India’s most celebrated music composer, AR Rahman, recounted the phase of his life when he contemplated suicide. Before the nation recognised the brilliance of the 51-year-old singer and songwriter, Rahman was going through a rough patch in his life and had suicidal thoughts, almost every day.

Speaking of the low phase of his career, the Oscar-winning composer told PTI, “Up until 25, I used to think about suicide. Most of us feel they 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?”

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“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.

When Rahman was at the tender age of nine, he lost his father RK Shekhar, who was also a music composer.

Rahman took to music at a very young age. “I finished everything between the ages of 12 to 22. It was boring for me to do all the normal stuff. I didn’t want to do it,” he further said.

The music composer also disclosed that he “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 explained.

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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 of the baggage from his past.

The composer spoke about hard times and other events in his life in Notes of a Dream: The Authorized Biography of AR Rahman. Written by author Krishna Trilok, the biography, in association with Landmark and Penguin Random House, was launched in Mumbai on Saturday.

-With agency inputs