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AR Rahman vs. Ilaiyaraaja — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on February 11, 2024
AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja are prominent Indian composers. Rahman, known for blending genres, is a contemporary icon. Ilaiyaraaja, a veteran, is celebrated for diverse compositions, shaping the history of Indian music.
AR Rahman vs. Ilaiyaraaja — What's the Difference?

Difference Between AR Rahman and Ilaiyaraaja


Key Differences

AR Rahman, born in 1967, is a contemporary composer recognized globally. His innovative approach involves blending Indian classical with various genres, contributing to diverse soundtracks. Ilaiyaraaja, born in 1943, is a veteran composer with a vast body of work. His influence spans classical, folk, and Western genres, shaping the landscape of Indian film music.
AR Rahman gained international acclaim for his work in films like "Slumdog Millionaire," receiving Oscars and Grammy Awards. His music often reflects a modern, globalized India, resonating with a wide audience. Ilaiyaraaja, with over 1,000 films to his credit, is considered a maestro in Indian cinema, known for his intricate compositions and mastery of various musical forms.
The musical styles of AR Rahman showcase a fusion of traditional and contemporary elements, breaking new ground in film music. Ilaiyaraaja's compositions, deeply rooted in classical traditions, display a rich tapestry of melodies and harmonies, often highlighting regional flavors.
While AR Rahman's compositions often reflect a modern, globalized India, Ilaiyaraaja's work encapsulates the essence of Indian classical and folk traditions. Rahman's influence extends to international collaborations, bridging cultural gaps. Ilaiyaraaja's impact lies in shaping the trajectory of Indian film music, influencing generations of composers.

Comparison Chart

Birth Year

Born in 1967
Born in 1943

Musical Style

Blends genres, modern approach
Diverse, rooted in classical traditions

Global Recognition

International acclaim, Oscars, Grammys
Revered in Indian cinema, a veteran maestro

Filmography Impact

Contemporary, breaking new ground
Shaped the history of Indian film music

Cultural Influence

Reflects a globalized India
Deeply rooted in Indian classical and folk traditions

Compare with Definitions

AR Rahman

Global Icon: AR Rahman is recognized globally.
As a global icon, AR Rahman's music transcends borders and resonates with audiences worldwide.


Musical Maestro: Ilaiyaraaja is considered a musical maestro.
Ilaiyaraaja's status as a musical maestro is evident in the depth and richness of his compositions.

AR Rahman

Modern India Representation: AR Rahman's music reflects a modern, globalized India.
AR Rahman's compositions capture the spirit of a modern India, representing its cultural diversity and vibrancy.


Influence on Generations: Ilaiyaraaja's influence extends to generations of composers.
Many contemporary composers acknowledge Ilaiyaraaja's influence, highlighting his enduring impact on the world of music.

AR Rahman

Oscar Winner: AR Rahman won Oscars for his work.
AR Rahman's Oscars for 'Slumdog Millionaire' highlight his exceptional talent and contribution to film music.


Veteran Composer: Ilaiyaraaja is a veteran composer.
Ilaiyaraaja, as a veteran composer, has significantly contributed to the evolution of Indian film music.

AR Rahman

Genre Blending: AR Rahman blends genres in his music.
AR Rahman's unique style involves seamlessly blending Indian classical with modern genres, creating a diverse musical experience.


Classical Traditions: Ilaiyaraaja's music is rooted in classical traditions.
Ilaiyaraaja's compositions beautifully reflect his deep connection to Indian classical traditions.

AR Rahman

Contemporary Composer: AR Rahman is a contemporary composer.
AR Rahman's innovative sound makes him a leading contemporary composer in the music industry.


Cinematic Impact: Ilaiyaraaja shaped the history of Indian film music.
Ilaiyaraaja's cinematic impact is immense, influencing the course of Indian film music over decades.

Common Curiosities

What are some of AR Rahman's international achievements?

AR Rahman received Oscars and Grammy Awards for his work, especially notable for the soundtrack of "Slumdog Millionaire."

Who is AR Rahman?

AR Rahman is a contemporary Indian composer known for blending genres and achieving global recognition.

What sets AR Rahman apart in the music industry?

AR Rahman's innovative sound and ability to blend genres distinguish him as a leading contemporary composer.

How does AR Rahman represent modern India in his music?

AR Rahman's music reflects a modern, globalized India, capturing its cultural diversity and vibrancy.

When was AR Rahman born?

AR Rahman was born in 1967.

Who is Ilaiyaraaja?

Ilaiyaraaja is a veteran Indian composer known for his extensive contributions to Indian film music.

What makes AR Rahman's approach to music unique?

AR Rahman's uniqueness lies in his genre-blending approach, seamlessly combining Indian classical with modern genres.

What is Ilaiyaraaja's musical style rooted in?

Ilaiyaraaja's musical style is rooted in classical traditions, showcasing a deep connection to Indian classical music.

When was Ilaiyaraaja born?

Ilaiyaraaja was born in 1943.

How has Ilaiyaraaja impacted Indian cinema?

Ilaiyaraaja has shaped the history of Indian film music, earning the status of a musical maestro.

In what ways has Ilaiyaraaja shaped the landscape of Indian film music?

Ilaiyaraaja has significantly shaped the history of Indian film music through his intricate compositions and diverse contributions.

How has AR Rahman achieved global recognition?

AR Rahman's global recognition is evident through accolades like Oscars and Grammys, showcasing his impact beyond India.

How does Ilaiyaraaja's music differ from AR Rahman's?

Ilaiyaraaja's music is deeply rooted in classical traditions, whereas AR Rahman's compositions reflect a more contemporary and genre-blending style.

What is the depth of Ilaiyaraaja's influence?

Ilaiyaraaja's influence extends to generations of composers, showcasing his enduring impact on the world of music.

What is the main focus of AR Rahman's filmography?

AR Rahman's filmography focuses on contemporary and diverse soundtracks, often breaking new ground in film music.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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