A. R. Rahman
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AR Rahman aids slum kids!

A. R. Rahman


Mumbai, Jan. 17 -- Two-time Oscarwinning music composer AR Rahman has had his share of struggle before making it big. Now, he's helping underprivileged kids from the city's Dharavi slum to achieve their musical aspirations.

A few years ago, Rahman teamed up with entrepreneur Samir Bangara and director Shekhar Kapur to form a company called Qyuki. Last year, they started a school in Dharavi, where budding musicians are being trained. Now, the trio has managed to get a leading music label on board to nurture these young talents and help their music reach more people around the world. The label's chairman, Max Hole, even visited the city for an event to announce the collaboration.

Talking about the slum kids, Rahman says he is reminded of his own journey, growing up in Chennai, close to a slum area. "That these kids come from poor families is just one aspect. In them, I see energy waiting to gain momentum. We'd like to help them in every way possible," says the composer, adding, "I come from a middle class family. When my father passed away, he left behind a lot of equipment that we would rent out. We had a house too, but there was always a question of what we would do in the future. That inspired me to work hard in my growing years. These kids have a similar passion for making it big."

Rahman denies that he will give these kids work opportunities in his films. "They don't need to perform in films to get famous; they have their own identity," he says.

Ask about the upcoming Oscars, for which nominations were announced on January 15, and he says, "I don't know the nominations yet, so I'm not sure whether my favourites are on the list or not. But I will be voting for the nominated ones soon."