Indian Decade

Rahman and Midas in Reverse

Music Maestro A.R. Rahman’s Commonwealth Games song has been widely panned.


It seems the Commonwealth Games have a reverse Midas effect — they're now turning gold to dust. Just look at the recent controversy over the Games' theme song, composed by India's most celebrated music composer and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman.
When the song, titled 'Jiyo Utho Badho Jeeto', was released (several days after its original scheduled release date), it was met with widespread disappointment. On the net, music enthusiasts panned the song for its tepid score, and for doing little to arouse the patriotic sentiments that many feel a song like this must evoke.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

There was also talk about the song's 'price tag', with reports that it cost Rs 5 crore ($1.1 million). Rahman was criticised for not doing enough for a song meant to be representative of India, something the composer (who has been one of India's most feted, iconic creative people) must have been surprised at.
Meanwhile, last Friday, six masters of Indian classical dance rejected another of his creations composed for use in the opening ceremony. Artists like Pandit Birju Maharaj, Raja Reddy and Saroja Vaidynathan came out in open criticism against the song, and met with the the Core Creative Advisory Committee to voice their dissatisfaction.
A decision has reportedly been reached to use vedic chants in place of Rahman's song for the huge, 460-dancer opening sequence the dance masters will be choreographing.  And as Rahman faces the music, undoubtedly a rare event for him, I'm getting ready to re-tune my life to the Games as well. I live roughly 12 kilometres from the Games Village being built and in less than a week the main expressway I use to get home will be blocked for traffic for four hours in the morning.