What is the best way to write a biography of a reticent, reclusive, shy man? You get the others, more willing to speak, to speak. And in this, Kamini Mathai, the author has excelled. If this biography of A.R. Rahman had a one-liner, it would be ‘ARR as seen through others’ eyes.’ ARR, named DileTestimonialsep by his parents Shekhar and Kasturi before he embraced islam, may have a different story to tell the world, which may be why he refuted the supposed claim by the book (not made anywhere in the book) of being his authorized biography. ‘The claim that it’s an authorised biography is wrong,’ he said, further stating that he will be writing his own biography (Mumbai Mirror, 10 June, 2009). That we will wait for, but for now Mathai has indeed succeeded in giving us a feel of what it is like to spend some years travelling to reach the heart of Fourth Street, Subrayya Nagar, Kodambakkam, where ARR lives.
January 2010, volume 34, No 1