Rahul Raj

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Rahul Raj
Born (1980-03-17) 17 March 1980 (age 37)
Origin Cochin, Kerala, India
Genres Film scores, soundtracks, albums
Occupation(s) Composer, orchestrator, conductor, record producer, music director, singer, arranger, programmer
Instruments Piano, keyboards, MIDI Master keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, drums
Years active 2007–present
Website rahul-raj.com

Rahul Raj is an Indian music composer. He has composed and produced original scores and soundtracks for Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil movies.

Early life[edit]

Rahul Raj was born on 17 March 1980 in Kochi to Advocate E. Thankappan and N. S. Kunjoonjamma. His schooling was in Bhavans Vidya Mandir, Elamakkara, Cochin. He has one sister, Rehna Raj. From the age of 6, he was trained in Mridangam (South Indian Percussion instrument) and Carnatic Music. He graduated as an IT Engineer from CUSAT, Cochin and later on pursued courses such as CCNP and CCIE in Bangalore ILloka networks, before moving to London.[1][2]

During his stint in London, he underwent training in Electronic Sound Production. He helped Pradeep Menon, a UK-based Indian businessman, remix a Tamil Ayappa record that was originally produced, composed and sung by Pradeep Menon and Shashi Kumar in 1985. The devotional album produced in the UK, Canada and India is titled Sabari Beats.[3] It was released in November 2002 by Super recording in Tamil Nadu. Noted musicians like Pravin Mani, Saroja, and Kamalakar were featured. This launched Rahul Raj's career. He also arranged another song for Pradeep Menon called "Krishna Krishna" with percussionist Sivamani and James Asher from UK.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Rahul is married to Miriam, a German national and has a daughter Akshaine, who was born in 2012.

Career[edit]

On returning to India, Rahul composed more than 100 jingles for commercials in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. During this period, he had also composed original themes for many television productions, including shows for Asianet and Amrita TV.[5]

Rahul Raj performing on Friedrich Stoll Berlin, a piano built in 1920.

In 2003, he composed the anthem Lokaha for Amrithavarsam 50, which was later used as the theme song for Amrita TV. He composed Malayalam albums during the period, which include En Jeevane (Pularmanju pole), which was shot completely in the United States by producer–director Tom George Kolath. The song "Pularmanjupol Nee" from the album, rendered by Karthik and Sujatha, became an evergreen hit.

He was given the opportunity to compose the logo theme music for the show 50 Years of Malayalam Film Music with Padma Bhusan Dr. K. J. Yesudas.

His first feature film score and soundtrack were for Chotta Mumbai, directed by Anwar Rasheed and starring Mohanlal in the lead. His second release was Suresh Gopi's Time directed by Shaji Kailas. Shankar Mahadevan sang in one of his compositions for Chotta Mumbai.

In 2008, he replaced the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as the composer of the Malayalam feature film Maya Bazar, in which he worked with the Tamil film production company Ayngaran International. In the same year, he became the first music composer in Malayalam movie industry to have a registered fans' association, called RRFA (Rahul Raj Fans Association), based in Thiruvananthapuram.


In 2009, he composed for filmmaker Shyamaprasad's Ritu, for which he subsequently won the Vayalar Award. The award was given by a jury of old school musicians including K.P. Udayabhanu.

In 2010, he won the Kerala State Award for Best Background Score for Ritu. The same year, he was invited to University at Buffalo, The State University of New York to rework and expand Pomp and Circumstance Marches, the traditional convocation music used by them, composed by Sir Edward Elgar. In addition to expanding Edward Elgar's piece, he composed two original music pieces for the convocation, Dance of the Gods and The Circumstance by Rahul Raj.[6] In the same year he signed a project called Mathilukalkkapuram, a sequel to Adoor Gopalakrishnan's classic Mathilukal. The Mammootty starrer which also had Ravi K. Chandran and Resul Pookutty on board as cinematographer and sound designer respectively was subsequently shelved.[7]

In 2011, Rahul Raj made his debut in Telugu cinema by composing music for the SiddharthShruti Haasan starrer Oh My Friend.[8] The audio of the film opened to overwhelming responses and rave reviews, climbing to the No. 1 position in Telugu music charts, with the song "Maa Daddy Pockets" in particular becoming a rage among the youth. The audio went on to mark record sales of 3 lakh CDs within nine days of release.[9]

After almost a two-year hiatus, in 2012 he returned to the Malayalam industry by scoring for Amal Neerad's Bachelor Party. The songs became sensational hits and the background score received critical acclaim.[10][11]

