Allah Rakha Rahman (ஏ.ஆர்.ரஹ்மான் ) (born on January 6, 1966 as A. S. Dileep Kumar in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) is a composer, best known for composing film scores and soundtracks.

Early life and influences

A. R. Rahman is the only son of R. K. Sekhar, a composer, arranger and conductor for Malayalam films. His father died when Rahman was nine years old, and his family used to rent out musical equipment to make ends meet. During early difficulties, an unexplainable illness of Rahman's sister, Reihana disappeared after a visit by a Sufi saint. This led Dileep to convert to Islam, changing his name to Allah Rakha Rahman.

During these early years, Rahman served as a keyboardist and an arranger in bands with friends, embracing numerous music genres. He played the keyboard and piano, in addition to the synthesizer, the harmonium and the guitar. His curiosity in the synthesizer in particular increased because, he says, it was the “ideal combination of music and technology.”He began training in Carnatic music. At the age of 11, he joined the troupe of Indian composer Ilaiyaraaja as a keyboardist. He later played on the orchestra of M. S. Viswanathan and Ramesh Naidu, and accompanied Zakir Hussain and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan on world tours. The experience allowed him to obtain a scholarship to Trinity College at Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in Western classical music.


At the age of 9, his father passed away following a mysterious illness with rumors abounding that he was the victim of black magic by his rivals. The pressure of supporting his family especially his younger siblings sisters fell on Dileep . In the year 1986, he joined Illaiyaraja's troupe as a keyboard player. It was his mother Kareema Begum who encouraged him to follow in his father's footsteps. But all this had an adverse affect on his education. Infrequent attendance and an unaccommodative management forced him to shift schools from the prestigious Padma Seshadri Bal Bhavan to the Madras Christian College and finally he dropped out of school altogether. Among his noted work with Illayaraja were Punnagai Mannan (1986), Agni Nachatiram(1987) , Vikram (1988) and Kathal Parisu (1988). Although credits were not given to Dileep in those albums but source near to Illayaraja and Sivamani proved about the genius work. Among the best composed songs by the Illayaraja and well played by Dileep with his keyboard was the “Theme Music” of Punnagai Mannan. In end of the year 1988, Dileep left Illayaraja troupe along with his childhood friend who is also a percussionist Sivamani.

Career in Ads

Vizi Manuel, the lead keyboard player in Illaiyaraja's troupe, advised him to try other alternatives like advertising. Fortunately for Dileep he soon got his first break in advertising when he was asked to compose the jingle to promote Allwyn's new Trendy range of watches, in 1987. The ads were a success and Dileep's work in them was appreciated. Dileep moved full time into advertising as a few offers came his way. Thus began Dileep's 5-year saga in advertising where he went on to compose more than 300 jingles. Rahman did a lot of popular ads like those for Parry's, Leo Coffee, Boost featuring Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, Titan, Premier Pressure Cooker, Hero Puch and Asian Paints. The jingles that he composed for the Leo Coffee ad starring Aravind Swamy and the Asian Paints ad directed by Rajeev Menon also won him awards and recognition. He also won an award for composing the theme music of the Madras Telugu Academy 's Spirit of Unity Concerts.