Rahul Raj is an award winning Indian composer, who composes original scores and soundtracks mainly for Malayalam movies.He is known as the 'hit machine' of film industry and is considered as one of the most talented young original composers in the country.
Rahul Raj was born on March 17 in Cochin 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 Karnatic Music. He graduated as an IT Engineer from CUSAT, Cochin and later on pursued courses such as CCNP and CCIE in Bangalore ILloka networks.
During this period, he had undergone training in Electronic Sound Production. He helped Pradeep Menon 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. Pradeep Menon sponsored and employed Rahul Raj in London from 2002 to 2003. After the production of the CD, Pradeep Menon employed him as a network specialist for his London based company Oxbridge Networks. He is married to Miriam, a German national after a couple of years of their love.
On returning to India, he composed more than 100 jingles for commercials in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. Apart from composing jingles for ads, he composed original themes for many TV productions. This included major shows for Asianet and Amrita TV.
In 2003, he composed the Lokaha song for Amrithavarsam 50 which later on was taken as the theme song for Amrita TV. He also composed Malayalam albums during the period, which include En Jeevene, was shot completely in United States by the producer director Tom George.
He was given the prestigious opportunity to compose the logo theme music for the show 50 Years of Malayam Film Music with Padma Bhusan Dr. K. J. Yesudas.
His first feature film soundtrack was Chotta Mumbai, directed by Anwar Rasheed with Mohanlal in the lead. His second release was Suresh Gopi's Time directed by Shaji Kailas. Shankar Mahadevan, one of India's most high profile playback singers, has sung for him, in his debut work, 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 famous Tamil Film Production company Ayngaran International. In the same year, he became the first music director in Malayalam filmdom to have a registered fans' association called RRFA (Rahul Raj Fans Association), based in Thiruvananthapuram.
After so many soundtracks, he was able to capture the imagination of modern western music enthusiasts as well as old school musicians and listeners in Kerala. In 2009, he won the Vayalar Award; which was given by a jury of old school musicians including K.P. Udayabhanu. He introduced techniques like the counterpoint to Malayalam film music, through his soundtrack for the motion picture Ritu.
In 2010, he won the Kerala State Award for Best Background Score for the film Ritu. He has made his debut in Telugu film industry by scoring 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 9 days of release.
After almost a two-year hiatus, in 2012 he returned to the Malayalam industry by scoring for Amal Neerad's hyped multi-starrer Bachelor Party. The songs became sensational superhits and the background score received critical acclaim and made him one of the most sought after music composers.
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.
Note: ' ' Indicates Language of original production; others being dubbed releases.
Awards and Nominations