In 2013, he composed for Kili Poyi , which was supposedly the first stoner film in Malayalam Cinema. Though the film opened to mixed responses, the title song became a huge hit.[12] Several critics hailed the background score as the most interesting technical aspect of the movie.[13]

Rahul had a dull opening in 2014 with the high budget romantic comedy London Bridge and Mannar Mathai Speaking 2 the much hyped sequel to the cult comedy classic Mannar Mathai Speaking failing at the box office. Rahul had composed only three tracks for London Bridge, as he had to leave the project owing to scheduling conflicts. Later in the year, the Telugu film Paathshala for which he had composed, became a box office success. Rahul's songs for the movie were received well,[14][15] but it was his background score that was unanimously praised by all reviewers, as a major plus point, crediting it to have elevated the movie to a different level.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

The year 2015, opened on a favourable note for Rahul, as his background score for the Mammootty starrer Fireman received unanimous praise, with the movie subsequently becoming a box office success.[27][28][29][30] His second release of the year was Sidhartha Siva's Ain which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam. The month of August saw the release of his songs from Kohinoor, a heist film set in the 1980s. The song Hemanthamen went on to rake in unanimous praise from critics and public alike, being hailed as an outstanding nostalgic melody.[31]

His upcoming projects are Third World Boys, an untitled George Varghese film, an untitled Sangeeth Sivan production and an untitled Mohanlal starrer directed by B. Unnikrishnan[32] in Malayalam, Vaadu Nenu Kaadhu in Telugu, Yaar? in Tamil, and another untitled film in Hindi.[33][34]

Orchestration[edit]

Rahul Raj is known for giving ultra-modern orchestration in his songs. He uses international elements for the instrumentation in his songs. His background scores in particular are rich with elements of symphony and Western Classical music.[35]

Film discography[edit]

Year Malayalam Tamil Telugu Hindi Songs Score Other Notes
2007 Chotta Mumbai Yes Yes Mohanlal starrer.
Time Police Ante Veedera Yes Yes WinnerJayCee Foundation Award for Best Music Direction
2008 Annan Thambi Annadammulu Yes No Mammootty starrer.
Malabar Wedding Yes Yes
One Way Ticket Yes No
Maya Bazar Nenunnanu Yes No Mammootty starrer.
Crazy Gopalan Yes No
2009 Ritu New Ritu Yes Yes WinnerKerala State Film AwardBest Background Score
WinnerVayalar Movie Award – Best Music Direction
2010 Chekavar Yes Yes
24 Hours Yes No Promo Song Only.
2011 Sridhar[36] Oh My Friend Yes No Telugu Debut.
WinnerMaa Music AwardBest Debut Music Composer
2012 Bachelor Party Yes Yes
2013 Kili Poyi Yes Yes
Paisa Paisa No Yes Background Score only.
D Company Songless Yes Anthology film.
Segment: Day of Judgement.
2014 London Bridge Love in London Yes No Opening Credits Theme & 2 songs only.
Mannar Mathai Speaking 2 Yes Yes
Kadavul Paathi Mirugam Paathi Rahadari Yes Yes Tamil Debut.
Paathshala Yes Yes
2015 Fireman Songless Yes Mammootty starrer.
Ain Yes Yes
Kohinoor Yes Yes
Style No Yes Background Score only.
2016 Mudhugauv Yes Yes
Karingunnam Sixes Yes Yes
Kasaba Yes Yes
White Yes Yes Mammootty starrer.
IDI- Inspector Dawood Ibrahim Yes Yes
2017 Ezra Ezra Ezra Yes No
Third World Boys Yes Yes
Yaar? Yes Yes
E (2017 film) Yes Yes Announced by Sangeeth Sivan.[37]
Untitled George Varghese film Yes Yes
Untitled film Yes Yes Bollywood Debut.[38][39]
2018 Untitled Mohanlal starrer Yes Yes Announced.[40]
Vaadu Nenu Kaadhu Yes Yes
Untitled film Yes Yes
Untitled film[41] Yes Yes

Note: '•' Indicates Language of original production; others being dubbed releases.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Project Category Outcome
Kerala State Film Award 2009 Ritu Best Background Score Won
Vayalar Movie Award 2009 Ritu Best Music Composer Won
Jay Cee Foundation Award 2007 Time Best Music Composer Won
Maa Music Award 2011 Oh My Friend Best Debut Music Composer (Telugu) Won

As President of FEFKA Music Directors' Union[edit]

