The Sunshine Orchestra
A symphony orchestra in the making,
matching and surpassing global standards in music.
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Origins of Tamil music
Researching the origins of Tamil music, through Karunamirthasagaram a centenary old treatise by Abraham Pandithar.
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Support, Donate, Sponsor
Contribute towards teaching resources, purchase & maintenance of musical instruments, scholarship for students and support other social projects.
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Global Arts Center
A unique space for art lovers.
A collaborative effort in the making - between Government, Corporates, Philanthropists, Foundations, Art lovers and Artists!

Who We Are

From the founder’s desk

Sometimes I wonder what makes us behave differently with the underserved. And why don’t we find a common ground to celebrate life. It is mostly true that every worldly possession is a wall to our spiritual freedom. When you shed those meaningfully, we are enlightened with unknown virtues, which is life changing. There are a few things that strike a chord with every single living being on earth, like our innate ability to be kind, loving and compassionate. But, the greatest one of them all - with the power to dissolve boundaries - is music. So this is one such story. I realised that music is one thing that can change lives. This attempt has already changed mine - The Sunshine Orchestra. These kids had no musical backgrounds when we adopted them at quite an early age and in this musical journey of more than 10 years, they have come a long way. They are taught music in the anticipation that one day they will take this mission forward to provide more opportunities and strengthen harmony to many in our society.

Dr. A R Rahman

About the Foundation

The A R Rahman foundation was founded by the two-time Academy Award winner Dr. A R Rahman and his mother Kareema Begum in 2006.

Her spirit of selflessness was the inspiration, with the objective of empowering the youth of the lower sections of the society by providing world class music education.

The foundation aims to create an active global forum, bridging the differences between races, caste, class and communities.

While promoting music education the foundation has also stood up to its moral responsibility of serving the community. As a part of the other initiatives undertaken by the foundation support is given for financial aid for medical and educational needs of the poor, supporting retired musicians, marriages of women, agriculture, and entrepreneurial goals for the deserving members of the society.

Dr. A R Rahman

Dr. A R Rahman

Founder Trustee

Dr. A R Rahman is a composer, singer-songwriter, producer, musician, director, multi-instrumentalist, philanthropist and a Padma Bhushan awardee. He has won the Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Filmfare and National Film Awards among others, some of them several times over.

The Time magazine has listed him among the world's most influential people. He was appointed the global ambassador of the 'Stop TB Partnership', a WHO project. He also supported the 'Save the Children India' campaign and worked with singer Yusuf Islam on "Indian Ocean", to help orphans of the Banda Aceh Tsunami 2004.

His philanthropic work includes the establishment of the A R Rahman Foundation along with his mother in the year 2006 to empower youngsters by using music as a tool- the key project being The Sunshine Orchestra.

Fathima Rafiq

Fathima Rafiq

Trustee, Director of Operations

Trained in Hindustani Classical music by Pandit Krishnanandji of the Kirana Gharana, Fathima Rafiq took to music by composing like her father, the renowned R K Shekhar. Having produced a number of voiceovers, commercials and jingles, she also showcased her music for television productions, using her diverse repertoire as a singer, composer and characteristically well defined lyricist. Fathima has also sung as a member of the celebrated Handel Manuel Choir.

As Executive Director of the KM Music Conservatory and in her role as manager of AM Studios, Fathima continues to combine her musical experience with a visionary zeal to fulfill the aspirations of her brother Dr. A R Rahman, the founder and principal of KMMC. As a trustee of the A R Rahman Foundation she handles all day-to-day administrative work.

Khatija Rahman

Khatija Rahman

Trustee, Director of Outreach Programmes & Global Initiatives

Khatija Rahman started her philanthropic journey by volunteering at the Adyar Cancer Institute and the Little Flower School for the blind in Chennai. A Stella Maris alumni, this Youth Red Cross volunteer also holds a Masters in Islamic Studies from B.S. Abdur Rahman University. She is constantly engaged with projects enhancing women's empowerment, and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Her internship with 'CD Baby' helped discover and support new artists.

