AR Rahman has made some of the most beautiful love songs to come out of the Indian film industry but the love story of the maestro was not so filmy. In fact, it was quite traditional and simple and in a chat with Simi Garewal, Rahman had once spoken about how he met his wife Saira and how they actually got married.
Rahman and Saira got married in 1995 but theirs was an arranged marriage that was fixed up by their families. When Simi asked Rahman why he opted for an arranged marriage, the Dil Se composer said that he did not have the time to go and look for a bride because he was swamped with work in those days. This was the time when Roja and Bombay were pan-Indian successes and he had already started working on Rangeela. But, he felt that it was the “right time” for him to get married as he was 29.
“To be honest, I didn’t have time to go and search for a bride. I was doing all these films and Rangeela in Bombay so I was so busy in that. But, I knew it was the right time for me to get married. I was 29 and I told my mother. I said, ‘find me a bride’,” he said.
When Simi asked if he had any specifications for a wife, Rahman smiled and said that he asked his mother to looks for a “simple” woman “who won’t give me much trouble so I could carry on doing my music and hope she inspires me.” Simi corrected him and made him recall that his words to his mother were that he wants “a bride with some education, some beauty and loads of humility.”
The Taal composer shared that his mother met Saira’s sister near a Sufi shrine and that’s what eventually got them together. Recalling their first meeting, he shared that it was “funny” because “till then I’d never had the intention, seeing a girl with that kind of look so it was funny. So I asked her whether you’d be interested in marrying me or you have anything else in mind. She said yes.” The interaction was held over tea, like in traditional arranged marriages as they spoke about one of his songs that she really liked.
Rahman shared that during their initial days, Saira used to “get frustrated” because she wasn’t used to being a celebrity. “Initially, she used to get frustrated. I mean not going out. I mean generally you can’t go out for shopping and…” he said. When Simi asked if it was an “adjustment” for her, Rahman asserted that this was an “agreement” that they’d done beforehand. “I did tell her in the beginning what kind of life she is going to lead. This was an agreement before,” he said.
Rahman and Saira have two daughters Khatija and Raheema. Khatija got married in 2022 and photos from her wedding reception were all over social media.