On Thursday 16th Feb 2017, I attended a concert titled "The music of AR Rahman" from Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Charindaa. I have no idea who Charindaa is, so I didn't bother much. I have heard the MSO before, so I was eager to find out what they had in store. To add to the excitement, ARR himself had posted a video that he would be present at the venue. I didn't pay a lot of attention to that video, so I was quite surprised to see him on stage.
Anyway, the concert gave mixed emotions to a lot of people. Why? We expected a lot more and we felt that it was a let down.
First, I was annoyed that the organisers did not attach a program schedule when they sent me the ticket. Gates opened at 6pm and the MSO started on stage only at 8.15pm. In between we were entertained for a less than an hour by two random people on a tabla and guitar singing really boring compositions. Seriously, their music was "not good".
The MSO started with music that was unknown to many - Warriors of Heaven and Earth. I have heard the movie but who wants to see a mandarin movie for ARR (not that much a rahmaniac).
Then we were treated to Lagaan and Mangal Pandey which kept our north Indian friends happy but I was getting really impatient. Then they played music from Roja.
Then MSO went back to playing tracks from 127 Hours, Bose: The Forgotten Hero (that was actually a forgotten movie), Lord of the Rings (stage version) and that's when I totally lost it. They made ground by playing music from Bombay, Enthiran, Kochadaiiyaan and Swades.
ARR got on stage and played music from The Hundred Foot Journey for about 2 mins. Personally I thought that movie didn't have great music. So I wasn't impressed.
I think a good percentage of the audience lost it and started calling out Rahman as he was predominantly backstage. This didn't go well with the MSO conductor and he got annoyed. The calling went reached a level when he replied "If you behave well, he will be back". I could sense from his voice that he was pretty pissed. The MSO was not receiving the respect they'd usually get in live concerts.
Finally, they finished with Slumdog Millionaire. I was hoping that at least in this, ARR would sing the Jai Ho piece that he sang in the original but he didn't. An Australian opera singer did his best but wasn't impressive at all. In between, there was a tribute to Indian composers, which was really good (because they played the intro from Muthu, which was brilliant!). And then there was a tribute to Indian Beauties. It was utter nonsense and didn't warrant any presence in a music concert. Also, Indian Beauties featured only female lead actors from Bombay/Delhi which made it even more ridiculous. The madras emotion had already kicked in at the beginning. It took MSO more than 25 minutes to play a Tamil song from ARR's discography and then this beauty feature took it to the rock bottom.
Overall, this concert was average. I think MSO picked music that they can play. They didn't pick anything they'd be really challenged to learn or impress the audience.
The organisers did the worst false marketing, just to boost ticket sales. I think they should have given some idea to people, considering that the entire Indian population of Melbourne is going to turn up when you say "Music of AR Rahman".
The rahmaniac in everyone got aroused almost instantly. People were annoyed and disinterested. I know its not good behaviour but hey! Its a minimum of 50 dollars per ticket.