She had her multilingual vocal debut for the title song for the movie ‘Enthiran/Robot’. She has also collaborated with the Irish rock band 'U2' on 'Ahimsa'; with Grammy award winning musician Rickey Kej on 'Ilteja' - a plea for a cleaner environment and her recent music single 'Farishton' has gained worldwide recognition at festival and multiple awards. Currently, as the director and trustee of The A R Rahman Foundation her work is aligned closely with the day to day running of the foundation, capacity building, women’s empowerment and music research projects.

Mission

The foundation aims to create, where appropriate, opportunities in:

  • Education, life-skill development, entrepreneurship
  • Support with financial aid for medical, education, marriage, agriculture, entrepreneurship for the deserving and underserved
  • Impart life-skills and empower through music
  • Incubate and harness leadership, capacity building
  • Support research, document and archiving art projects

Vision

To empower opportunities, strengthen harmony and provide sustained intervention in life-skill development through music.

Years

of empowering opportunities

Lives

touched with financial aid

Empowered

with life-skills

Performances

Concerts, recordings, videos


Meet our Team

This is the team that makes the vision and mission of our foundation possible.

Srinivasa Murthy

Srinivasa Murthy -

A professional conductor & violinist Srinivasa Murthy has been in the music/film industry for over 40 years & worked with many eminent composers & producers. He began his musical training at the age of 4 with traditional carnatic violin classes that continued for the next 17 years. This has ultimately helped him to be the musical genius that he is today.

Playing famous film songs in a band with his friends may have started as a hobby but it lead to his careen in the film industry. He has worked with S P Balasubrahmanya, K Chakravarthy and other prominent music directors from the south Indian film industry as violinist and later as a conductor. He started working with Mr. AR Rahman in the year 1991 and later took up the challenge of imparting music training to the students at the AR Rahman Foundation's project - The Sunshine Orchestra.

Lisa Sarasini

Lisa Sarasini -

Lisa Sarasini is an English trombonist. Her initial music education was at the Wardle High School, Rochdale, where she played in the brass band. Lisa went on to study classical trombone at The Royal Northern College of Music (UK), Hochschule fuer Musik Trossingen (Trossingen University of Music, Germany) and MUHO Mannheim (Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts, Germany). She has performed with many professional orchestras, brass bands, and other chamber music groups throughout her career.

Since 2016 she is the appointed brass faculty at KM Music Conservatory in Chennai India. She aims is to educate and inspire the next generation of professional brass players in India, a cause to which she is completely committed.

P Mohan Rao

P Mohan Rao

P Mohan Rao is a violinist and viola player who has worked in the film industry for the major part of his 30 year career. He has been with the Dr. A R Rahman Foundation for over 5 years now, teaching the new students their first lessons with the string instruments. He has worked with several eminent music directors in many Indian films.

He has travelled the world as a prominent member of the Madras Philharmonic Orchestra, Madras Guitar & Strings Ensemble and The Madras Strings Quartet.

P Bhaskar

P Bhaskar

P Bhaskar is an 8th grade violinist (from Trinity Guild Hall, London) who comes with an experience of over 25 years. Having worked with many famous music directors in the Indian film industry, he has also been a part of many orchestras across the country.

As a member of the Symphony Orchestra of India and Violinist at the Madras Chamber orchestra he has performed on stage in India and abroad. Currently, he teaches Violin, Viola and music theory at the A R Rahman Foundation.

Sigamani Dinakaran

Sigamani Dinakaran

Sigamani Dinakaran’s passion towards music started at the early age of five when he took up the violin. Having passed the Grade 8 exam from Trinity College, London and with a Diploma in Carnatic music from the Tamil Nadu Government Music College as a disciple of Azhalagiri Samy and M.S. Ananthraman he is proficient in both Western and Carnatic music.

