'Had suicidal thoughts till 25 years of age'
The Oscar-winning composer, A R Rahman says that the initial low phase of his career eventually helped him emerge braver. The most important thing for the singer is not to feel bored and constantly try to do something new
Before the country recognised the talent of AR Rahman, the celebrated composer says there was a phase in his life where he felt like a failure and thought about ending his life almost every day. The Oscar-winning composer says the initial low phase of his career eventually helped him emerge braver. "Up until 25, I used to think about suicide. Most of us feel they are not good enough. Because I lost my father, there was this void... There were so many things happening," he said. "(But) that in a way made me more fearless. Death is a permanent thing for everyone. Since everything created has an expiry date, so why be afraid of anything?" Rahman added.
The turnaround for the 51-year-old composer came when he built his recording studio Panchathan Record Inn in his backyard in hometown Chennai. "Before that, things were dormant so may be it (the feeling) manifested then. Because of my father's death and the way he was working, I didn't do many movies. I got 35 movies and I did two."
"Everyone wondered 'How are you going to survive? You have everything, grab it.' I was 25 then. I couldn't do that. It's like eating everything. You become numb. So even if you eat small meals, make it fulfilling," he adds. The composer talks about hard times and other events in his life in 'Notes of a Dream: The Authorized Biography of AR Rahman'.
Rahman was nine when his father RK Shekhar, who was film-score composer, passed away and the family had to rent out his musical equipment to get by. Rahman, thus, took to music at a very young age. "I finished everything between the age of 12 to 22. It was boring for me to do all the normal stuff. I didn't want to do it," he says. In his 20s, before he made his debut as a composer with Mani Ratnam's Roja (1992), Rahman along with his family embraced Sufi Islam. He reinvented himself by letting go not only the baggage from the past, but also his birth name – Dileep Kumar, which he says, he despised.
Rahman says the most important thing for him is not to feel bored and constantly try to do something new; be it professionally or personally. "You feel jaded if you do the same thing. You need to find different things to do."