It was the second Sunday of October, 2009; a sizzling afternoon. We had our ‘donor passes’ ready for the most awaited show of AR Rahman, in his own home land. This spectacular event was proposed to happen on the grounds of MARG Swarnabhoomi, which is close to a hundred kilometers from the place I reside in Chennai. Buses were arranged for pick up and drop at various points in the city and Cuddalore and Pondichery. I personally felt, had it not been for the transport arrangements, it would have been really tough to reach the location, for it took 2.5 hours nonstop.
Ok! Let me tell you, this is the first ever live concert in Chennai after Rahman won the coveted Oscar award. This is a part of Rahman’s ‘Jai Ho World Concert’ tour. The proceeds of this event would be used by Shakthi Foundation and Rahman Trust to help the handicapped children.
We were 8 in number, who gathered at Adyar to take the bus from there. It was fun fun all the way to Swarnabhoomi. Though the gang was full of strangers, we built a quick resonance that added to the fun. We started from Adyar at 2:30 pm and reached the spot at 5:00 pm. We then witnessed what I would call an awe-inspiring set up, seating for an approximate 80000 people. We took the 500/- donor pass and happened to sit at quite a distance from the stage. The stage had a baffling arrangement enough to attract every audience. Slowly the crowd gathered, and by 6:30 pm the grounds were full. I was dumbfounded to see so many people from different parts of the country and even foreigners all waiting to see the ‘Mozart of Chennai’, AR Rahman. He is truly a ‘genius’. The estimated number was around 30000 but I believe the actual number was galactic.
The crowd was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the most celebrated genius in music.
People excited the energy levels of the crowd by shouting and dancing. We had a 2.5 hour wait before Rahman arrived. The team consisted of close to 80 performers, including Rahman, Sivamani, Hariharan, Sadhana Sargham, Tanvi Shah, Rashid Ali, Benny Dayal, Blaaze and others.
The concert commenced at 7:30 pm when the huge crowd applauded Rahman with all enthusiasm. I was almost tired by the time the concert began, but seeing Rahman on stage, my energy levels boosted up. I was there in the midst of the huge crowd listening to Rahman begin the concert singing Jaage Hain (Ore Kanna) from Guru. The excitement in the crowd stepped up on listening to Rahman and trying to get a glimpse of him. Rahman quickly gave the number Khalbali. This was followed by ‘Athiradee’ from the tamizh movie ‘Shivaji’, all these performed by Rahman himself.
Rahman quickly got on a crane and moved up to make it easier for his fans to see him better, simultaneously singing. It gave a stupefying effect to the audience. Rahman reads the mind of his myriad fans. He gave a right mix of fast and slow numbers to excite the entire audience. The next number was the super hit ‘Kadhal Rojave’ rendered to the audience by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Next in line was Delhi6 rendered by Benny Dayal, Tanvi and others.
Next in line was ‘style’ from Shivaji followed by one from Slumdog Millionaire. Next came the most stimulating number ‘Konjam Nilavu’ from the tamizh movie ‘Thiruda Thiruda’ which charged up the energy levels of every audience. This was followed by ‘Ringa ringa’ from Slumdog Millionaire, yet another energizing performance. This was followed by the latest ‘Fiqraana’ from the movie ‘Blue’ and ‘Dil Se Re’ from Bombay. As for me, music can make a person or break a person. My mood swings with music quickly. I was enraptured listening to all my favorites live in front of me. It is indeed true that music is miraculous. The atmosphere was turning more energetic and waiting to take in more. Now came ‘Jashn-e-Bahara’ from Jodha Akbar. Drawn by the fascinating music, the audience was cheering up with high spirits.
Imagine the rise in enthusiasm, all ARR music lovers, when ‘Snegithane’(Chup Ke Se) is being performed live on stage! I was hypnotized listening to this song, one of my all time favourites. Next came the rendition of ‘Mausam and Escape’ by Rahman himself. Rahman made sure he satisfied each one of the umpteen number present then listening to his music. Next came in Rahman’s own voice, ‘tu bole main boloon’. We were all enchanted by what we were witnessing, for it is an experience of a lifetime.