Much of Dinakaran’s career has been spent working as a studio violinist for Dr. A R Rahman, since the days of the composer’s very first film, Roja. He has also performed with the Madras Chamber Orchestra under the baton of the French conductor, Bernard Wacheux and he regular plays in concerts with fusion groups across India. He has worked with many celebrated musicians during his career.

At the A R Rahman foundation, Dinakaran teaches violin.

John Gayen

John Gayen

John Gayen, a Cellist learned western classical music from Oxford mission in Kolkata. After he moved to Chennai, he worked as a film musician for over 30 years with many great directors like Illayaraja, Dr. A R Rahman.

He has also performed in many music concerts the world over. His contributions to Madras Philharmonic orchestra under renowned conductor Padmashree Handel Manuel are noteworthy. He has been teaching the cello to the students of the A R Rahman Foundation's The Sunshine Orchestra for the last 10 years.

Bidyut Kayal

Bidyut Kayal

Bidyut Kayal, is a bassist for the last 40 years. He has learnt Double Bass and the western classical music from Oxford Mission in Kolkata. He was playing for the Kolkata Chamber Orchestra first and later moved to Chennai to start his career as a cine musician under some of the leading music directors.

He has an experience of almost 35 years in the cine industry. He has been associated with many great music directors of the south & north India equally. He has performed at various stage programs with music directors like A R Rahman, Illya Raja and also with many bollywood celebrities both in India and the abroad. He is one of the bassists of the Madras Philharmonic Orchestra and Madras Chamber Orchestra.

He is currently a Double Bass instructor with the A R Rahman Foundation and has been a part of it from the initial days of the foundation.

Balaji Arumugam

Balaji Arumugam

Balaji is a violinist and a full time orchestral student with The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. He joined the foundation in the year 2013. He aspires to become an orchestral conductor. He is pursuing his B.com via correspondence.

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores, songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Balaji Manoharan

Balaji Manoharan

He is a cellist and a full time orchestral student with The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. Cello is his life and teaching is his passion. He aims to teach and educate many kids in his life. He has done his B. com in correspondence

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores, songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Deepa Shanmugam

Deepa Shanmugam

Deepa is a cellist and a full time orchestral student with The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. She joined the foundation in her 7th grade. Currently, she teaches Cello to the students at Gen. Cariappa School. She now dreams of becoming a world class cellist.

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores, songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Nandhini Anbazhagan

Nandhini Anbazhagan

Nandhini is a violinist and a full time orchestral student at The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. She is with the foundation for the last 10 years and aims to be a mentor for music to many children and make them independent. She is currently pursuing B.com in correspondence.

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores, songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Vaijayanthi Ravindra Kumar

Vaijayanthi R Kumar

Vaijayanthi is a cellist and a full time orchestral student with The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. She has been with the foundation for the last 9 years. She teaches Cello to few students during weekends and also students in the Gen. Cariappa school.

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores/songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Vignesh Unnirajan

Vignesh Unnirajan

Vignesh Unnirajan is a violinist and a full time orchestral student at The Sunshine orchestra senior strings batch. He joined the foundation when he was in his 7th grade. Now, he is one of our best players in the orchestra. He aspires to become a great soloist that many will remember for long. He is currently pursuing B.com in correspondence.

As part of the orchestra, they have undertaken many recordings for film scores, songs as well as performances across India and abroad including the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Sunshine Orchestra (Senior Strings Section) are regularly engaged by the Founder, Dr. A R Rahman, for his live concerts, films and other projects.

Renu Venugopal

Renu Venugopal -

She is a B Tech(EEE), MBA (Marketing & Sales) post graduate with a rich work experience with the corporate in the field of Marketing, Branding & Communication. She was a part time student of music as well at KMMC prior to this job. She has been working with the Foundation ever since 2018 beginning. Her interest in philanthropic activities and service mindset has always encouraged her to work with the foundation.

