A.R. Rahman is the go-to guy for the Bombay film industry, a sure-fire hitmaker whose unconventional compositions have inspired a sometimes stagnant genre. Born in 1966, Rahman grew up in south India surrounded by music; he was playing piano by age 4 and performing professionally by age 11. As an adult, he spent a good five years composing jingles for advertisements - a high pressure pursuit that was probably the best preparation for the Indian film industry (the world's biggest) he could have. Rahman made his mark when he was asked to compose the soundtrack for the film Roja in 1993. The soundtrack was a huge seller and won every award imaginable, and his fledgling career was made. As a composer, Rahman's style is instantly recognizable and often imitated. He's a musical omnivore: synthesizers meet flamenco guitar, rock 'n' roll rubs up against Indian folk and classical, and they all seem to get along. Rahman is also known for breaking new and untrained vocalists in a notoriously insular field.