Some Lesser Known Facts About A. R. Rahman
- Does A. R. Rahman smoke?: No
- Does A. R. Rahman alcohol?: No
- Rahman was known earlier known as A. S. Dileep Kumar before he converted from Hinduism to Islam.
- He had a difficult childhood as his father died when he was 9 years old, leaving him as the sole earning source of his family. Initially, he used to play his father’s keyboard to earn money.
- He scored 62% in his board exams.
- He aspired to be a computer engineer.
- Following the footsteps of his father, he incepted his early training in music from Master Dhanraj.
- His first salary was 50 (INR) for operating a record player.
- From 1984-88, he was part of the band called Roots”. During this period, he also played the keyboard for 10 – 12 Kannada films.
- Later, he became part of a rock band called “Nemesis Avenue”, where he worked as a producer-arranger and also performed for a concert ‘Jive live’.
- In 1987, he started composing short songs for ad commercials, first among them was Alwyn’s new Trendy range of watches. And, in the span of 5 years, he composed around 300 of them.
- In 1989, he and his family converted to Islam from Hinduism after his sister felt magical relief out of her severe illness from the blessings of a Pir Qadri called Sheik Abdul Qadir Jeelani.
- In 1991, he met a producer, Sharada Trilok, who introduced him to her cousin, Mani Ratnam who got so much impressed with his performance, that he gave him a breakthrough in the film Roja (1992). In 2005, the same song was listed among TIME’s “10 Best Soundtracks” of all time.
- Very few people know that the first film for which he composed music was Mohanlal starer Yodha (1992), a Malayalam film.
- By 2004, he was among the world’s all-time top-selling recording artists, as till then, he sold almost 200 million cassettes and 150 million recordings of his soundtracks.
- Though he loves to compose music of all genders, but romantic is his favorite.
- In 2008, he founded KM College of Music and Technology in Chennai, which was inaugurated by Mukesh Ambani.
- His Oscar Award-winning song “Jai Ho” was initially composed for the Bollywood film Yuvvraaj (2008), but it later became a part of Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
- In 2012, he had received a Christmas card and a dinner invitation from Barack Obama, the then President of the United States at the White House.
- He shares his birthday (6 January) with his son, Ameen.
- He is a global ambassador of the WHO’s “Stop TB Partnership” and also supports “Save the Child” in India.
- In 2013, a street was named in his honor in Markham, Ontario, Canada.
- Unlike other musicians, he likes composing music at night.
- His favorite raaga is ‘Sindhu Bhairavi’.
- Along with filmmaker Shekhar Kapoor, he has launched a social media platform called “Qyuki”, to showcase the raw talent in India.
- On 20 January 2017, he along with members of the Nadigar Sangam observed a one-day fast to support the people of Tamil Nadu protesting against the ban on Jallikattu ( a bull-taming event).
- In January 2018, he became the first-ever brand ambassador of Sikkim.