With her experience in the field of marketing combined with music, she is currently managing the day to day Marketing & PR profile for the foundation.

Kutti Revathi

Kutti Revathi -

Dr. S Revathi more popularly known by her nom de plume - Kutti Revathi is an Indian lyricist, contemporary Tamil poet, activist and a Siddha doctor. She has published three books of poetry and is the editor of Panikkudam, a literary quarterly for women’s writing and also the first Tamil feminist magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in Siddha medicine and surgery - one of the oldest medical systems in the world and is currently pursuing her doctoral research in medical anthropology at the Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai.

Revathi received the Sigaram 15: Faces of Future award for literature from India Today and was awarded a travel grant in 2005 by the Sahitya Akademi to meet leading litterateurs from India. She is a contemporary Tamil poet and has published numerous controversial poetry collections. She spearheads the A R Rahman Foundation’s tamil music research project - Karunamirthasagaram.

Susmitha Chakkungal

Susmitha Chakkungal

Susmitha, an alumnus of the University of Madras, is an independent consultant on communication, corporate social responsibility and crisis management. Her work involves identifying and recommending marketing and communication strategies for NGO's and corporates, bridging the two worlds of social and corporate Sector.

Susmitha is passionate about her pro-bono work for multiple NGO's associated with education, children, women and performing arts. She has a keen interest in classical dance, theater and children's literature.

Anjani Kumar Sharma

Anjani Kumar Sharma

Anjani Kumar Sharma is the co-founder and Director in SAGA - Southern Accountability and Governance Alliance Pvt. Ltd, a premier social sector consulting company founded by Dr. Manoj Fogla. He has a decade of experience in the start-up and development sector. He is an advisor to leading startups, incubators, social enterprises, foundations, government bodies, and universities. Anjani has authored various books and papers on subjects like, CSR, laws related to charities in India, taxation and start-ups. He specialises in legal, governance & finance issues related to startups and social enterprises. He is actively engaged in facilitating seminars and workshops in various parts of South Asia and is a visiting faculty to various institutions of national and international repute.

He has been on the board of companies like Tata Power Delhi, Reliance Infrastructure Utility companies amongst others. Anjani is a Fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Vidhi G Bhanushali

Vidhi G Bhanushali -

Vidhi G Bhanushali, an alumnus of the Mumbai University, has a gratifying career background in strategising and implementation of projects with skillful management of funds.

Being a music enthusiast, and hailing from a family of musicians, she is enrolled at KMMC with the Russian Piano studio, since 2015 and has successfully envisioned & managed the “Hands on Fire” ; a team of pianists from KMMC, to collaborate and perform at the Mecca of Russian Pianism, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow (Russia) along with several destinations spread across Europe.

With her charismatic and passionate nature combined with her strategizing skills, she is currently managing the Sponsorship & Grant profile for the foundation.

Nourhevilie Khate

Nourhevilie Khate

Nourhevilie Khate started his journey of playing the violin at the age of eight. He holds a Masters degree from the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, London - one of two Indians to receive the Rumi Foundation Great Indian Scholarship to study there.

He has won the David Menezes National Violin Competition, Fewkes Memorial Trophy, Thumboochetty Violin prize and Bangalore's ABRSM High Achiever award.

Nourhevilie Khate has been assigned by TaFMA to teach Violin to the students of The Sunshine Orchestra Nagaland Chapter.

