A.R. Rahman on his upcoming first-ever concert in Abu Dhabi

The music maestro will perform at the Etihad Arena on October 29


Husain Rizvi

Published: Fri 28 Oct 2022, 5:31 PM

Last updated: Sat 29 Oct 2022, 6:53 PM

The last time we spoke to A.R. Rahman, the musical maestro was due for a performance at the Expo 2020 Dubai. This time, the Indian musician is performing in Abu Dhabi, his first-ever concert in the capital city.

"It is nice to come to Abu Dhabi," a gentle Rahman sporting his signature shades look told City Times on Thursday evening. The musician had a great US tour recently, and prior to that, he was heavily involved at the World Fair. And when we say heavily, we mean that Rahman had multiple concerts, his compositions were played out almost every week, and how can one forget the incredible Firdaus Orchestra, which, in fact, is returning to the iconic Al Wasl Plaza on November 19.

Rahman last performed in Dubai in March at Expo 2020's Jubilee Park just before the grand spectacle shut its doors. The success of his December concert at Expo 2020, inspired him for another one. Perhaps it is the love he garners from the UAE audiences that makes him want to come back.

And every time he does, he doesn't disappoint.

This time around, Rahman has promised another spectacular night filled with a rendition of all of his songs. "We have curated a list of amazing singers including me," he says, "and we will give you a musical experience of what has been going on for 30 years."

And we believe him since he said he's only going to just sit in his room and practice before the concert.

Directorial Debut

While Rahman has earned his caps in composing and producing, the musician recently ventured into directing. As a result, he marked his directorial debut with Le Musk, a virtual reality film with an international cast.

What Rahman thought would take two months to release, took six years to be made. "That's because of all the technology involved," he said. "Everything has to sync as it is in steoreoscopic and uses extreme haptics."

Le Musk's inception dates back to the time when Rahman was living in Los Angeles and had a "lot of free time" to learn new things for camera and script writing, and attended a lot of workshops. "That kind of went back, and then when we were having a family chat, my wife said we should produce a movie," he said. "Later, somebody showed me virtual reality and I said, 'Why don't we do this?'"

Rahman's debut feature is getting installed in Los Angeles first; it will be at Sunset Boulevard for the next three months. It is also getting installed in Toronto, says Rahman, followed by plans for Seattle, Middle East, and India.

The 55-year-old has been composing, producing, and now directing, so what's next for A.R. Rahman, we asked. "I don't know," said Rahman, laughing, "let's keep doing the same."

And when asked about his secret to keeping calm amidst all his activities, Rahman asserted a rather insightful analogy. "While driving, if you're not calm, you might kill someone or get killed," he said. "It is like how you're driving a car, you have multiple senses about what's going to happen. So it is important to keep your calm, it is important to be spiritual, and it is important to bring in what you sense of your own faith into the art so we can experience the beauty."

On working with Mani Ratnam

Rahman has worked with renowned Indian director Mani Ratnam for as long as one can remember, in fact, the latter introduced the musician in Roja in 1992. Since then, the two have worked together on many projects (predominantly Tamil) such as Bombay (1995), Guru (2007), Raavanan (2010), and the latest Ponniyin Selvyan - 1, which released last month.

"We have always been working together," he said. "And for this movie, we made a lot of research." The first round of compositions were done in Bali around five years ago, and the overall experience has been great, says Rahman.

Event Details

A.R. Rahman Concert

Saturday, October 29

Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi

Ticket prices from Dh265 onwards

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