers, I only write about six movies a year. Others write up to 60.




I like to see a film and then start scoring it in my mind while doing something unrelated. You just grasp a film and start working, and something unpredictable comes out from a third element. The mind, the more active it is, the more productive it is.




I usually work on a film soundtrack for two years, turning in a song every few months, and that keeps my creative energy high, because I'm constantly rotating projects. The trick is to make sure I don't work too hard and get exhausted.




I think music, in my opinion, is not about motivation in the way it's - it's not a running base. It's art. And my whole philosophy of music is different. It's almost like cooking and serving to people, seeing them smile and enjoying the food, really.




I believe that whatever comes at a particular time is a blessing from God.




If you respect a language and culture, it shows in your work.




Beautiful film music can be made relevant to any period.




My kids miss me when I'm away, but I don't mind living out of a suitcase. The U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Iraq... it's such a thrill meeting people of different cultures, learning about and from them. It's changed my perception about life, humanity and spirituality.



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