  • Srinivasa Murthy

    Srinivasa Murthy

    Director, Sunshine Strings

  • Lisa Sarasini

    Lisa Sarasini

    Director, Sunshine Brass

  • P Mohan Rao

    P Mohan Rao

    Violin

  • P Bhaskar

    P Bhaskar

    Violin

  • Sigamani Dinakaran

    Sigamani Dinakaran

    Violin

  • John Gayen

    John Gayen

    Cello

  • Bidyut Kayal

    Bidyut Kayal

    Double Bass

  • consultant

    Susmitha Chakkungal

    Consultant

  • consultant

    Anjani Kumar Sharma

    Consultant

  • Balaji Arumugam

    Balaji Arumugam

    Faculty - Outreach - Violin

  • Balaji Manoharan

    Balaji Manoharan

    Faculty - Outreach - Cello

  • Deepa Shanmugam

    Deepa Shanmugam

    Faculty - Outreach - Cello

  • Nandhini Anbazhagan

    Nandhini Anbazhagan

    Faculty - Outreach - Violin

  • Vaijayanthi Ravindra Kumar

    Vaijayanthi R Kumar

    Faculty - Outreach - Cello & Theory

  • Vignesh Unnirajan

    Vignesh Unnirajan

    Faculty - Outreach - Violin

  • Renu Venugopal

    Renu Venugopal

    Manager - Marketing & PR

  • Vidhi G Bhanushali

    Vidhi G Bhanushali

    Manager - Grants & Sponsorship

  • Kutti Revathi

    Kutti Revathi

    Project Head - Karunamirthasagaram

  • Nourhevilie Khate

    Nourhevilie Khate

    Violin

What We Do

As an inclusive organization, the foundation provides equal opportunities to the economically disadvantaged. Through collaborative efforts the foundation explores innovative ways to achieve its goals. By setting standards in best practices for delivery of its services, the foundation strives to be an inspirational role model. With systems in place to ensure transparency & accountability, the foundation is committed to being proactive, sensitive and responsive.

The Sunshine Orchestra

The Sunshine Orchestra

Our marquee project provides free musical training to socially and economically deprived children with an aptitude in music. Once equipped with the requisite skills, endowed with confidence, they are groomed to explore opportunities and build a career in music, as teachers or as performers.

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Karunamirthasagaram

Karunamirtha Sagaram

This project explores the evolution of Tamil music over the last three thousand years through "Karunamirthasagaram" - a treatise on tamil music written by the prolific researcher Abraham Pandithar. This project takes a journey through the lives of Tamil musical scholars.

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Disaster Relief

Humanitarian Relief

Immediate relief and long term rehabilitaion provided for those affected by cyclone, flood and other natural disasters. Farmers in distress have been provided with cattle and other help. A R Rahman Fan’s club celebrated their idol’s birthday by organising a blood donation camp.

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Global Arts Center

Future Projects

The Global Arts Center - a collaborative effort of the Govt., Corporates, Philanthropists, Art lovers and artists is being designed right now. It will host a unique space for art lovers - with performance venues, conference & training spaces, museums, auditoria, cafes, entertainment zones and art related business ventures.

How To Get Involved

How you can be a part of our foundation’s projects

Engage The Sunshine Orchestra

Provide avenues for The Sunshine Orchestra to perform at your event, whether it a social gathering, corporate event or concert. Hiring The Sunshine Orchestra is an ideal way to support the development of these talented young musicians as professionals. With repertoire ranging from Western Classical to Indian Film, they are sure to be able to bring musical magic to your special occasion.

Engage

Support, Donate, Sponsor

Your support would mean the world to us and would help our programs run smoothly. Your contributions are directed towards sponsoring teaching resources, purchase and maintenance of musical instruments, funding our research projects, scholarship for students, humanitarian relief activities etc. All donations are exempted under section 80G of the Income Tax Act 1961.

Support
No success is the result of any one individual’s efforts. Our achievements are the culmination of the hopes, dreams, goodwill and work of all the people in our lives; those who aid us and those we seek to touch.

Dr. A R Rahman

When you play, don't mind who is listening

Robert Schumann

If you’re free to do whatever you want, understand then that you are responsible for both your failure and success.

Dr. A R Rahman

The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but inspire them.

Bob Dylan

At some point of time, stop thinking in terms of “me” and start thinking in terms of “us”.