In 2013, Rahul Raj was designated as the President of the FEFKA Music Directors' Union, the official association of film composers in the Malayalam film industry.[42][43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.yentha.com/news/view/4/INTERVIEW-OF-THE-WEEK-Chasing-The-Music-Of-Heart
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPcjXhjE1Es
  3. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/fr/2002/11/15/stories/2002111501080300.htm
  4. ^ http://www.madeupmusic.co.uk/composers/james-asher
  5. ^ http://www.yentha.com/news/view/4/INTERVIEW-OF-THE-WEEK-Chasing-The-Music-Of-Heart
  6. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/the-right-scores/article473086.ece
  7. ^ http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Layout/Includes/MIRRORNEW/ArtWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=MIRRORNEW&BaseHref=BGMIR%2F2011%2F02%2F17&ViewMode=HTML&PageLabel=25&EntityId=Ar02401&AppName=1
  8. ^ "Real life on reel". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 21 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "It's Rahul rage in Tollywood! – The Times of India". The Times of India. 
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHCa5S3hut4&feature=g-all-u
  11. ^ http://www.filmmatter.com/2012/06/review-bachelor-party-usual-amal-neerad.html
  12. ^ "Music spectrum of 2013". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 December 2013. 
  13. ^ http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/malayalam/review/17119.html
  14. ^ http://www.idlebrain.com/news/today/audioreview-paathshala.html
  15. ^ http://www.123telugu.com/reviews/paathshala-movie-audio-review.html
  16. ^ http://www.justtelugu.com/paathshala-movie-review/
  17. ^ http://www.thelawa.com/posts/reviews/1/2713/mahi-v--raghav-paathshala-2014-telugu-movie-review-and-rating.html
  18. ^ http://www.mediatimez.com/entertainment/telugu/reviews-3/movie-review-3/paathshala-movie-review
  19. ^ http://www.ibtimes.co.in/paathshala-review-audience-call-it-new-age-tollywood-movie-611046
  20. ^ http://www.moviemint.com/paathshala-movie-review-a-new-age-drama/
  21. ^ http://www.greatandhra.com/movies/reviews/paathshala-review-this-is-one-serious-trip-60499.html
  22. ^ http://filmcircle.com/tag/paathasala-telugu-movie-review/
  23. ^ http://www.cinegola.com/telugu/2014/10/10/paathshala-telugu-movie-review-another-heart-winning-small-flick/
  24. ^ http://filmdhamaka.com/paathshala-movie-review/
  25. ^ http://www.telugumirchi.com/en/reviews/review-patashala.html
  26. ^ http://www.mirchi9.com/movienews/patashala-telugu-movie-review/
  27. ^ T (19 February 2015). "Movie Reviews". Manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  28. ^ മനീഷ് നാരായണന്‍ (19 February 2015). "ഫയര്‍മാന്‍ | Southlive". Southlive.in. Retrieved 2015-03-17.  zero width joiner character in |title= at position 5 (help); zero width joiner character in |author= at position 15 (help)
  29. ^ "Fireman Movie Review". Metromatinee.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  30. ^ Mathew, Tony (19 February 2015). "This Fireman sets fire to theatres". English.manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  31. ^ http://www.manoramaonline.com/music/music-mix/hemanthamen-song-from-kohinoor.html
  32. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=NX3zZ0Xf6kk#t=35
  33. ^ http://www.readwhere.com/read/107125/The-New-Indian-Express-Kochi/19042013#page/20/2
  34. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/malayalam/music/Interview-with-Rahul-Raj/articleshow/28992896.cms
  35. ^ http://www.kochivibe.com/chekavar-malayalam-movie-audio-promo/
  36. ^ http://entertainment.in.msn.com/southcinema/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5939420
  37. ^ http://www.deccanchronicle.com/entertainment/mollywood/030117/sangeeth-sivan-produces-horror-thriller-in-mollywood.html
  38. ^ http://www.readwhere.com/read/107125/The-New-Indian-Express-Kochi/19042013#page/20/2
  39. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/malayalam/music/Interview-with-Rahul-Raj/articleshow/28992896.cms
  40. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=NX3zZ0Xf6kk#t=35
  41. ^ http://www.ragalahari.com/news/12886/oh-my-friend-on-11-11-11--11am.aspx
  42. ^ http://newindianexpress.com/entertainment/malayalam/Music-directors-rubbish-claims-made-by-singers/2013/08/29/article1757222.ece
  43. ^ http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130829/entertainment-mollywood/article/%E2%80%98-singer%E2%80%99s-role-important-limited%E2%80%99

External links[edit]