Rahman magic keeps Khalifa stadium in three-hour trance

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Globally acclaimed Indian musician A R Rahman, along with his 80-strong troupe, captivated the audience with an electrifying performance Friday at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium. Billed as the biggest concert in the history of Qatar, the much-anticipated event kept the over-30,000 crowd spellbound throughout the three-hour duration.

It all began with the maestro dramatically appearing on the stage to thunderous applause and taking off with a medley of his greatest hits.

Rahman mesmerised the gathering with some of his evergreen numbers and had the entire audience on their toes right from the word ‘go’ as he started the show with a rendition of the Hindi song, ‘Aja Parinda Ghar Aja’, followed by one of his greatest hits ‘Mukkala Mukkabalaaa’ heralding the variety of music performances in store for the audience.

Rahman, a two-time Oscar- and Grammy-winner, was performing for the first time in Qatar, and true to his reputation, he took his fans on a esctatic musical journey along with his fellow performers and with a mix of various genres of music. Rahman and his team performed on a 90m-long stage, a world first at the state-of-the-art venue, which is one of the stadiums for the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

The entire performance had a rich mix of music from different Indian languages. Singers and performers from Bollywood and other regional Indian languages came up with scintillating performances one after another, in a mix of classic and popular Indian music. Many of the overflowing crowd, clapped and tapped to the music while cheering the artistes.

True to Rahman’s envious reputation for ‘experimentation’ in every sphere of music, the show also witnessed several moments of innovation. Each of the performers came out with something exciting which was welcomed with loud cheers by the entire audience. “Experimenting with courage, is what I think, is the fire for me. You jump into that fire and things start happening,” Rahman had told ‘Gulf Times’, earlier in an interview and that was well evident in the entire show.

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The maestro was joined in the concert by popular Indian playback singers Udit Narayan, Shweta Mohan, Haricharan Seshadri, A R Rahman’s sisters and popular singers from the South Indian film industry Reihana and Isshrathquadhre, playback singer from the Malayalam film industry Alphons Joseph, Bollywood playback singer Javed Ali, singer and actor Benny Dayal, Indian film score composer Ranjit Barot, Rahman’s troupe singer Dilshad Shabbir Ahmed Shaikh and Indian-born Canadian singer Jonita Gandhi.

Earlier, before the formal start of the concert, there was a special performance by renowned Qatari composer Dana Alfardan and Doha’s emerging artist Aisha, who presented a tribute song honouring the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Written by Dana Alfardan, the song is dedicated to the Qatar-India Year of Culture 2019, a year-long collaboration that sees both nations jointly celebrate their unique cultural legacies.

The event was organised by Katara Studios in association with Qatar Airways. The strategic partners included Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Aspire Zone and LuLu Hypermarkets.