A R Rahman hosted a concert to commemorate the completion of Phase I of Swarnabhoomi on 11th October 2009. Swarnabhoomi is an undertaking by Marg properties and a township that is located closer to Pondicherry. I have not heard of Marg properties and their township in the middle of nowhere invoked any interest in me. But on hearing about A R Rahman concert, I was ready to go!
Chennai is not far away from Bangalore. We reached Chennai in 6 hours. The connecting highway – NH 4 – is excellent! But the venue was around 80 kms from Chennai. So, we started off to the venue after picking up two friends from Chennai. The toll roads waived the toll for the concert goers. They were special buses for transporting to the venue of the concert. These special buses were adorned with “Jai Ho” posters. Seeing all these, our enthusiasm for the concert increased as we became closer to venue.
The organizers had deployed a lot of cops for the event. As we walked into the concert area, I couldn’t find any security checks, which made me uncomfortable. There were more than 50,000 people in the area. The concert featured well known and respected musicians in the whole country. But, there were no security checks!
After finding chairs and also a place to sit, we waited for the concert to start! The ads featured “6 pm onwards”, which was very convenient for the organizers! There were 4-5 screens to enable the viewers to see a close up of the artistes. This is a blessing as it was impossible to make out the artistes on the stage from where we sat. Around 7:30 pm, we were greeted with A R Rahman’s voice and suddenly, the stage lit up to reveal the maestro occupying the center stage.
Then, everything went south! The sound system was pathetic! Most of the famous singers just goofed up their lines although the young ones oozed energy! The TV focused on Rahman even when there were other artistes around! The local crowd were pissed off at Rahman for not having too many Tamil songs. Come to think of it, he has not worked much in Tamil for the past couple of years. The show ended up with a recital of Jai Ho and when Jai Ho ended, the fireworks lighted up the skies!
Hariharan, K S Chitra, Sivamani, Sadhana Sargam, Blaaze, Rashid Ali, Suzzanne D’Mello and Neeti Mohan sang during concert! The crowd went beserk when Neeti crooned “Mayya Mayya” and gyrated to it! Suzzanne made the crowd stand on their feet when she rendered “Aye Bachoo”.
Picture Courtesy: http://www.margproperties.com