AR Rahman‘s latest Chennai concert, titled ‘Marakkuma Nenjam’, was supposed to be a musical extravaganza for his fans. However, it turned out to be a nightmare for many who had bought tickets and travelled from far and wide to attend the event on Sunday evening.
The concert, which was held at Chennai’s Adityaram Palace City, witnessed over 45,000 people thronging the venue, creating long queues, traffic jams and chaos. Many fans who had valid tickets were denied entry by the police and the organisers (ACTC Events) due to overcrowding and lack of proper arrangements. Thousands of ticket holders were left stranded outside the venue, unable to enter or find their seats. Some fans even got into scuffles with the police and security personnel, who were overwhelmed by the surge of people, while others left the venue seething with rage and disappointment.
The concert had already been postponed from August to September due to bad weather conditions.
AR Rahman, who was unaware of the situation outside the venue, performed for nearly three hours, belting out his popular songs and melodies. He later came to know about the mismanagement and the plight of his fans through social media and news reports.
In an exclusive interview with The Hindu, Rahman expressed his deep regret and said that he was “terribly disturbed and accountable” for what happened. He said that he had expected the organisers to take care of everything else, while he focused on giving a terrific show. He said that he had no idea that the response would be beyond their expectations and that safety would be an issue.
He also took to Twitter to apologise to his fans and asked them to share their grievances and ticket details with him. He said that he was collecting the data and would surprise them with something soon.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap🙏@BToSproductions @actcevents
— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) September 11, 2023
AR Rahman’s Statement Apologising To Fans
“It was a tsunami of people and love that we were unable to handle,” Rahman told The Hindu. “As a composer, my job was to give a terrific show, and I thought everything else would be taken care of,” AR Rahman said. “I was just thinking that it shouldn’t rain, and was happily performing inside, without any idea of what was happening outside.” Rahman further stated, “Our intentions were good, but I think the response was beyond our expectations. We are collecting the data now, and we will surprise fans with something soon.”
He asserted, “Right now, we are just terribly disturbed. Safety was the primary issue, especially because there were women and kids. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone, but we have to realise that the city is expanding, and the passion to consume music and art is also expanding.”
Despite ‘Marakkuma Nenjam’ being one of India’s highest selling shows till date, the overselling of tickets and bad crowd management were among the many reasons fans were upset. Rahman explains, “The organisers [ACTC events] had put together about 46,000 chairs in the venue. In some sections, everybody sat on one side and didn’t move to the other side. Seeing this, the policemen on duty assumed that the venue was full and closed it. By this time, the show had already started inside.”
“The energy and love in Chennai is overwhelming; sometimes, when you love something too much, it goes away from you. I think that’s what has happened here. I am ambitious about making Chennai an arts capital, but with respect to what happened, I do not want to point fingers at anyone because I know people come to concerts for me, and not for who the organisers are,” he added.
“We will face this and fix it, because every soul is important to me. I told my son [A.R. Ameen] this: anything that we do in partnership, people do not look at the partnership, they look at us. The partnerships might disappear, but we will remain. I now have to think beyond just the musical aspects of a concert. We will, hopefully, not let this happen ever again.”, he concluded.
What are the fans saying about AR Rahman’s concert?
Many fans who attended or missed the concert took to social media to vent their frustration and disappointment. Some accused the organisers of overselling the tickets and mismanaging the crowd. Some also demanded a refund or a compensation for their wasted time and money. Some, however, praised AR Rahman for his performance and expressed their support and sympathy for him. They also hoped that he would come back to Chennai soon with a better concert experience.
Very badly organised concert. Waste of money. Energy.
Felt a huge sense of betrayal.
I was feeling so stressed than good vibes because of so many fights and shit that was going around!
Unfair max was No proper sound !#actcevents #MarakkumaNenjam #ARRConcert @arrahman pic.twitter.com/8a6LFvb6ms
— Charulatha Rangarajan (@charuturfo) September 10, 2023
I am DEVASTATED.
AR Rahman is literally the only artist I look up to. He's everything to me. I love him with all my heart
BUT, I got trampled and had a full blown anxiety attack and a breakdown even though I bought Gold tickets. I cannot begin to imagine what others went through
— Lakshita Shankar (@laksh02shankar) September 10, 2023
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