Marakkuma Nenjam (Would my heart forget)?

Being a music enthusiast and a (music) teacher, few of my most profound experiences in life have been going to concerts (both Carnatic and film music) and let the music unravel its magic in me –calming my nerves, awakening the child in me, helping me let go, inducing goosebumps! Having spent most part of my life in Chennai, I have attended concerts of artists of the likes of Ilayaraja, AR Rahman, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Rajesh Vaidhya, to name a few. They’ve been such incredible experiences, and I always look forward to taking my daughter too, whenever I can, as she too has good ears for music and enjoys concerts.

After all this noise about the recent ARR concert Marakkuma Nenjam that happened in Chennai, I would like to share my opinion about this whole thing, being a regular concert goer, live music lover, and an ARR fan.

Update: In the time since this post was written, A.R.Rahman has apologised for the poor experience faced by fans at the concert.

I still remember the first time I attended an ARR concert (sometime between 2004-2008) when I was doing my engineering. I had gone with my parents, and most of our favourite songs were being performed. The crowd around me was equally elated, and we were singing together in unison along with the singers on stage, and honestly, I was surprised by how well the crowd sang and that the Chennai people were singing all the Hindi songs by heart! The quality of sound was at par with what we heard at home in the best of stereos. I remember having no heart to leave the concert, but as it was late (after 11 PM), we had to head back.  The experience was so exhilarating, that I started following the music scene in town meticulously, and never used to miss a concert of my favourite artists/musicians. That was also a phase in my life where I had started to leverage and experiment with my own musical abilities, by joining my college band, taking part in music competitions, etc.

In all the concerts I’ve been to so far, despite the crowd being humongous, thankfully I’ve never had a bad experience, have always booked my tickets in advance and have been seated in the allotted seats based on the price of my tickets.

Being such an involved music lover and concert goer, I cannot ignore the grave complaints that the concert goers of Marukkuma Nenjam had about the organizing team. The complaints are about total mismanagement of the event organizers, where tickets were booked beyond the seating capacity of the venue, and how some people who purchased Gold and Platinum tickets worth a whopping Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000 had to return in vain as there was no place to even stand! And worse, there were also allegations of women and children being molested in the crowd.

I’ve been a fan of AR Rahman sir, not just for his music, but also for the personality that he is. Countless singers and musicians have taken inspiration from him, and shared stories of his zen-like demeanour even in trying times. Being a corporate soft skills trainer, I have myself spoken of him as an inspiration, as I think he is humility and simplicity personified. When my favourite reality-show contestants were given opportunities in playback singing by ARR sir, their excitement felt personal, and my respect and love for this man has grown manifold!

But it irks me that such a personality has not realized the gravity of the issue, or is somewhere being indifferent, (he has responded, asking the concerned people to mail him the tickets and share their grievances) and in fact, is playing victim (his Instagram post about him being a “sacrificial goat” to bring about a cultural renaissance in Chennai)! Sir, with all due respect, I’m not a blind fan, and the statement is ridiculous, coming from a man of your stature, as you’ve been aware of the cultural scene and logistics in Chennai, your hometown. Even if the fault is not entirely yours, you should come out in the open with an apology, on behalf of your organizers, and that alone would be some solace for all your fans who had to face such a nightmare. Please continue setting a good example and walk your talk like  you always have, do not let us down. You have always chosen love over hate, and your fans need exactly that from you, at this hour, before it’s late.

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About the Author

Sukanya Raghunathan

Sukanya Raghunathan is a leadership trainer and a faculty of management. A mother of an eleven-year old girl, she also teaches Carnatic music and her hobbies include singing, dancing, playing keyboard, reading fiction/non- read more...

11 Posts | 7,641 Views

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