Oscar-winner AR Rahman's recent Chennai concert, 'Marakkuma Nenjam', has steadily become a masterclass in how not to manage a concert. Here's an insider's version on what went wrong.
Many fans who held valid tickets were left frustrated and angry, while some engaged in disputes with law enforcement and the event organisers, ACTC Events.
Grateful to Chennai and the legendary @arrahman Sir! The incredible response, the overwhelming crowd made our show a massive success. Those who couldn't attend on overcrowding, Our sincere apologies. We take full responsibility and accountable. We are with you. #MarakkumaNenjam— ACTC Events (@actcevents) September 11, 2023
Ashwin, a 26-year-old attendee at the event, painted a vivid picture of the chaos and shortcomings that plagued the event.
His firsthand account shed light on the series of mishaps that unfolded.
It was worst concert ever in the History #ARRahman #Scam2023 by #ACTC. Respect Humanity. 30 Years of the Fan in me died today Mr. #ARRAHMAN. #MarakkumaNenjam Marakkavey Mudiyathu, . A performer in the stage can’t never see what’s happening at other areas just watch it. pic.twitter.com/AkDqrlNrLD— Navaneeth Nagarajan (@NavzTweet) September 10, 2023
Rahman, in his post-concert interview with The Hindu, confessed that he was blissfully unaware of the mayhem outside.
Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to email@example.com along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap🙏@BToSproductions @actcevents— A.R.Rahman (@arrahman) September 11, 2023
The iconic musician expressed his dismay at the situation, stating that he had focused on delivering an exceptional performance but assumed that everything else would be handled adequately.
It seems the city's love for Rahman was just too immense for anyone to handle.
The concert had already faced a last-minute rescheduling from August to September due to the weather gods' disapproval.
Despite Marakkuma Nenjam being one of India's highest-selling shows, overselling tickets and crowd mismanagement turned it into a comedy of errors.
Woke up to having such a weight in my heart.The unsafe feeling i have today is haunting me. One of the people who groped me,literally looked into my eyes when I just asked him for the way and move.— Charulatha Rangarajan (@charuturfo) September 11, 2023
I'm exhausted.#marakumanenjam#ARRConcert@actcevents @arrahman pic.twitter.com/58SXFOP5kJ
Ashwin noted another point of contention within the sections themselves: "Even within sections, the people in the front stood over chairs enraging those at the back, leading to throwing of bottles."
this has just made me even more furious. retweeting all this when 100s of people are saying they had a near death experience is just cruel. No one cares that the ones who made it safely had a great experience. So many of us are traumatized. Take accountability @arrahman pic.twitter.com/3wZPngGh8N— Pavitra (@pavitrash_) September 11, 2023
Adding to the list of issues, he pointed out that the seating arrangement wasn't aligned with the stage's centre, with temporary food tents occupying valuable space, which likely impaired the audience's view of the performance.
@actcevents @arrahman #marakumanenjam— Jelsin Pius (@jelsin_badJ) September 10, 2023
1)Absolute bloody shitshow!
The A. R. Rahman concert in Chennai was the most horribly organised event amongst the new wave concerts being organised recently. Thousands of people, gathered from various cities with their families never got in pic.twitter.com/VEhzhQ8jBM
In the aftermath of the concert, social media was flooded with complaints from ticket-holders who couldn't enter the venue despite having valid tickets.
They pointed fingers at the event management company for overselling tickets and failing to accommodate those with legitimate tickets.
Our sincere apologize to you. We will be doing our best needful to everyone who were unable to attend the concert.— ACTC Events (@actcevents) September 11, 2023
While Rahman has promised refunds, Ashwin expressed scepticism about the execution and implementation of this process. He also noted that Rahman's initial post addressing the situation lacked a heartfelt tone.