A night full of chaos and anger: Where AR Rahman's Chennai concert went wrong and how fans reacted?

The diehard fans of legendary musician AR Rahman have gone bright red against his concert that was organised in Chennai on Sunday - September 10. For the fans, the concert was a golden opportunity to relish the live action of the Oscar-winning composer and as the concert was deferred from its actual schedule last month owing to heavy rainfall, the fans from across and beyond Tamil Nadu have thronged towards Chennai to attend the concert.

The concert, titled 'Marakumma Nenjam', was organised by the Chennai-based ACTC events and it was held in Adityaram Nagar, Panaiyur on the East Coast Road (ECR). The concert was to celebrate AR Rahman's thirty years of journey in the cinema industry and the tickets were sold in various passes, starting from Rs 500. The organisers have announced that people who already bought tickets for the concert's actual schedule can use the same to attend this rescheduled event. 

As there was no rain to disrupt the concert, the fans had supercharged their excitements as they started arriving at the venue. Later, their longwait had turned into nightmare as the venue had presented them a deluge of chaos. Though AR Rahman and his cluster of singers had begun to entertain the fans, the latter found the arrangements awful and little did they celebrate the musicial icon. 

What happened at the venue had sparked chaos and anger from the fans as the scenes brought to light a series of flawed arrangements from the organisers, ACTC events. Several fans expressed their despair that they should have refrained from buying tickets and coming to the concert instead of getting pulled into a mess. They exploded their anger on social media as AR Rahman has endured such a setback for the first time in his concert tours. 

Several fans took to X (formerly known as Twitter) and revealed that the venue was overbooked and many were not even allowed to enter the concert premises despite having a valid ticket. The visuals from the venue had shown that fans who paid Rs 2000 for a ticket weren't allowed to enter the concert premises that already appeared with a stampede-like situation in the wake of overcrowding. 

A fan took to X and wrote, "Very very bad audio systems. Couldn't hear any song or music. Too crowded, worst organisation, stampede, parking jammed, could not even return, need refund." Another fan wrote, "It was the worst concert ever in history #ARRahman #Scam2023 by #ACTC. Respect Humanity. 30 years of the fan in me died today Mr AR Rahman." Another disappointed fan wrote, "Very badly organised concert. Waste of money. Energy. Felt a huge sense of betrayal. I was feeling so stressed over good vibes because of so many fights and shit that was going around!." 

It has been reported that a major reason behind the chaos was the organisers' push for selling more tickets  than the actual capacity of the venue. "They had sold more tickets than the venue could accommodate. This had resulted in a proper chaos. Hundreds (not one bit of exaggeration) were stranded outside, unable to step inside the venue after walking miles inside the premises because there was no space to enter. There were dozens of people warning us not to get in. Apparently, in the chaotic milieu that followed, many had been pushed/ shoved/ stamped upon causing injury. The crowd was massive and there wasn't an inch of space and in the claustrophobic environment, people started fainting", another distressed fan wrote.

Another fan wrote, "ACTC events, beyond your greed for money, at least you should have warned that elderly and little kids are not allowed. So sad to have witnessed what they went through." Several fans have alleged that many children were separated from their families and many women were molested amidst overcrowding. There were visuals showing disappointed fans tearing the tickets to display their anger and a score of audience have been demanding a refund from the organisers. 

An angered fan wrote on social media, "Imagine paying 2000 rupees for gold tickets and this is what you get? What a shit show. Had to return back without even entering." "The ARR concert - the absolute shit show. It got to a point where it was actually unsafe for people. We saw people faint, cry, panic and get anxiety attacks. A refund wouldn't cover what we had to endure. I hope everyone at the concert gets home safe and the ones in charge are held accountable."

Shockingly, a woman said that her son would have died due to overcrowding and that AR Rahman must answer for this mess. "Worst worst worst concert ever. Very poorly organised concert by the organiser. No proper coordination from road to seating everything. Horrible planning. They have taken fans for granted. I feel like scam of money", another fan wrote and on the other hand, the gridlock on the road caused a major disruption and that was ubiquitous across the ECR. 

A sea of vehicles that came for the concert sparked heavy traffic and it remained the same for several hours amidst the struggle from the traffic police personnel to mitigate it. The traffic jam had fueled the chaos and the anger of the fans. The traffic police had said that while it was estimated that around 6,000 vehicles would show up for the concert, the ECR witnessed the arrival of over 10,000 vehicles for the concert on Sunday due to which the scale of gridlock got intense. Notably, the heavy traffic congestion was in a fashion that even the motorcade of Chief Minister MK Stalin, who was en route to Mamallapuram, got stranded for about fifteen minutes. 

The concert organiser breaks silence

Hours after the poor and flawed arrangement for the concert sparked a major chaos with fans have gone furious, the organiser, ACTC events had broken its silence and extended its apology, while it went on to declare the event, in which it was alleged that several injured and women were molested, a massive success. Taking to X, ACTC events on Monday wrote, "Grateful to Chennai and the legendary AR Rahman sir! The incredible response, the overwhelming crowd made our show a massive success. Those who couldn't attend on overcrowding, our sincere apologies. We take full responsibility and accountable. We are with you." While AR Rahman has retweeted the post from ACTC events, he is yet to officially respond to the concert that turned into nightmare.