The award-winning composer, who arrived in Sydney ahead of his concert on Saturday evening, felt that the media need to be more responsible when reporting on recent attacks here that appeared to target students from India.
Having confirmed his place in the Sydney Festival’s lineup in August last year, Rahman specifically requested to perform Parramatta Park. According to NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, Parramatta Park is home to the largest population of Indian and south Asian people in Australia.
The composer, who also performs many of his own works, is already very well-known in the Bollywood movie scene, received two Academy awards last year for best original song and best original score, which he composed for 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire. Described as the “Mozart of Madras” by Time magazine, Rahman was named one of the magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009.
Rahman hopes the free concert will be able to “build a bridge of understanding” and serve as a gesture of goodwill for people from India and Australia this weekend. The two-hour show will also see performances from more than 40 performers and artistes.
The composer has fond memories of performing in Australia, citing his 2005 concerts in Melbourne and Sydney as having the “some of his best audiences”. He hopes to be able to promote peace, understanding, love and friendship at this weekend’s show.