Musician A R Rahman has reacted to the controversy over his concert in London earlier this month which some of his audience left midway because he performed Tamil songs. Rahman, currently in New York for the IIFA Awards, told NDTV that he 'tries his best' and is 'nothing' without the support he receives from his fans. On July 8, Rahman played a concert at Wembley in London titled 'Netru, Indru, Naalai.' Despite the predominantly Hindi setlist - from Dil Se to Jai Ho - several concert-goers complained about the Tamil numbers that were sung. On Twitter, these disgruntled 'fans' claimed they had left the gig midway and demanded refunds.
Speaking to NDTV in New York, A R Rahman said, "We try our best. We try to be honest. I love the way how people have supported for all these years without them I'm nothing. I'm grateful to all of them."
This past week, Twitter has been sharply divided between London concert-goers claiming Rahman had been 'disrespectful' to his fans by performing Tamil songs and those who schooled them with reminders that Rahman is Tamil himself and has composed most of his work, including his early hits, in his mother tongue.
The controversy also served to rekindle the debate over Hindi privilege vs other regional languages. Singer Chinmayi, who has performed several Rahman songs in films, posted this impassioned note:
New York, unlike London, was perfectly happy to hear A R Rahman sing in Tamil. IIFA Rocks, the musical night included in the awards weekend, was dedicated to the composer's 25 years in the industry and, as Rahman sang Urvasi Urvasi in its original Tamil, the crowd cheered wildly. "We came for Rahman. Music is universal, the language doesn't matter," a couple in the audience told news agency IANS.