The maestro brought up the idea several times during his stunning extravaganza. The event was part of a wider initiative of the New South Wales Government to ease relations between the country’s significant Indian population and the wider Australian community.
Rahman performed a selection of his most popular pieces from hit films such as “Dil Se,” “Taal” and “Guru.” The most anticipated item “Jai Ho” was performed at the end to a delighted audience against a backdrop of fireworks. Despite the recent communal friction, the event faced no problems. The only hassle organisers faced was that of people creating a scrum as they tried to get as close to the stage as possible. When it came to the music, the Indians in the audience appreciated the traditional pieces, but the big Bollywood hits with pumping rhythm were the favourite among the non-Indians, as could be determined by the resounding applause following such numbers as “Chaiyya Chaiyya” and “Humma.”
While the atmosphere at the event was laid-back, there was an underlying awareness of the recent events that inspired it and another focus was what Indians and Australians have in common. Cricket was the most obvious answer and the concert was preceded by an address by former Australian captain Steve Waugh who expressed his wishes for a better future.
Cricketer Matthew Hayden interviewed members of the audience during breaks. “The thing to remember is that we are all the same inside,” said a young man he spoke to.