Sydney: He has won the Oscar with ‘Jai Ho’; now, Mozart of Madras AR Rahman aims to win hearts and heal the troubled relationship between Indians and Australians with a free concert in Sydney.
Rahman hopes the concert – part of Festival of Sydney - this Saturday, will succeed to "build a bridge of understanding" and promote peace, understanding, love and friendship at this weekend`s show.
Although, Rahman had confirmed his participation last August, but owing to the continuing attacks on Indians, racist or otherwise, has put his performance under the arch lights.
The two-hour show at Parramatta Park - home to the largest population of Indian and south Asian people in Australia - will also see performances from more than 40 performers and artistes.
Although, there were reports that the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ composer might cancel his trip Down Under owing to the attacks on his fellow countrymen, Rahman says he never considered cancelling his trip.
"No. I felt the urge even more to do that [perform] because of all the stuff [that has been happening]. I thought it was very important to do that," he said after arriving in Australia’s most populous city.
“I want to have a great concert for people to enjoy, and also to spread the message of togetherness and peace; build a bridge for people who are trying to break it,” he added.
Rahman also has fond memories of performing in Australia, citing his 2005 concerts in Melbourne and Sydney as having the "some of his best audiences". Amid concerns of violence at the venue, authorities are expecting a crowd of around Rs one lakh for the weekend concert.
Media should exercise restraint
Speaking at a press conference, on arrival in the city, Rahman opined that Australian and Indian media have a responsibility to build bridges, rather than breaking them apart.
“First of all we need more responsible media. It is a great tool, but grossly misused and can provoke people,” he said.
“Just one comment can kill a thousand people - that has happened in the past. You have to be extremely careful and strict about what (you write).”
He also advised young Indians to avoid walking at night in areas frequented by drug addicts and alcoholics.
"Because that`s the main reason for the killing. It doesn`t matter what race they are, they just want to kill because they`re not in their own senses."
The Australian government has also warmed up to Rahman and are seeing potential in his capability to soothe flaring tempers. Acting New South Wales Premier Carmel Tebbutt said she was hopeful the concert would promote peaceful relations between the two countries.
"It`s an opportunity ... to promote our city and to send a very clear message that we`re a multicultural, diverse city, we`re a multicultural diverse country, and we`re very proud of that," Ms Tebbutt told reporters.