The language of music is not Tamil. And it’s not Hindi either.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first A. R. Rahman concert – actually, my first concert ever – and after days of procrastinating, I’ve finally found the bandwidth to write this post. While the way the concert was organized itself is a different story, my partner and I got into a discussion as we entered the venue about the recent controversy surrounding the maestro’s London performance. Concertgoers were miffed as Rahman belted out a sizable number of his Tamil hits, which led to a whole lot of discussion (read: intellectual masturbation) on social media and the outrage could be broadly classified into the following two schools. As an artist – and a national icon – Rahman should have been more aware and cognizant of the cultural sensibilities that delineate his audience, and therefore played only Hindi songs. And then there was the argument that Rahman’s lineage and pedigree is Tamil, and that music knows no language. Continue reading

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