The organisers behind the A R Rahman concert in London have denied any language bias after a social media storm over claims the Oscar-winning musician performed a majority of Tamil songs. The “Netru Indru Nalai” (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow) concert at Wembley Arena on July 8 attracted hundreds to what was described as a celebration of the Chennai-born star’s 25- year musical journey. But some of the concert-goers claimed on Facebook and Twitter later that they had walked out over the lack of Bollywood tunes from Rahman’s repertoire. The criticism prompted the organisers — HueBox Entertainment and Hamsini Entertainment — to publish the complete song list from the concert to highlight the balanced nature of the show. “Hi London, thanks for the tremendous support and response, however we have been getting few complaints on language bias which is rather unfortunate as this was an Indian show and music doesn’t have any barriers,” said a statement from the organisers on the official AR Rahman Live – UK Facebook page.
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“Nevertheless we have posted the track list performed at the SSE Arena Wembley to prove that there were 16 full tracks in Hindi, 12 full Tamil tracks and 1 Medley with a mix of Tamil and Hindi. Kindly note that there were no wrong advertisements or publicity material that may have given any wrong info on language of the concert,” it said. A media professional who was at the concert said that the show was of a pan-Indian nature and the music was enjoyable. “Indian music must be enjoyed, language is not what is primary,” he said. However, there were others who opened up a social media war by claiming only “1 per cent” of the songs were from Bollywood. “All Tamil songs… it was majorly for Sri Lankans,” said one concert-goer on Facebook. The concert was planned as a multi-media spectacle and the first in a global series to celebrate 25 years since Rahman’s musical debut with “Roja” in 1992.
He was joined on stage by singers Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Neeti Mohan, Haricharan, Jonita Gandhi, Ranjit Barot, among others. Rahman said in a pre-concert statement: “From ‘Roja’ to ‘Rockstar’, ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ and more, it has been an incredible musical journey over these last 25 years. I’ve been immensely blessed to have the love and support of my fans, music lovers, friends and well-wishers. “It continues to inspire and motivate me. Come, join me on the 8th of July at Wembley, London! Accompanying me is an amazingly talented and energetic team of singers and musicians.”