THANK GOD FOR ARR AND HIS HEALING MUSIC”Music has given A.R Rahman fame Islam has gives him peace


The more you think of yourself and God, the more focused you are on yourself and Godhow Allah is so great or the beauty of everything He does..

Music lovers in South India had to make a hard choice in the early 90s – they could either choose to be patrons of top English bands that slowly seeped into the bedroom of Indian families or choose to be loyal fans of their own music maestro – Ilayaraja. In 1992, when Mani Ratnam madeRoja, a generation of confused music lovers got a wonderful option – in the name of Allah Rakha RahmToday, almost 17 years later, none of them will ever regret the decision they made after hearing the beautiful tunes of Chinna Chinna Aasai and Kadhal Rojave. From Roja to Jodha Akbar, the music director’s journey has been a delight to lap upThe right mix of melody and fast music has always been Rahman’s forte. If Shankar’s Kaadhalan boasted of a local fast number (Urvashi Urvashi), it also had a soulful Ennavale to showcase. If the song Rang De Basanti featured energetic beats and typical bhangra notes, the film also had amellifluous Tu Bin Bataye. With Rahman, there’s a little bit of everything for everybody. His musical albums of Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Manainstilled a sense of patriotism in all listeners. The recent initiative to start amusic school to teach young musicians to play within an orchestra will surely fill a big void in Indian music. “If Ilayaraja wants to record an epic score, he goes to Budapest. Why can’t we do it in our country itself ?” Rahman remarked recently, when asked about the need for a music school.
Very recently, a person was heard humming the tune of Dheem Thana (Rhythm). If a lyric of such immense meaning (Kadhal Nadhiye… Neeyum Pen Dhane?) can get buried in the sheer brilliance of the tune, it speaksvolumes of Rahman’s musical genius.
When we read about Rahman going global and composing for highprofileEnglish films, it’s not fair to crib that he has left Tamil music and resorted to greener pastures. As he said recently, “The respect for all things Indian has gone up in recent times. We need to take an initiative to propagate our culture.”
It’s just the same way that a Ramanarayan Subramaniam fromNungambakkam or a Julian Moses from Nanganallur would be creating new trends at hotshot software offices in the USA.
Rahman is not just a music director who made a grand introduction into the Indian music scene. He is a person who’s made a sweeping and everlasting impact on a whole generation of music lovers. About Roja, Time magazine’s noted critic Richard Corliss stated that the “astonishing debut work parades Rahman’s gift for alchemising outside influences until they are totally Tamil, totally Rahman”. This is true of all his albums, right till the latest Jodha Akbar…
A R Rahman has rightly matured without letting go of his ‘Madras boy’roots.

Rahman has a strong belief in Sufism, “I’m a deeply spiritual person. Sufism is about love – love for a fellow human, love for humanity, and ultimately love for God.” He is an outright critic of the extreme means adopted by some Muslims. In an interview given to Arab News he goes at length offering his outlook on the Islamic teachings-

“Muslims should go to lengths to follow the basics, which say ‘be kind to your neighbours, keep smiling when you meet others, pray and do charity.’ We should serve humanity. We should not show hostility toward others, even to the followers of other faiths. This is what Islam stands for. We should present before the world a model through our behaviour, nature and presentation. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never used his sword to spread Islam; rather he spread the religion through his virtues, behaviour, tolerance and righteousness. And this is what is needed to change today’s distorted image of Islam.”He rubbishes the rumours that link him to fundamentalism and forced conversion, “How can it be that I provide funds for them (suspected charities), when I have received death threats from the extremist (after he sang and re-composed Vande Matram) and the state government has posted police personnel to guard my residence.” On conversion he says, “When I am not perfect myself, how can I convert others? I follow my religion, let others follow their own.”Rahman was once asked what makes him click. He replied in all humility, “It is all the will of Allah. I just do my bit and leave the rest to Him. It is He who decides the fate of us mortals.” Sure he does!

If music has given him fame it’s his religion which has gives him peace. The transition to Abdul Rahman (he later changed it to Allah Rakha on Naushad’s suggestion) from Dileep Kumar took place in 1988. One of his sisters fell seriously ill and all medical aid failed. That was the time when the family came in contact with a Muslim Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani popularly known as Pir Qadri. He prayed for them and Rahman’s sister made a miraculous recovery. Influenced by the events the whole family converted to Islam. An atheist once, Rahman today, is one of those very few Muslims in the film industry who have managed to strike a balance between religion and their work. He never misses his five daily prayers and has been to Haj twice. To him his religion provides him a base that keeps him humble, “While praying you attain a certain position, telling the lord that you are the most horrendous sinner in the world, that you must be granted forgiveness and mercy.”

Read only if you have time for ALLAH




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