‘Tamizha Tamizha’ from Roja in Hariharan’s voice. Believe me, this song at a situation where thousands of Indians, have gathered together, is sure to bring in the patriotic spirits. The entire crowd stood up with a lot of audience waving the national flag to celebrate the moment to the fullest.
This was followed by ‘Uyire uyire’ (tu he re) from Bombay by Hariharan.
I was expecting ‘Kabhi Kabhi aditi zindagi’ and was almost disappointed for it was not performed so far. And then Rahman, as he always reads people’s mind, gave this piece sung by Rashid Ali. I was overwhelmed with joy hearing it. Then followed ‘Rehna Tu’, which is one of his best, from the original performers. Guess what! Next came ‘Taxi Taxi’ the all time favorite among the youth today. This was followed by ‘Mayya Mayya’ from Guru.
This was followed by a break for around 15 to 20 minutes when Rahman handed over a sum of 1 crore to Shakthi Foundation and Rahman Trust. I was so disappointed thinking that the show was over. And then said Rahman,”The best is yet to come”. The whole crowd felt so delighted and jumped with joy.
Rahman was at his best when he sung the number ‘Azeem O Shan Shahenshah’ from Jodha Akbar. The crowd was lured by the perfection in his moving from ‘Azeem O Shan’ to Rukumani theme from Roja and then gradually moved to Veerabaandi Kotayile from ‘Thiruda Thiruda’. Rahman is simply the best. It was such a beautiful transformation that was being performed. Rahman was all dressed in a white with green lighting on the stage as he rendered to the audience, ‘Khwaaja mere Khwaaja’. It was such a beautiful match of the stage décor and his way of singing. I personally felt, it was an amazing performance.
Any live concert, I feel is incomplete without Chithra on stage. I was thwarted not seeing her on stage, and that too, in a concert by Rahman. Then came the surprise. She was there, singing my favorite, ‘Kannalane’ from Bombay with Hariharan. The crowd was once again in high spirits when listening to the melody rendered by Chithra. She didn’t stop with just one, she performed ‘Jiya Jale’ as a follow up to Kannalane. I was doubly excited.
This excitement was not let to fade away, when Hariharan and Rahman were there rendering ‘Ay Hairathe’ from Guru. This was followed by ‘Aye Bachchuu’ from Ghajini.
The concert came almost to a close with the third last of the performances being ‘Mustafa Mustafa’ from Kadhal Desam. It was astounding to see the huge crowd of delirious Rahman fans stand up and wave their hands respecting the worthiness of friendship. The song is surely a masterpiece which will remain the favorite of all people who respect friendship as one of the most important relationships in life. I was overwhelmed with joy to be a part of such a huge crowd giving an enthusiastic recognition for friendship.
This was followed by ‘Humma Humma’ from Bombay which is a super hit even till today. It was made even more enjoyable with Blaaze moving around with his part of music in.
Now came his masterpiece, and the concert was coming to a close.
Yes! You guessed it right, it is ‘Jai Ho’ which saw an all charged up crowd going high in spirits. The atmosphere was made astonishingly festive, with colorful fireworks filling the sky. Any Indian would have surely felt high levels of patriotism at that juncture.
It was a feeling beyond explanation to be part of those moments with Rahman in the midst of us. I was let down because I didn’t see Rahman’s ‘Vande Mataram’ coming. I am sure a lot of people in the crowd would have felt that.
Rahman knew that was what his fans were expecting, when he quickly changed from Jai Ho to ‘Vande Mataram’. Guys! I should tell you, it was an amazing feeling when all this happened. As I write, I can still feel and relish those last moments of the concert.
Rahman gave a perfect finish to the awe-inspiring concert. Rahman is undoubtedly a ‘genius’ who will stay in the hearts of millions of people for the joy he brings in all our hearts.
As for our gang, we enjoyed the whole show with a lot of energy, and had fun. One little issue which if rectified would have made the show perfect was the volume of the vocals. The volume of the music was so high or the volume of the vocals was low. As for the first half, we had a tough time unable to hear the singer properly.
Eliminating the little flaw which we felt was evened out by Rahman’s performance, the concert was one in a million. I was enthralled and still feel the same. Hats off to the ‘Maven’.
Picture Courtesy: rahmaniac.com ; moviegalleri.blogspot.com