A.R. RahmanAllah Rakha Rahman (born January 6, 1966 as A.S. Dileep Kumar) in Chennai, India) is a popular Indian film music composer. He made a debut with Mani Ratnam's movie, Roja (means: Rose) (1992) in Tamil and RamGopal Varma's movie Rangeela (means: colorful) (1995) in Hindi.
At the age of 11, Rahman joined the troupe of Indian composer Illaiyaraja as a keyboard player. He later played on the orchestra of M.S. Vishwanathan and Ramesh Nadu, and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours, the experience of which allowed him to obtain a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music at Oxford University, from where he received a degree in WesternClassical Music.
In 1989, Rahman began his own studio (which was attached to his house), called the Panchathan Record Inn. He initially composed music for use in advertisements, the title music on popular Indian television channels, and in documentaries, among other projects. Rahman was, at first, hesitant about composing music for the Indian film industry primarily because most film makers at the time used songs as "fillers" or a means by which the audience was given a break from the movie's plot. In 1991 he was approached by the famed "Spielberg of India," Indian film director Mani Ratnam, who offered Rehman the job as composer of music for his upcoming film Roja, at a price of Rs. 25,000. Rehman accepted, and the movie's superhit debut made him a household name in Tamil Nadu virtually overnight and led Rehman to receive the Rajat Kamal award for best music director at the Indian National Film Awards, the first time ever by a debutant.
Perhaps it is A.R. Rahman who has revived the degenerating Indian film music scenario. He did this by bringing the usage of technology into music. However, this usage of technology in music is sometimes dubbed as excessive and injurious by other music composers. But lately, Rahman was successful in transcending such criticisms by creating his own style of composition by a symbiosis of the best elements of Technology and the Indian classical instruments.
|Andrew Lloyd Webber with A.R. Rahman|
He revived India's national song with his pop album Vande Mataram (1996). Recently, he also came up with an album called Jana gana mana, a huge conglomeration of performances by all the leading exponents/artists of Indian classical music.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, himself being an acclaimed composer, was very much impressed with Rahman's unique style and so made him compose for his maiden stage production Bombay Dreams (2002). This stage-play was well received in England and opened him up to new vistas in Hollywood.
picture courtesy: The Hindu and Telegraph
Brief incomplete discography
 - RahmanOnline.com
 - The Complete Biography of A.R. Rahman
 - MSN Entertainment: A.R. Rahman Artist Information