Back in India, he worked on advertising jingles until director Mani Ratnam tapped him to compose the score for the 1992 film "Roja." Rahman ended up changing the face of Indian film music by introducing Western styles like reggae, rarely heard on Indian soundtracks.
"I think my philosophy of life is music is universal ... so I'm never closed to things," said Rahman. "Like some people say, 'Oh, I hate heavy metal,' or 'I hate jazz.' Why do you need to hate it? Why don't you appreciate it in a certain context."