Remember the AR Rahman concert in the UK that so upset Hindi-speakers because it featured a dozen or so Tamil songs in the lineup? Clearly, The Mozart Of Madras hasn’t forgotten.
So, this time around, Toronto in Canada gets two back-to-back days of Rahman concerts, with one day dedicated to Hindi and the other dedicated to Tamil. The Oscar-winning music composer posted the publicity banners for the two language-segregated concerts on his Facebook handle on Thursday.
And just to be safe, each banner bears in clear, bold writing what the language for the day is going to be, in both English and Hindi/Tamil.
While Rahman simply posted the photographs, without any comment on what he thought of the language brouhaha, most of the people who commented on the post read the language segregation as the maestro subtly trolling Hindi-speakers.
“Now read the dates carefully North Indians. He has mentioned two separate dates for Hindi and Tamil. Don’t walk out in the middle,” wrote one FB user.
“ARR savage level, Hindians get into the right theater this time at least,” commented another.
Of course, even as many bemoaned the need for language-segregated concerts, the new concert schedules also erupted a new debate in the comments section about whether language was dividing the country, and just who should be blamed for this!
And there were also snarky users who demanded that Rahman add concerts in English and Mandarin to the schedule too.
The entire controversy was kicked off by some audience members at Rahman’s Netru, Indru, Naalai concert at the SSE Arena in Wembley on July 8. These fans walked out halfway through the concert because Rahman had performed a number of Tamil songs as part of the setlist - 12 Tamil songs vs 16 Hindi songs - and had posted on social media demanding a refund because they felt “cheated” for having to listen to non-Hindi songs. Clearly, the Hindi speakers didn’t believe in the ‘Music has no language’ adage.
This resulted in a Twitter war, as many fans pointed out that Rahman had sung more Hindi than Tamil songs. In any case, they added, Rahman was a Tamilian, who had shot to fame in the Tamil film industry. Many social media users pointed out that the demand that Rahman sing only or predominantly in Hindi was another case of Hindi imposition.