Know how A. R. Rahman’s father helped him to rule the music world

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Music could be a favorite pass time for someone. Well! For most of us, it is! But, A R Rahman never took music for his entertainment, instead he soaked it as his passion and now he is a world known composer, music producer, singer-producer, philanthropist and musician.

Rahman was not alone who himself delved into the music world, but it was his father who budded the seeds of music talent into him which grew so wide that its fragrance is now sprawling across the globe.

Let us see, how it started.

A sneak peek to Rahman’s childhood

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The very talented A R Rahman was welcomed into this world on 6th January 1967 by R. K. Shekhar and Kareema. He was born and brought up as A.S. Dileep in Madras, Tamil Nadu, where his family resided.

As Dileep, he started learning piano at the very small age. It was his father who made him interested within the same. The reason being, R.K. Shekar was also a film-score composer and conductor for Malayalam and Tamil films.

Rahman is a very dedicated music artist like his father, who kept on practising at home when Rahman was a kid. This is why, he kept his fingers on the keyboard for the first time, when he was just 4.

Despite of knowing that, this is a very small age, his father never let him down by denying to teach. This made him to perform at the age of 5, which is quite exceptional.

He kept on practicing dedicatedly with his father and gave him company in the studio by playing the keyboard.

Usually, at such a small age, kids are forced to attend their school and focus on studies. But, his father realized his keen interest and always took him to the studio.

With his commendable support and lessons, Rahman made his first composition when he was just nine. This was when Rahman touched the first milestone to success.

A. R. Rahman always loved to play various tunes on piano while accompanying his father in studio. When he was 9, he accidentally played a piano tune when R. K. Shekhar was recording for a film. This tune helped his father to complete the wonderful song Vellithen Kinnam Pol’ for the Malayalam film, Penpada. Later the credit was won by his father for the song which was sung by Jayachandran and written by Bharanikkavu Sivakumar.

A turn in Rahman’s life:

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Unfortunately, R.K. Shekhar passed away when Rahman was just 9 years old. Till that age, he drowned so much into the sea of music that it became difficult for him to skip his music exercises.

Though, his father and trainer, R.K. Shekhar was no more with him, but Rahman never lost his hope and aspiration of learning. Also, he didn’t gave the thought of leaving the passion of music in order to support his family.

Rahman was raised by his mother, Kareema which made him to learn the music with a more passion. Therefore, it can be said that Rahman’s achievements are not the only talent gifted by his father, but also the incredible support by his mother. She never pushed Rahman to earn wages for family by involving in some other work. Instead she always allowed him to participate in various activities.

With his mother’s support and interest towards to music, Rahman joined the band where he played keyboard and became the arranger. Sivamani, Suresh Peters, John Anthony, Raja and JoJo were his friends with whom, Rahman practiced and performed at various events.

Slowly and steadily, Rahman became multitalented by gaining an expertise over synthesizer, piano, guitar, keyboard and harmonium too. He believed that it was the ideal combination of technology and music

Rahman got an excellence in his talent and therefore, he realised that dropping school would be a better idea. So he did and like usual parents, his mother didn’t forced to complete his studies without his will, but she constantly helped him in many other ways so that nothing comes to his way of success.

Since, Rahman got involved by many bands and orchestras, so dropping out school helped him as he wanted to travel across the world with varied orchestras.

Training sessions:

It was always Rahman’s mother who never forced him to follow her dreams, but she always allowed her to pursue his training. Below are some of the phases of his training and sparkling opportunities he got due to it.

  • Rahman got an opportunity to get the training under Master Dhanraj. He got an expertise and joined Ilaiyaraaja’s troupe as the keyboard player, when he was just 11.

Also, he rented out the musical instruments to the troupe to earn some money as his family underwent money crisis after they lost R. K. Shekhar

  • Within the same year, when Rahman was 11, he began to play in the orchestra of Malayalam composer, M. K. Arjunan, who was also the very close friend of his father.
  • He continued with training sessions under his master and practices with the passion such that he got another opportunity of playing orchestra of Raj Koti and M. S. Viswanathan Ramesh Naidu.

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This was an achievement for him that he accompanied Zakir Hussain, L. Shankar and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan at the event.

  • However, Rahman didn’t attended his college, but his mother allowed to attend Trinity College of Music to obtain the graduation.

And, he again showed up with his true passion and obtained a degree in Western classical music and a scholarship. This degree added the charm to his excellence and skills.

  • While pursuing a diploma in Western classical music from Chennai, he met Qadiri Islam.

Rahman faced so many difficulties after losing his father as he was the only one who could had to take care of his family. On the other side, above mentioned facts are clearly depicting the fact that if his mother wouldn’t have allowed him to go out of city leaving herself and his sister alone, he might have not got such excellent opportunities.

Thus, he along with his family decided to get converted to Islam as it was his mother’s religion. So, finally, in 1989, at the age of 23, he changed his name from R. S. Dileep Kumar to A. R. Rahman (Allah Rakha Rahman).

Gradually, Rahman gained so much excellence and fame in his career. He realised that it was always his family who became the supporting pillars of his success. So, he paid heartly thanks to his family in various ways and at various events.

Here, we have shared a few of them where he mentioned his family for his succes. Let’s have a glance over it.

Rahman’s Career: How it started?