Dr. A R Rahman

The role of an orchestra in the 21st century isn't just playing, it's about developing future audiences and performers.

Leonard Slatkin

Goodness should be neither conditional nor situational.

Dr. A R Rahman

You can be firm without being unkind.

Jim Morrison

Expose yourself to your deepest fear. After that, you are free.

Dr. A R Rahman

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.

Frederic Chopin

Be in the moment. Yesterday and tomorrow are both unreal.

Dr. A R Rahman

I miss singing with an orchestra because that's the most uplifting thing that I ever knew. It is just such a fabulous feeling.

Julie Andrews

Try to make sure that people who spend time with you feel good about doing so. They’re investing in you; make sure they feel it’s paid off.

Dr. A R Rahman

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.

Oscar Wilde

Try and work for a cause that’s bigger than yourself.

Dr. A R Rahman

Works of art make rule; rules do not make works of art.

Claude Debussy

You gain absolutely nothing by proving that someone is wrong.

Dr. A R Rahman

I'm not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.

Leonard Bernstein

Don’t talk about it. Act on it.

Dr. A R Rahman

Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

If you’re creating something, make it the best you possibly can. Do not be lazy. Do not be in a hurry. Do not succumb to pressure.

Dr. A R Rahman

There is only one real happiness in this world and that is the happiness of creating.

Frederic Delius

Always be eager to learn – from the best.

Dr. A R Rahman

The musical training taught me to focus my mind, before playing in an orchestra taught me how to truly concentrate. If you miss your moment in an orchestra, there is no forgiving.

Alastair Cook

Generosity has nothing to do with how much you have…

Dr. A R Rahman

Life is a lot like jazz. It's better when you improvise.

George Gershwin

Try to live such that at the thought of you makes someone want to be better.

Dr. A R Rahman

Time is still the best critic and patience the best teacher.

Federic Chopin

Art matters.

Dr. A R Rahman

If you ever feel bad about procrastinating then remember that Mozart wrote the overture to Don Giovanni the morning it premiered. It is not about when you do it but actually doing it.

Anonymous

In The News

Partners

Our work would not have been possible without the active support and participation of our partners in all our endeavours.

The Sunshine Orchestra has been generously supported in its endeavours by Harman International Industries, a long term supporter of many of KM Music Conservatory projects. The JBL Sound Scholarship was initiated in 2012 to support international faculty to impart the best training available for the students.

The scholarship has supported instrumentalists, conductors and faculty to guide and mentor the development of the students. Recognizing the enormous benefit of international exposure, Harman continues to support the education initiatives of The Sunshine Orchestra.

Understanding the need for a practice space Radio Mirchi has sponsored the construction and maintenance of a practice hall for The Sunshine Orchestra. It was inaugurated by legendary singer P. Susheela.

Radio Mirchi has also supported the brass division of the symphony orchestra by the purchase of instruments. ENIL also sponsors the remuneration to the senior faculty of strings ensemble.

The practice hall was also renovated after the devastation caused by the Vardha Cyclone in 2016.

Avanse Financial Services, a Non-Banking Financial Company based out of Mumbai, provides tailor made educational loans to aspiring students and educational institutions across the globe. This grant from Avanse will allow the young musicians of the Sunshine Orchestra to continue on their musical journey, developing as professional musicians as they train with us for the year 2019-2020.

Avanse with an exceptional track record in changing the lives of thousands of students will no doubt help our students achieve their maximum potential and aspire for greatness without boundaries.

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Contact Us

A R Rahman Foundation

Office: 19 Vinayagapuram 2nd Street, MMDA Colony, Arumbakkam, Chennai 600-106 Tamil Nadu, India

info@arrahmanfoundation.org
For Grants & Sponsorship
Vidhi G Bhanushali - 99303 02138
For Marketing and PR
Renu Venugopal - 96000 88487
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