|Born||17 March 1980|
|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|
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.
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. 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.
Rahul is married to Miriam, a German national and has a daughter Akshaine, who was born in 2012.
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.
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.
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 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. 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.
In 2011, Rahul Raj made his debut in Telugu cinema by composing music for the Siddharth – Shruti Haasan starrer Oh My Friend. 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.
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.
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. Several critics hailed the background score as the most interesting technical aspect of the movie.
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, 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.
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. 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.
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 in Malayalam, Vaadu Nenu Kaadhu in Telugu, Yaar? in Tamil, and another untitled film in Hindi.
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.
|2007||Chotta Mumbai •||Yes||Yes||Mohanlal starrer.|
|Time •||Police Ante Veedera||Yes||Yes||Winner – JayCee 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||Winner – Kerala State Film Award – Best Background Score
Winner – Vayalar Movie Award – Best Music Direction
|24 Hours •||Yes||No||Promo Song Only.|
|2011||Sridhar||Oh My Friend •||Yes||No||Telugu Debut.
Winner – Maa Music Award – Best 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.|
|2015||Fireman •||Songless||Yes||Mammootty starrer.|
|Style •||No||Yes||Background Score only.|
|Karingunnam Sixes •||Yes||Yes|
|White •||Yes||Yes||Mammootty starrer.|
|IDI- Inspector Dawood Ibrahim •||Yes||Yes|
|Third World Boys •||Yes||Yes|
|Untitled Sangeeth Sivan production •||Yes||Yes||Announced by Sangeeth Sivan.|
|Untitled George Varghese film •||Yes||Yes|
|Untitled film •||Yes||Yes||Bollywood Debut.|
|2018||Untitled Mohanlal starrer •||Yes||Yes||Announced.|
|Vaadu Nenu Kaadhu •||Yes||Yes|
|Untitled film •||Yes||Yes|
|Untitled film •||Yes||Yes|
Note: '•' Indicates Language of original production; others being dubbed releases.
Awards and nominations
|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
- "Real life on reel". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 21 November 2010.
- "It's Rahul rage in Tollywood! – The Times of India". The Times of India.
- "Music spectrum of 2013". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 December 2013.
- T (19 February 2015). "Movie Reviews". Manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- 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)
- "Fireman Movie Review". Metromatinee.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Mathew, Tony (19 February 2015). "This Fireman sets fire to theatres". English.manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2015-03-17.