Canadian city Markham has named one of its streets after Bollywood music director AR Rahman. The humbled artist shared a heartfelt message on social media to express his gratitude for the honour. He thanked the Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, counsellors, Indian Consulate General Apoorva Srivastava, and the people of Canada. The ‘Kun Faya Kun’ singer also shared some photographs from the event, showing him with the mayor in front of the street sign carrying his name.
AR Rahman Says its Not His Name
In his statement, the Mozart of Madras also said that “AR Rahman” was not his name. He further elaborated that the meaning of this name was “merciful”, which was the quality of “a common God we all have, and one can only be the servant of merciful”. He hoped that this name would bring peace, happiness, health, and prosperity to everyone living in Canada.
He credited his success to the love of Indian fans and all the creative and legendary talent he worked with. Describing himself as the very small drop in the ocean, Rahman applauded his colleagues for inspiring him to rise up and celebrate 100 years of cinema. He mentioned that it further motivates him to keep going and not think about retirement. In the end, he held that even if he got tired of working, he would remind himself about more work to be done, more people to connect with, and more bridges to cross.
The Real Name
Rahman was born to a Hindu family as AS Dileep Kumar in Madras, Tamil Nadu. His father, RK Shekhar, was also a music composer for the Tamil and Malayalam film industry. Rahman started learning piano at the age of 4 and assisted his father as well. After his father’s death, Rahman had to work at a young age, leading him to miss school. By the age of 11, he was already training under the legendary Indian musician Master Dhanraj. He assisted many notable music directors by playing piano and synthesizer during his early career. He went on to graduate with a diploma in Western Classical Music.
In 1984, his younger sister became terminally ill. That’s when he was introduced to the Qadiri order of Sufism. He converted to Islam at the age of 23, along with his family members, in 1989. Hence, he changed his name to “Allah Rakha Rahman”, or in short, AR Rahman.
AR Rahman created music for different Indian television channels and advertisements before breaking through in the film scene. In 1992, his work was noticed by filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who approached him to compose the music for his Tamil movie, Roja. The film’s score (original and dubbed) was a critical and commercial success, earning him the National Film Award for best music director.
It was the beginning of a shiny career lasting more than 3 decades. He gave Bollywood unforgettable music in movies like Rangeela, Dil Se, Taal, Swades, Rang De Basanti, Jodha Akbar, Rockstar, and Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Rahman also took Hollywood by storm with his music appearing in international films like Lord of War, Inside Man, and The Accidental Husband. His first ever score in Hollywood was in the 2009 comedy movie Couple Retreat, which earned him BMI London Award for Best Score. Moreover, he was the first Asian to win 2 Academy Awards for the soundtrack in the 2008 film Slumdog Millonaire.