"Even with the best intentions..." Yuvan Shankar Raja defends AR Rahman after concert chaos

(This article is authored by Alar)

The music lovers of Chennai were eagerly waiting for the live performance of the legendary composer AR Rahman at the ‘Marakuma Nenjam’ concert on September 10. The event was held at the Adityaram Palace, a sprawling venue that promised to host a spectacular show. However, things did not go as planned, and the concert turned into a nightmare for many fans who had bought the tickets.

According to reports, the venue was overcrowded and poorly managed, resulting in chaos and confusion. The fans who had paid for their tickets were left out in the cold, while the crowd inside was like a stampede of wild beasts. Some women were violated, and children and elderly people were lost in the chaos. The fans vented their fury and frustration on social media, accusing the organizers of spoiling their dream night.

However, not everyone was critical of the concert. Yuvan Shankar Raja, a close friend of AR Rahman, came out in support of his fellow musician. He shared a press note by taking us to X, explaining the difficulties of organizing such a massive event and expressing his sympathy for the fans who had to face the ordeal.

He wrote, “Organising an event of the magnitude of a concert is an immensely complex task, involving numerous moving parts, from logistics and crowd control to traffic management. As unfortunate as it is, mishaps such as overcrowding and other unforeseen problems have happened during concerts of such magnitude, owing to several reasons including organisational missteps. Even with the best intentions, things can go awry, causing intense distress to the very people who make our music meaningful - our fans.”

It was disheartening to see fans returning empty-handed after buying tickets. Nonetheless, the composer stood in solidarity with AR Rahman, who had intended to provide them with an unforgettable night. He stressed that the event organizers would learn from their mistakes and ensure that such incidents would not happen again in the future. It was also emphasized that the safety and comfort of fans, especially women, children, and elderly people, must be ensured.

He further added, "As a fellow musician, I empathise with the situation and stand by AR Rahman, considering the unfortunate events, especially when the concert was intended to give the fans a memorable night, for all the right reasons."

Yuvan’s gesture was appreciated by many fans, who thanked him for his understanding and compassion. Some also praised AR Rahman for his musical genius and expressed their hope to see him perform again in a better environment. The ‘Marakuma Nenjam’ concert was part of AR Rahman’s ongoing tour across India, celebrating his 30 years in the industry.

Responding to the unexpected turn of his concert outcome, the composer promised a refund on Monday.  AR Rahman wrote on X, "Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren't able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to arr4chennai@btos.in along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap."

He also mentioned in an interview with The Hindu, he said, "I'm terribly disturbed and accountable for what happened. It was a tsunami of people and love that we were unable to handle. As a composer, my job was to give a terrific show, and I thought everything else would be taken care of."