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According to Rahman, I don’t like cursing, negative poetry and this I learnt from poets like Vaali. You should not write negative lyrics to attract attention, it affects people.”

Following his beliefs and dedication in his passion of music, Rahman started his career when he was still Dileep by composing advertisements, jingles, documentaries and much more.

Fortunately, his never stopping efforts brought the success, when he got his first break in the music industry in 1987. During this period, he also composed the jingles for Allwyn Company’s new range of watches. Not only this, he composed more than 300 jingles in 5 years.

Following his father’s routine of going studio, he also applied the same. But he was lucky to build his own small studio at his house’s backyard. Later, he named it as Panchathan Record Inn.

He never let his father’s gift down in the form of skills he learned from him. He worked so hard in his studio that Panchathan Record Inn is now one of the advanced and well-equipped sound recording studios of India.

Not only India, it is now also the most high-tech and sophisticated studios of Asia. Rahman composed numerous of documentaries and jingles for advertisements for Indian Television Channels and other projects.

Rahman was very young, when he gave his incredible contribution in Roja, which was his first film soundtrack. His songs not only boomed at the release of the movie, but they are still throbbing the hearts of music lovers till date. He received the Platinum Award for his amazing performance for this movie.

Following it, he got the numerous offers and made exemplary performances.

How Rahman thanked his family?

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  • In one of the interviews, Rahman was asked about his childhood training when he used to lived with his family affluent of music.

Remembering his golden days, he said, “Yes, everybody in my family sings and as I can remember, I performed at the age of 5. Initially, I took classical training from my father and after that he sent me to Shri Amiya Ranjan Banerjee from whom I learned classical sangeet for 9 years.


After that, I took thumri training from Pandit A. T. Kanan. All riyazi voices have to practice daily for at least 1 hour to be in form. So, I do riyaaz daily for some time, but days when I have too many recordings then I do not do riyaaz.”


  • Undoubtedly, Rahman’s family always stood for him, even when he faced difficult situations. Thanking his mother and family, he stated, “I think I was very lucky and blessed. My mother and family protected me from unnecessary things. All the people I have worked with inspired me, especially Mani Ratnam, poet Vairamuthu, all the singers, the people in the North.”
  • Despite of the fact that Rahman lost his father at early age. But due invaluable support and no restriction from her mother, he got an opportunity to make various performances. This helped him to get in touch with the legends and also got offer to perform with them. Thus, it was his mentors as well who also helped to polish his skills.

He feels thankful to mentors for whom he says, “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.”

  • One of the outstanding work is done by him which is solely dedicated to his mother. She is the one who became his strength at all the difficult times, he had at childhood, when he lost his father. He paid a tribute to his mother during 81st Academy Awards ceremony.

Before giving the performance, he said, “There is a Hindi dialogue, mere pass ma hai, which means ‘even if I have got nothing I have my mother here’.” He also added, “Ella pughazhum iraivanukke” (“All praise to God” in Tamil, a translation from the Quran) before his speech.

Till 36, A. R. Rahman brought the revolution in the Indian film music industry and became the ace who can touch all the heights. Awarded by Grammy Awards, Academy Awards, Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Filmfare Awards, National Filmfare Awards and Filmfare Awards South and Filmfare Awards, Rahman gained many praisable comments.

Let’s have a look over what his trainers, friends and co-stars has to say for him.

The whole world praising Rahman:

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Gulzar: “He is a milestone in Hindi film music. He has single-handedly changed the sound of music in the movies. He has broken the mukhda-antara-mukhda scheme of composition and replaced the traditional patterns of tuning. He can tune to a near identical rhythm in two different songs. But these songs will still catch the listener off guard even when played immediately after each other. Instead of having the fixed format, the song can also run like free verse with his kind of music.”

Gangai Amaran: “He concentrates on his melodies and has not totally deviated from Carnatic traditions”.

If he would not have been trained by his father, we might not be having A. R. Rahman also known as “The Mozart of Madras”. And, if his mother wouldn’t have allowed him to pursue diploma from professional music school, he might have not received above mentioned praisable comments by legends.

A lesson from A. R. Rahman’s success:

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A. R. Rahman is a genius as he not only feels music, but also eats, breathes and sleeps music. He started his journey from the age of 4, so he understands the fact that a skill needs to be polished since childhood.

The reason being, it is a very true fact that ‘Children are like clay, we need to mould them’. Therefore, Rahman wants the kids to teach, so that they can become a next superstar.

He started a N.G.O., where numerous of kids are studying for free. They are not only receiving education, but also learning strings and composing. He successfully extracted the talent of 10-12 students out of them, therefore, he launched an orchestra namely, Sunshine Orchestra.

Despite of the fact that Rahman is getting innumerable offers from movies, but he is focusing more on his students, school and training classes.

Ameem, Rahman’s daughter has also got the training from his father like Rahman received from his father. Following his father’s footsteps, Ameen also gave her voice in some of the movies.

Recently, Ameen gave his voice for the Tollywood and sung under the supervision of his father and his teacher; A R Rahman.

It can be concluded that it is only parents who can help their kids to become an ace of their skills.

Helping the child with providing training fees is not just sufficient, but training them with self inherited skills can also make them a champion. Also, allowing them to pursue their interest as their career is equally important.



Nikita Kashyap is associated with YoGems.She is expert at writing Blogs,Articles on Dancing.You can follow her at Twitter to get updated with her post.