Shocker from AR Rahman: ‘I Used to Think About Suicide’

The double Oscar winner opens up about the tough life that often resulted in him feeling suicidal
Shocker from AR Rahman: ‘I Used to Think About Suicide’
AR Rahman

Sending shockwaves throughout the film industry, music maestro AR Rahman has admitted that he had been prone to suicidal thoughts for a long time. Rahman 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 we are not good enough. Because I lost my father, there was this void... There were so many things happening. (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 told PTI.

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 maybe 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 added.

"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. "I never liked my original name, Dileep Kumar. I don't even know why I hated it. I felt it didn't match my personality. I wanted to become another person. I felt like that would define and change my whole (being). I wanted to get rid of all the past luggage," he told PTI.