Saturday, January 16, 2010 By Maryam
Come, but be careful. That was the advice the composer of Slumdog Millionaire gave to Indians thinking of studying in Australia.
A.R. Rahman said he had not considered cancelling his tour after the attacks and murders of Indians in Australia.
''A lot of my friends' sons [have come] here and they have gone back very happily. They have benefited from Australian studies,'' he said.
Rahman will give a free concert in Parramatta Park tomorrow.
He advised students to take care after dark and avoid areas where drug and alcohol problems were rife, and he called for greater responsibility in the reporting of the murders.
''The media is a great tool but it can also be misused,'' he said. ''Speaking to a lot of people [they say] some of them are racially biased and some are not. But they get painted with the same colour.''
He would not comment on moves by a Hindu militant group in Mumbai, Shiv Sena, to prevent Australian cricketers from playing there until the attacks had ceased.
He believed music could play a role in healing the tensions. ''This concert is about reaffirming the friendship and interest of both people, and I hope this concert brings that.''
Rahman, who shot to international attention with his film soundtrack and its exuberant anthem, Jai Ho, is a practicing Sufi. He converted from Hinduism after meeting a teacher of Sufism, the mystical form of Islam, 20 years ago. He also changed his name, from Dileep Kumar to Allah Rakha Rahman.
''He [the teacher] never told us you have to become a Muslim, but out of interest I started getting inquisitive about stuff,'' he said. Rahman's music is influenced by his beliefs: ''The whole philosophy of Sufi is to give to the universe, to be unconditional. It is like the rain falls on everyone and the sun's rays fall on everyone … So that philosophy has fascinated me and that's what I follow. Music, too, is about giving.''
Rahman has won two Oscars and been nominated for two Grammys. His concert at Parramatta is at 7.30pm tomorrow (today in fact:-) )
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald