AR Rahman should quit making music for Indians

As usual, we like to enter the foray after all the initial heat and excitement has died down. We do this purposely so as to renew interest in an issue that either saw its time with the media without actually being discussed adeptly or was completely overshadowed by an unnecessary issue that has been sensationalised, in this case,  the  Ebola BigBoss outbreak.

When I woke up on 9th July 2017 to see negative comments on yet another AR Rahman concert, I actually was not surprised. For a Musical Demigod, he just seems to have a bit of unlucky streak with live shows. In fact, his last few shows outside of India have seemed to disappoint. While the disappointment in the previous shows was usually targetted at the organisers, this one was at the artist, AR Rahman himself.

Apparently, people had walked out of the concert because there were too many Tamil songs, though the concert that was titled " நேற்றூ இன்று நாளை" [Ed Note: That's Tamil, by the way]. In actual fact, the set list for the concert had 16 Hindi Songs, 12 Tamil Songs and 1 medley of songs in both Tamil and Hindi. 

This sparked a huge uproar among the South Indians who were only too happy to remind the Hindi speaking Indians that AR Rahman is a Tamilian and also grabbed the opportunity to use this as a rebuttal as to why Tamilians are against the issue of Hindi Imposition. Being a  Singaporean Tamilian, I cannot help but realise the hypocrisy in this. In the past few ARR concerts in Malaysia and Singapore, there were many south Indians who were upset with the presence of  Hindi Songs in the concert.

Most of us may have heard quotes that talk about music transcending languages and knowing no boundaries. Perhaps, that does not hold true for the majority of the Indian population. For those who have their arms flailing and screaming that this is an "Indian" (the Country) problem and not a Singaporean problem, open your eyes and ears.  Besides your Gandi BaatBadtameez Dil and Tum Hi Ho, you do have a problem with an Indian song that is not your mother tongue. Having organised 3 music concerts in Singapore,  I am more than qualified to say that the typical Indian music fan puts his language first when it comes to music, which completely does not make sense because he or she has enjoyed the likes of  Shakira,  Des Pacito, PSY, Michel Telo and Enrique Iglesias. Worse still, I am quite sure that we have heard this particular song so often in our Tamil Clubs that we probably think it's a Tamil song.

Furthermore, that Indian probably does not take any active effort for his language, though, that is a story for another day.

A few months ago, I attended the SPB concert at Suntec City Convention Centre. That 3 letters is a living legend where music is concerned. SPB's voice, just like ARR's music, is God's Gift to Mankind. Just because we have purchased a ticket does not give anyone the right to demand what they want. At the SPB concert, there were more than a handful of idiots who were shouting and demanding songs from him. The man has sung over 40,000 songs. The fact that you got the opportunity to be present and hear him sing live is a privilege. If he decides to sing in gibberish, you jolly well still sit and appreciate that God given voice.

The mentality of a typical Indian attending an ARR concert: "This better be worth my time and money". The arrogant sense of entitlement is unfortunately real. 

I have seen comments that have left on ARR's Facebook Page, that are just plain rude. One popular opinion on the street is the preference to ARR's music in the 90s when he first started out.  Everyone is entitled to preference and taste. But what gave you the right to comment and decide that ARR has lost his game. I have heard so many music experts claiming that he has run out of ideas etc. The truth is that the listener has lost his sense of appreciation. 

On March 31st, I watched Coldplay at the National Stadium. It was an incredible experience, possibly, one of the best evenings in my life. As I went to sleep later that night, I thought to myself that only 2 things could have bettered this night. A MJ concert or an ARR concert. While we know the former is not possible, I started visualising an ARR concert at our National Stadium. We will price it at cost, keeping tickets as low as $20 so that we can pack in 60 000 people, making it the largest and BEST ever ARR concert outside of India. But knowing the typical Indian consumer, this will forever remain a dream.

The man has bought enough pride for India. It's about time he concentrates his efforts on people who actually will appreciate music. We do not deserve you.


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